Many viruses remain latent in infected cells by depositing their genetic information with the host-cell’s genome. These viruses can reactivate at a later point in time leading to viral replication and disease progression.
SDSU researchers have are developing system utilized specific targeting RNA that could then be delivered to cells infected with latent viruses with a endonuclease to be released into the cytoplasm, recognize the viral genome and cleave it at one or more sites as defined by the RNAs thereby destroying the latent viral genome and curing the cell.
Specific variations could target the episomal DNA viruses such as HPV and HSV. Other alterations could cleave the viral DNA integrated in the host-cell genome without minimal perturbation of the host cell-genome, thereby mitigating risks of incidental oncogenic mutations. The technology could further be used to alter host cell lines for specific DNA deletions for the creation of precise genetically modified cell lines for future research.