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Keith Jerome, MD, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington
Chronic viral infections have plagued humanity for millennia. Now infections such as HIV are being targeted by new approaches that raise the possibility of their cure. In this talk Dr. Jerome will explain the use of DNA editing enzymes such as zinc finger nucleases and homing endonucleases to disrupt essential viral nucleic acids, or the human genes encoding receptors needed for viral entry. He will also discuss the potential of this approach for other viruses, including hepatitis B virus, herpes simplex virus, and human papillomavirus, and the challenges ahead in bringing this technology into the clinic for therapeutic use.
Dr. Keith R. Jerome holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Georgetown College, and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University, where his thesis focused on T cell antigens expressed by breast tumors. He did residency and fellowship training at the University of Washington. Dr. Jerome's research focuses on chronic and latent viruses, their immune evasion mechanisms, and potential curative therapeutic approaches to these infections. His most recent work involves the use of DNA editing enzymes such as homing endonucleases and zinc finger nucleases to specifically target latent viral DNA for cleavage and inactivation. This approach may allow precise elimination of functional viral DNA from infected cell reservoirs, offering the prospect of cure for HIV, hepatitis B, herpes simplex, and human papillomavirus infections.