Chen Hu (physician)

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Chen Hu (Chinese :陈虎; 17 February 1962 – 24 July 2019) was a Chinese military physician and stem cell researcher. He served as Director of the PLA Institute of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Research and the Beijing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Therapy Laboratory. Known for his research on hematopoietic stem cell therapy for leukemia, he was awarded the State Science and Technology Progress Award (First Class) in 2015 and the Ho Leung Ho Lee Prize in 2016. In 2017, he and Deng Hongkui engineered resistance to HIV in mice using CRISPR gene editing, and for the first time used the technique on an AIDS patient. He died of a sudden heart attack before their findings were published.

Simplified Chinese characters Standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China, Malaysia and Singapore.

Stem cell undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells

Stem cells are cells that can differentiate into other types of cells, and can also divide in self-renewal to produce more

of the same type of stem cells.
Hematopoietic stem cell

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the stem cells that give rise to other blood cells. This process is called haematopoiesis. This process occurs in the red bone marrow, in the core of most bones. In embryonic development, the red bone marrow is derived from the layer of the embryo called the mesoderm.


Chen Hu was born 17 February 1962 in Chongqing, China, with his ancestral home in Luoyang, Henan. He enlisted in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in September 1979 and enrolled at the Third Military Medical University (now Army Medical University). [1] [2] He earned both a Ph.D. and an M.D. [3]

Chongqing Municipality in Peoples Republic of China

Chongqing, alternately romanised as Chungking, is a major city in southwest China. Administratively, it is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of central government of the People's Republic of China, and the only such municipality located far away from the coast. It is the largest city proper in the world.

Luoyang Prefecture-level city in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River in the west of Henan province. Governed as a prefecture-level city, it borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast. As of the final 2010 census, Luoyang had a population of 6,549,941 inhabitants with 1,857,003 people living in the built-up area made of the city's five urban districts, all of which except the Jili District are not urbanized yet.

Henan Province

Henan is a landlocked province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (中州), which literally means "central plain" or "midland", although the name is also applied to the entirety of China proper. Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization, with over 3,000 years of recorded history, and remained China's cultural, economical and political center until approximately 1,000 years ago.

After graduation, Chen became a physician at the Affiliated Hospital of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. He later served as Director of the Beijing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Therapy Laboratory and Director of the PLA Institute of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Research at the Fifth Medical Center (formerly the 307 Hospital) of the People's Liberation Army General Hospital in Beijing. [1] [2]

The Academy of Military Medical Sciences of the People's Liberation Army is a Chinese military medical research institute. It was established in Shanghai in 1951. It has been based in Beijing since 1958.

The 307th Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, commonly called the 307 Hospital, is a hospital in China. It is in Fengtai District, Beijing. The hospital combines medical treatment, research, and educational studies into a comprehensive hospital, which is one of the first designated medical institutions with medical insurance coverage in Beijing. 307 Hospital of PLA is appointed as the National Clinical Hospital of Disease Control.

Chen spent more than 30 years researching treatment for leukemia, with a focus on hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) therapy. He treated more than 40,000 patients and performed over 3,200 HSC transplants, improving the survival rate from nearly 0% at the beginning to 65%. [1] In 2015, his research on the treatment of radiation damage using adult stem cells won the State Science and Technology Progress Award (First Class). A year later, he won the Ho Leung Ho Lee Prize for Science and Technology Progress. [1] [2]

Leukemia group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow

Leukemia, also spelled leukaemia, is a group of blood cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal blood cells. These blood cells are not fully developed and are called blasts or leukemia cells. Symptoms may include bleeding and bruising, feeling tired, fever, and an increased risk of infections. These symptoms occur due to a lack of normal blood cells. Diagnosis is typically made by blood tests or bone marrow biopsy.

This article deals with radiation damage due to the effects of ionizing radiation on physical objects. Radiobiology is the study of the action of ionizing radiation on living things, including health effects of radiation in humans.

In 2017, Chen and his collaborator, Deng Hongkui of Peking University, used CRISPR gene editing to transplant human HSCs with the edited CCR5 gene to mice, and conferred HIV resistance to the animals. [4] They subsequently used the technique to treat an AIDS patient who suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It was the first time CRISPR was used on a human HIV patient. [5] [6] 19 months later, the patient's ALL was in complete remission. [5] Their research demonstrated the safety of CRISPR for humans, although the therapy was not effective for curing AIDS as only 5% to 8% of the patient's bone marrow cells carried the edited CCR5 gene, much lower than the ideal 100%. [7] Their research was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in September 2019, after Chen had died. [3]

Deng Hongkui is a Chinese immunologist and stem cell researcher. He is a Changjiang Professor, the Boya Chair Professor, and Director of the Institute of Stem Cell Research at Peking University. He was awarded US$1.9 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for his research on vaccines for HIV and hepatitis C. In 2017, he and Chen Hu engineered resistance to HIV in mice using CRISPR gene editing, and for the first time used the technique on an AIDS patient.

Peking University university in Beijing, China

Peking University is a major research university in Beijing, China, and a member of the elite C9 League of Chinese universities. The first modern national university established in China, it was founded during the late Qing Dynasty in 1898 as the Imperial University of Peking and was the successor of the Guozijian, or Imperial College. The university's English name retains the older transliteration of "Beijing" that has been superseded in most other contexts.

CRISPR gene editing Gene editing method

CRISPR gene editing is a method by which the genomes of living organisms may be edited. It is based on a simplified version of the bacterial CRISPR/Cas (CRISPR-Cas9) antiviral defense system. By delivering the Cas9 nuclease complexed with a synthetic guide RNA (gRNA) into a cell, the cell's genome can be cut at a desired location, allowing existing genes to be removed and/or new ones added. The Cas9-gRNA complex corresponds with the CAS III CRISPR-RNA complex in the accompanying diagram.

On 24 July 2019, Chen Hu died from a sudden heart attack in Beijing, aged 57. At the time of his death he was a candidate for election to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. [8]

Chinese Academy of Sciences academy of sciences

The Chinese Academy of Sciences, is a Chinese research institute. It has historical origins in the Academia Sinica during the Republican era and formerly also known by that name, is the national academy for the natural sciences of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Collectively known as the "Two Academies (两院)" along with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, it is an institution of China, functioning as the national scientific think tank and academic governing body, providing advisory and appraisal services on issues stemming from the national economy, social development, and science and technology progress. It is headquartered in Xicheng District, Beijing, with branch institutes all over mainland China. It has also created hundreds of commercial enterprises, Lenovo being one of the most famous.

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Gene therapy therapeutic approach that involves inserting nucleic acids into the patients cells

In the medicine field gene therapy is the therapeutic delivery of nucleic acid into a patient's cells as a drug to treat disease. The first attempt at modifying human DNA was performed in 1980 by Martin Cline, but the first successful nuclear gene transfer in humans, approved by the National Institutes of Health, was performed in May 1989. The first therapeutic use of gene transfer as well as the first direct insertion of human DNA into the nuclear genome was performed by French Anderson in a trial starting in September 1990.

Bone marrow is a semi-solid tissue which may be found within the spongy or cancellous portions of bones. In birds and mammals, bone marrow is the primary site of new blood cell production or hematopoiesis. It is composed of hematopoietic cells, marrow adipose tissue, and supportive stromal cells. In adult humans, bone marrow is primarily located in the ribs, vertebrae, sternum, and bones of the pelvis. On average, bone marrow constitutes 4% of the total body mass of humans; in an adult having 65 kilograms of mass, bone marrow typically accounts for approximately 2.6 kilograms (5.7 lb).

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation medical procedure to replace bone marrow stem cells

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the transplantation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells, usually derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood. It may be autologous, allogeneic or syngeneic.

CD135 protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Cluster of differentiation antigen 135 (CD135) also known as fms like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT-3), receptor-type tyrosine-protein kinase FLT3, or fetal liver kinase-2 (Flk2) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the FLT3 gene. FLT3 is a cytokine receptor which belongs to the receptor tyrosine kinase class III. CD135 is the receptor for the cytokine Flt3 ligand (FLT3L).

HOXA9 protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Homeobox protein Hox-A9 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the HOXA9 gene.

Gero Hütter is a German hematologist. Hütter and his medical team transplanted bone marrow deficient in a key HIV receptor to a leukemia patient, Timothy Ray Brown, who was also infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Subsequently, the patient's circulating HIV dropped to undetectable levels. The case was widely reported in the media, and Hütter was named one of the "Berliners of the year" for 2008 by the Berliner Morgenpost, a Berlin newspaper.

Timothy Ray Brown is an American considered to be the first person cured of HIV/AIDS. Brown was called "The Berlin Patient" at the 2008 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, where his cure was first announced, in order to preserve his anonymity, and because he lived in, and was treated in Berlin. He chose to come forward in late-2010. “I didn’t want to be the only person cured,” he said. “I wanted to do what I could to make [a cure] possible. My first step was releasing my name and image to the public.”

Genome editing type of genetic engineering

Genome editing, or genome engineering, or gene editing, is a type of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, deleted, modified or replaced in the genome of a living organism. Unlike early genetic engineering techniques that randomly inserts genetic material into a host genome, genome editing targets the insertions to site specific locations.

The Berlin patient is a phrase that has been used on two distinct and unrelated occasions. In the first case, it was used to describe an anonymous person from Berlin, Germany, who has exhibited prolonged "post-treatment control" of HIV viral load after HIV treatments were interrupted.

HIV/AIDS research HIV/AIDS research

HIV/AIDS research includes all medical research that attempts to prevent, treat, or cure HIV/AIDS, as well as fundamental research about the nature of HIV as an infectious agent and AIDS as the disease caused by HIV.

Haematopoietic system

The haematopoetic system is the system in the body involved in the creation of the cells of blood.

Margaret Goodell American scientist

Margaret (“Peggy”) A. Goodell is an American scientist working in the field of stem cell research. Dr. Goodell is Professor at Baylor College of Medicine and Director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (STaR) Center. She is best known for her discovery of a novel method to isolate adult stem cells.

Roland Mertelsmann German oncologist

Roland Mertelsmann is a German hematologist and oncologist. He was a professor at the Freiburg University Medical Center, Department of Internal Medicine I (Oncology/Hematology). Mertelsmann is known for his scientific works in the fields of hematology, oncology, gene therapy and stem cell transplantation.

Guo Mei is a hematologist and associate director of 307th Hospital of Chinese People’s Liberation Army and deputy director of Radiation Research Institute.

Human germline engineering is the process by which the genome of an individual is edited in such a way that the change is heritable. This is achieved through genetic alterations within the germ cells, or the reproductive cells, such as the egg and sperm. Human germline engineering should not be confused with gene therapy. Gene therapy consists of altering somatic cells, which are all cells in the body that are not involved in reproduction. While gene therapy does change the genome of the targeted cells, these cells are not within the germline, so the alterations are not heritable and cannot be passed on to the next generation.

Chen Saijuan, also known as Sai-Juan Chen, is a Chinese hematologist and molecular biologist with a research focus on leukemia cytogenetics. She is a professor and Director of the State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Director of the Shanghai Institute of Hematology, and Vice-Chairwoman of the Chinese Medical Association. She is an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and The World Academy of Sciences, and a foreign associate of the French Académie Nationale de Médecine and the Royal College of Physicians of the UK. She has made important discoveries in the pathogenesis of leukemia and developed therapies to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) and other types of leukemia.

The Lulu and Nana controversy revolves around twin Chinese girls born in October 2018, who have been given the pseudonyms Lulu and Nana. According to the researcher, He Jiankui, the twins are the world's first germline genetically edited babies. He Jiankui has reported that the girls were born healthy. The girls' parents were participants in a clinical project run by He, in which he offered standard in vitro fertilization services and in addition, used CRISPR-Cas9, a technology that can modify DNA, to modify the CCR5 gene in the embryos that were generated, to attempt to confer genetic resistance to the HIV virus. The clinical project was conducted secretly until November 2018.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "痛惜!全军造血干细胞研究所所长陈虎离世,仅57岁". Jiankang Shibao (Health Times). 2019-07-26. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  2. 1 2 3 Yue, Huairang (2019-07-26). "解放军总医院第五医学中心教授陈虎逝世,享年57岁". The Paper. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  3. 1 2 Xu, Lei; Wang, Jun; Liu, Yulin; Xie, Liangfu; Su, Bin; Mou, Danlei; Wang, Longteng; Liu, Tingting; Wang, Xiaobao (2019-09-11). "CRISPR-Edited Stem Cells in a Patient with HIV and Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia". New England Journal of Medicine. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1817426.
  4. Azvolinsky, Anna (2017-08-03). "Resistance to HIV Engineered Via CRISPR". The Scientist Magazine. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  5. 1 2 Julie Zaugg and Serenitie Wang (2019-09-13). "Chinese scientists use CRISPR tool on HIV patient for the first time". CNN. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  6. "CRISPR编辑干细胞治疗HIV和急性淋巴细胞白血病患者". Sciencenet. 2019-09-12. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  7. Begley, Sharon (2019-09-11). "In a CRISPR first, therapy aiming to cure HIV patient appears safe". STAT. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  8. Zhang Wenkang 张文康 (2019-07-28). "院士候选人陈虎去世!生前正研究基因编辑治疗艾滋病". Sina.