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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Immune Boost Shows Promise Against AIDS
30 October 1996 8:00 pm
A new study has raised some hopes that the immune system can be fortified with one of its own chemical messengers to increase the effectiveness of drugs against the AIDS virus.
In a report in the 31 October New England Journal of Medicine, Joseph Kovacs, Clifford Lane, and colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases treated 60 HIV-infected people with either a combination of anti-HIV drugs or the drugs plus an immune system protein called interleukin-2, or IL-2. After 1 year, the 29 patients who received IL-2 had more than twice as many CD4s--white blood cells that HIV targets--as the controls.
"I'm very enthusiastic about this," says Jay Levy, a retrovirologist at the University of California, San Francisco. "We need more studies of this nature that aim to restore immune function and not just focus on the destruction of the virus."
In the Il-2 group, CD4 cell counts rose, on average, from 428 to 916 per cubic millimeter of blood. In the control group, meanwhile, CD4s dropped from an average of 406 to 349. (Healthy, uninfected people generally have a count greater than 600.) The findings verify similar results from a pilot study by the Kovacs and Lane group published last year in the same journal.
The researchers have yet to prove that the patients with increased CD4 counts are healthier. And this gives AIDS clinicians like Robert Schooley of the University of Colorado serious reason for pause. Although the data are "fascinating," Schooley says, he's concerned about the treatment's high costs and the heavy fatigue it tends to cause. Studies underway, however, are meant to answer the big question: whether the IL-2 regimen will lead to longer, healthier lives for HIV-infected people.