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Scientists
uncover way to regenerate T cells in monkeys

Scientists
uncover way to regenerate T cells in monkeys

Researchers say IL-15 in combination with anti-HIV drugs boosts T-cell levels.

Researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University report being able to promote T-cell regeneration in HIV-infected animals, a development they hope to be able to apply to HIV-positive humans whose T cells have been wiped out by HIV and subsequently develop AIDS-related opportunistic infections. Writing in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the OHSU researchers say they used a naturally occurring protein--interleukin-15--to stimulate the immune systems of monkeys infected with a simian version of HIV to produce large amounts of T cells. But the effects of IL-15 were limited only to monkeys also taking antiretroviral medications; those treated only with IL-15 did not post significant T-cell rebounds.

"What we now need to better understand is how populations of these crucial T cells are regulated," says lead study author Louis Picker in a press statement. "We're also hopeful that this research will lead to effective therapies for treating patients with HIV and boosting their immune systems, making them less susceptible" to HIV disease progression and AIDS-related complications.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. (The Advocate)

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