Immune system's HIV troubles discovered

Aug 22, 2006

Scientists at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital say they have discovered why the immune system cannot fight the HIV virus.

Bruce Walker, head of the Boston team, said the body's virus-attacking T-cells are turned off by certain diseases including human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, CBS News reported Tuesday.

"One hypothesis has been that they become inactivated. One hypothesis is that that they became destroyed," Walker said. "What this study shows us is actually that those cells are there, that they fully function; it's just that they have been turned off."

He said HIV activates a molecular switch in the cells that turns them off, but he and his team were able to reactive the cells in a laboratory setting. He said the process might someday help fight HIV, cancer and Hepatitis C.

"We really don't know what happens when we try this with humans," Walker says. "But it opens a new pathway for us to pursue. But we really need to proceed with caution."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: New Canadian guideline to help prevent and manage adult obesity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Theory Explains Why Some With HIV Survive Longer

May 11, 2010

A group of researchers in Boston announced a new theory this week that may help to explain a longstanding mystery in AIDS research: why some people with HIV survive for decades without ever developing AIDS.

New insights into the mystery of natural HIV immunity

May 05, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- When people become infected by HIV, it's usually only a matter of time, barring drug intervention, until they develop full-blown AIDS. However, a small number of people exposed to the virus ...

Recommended for you

Using stem cells to grow new hair

35 minutes ago

In a new study from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), researchers have used human pluripotent stem cells to generate new hair. The study represents the first step toward the development ...

Researchers gain new insights into hypothyroidism

39 minutes ago

An international research team led by physician-scientists at Rush University Medical Center has gained new insights into hypothyroidism - a condition affecting about 10 million people in the U.S. - that may lead to new treatment ...

Study finds traumatic brain injury treatment is ineffective

40 minutes ago

More than 1.7 million people in the U.S. alone suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year, often resulting in permanent disabilities or death. Up to half of these patients will experience progression of bleeding inside ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.