-- Robert Preidt
SUNDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers who discovered
an immune system mechanism that seems to provide some people with a
natural defense against HIV say their finding could help efforts to
develop a vaccine for HIV/AIDS.
In most people, HIV infection without treatment almost always
progresses to AIDS. But about one in 300 HIV-infected people remain
AIDS-free without having to take medications. These people are
called "elite controllers."
After conducting experiments with laboratory animals, the
researchers concluded that elite controllers suppress HIV by
generating a powerful CD8+ T killer cell response against just two
or three small regions of the virus.
"By focusing on these selected regions, the immune response successfully controls the virus," David Watkins, a professor of pathology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
"Understanding this mechanism may shed light on how to develop an effective vaccine to eradicate the global HIV/AIDS crisis," he added.
Scientists, however, note that research with animals often fails
to provide similar results in humans.
The study was published Sept. 30 in the journal
The next step is to determine why these particular killer cells
are so effective, Watkins said.
Watkins and his colleagues recently received a $10 million grant
from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
to develop an HIV vaccine from the yellow fever vaccine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has
questions and answers about HIV/AIDS.
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