Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Quality not quantity important for immune response to HIV

18.12.2006
When it comes to an immune response against HIV, research funded by the Wellcome Trust in the UK and the National Institutes of Health in the US has found that bigger is not necessarily better, contrary to conventional medical wisdom. The research may have a profound impact on the development of a vaccine against the disease.

"Conventional medical wisdom tells us that the bigger the immune response, the more effective it will be in controlling HIV," says Professor Philip Goulder, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Science at the University of Oxford. "However, our study suggests that this might not be the case. While most of the immune responses generated against HIV appear to be ineffective, responses targeting one particular HIV protein can bring about control of the virus."

About 40 million people are thought to be living with HIV worldwide. The virus, which causes AIDS, is thought to kill 3 million people each year. Despite being first identified in 1981, a vaccine to prevent infection has so far proved elusive.

When HIV infects the body, it hides out in so-called "helper T-cells". T cells play an important role in the immune response generated by the body to fight infection. There are a number of different types of T cells, each playing a different role in this battle. Helper T-cells (HTCs) regulate the body's immune response and it is the loss of these cells that leads to the development of AIDS.

... more about:
»CTC »Goulder »HIV »immune

Another type of T cell, the cytotoxic T cell (CTC), recognises and attacks infected HTCs. It was previously thought that the bigger the CTC response, the more effective it would be. It is this dogma that has influenced development of HIV vaccines, with the vaccines attempting to stimulate a large response.

However, Professor Goulder and colleagues found that the type of CTC response is crucial and that some types of response may have a negative effect and could actually hinder the immune response. The research, a population-based study involving investigators at the University of Oxford in the UK, Partners AIDS Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, investigated the immune responses against HIV in nearly 580 HIV-infected people in KwaZulu-Natal. It is published online today in the journal Nature Medicine.

"Some of the CTCs attack so-called 'Gag' proteins within the HIV virus, whilst others attack proteins such as the 'Env' protein on its surface," explains Professor Goulder. "In our study group, it seems that the higher the response to the Gag proteins, the more effective the immune system was at fighting infection. However, for reasons that are unclear, the opposite was true for responses to the Env proteins, where a stronger response was associated with a higher viral load – in other words, worse control of HIV."

Professor Goulder believes these findings may have implications for the development of a HIV vaccine.

"There seems to be clear evidence that 'Gag is good'," says Professor Goulder. "This means that rather than developing a vaccine with a spectrum of CTC responses, we may need to look at a more targeted vaccine."

Craig Brierley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk

Further reports about: CTC Goulder HIV immune

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells
12.12.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Smelling the forest – not the trees
12.12.2018 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

CCNY-Yale researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>