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Activated T-Cells Could Help In The Battle Against HIV

Researchers have explained that on altering the immune cells and incorporating it into the vaccine they could develop a therapeutic treatment for AIDS. //

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have claimed that they are of the belief that if patients with HIV, subject their immune system cells through a laboratory version of boot camp, it could help in their fight against the disease. Announcing their findings at the AIDS 2006 conference in Toronto, yesterday they explained that this would be in core concept for developing a novel therapeutic vaccine that would be loaded with a patient's own souped up dendritic cells, which have been galvanized in gathering other cells of the immune system for fighting the virus, which is unique to that individual.

At the XVI International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2006), University of Pittsburgh researchers will describe one of the steps that is key to the approach's success – modifying the dendritic cells in such a way that they will get the attention of killer T cells. Results of these studies will be incorporated into the protocol for a clinical trial of the vaccine, which is expected to begin later this year.

“The goal of the approach is to teach killer T cells to more efficiently find, detect and destroy HIV infected cells. Our vaccine, as an immunotherapy, is custom-designed to target the unique virus that has evolved in each individual being treated. A patient's own dendritic cells together with their unique viral antigens comprise the main elements of the vaccine,” said Charles R. Rinaldo, Jr., Ph.D., professor and chairman of the department of infectious diseases and microbiology at Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) and the study's senior author.

In particular, the approach aims to activate a type of T cell called a CD8, or cytotoxic, T cell, also known as a killer T cell. In a typical immune response, CD8 cells are called to action by dendritic cells. Person
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