Immune System Chemical May be Used to Increase T Cell Production
A chemical called interleukin-7 stimulates the production of T cells, the immune cells destroyed by HIV, a team of scientists from the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology have found. BBC News reports that researchers at the California institute found that IL-7 levels began to rise after HIV had begun to kill T cells. Cells within the lymph nodes appear to be able to detect lowering T cell levels and respond by increasing IL-7 production. Researchers hope to increase T cell counts by "boosting their IL-7 levels artificially." This potential treatment holds promise not only for HIV patients but for other people with weakened or destroyed immune systems. But researchers warn that artificially increasing IL-7 levels may also increase HIV replication (BBC News, 1/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.