a thought

Erik Robert Wilson erwg0233 at uxa.cso.uiuc.edu
Sun Jul 17 11:28:41 EST 1994


>I don't know if this is the right group to post this in, but I had a
>thought about combatting HIV.  I'm not a professional, so maybe one
>could answer my question.  Has anyone seriously tried to bolster the
>strength of our T-cells, by mutation or something, to let it be able
>to fight of HIV like it does many other viruses instead of concentrating
>on directly attacking the virus?  It seems to me that since the T-cell
>already can fight off diseases and viruses, either a new version of it
>or a different manmade cell based on it could be able to beat HIV itself
>This just occurred to me this morning and I was curious if anyone had
>tried this line of attack or if it plain didn't make sense.  thanks for
>any input anyone has.

This is a good thought - essentially to enhance the bodies own immune
response.  The difficulty with the idea (as stated) is that one would
have to remove T-cells from EACH individual patient, enhance them in
some fashion (which would also be difficult) and then return them to
the original patient.  The enhanced T-cells could not be given to another
patient as they would either be destroyed by the patients own immune
system (as they are "foreign") or, if the patients own immune system
were sufficiently weakened, the transplanted T-cells would attack the
patients body ("graft versus host disease").  The creation of "different
manmade cells to fight HIV" is *far* beyond our current abilities.  
Therefore this procedure would be so difficult and expensive and time
consuming that it would be impossible to do on a large scale.  Fortunately
there are quite a number of promising lines of research that rely on the
idea of giving the patient some sort of general factor that would enhance
the patients immune response (against HIV or other diseases) "in vivo",
thus the same treatment could be given to large numbers of patients.
One such idea that has gotten considerable attention recently is the 
idea of a vaccine that enhances "cellular immunity" (T-cell response that
is more effective against a viral infection) as opposed to normal vaccines
which promote "humoral immunity" (B-cell response that creates antibodies
and is more effective against bacterial infection).
|    \   o IO             | "If we do not find     | Erik Wilson              |
|-----|      o GANYMEDE   |anything pleasant, at   | University of Illinois   |
|   O |    o EUROPA       |least we will find      | (217) 359-7547           |
|----/         o CALLISTO |something new" -Voltaire| erikred at uiuc.edu         |

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