Enhanced expression of T-cell receptors in CD8 T cells increases HIV-1 binding 450-fold

Investigators at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Cardiff University, UK have engineered T-cells which are able to recognize HIV-1 strains that typically fall under the radar.  In the November 9, 2008 advanced online Nature Medicine publication of Control of HIV-1 immune espcape by CD8 T cells expressing enhanced T-cell receptor, researchers describe T cells that bonded more strongly and in a more aggressive manner so that fewer T cells were required to control HIV-1 infection.

It is hoped that clinical trials with the engineered T-cells will begin in 2009 to establish safety.  If laboratory results can be translated effectively in the clinic, a powerful “disguise detection” therapy may emerge which could treat early-stage HIV-1 infections. 

(Extracts from ScienceDaily, November 10, 2008 and Nature Medicine published online November 9, 2008; doi:10.1038/nm.1779)

Cryptococcus Cells Invade by Stealth via Vomocytosis

Cryptococcus, a lethal complication for many HIV AIDS victims, like HIV itself, bends the body’s defenses to its own diabolical purposes.  The fungus cells hide in macrophages, tour the body, and invade and replicate without destroying the host macrophage and triggering an immune reponse.   Read more about this research presented at the 2008 meeting of the Society for General Microbiology by researchers from the University of Birmingham.