A close-up of six Emory discoveries. Click images for more.
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Giving a Boost to "Exhausted" Immune Cells Could Fend Off Chronic Viruses

With a name as menacing as its reputation, the programmed death-1 (PD-1) molecule is known to hinder the immune response to chronic infections like HIV. By blocking this pesky immune receptor, scientists have been able to safely and significantly reduce the viral load of SIV (a primate cousin of HIV) and prolong survival in rhesus macaque monkeys. The strategy works by boosting killer T cells and improving antibody response to the virus. Emory scientists identified PD-1 several years ago and believe it is a key to fighting many chronic infections, including HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis. They plan to combine their blocking therapy with antiviral drugs for a more powerful defense. Full story >