Wistar scientists find key to strengthening immune response to chronic infection


August 6, 2009

EurekAlert

PHILADELPHIA – (August 6, 2009) – A team of researchers from The Wistar Institute has identified a protein that could serve as a target for reprogramming immune system cells exhausted by exposure to chronic viral infection into more effective "soldiers" against certain viruses like HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B, as well as some cancers, such as melanoma.

Effective response by key immune cells in the body, called T cells, is crucial for control of many widespread chronic viral infections such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Virus-specific CD8 T cells, also known as "killer" T cells, often lose their ability to control viral replication and become less effective over time, a process known as T cell exhaustion. Understanding how optimal antiviral T cell responses are suppressed in these circumstances is crucial to developing strategies to prevent and treat such persisting infections... Read More