Suzanne T. Ildstad recently reported that Jeff Getty, the AIDS patient who received the baboon bone-marrow transplant, showed improvements both in his clinical condition and laboratory results (T-cell count and reduction in viral count), in spite of the fact that the transplanted marrow had failed to engraft (S. Benowitz, The Scientist, March 4, 1996, page 3). In the article, Ildstad said: "We don't know the mechanisms for that-that's the nature of a clinical research trial; to open up new questions that open up other strategies." Based on previous literature and our own observations, the following mechanisms could at least partly be responsible for the observed improvements.

  1. Several studies report that in most AIDS patients there is a deficit in interleukin (IL)-12 production (J. Chehimi et al., Journal of Experimental Medicine, 179:1361-6, 1994; M. Clerici et al., Science, 262:1721-4, 1993).

  2. IL-12 plays a vital role in the...

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