The immune tricks that keep HIV in check in long term non-progressors (LTNPs) -- people who carry the virus but don't get AIDS -- have been a mystery for decades. It turns out that T cells in LTNPs destroy the virus by punching holes in infected cells and injecting a strong dose of apoptotic proteins, according to a study to be published in the December 19th issue of Immunity. "This study brings us closer to a potential vaccine or cure for AIDS," linkurl:Guido Silvestri;http://www.med.upenn.edu/camb/faculty/gt/silvestri.html of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, told The Scientist in an email. The researchers, led by linkurl:Mark Connors;http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/labs/aboutlabs/lir/HIVSpecificImmunit/ at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, began with a finding their group reported back in 2002: LNTPs have 20 times more CD8+ T cells than progressors. To examine what that CD8+ cell surplus is doing...
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