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Yves Konigshofer BG6S000 at MUSICB.MCGILL.CA
Sat Jan 13 17:50:59 EST 1996

In article <4cpg7p$7lr at cloner2.ix.netcom.com> Cohl+Santoni <ncrf at ix.netcom.com> writes:
>A vaccine can be made from a person's own cells. Such vaccines have been the object of much cancer
>research. Has there been any research into using such vaccines to fight HIV? I have not been able
>to find any references.
>One such approach would be to remove a sample of immune cells from a patient. Expose them to HIV
>or proteins thereof. Then reintroduce them to the patient, sensitizing the immune system to the
>virus. This approach seems simple. Why is it not being investigated?
>I suppose the cost of doing this on a large scale might be prohibitive. But if the idea could
>work, why not investigate it now, and work to bring the cost down later?
>It is possible that I am overlooking something basic. If so, please enlighten me.
>Comments are eagerly awaited.
>R. Santoni
>ncrf at ix.netcom.com

Well, the problem with most retroviruses is that they have a very
mutable genome and thus highly mutable surface proteins.  Therefore,
introducing a large amount of antibodies (or lymphocytes) selected
to react against one HIV surface protein may no longer work a week
later.  When reverse transcriptase copies the HIV genome, it
introduces about one mutation per progeny virus.  Some of these
mutants are nonviable while others may now have different epitopes
in their surface proteins.  Overall, the immune system can fight
retroviruses for a long time.  The problem with HIV is that it fights
back by targeting the same cells designed to kill it.

Personally, I do not think that conventional vaccines and treatments
can work against HIV because of its nature.  The use of combination
drugs seems promising since it takes more time for mutants to emerge
that are resistant to two drugs that work in different (or the same)
areas.  Unfortunately, the possibility for emergance of new mutants
is always there.  Perhaps the best way of combating such a virus is to
remove all those that manage to infect the cells of the immune system
and letting the immune system remove the rest.

>/ves /<onigshofer
Just another student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology
at the University of McGill... waaay the h*ll up there in Canada

bg6s at musicb.mcgill.ca (I did not choose that name)
If you use IRC, look for Yves_K
other e-mail addresses will appear later this summer/fall

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