Tuesday, February 27, 2018
In one of Aesop’s classic fables, a clever wolf dons a sheep’s skin in order to move through the herd undetected. As it turns out, IRP researchers have discovered that in people with a specific set of immune system genes, the HIV virus uses a similar approach to hide from the body’s defenses.1
Nearly all cells in our bodies are coated with proteins called human leukocyte antigens (HLAs). These proteins allow the immune system to distinguish between healthy, native cells and those contaminated by unwelcome visitors like viruses or bacteria that must be destroyed. Each of the various HLA proteins is encoded by a different HLA gene and these genes vary considerably between individuals, causing different people to have different variants of each HLA protein.
“There are thousands of different forms of these HLA genes, and that variation allows us, as a species, to deal with virtually all infectious pathogens,” says IRP Senior Investigator Mary N. Carrington, Ph.D., the senior author of the new paper. “We’re really interested in the diversity of that part of the genome, since the risk of essentially every autoimmune disease, many cancers, and probably every infectious disease is associated with this set of genes.”
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
The surprising results of an animal study are raising hopes for a far simpler treatment regimen for people infected with the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Currently, HIV-infected individuals can live a near normal life span if, every day, they take a complex combination of drugs called antiretroviral therapy (ART). The bad news is if they stop ART, the small amounts of HIV that still lurk in their bodies can bounce back and infect key immune cells, called CD4 T cells, resulting in life-threatening suppression of their immune systems.
Monday, February 1, 2016
With plans to travel to Swaziland and volunteer with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) and a desire to address issues related to health disparities in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, I began navigating the unfamiliar terrain of life after college.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
This year, an estimated 50,000 Americans will learn they have been newly infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. A new generation of safe, effective, and longer-lasting treatments to keep HIV in check is very much needed.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
“When President Reagan came to NIH and visited our ward, Phil took him on rounds and was holding a baby who had HIV. He said, ‘Here, Mr. President, why don’t you hold him."
Friday, January 30, 2015
In June 1981, the NIH Clinical Center saw its first patient with AIDS. The story of how AIDS went from an unknown disease to one with a treatment is one of our most visited web sites, In Their Own Words.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Long recognized as essential to global health, vaccines protect individuals and populations from contagion and the reappearance of eradicated diseases. Vaccination against deadly diseases prevents two to three million deaths worldwide every year, and there are significant economic benefits as well. In the United States, every dollar spent on the routine childhood immunization program saves society more than $16 in future costs.