Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University may have found a novel way to bolster the body’s defenses against HIV. Cytotoxic T cells, which destroy cells infected with HIV, are highly selective in the viral peptides they attach to. Louis Picker, MD, and colleagues sought to develop a vaccine to increase the number of viral peptides that T cells would recognize.
The researchers found that the common cytomegalovirus (CMV) may be key. Their animal studies in the primate model of HIV, called SIV, found that a modified CMV generates three times as many SIV peptides as T cells generated by conventional vaccines and SIV itself. The finding were published in the May 24, 2013, edition of Science.