June #145 : CD4 Recipe - by David Evans

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Table of Contents

Sergeant Ozzy Ramos Comes Home

A Tale of Two Cities

Bones: An Owner’s Guide

CD4 Recipe

Hey, Babies

Starting to Gel

Yes, yes, nano

The Truth About Cats

Gut Check

Hep to Weed

Slam Dunk

Prezista Press

Deep Breath

Lives on the Line

Spot Check

Separated at Birth

Hipper Hop

Flesh for Fantasy

Mixed Doubles

Hall Monitor

Moral Minority

From Roger With Love

Red Ribbons and Checkered Flags

Sunday School AIDS

Mayors Get Testy

POZ/NEG-June 2008

Oh, Brother

The Insiders

Editor's Letter-June 2008

Mailbox-June 2008

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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June 2008

CD4 Recipe

by David Evans

Ever wonder how CD4 cells learn their job? Produced in the bone marrow, they travel to the thymus, a gland in your upper chest, where they’re taught to fight infections. It all happens during youth, when our bodies are growing. As we age, the thymus shrinks and fills up with fat; by the time we’re at the end of puberty, the gland has essentially retired. Prevailing wisdom says that once that happens there’s no turning back. While this isn’t a problem for most adults who have enough primed immune cells to last a lifetime, HIV-positive people sometimes need new thymus-taught CD4s to ward off infections.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) believe in the potential for thymic revival. They found that the drug Serostim (recombinant human growth hormone) can purge the fat from a nearly dead thymus, allowing it to produce new CD4 cells in people with HIV.

When the UCSF researchers, led by Laura Napolitano, MD, gave the drug to positive people for a year, thymic fat decreased and the quality and quantity of CD4s greatly increased. Moreover, the CD4s kept rising for three months after people stopped taking the drug. Serostim isn’t perfect—it’s expensive, has side effects like diabetes, and may have to be taken indefinitely to keep the thymus active—and Napolitano cautions that more research is needed to prove its immune-boosting potential. Still, her research is rejuvenating news for people with weakened immune systems.     

Search: CD4 cells, bone marrow, immune system

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