Feed a cold, starve a fever? Not so fast, according to Salk research
The last time you had a stomach bug, you probably didn’t feel much like eating. This loss of appetite is part of your body’s normal response to an illness but is not well understood. Sometimes eating less during illness promotes a faster recovery, but other times—such as when cancer patients experience wasting—the loss of appetite can be deadly. Read More »
Curb Your Immune Enthusiasm
Normally when we think of viruses, from the common cold to HIV, we want to boost people’s immunity to fight them. But for scientists who develop therapeutic viruses (to, for example, target cancer cells or correct gene deficiencies) a more important question is: How do we keep people’s natural immune responses at bay? In these cases, an overenthusiastic immune response actually undermines the therapy. Read More »
Immune system-in-a-dish offers hope for “bubble boy” disease
For infants with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), something as simple as a common cold or ear infection can be fatal. Born with an incomplete immune system, kids who have SCID–also known as “bubble boy” or “bubble baby” disease–can’t fight off even the mildest of germs. They often have to live in sterile, isolated environments to avoid infections and, even then, most patients don’t live past a year or two. This happens because stem cells in SCID patients’ bone marrow have a genetic mutation that prevents them from developing critical immune cells, called T and Natural Killer (NK) cells.
Now, Salk researchers have found a way to, for the first time, convert cells from SCID patients to a stem cell-like state, fix the genetic mutation and prompt the corrected cells to successfully generate NK cells in the laboratory. Read more »
Protein Discovery May Unlock New HIV Treatment
Like a slumbering dragon, HIV can lay dormant in a person’s cells for years, evading medical treatments only to wake up and strike at a later time, quickly replicating itself and destroying the immune system.
Scientists at the Salk Institute have uncovered a new protein that participates in active HIV replication, as detailed in the latest issue of Genes & Development. The new protein, called Ssu72, is part of a switch used to awaken HIV-1 (the most common type of HIV) from its slumber. Read more »