Year of selection 2010
Institution Hadassah University Hospitals
Today, more than thirty-four million people are infected with HIV worldwide. Despite major progress, antiretroviral therapies do little more than slow down the development of the disease. Dr. Ilana Blech’s research brings a fresh perspective on potential AIDS treatments. Supported by recent findings, she is exploring the role of patients’ destructive autoimmune response to their own CD4 T-cells. Essential to the immune system, these cells are depleted in AIDS. In fact, the autoimmune response Dr. Blech is investigating seems to destroy uninfected CD4 T-cells, thus accelerating the progression of the disease. The vaccine she is developing against this autoimmune response has already brought some improvement in the symptoms of volunteer AIDS patients. Devoid of undesirable side effects, this vaccine might soon prove an invaluable new ally in the AIDS-cure toolkit, in association with the usual antiretroviral therapies.
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