Chinese scientists have defined a subset of a type of virus-specific cells that play a vital role in the control of viral replication in chronic viral infection, possibly paving the way for new ways to treat chronic diseases like HIV/AIDS and cancer.
According to research published online by Nature magazine last Wednesday, virus-specific cells, CD8 +T, appear to deplete during chronic viral infection.
However, according to the research findings, the cells are able to control viral replication in both animal models and HIV infection.
Researchers found a unique subset that offer higher anti-viral potential than previously known, thus, showing greater therapeutic potential.
The research also identified an important regulator for the generation of this subset.
The research was led by the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, with a number of partner institutions. It began in early 2013 with government financial support.
“Through certain means, to increase and stabilize the type of cells can strengthen their virus-purging ability, thus, providing new possibilities for cures,” said Ye Lilin, co-author of the paper and professor at the university.
Current therapies can only contain the viral replication, but cannot purge them completely in chronic diseases like HIV.
Chinese researchers will now use the findings to conduct further research into immunotherapy in cancer and HIV treatment, according to Ye.