AIDS-Damaged Immune Systems and Aging Immune Systems

As I've noted in the past, it seems a number of strategies under development to repair or offset damage done by AIDS to the immune system may also - at some point in the future - be usefully applied to declines in the aging immune system. At least some of the underlying damage is similar in both cases. A recent release from Geron has this to say:

The new studies demonstrate that our orally available telomerase activator drug broadly reactivates anti-HIV immunity in AIDS patients' lymphocytes. The lymphocytes are the primary mechanism for containing HIV infection early in the course of the disease. Over time, telomere loss in these cells results in the gradual decline of their anti-HIV function, leading to clinical disease progression. Our hope is to use TAT0002 to prevent this immune decline and thereby prevent HIV progression.

Telomeres shorten with age; AIDS research would suggest that this shortening is occuring due to overuse. If your immune system is constantly set on high, the level of wear and tear leads this portion of your biochemistry to look and act like that of someone many decades your senior. If you can fix the first case, why not try the same methodologies for the second?

The more is known of human biochemistry, the more we'll see overlapping science between various fields. Research into manipulating telomeres to treat specific age-related conditions is increasingly active, for example.

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