Fighting Cytomegalovirus

Age-related degeneration is sped along by the failing of the immune system, due in part to the cellular troops all facing the wrong way - geared up to fight cytomegalovirus (CMV) to the exclusion of all other tasks. Here, EurekAlert! reports on progress in eliminating CMV: scientists identified "the critical molecular targets controlling virus persistence, and two ways in which we can modulate immunity in vivo with the desired result of blocking virus spread to uninfected individuals. The potential excitement in the findings is that we may be able to one day use this kind of treatment in humans to block or significantly reduce the spread of cytomegalovirus and other chronic virus infections ... IL-10 is a messenger molecule which suppresses the protective T cell response that would normally attack the cytomegalovirus. By blocking the ability of the IL-10 molecule to bind to its receptor, then you allow these T cells to do their job and reduce or eliminate this virus. ... It significantly reduced the virus load in all the animals and in 50 percent of them it completely eliminated it." Sadly, this would only prevent ongoing damage if made to work in humans - it won't restore a CMV-focused immune system from its dysfunctional state. Other potential strategies are on the table for that task, however.


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