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Undereducated immune cells get aggressive with HIV

Scientists uncover a mechanism that may explain some resistance to the AIDS virus

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3:35pm, May 5, 2010

A new study suggests that a lack of education allows some people who have been infected with HIV to keep the virus in check.

Not education in the traditional sense; this inadequate schooling takes place in the thymus, where immune cells are taught to distinguish friendly cells from invaders.

People with one version of a protein called HLA-B*5701 have immune cells that never fully learn this task. A new study published online May 5 in Nature shows how these uneducated cells help keep HIV down. The discovery may one day be helpful in designing vaccines against HIV and other viruses.

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