August 23, 2012
Mice with human immune systems could speed up the search for an AIDS vaccine.
BOB HIRSHON (host):
Of mice and medicine…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Mice can tell us a great deal about disease. But they’ve been of limited use in AIDS research because only humans get HIV. Now, researchers have transplanted human bone marrow into mice that lack a functioning immune system. The mice then developed a human immune system, according to Ragon Institute immunologist Todd Allen. He and his colleagues then studied the mice after they were exposed to HIV.
TODD ALLEN (Ragon Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital):
When we looked at the immune responses in these mice, they were mounting the exact same immune responses that a person infected with HIV would be expected to mount.
Allen says studying HIV in these humanized mice could reduce the time it takes to test promising therapies, and speed up vaccine development.
We have the ability to more rapidly test vaccines, in part because these studies can be done more quickly, but they can also be done far less expensively.
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS the science society.