Expert Says No to IL-2
BY HIV Plus Editors
December 15 2009 1:00 AM ET
An international research team has demonstrated that treating HIV with interleukin-2 is ineffective, and as a result, they have recommended in an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine that clinical trials on this compound be stopped.
IL-2 is sometimes used as a complement to highly active antiretroviral therapy. Since HAART controls replication of viruses in the blood, doctors thought IL-2 would help regenerate more CD4 immune cells, which serve as an indicator of viral progression. It was thought that IL-2 increased the natural immunity of patients by helping immune cells mature and multiply.
"Our results show that IL-2 has no effect on the development of AIDS or on patient survival," says Jean-Pierre Routy of McGill University. "More precisely, while the presence of IL-2 leads to a faster increase of CD4 cells, these cells are less functional than the CD4 cells that regenerate naturally in patients who do not receive IL-2. This means IL-2 treatment provides no benefit and does not prevent AIDS-related infectious diseases."