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The End for IL-2?

The End for IL-2?


For much of the AIDS epidemic, clinicians have prescribed injections of interleukin-2 (a compound that boosts immune system cellular production) to HIVers with persistently low CD4-cell levels. But studies on the treatment have been unclear about whether it truly is beneficial. Until now. Data from two large-scale international clinical trials presented at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections have shown that while IL-2 taken in addition to standard antiretroviral therapy does raise CD4-cell levels more than anti-HIV drugs alone, the increases do not convey any clinical benefit, such as reduced risks for HIV-related infections. Worse yet, the hard-to-tolerate IL-2 injections doubled chances for severe side effects during the first year of treatment. 'A potential clinical benefit of IL-2, even moderate, can be definitely ruled out,' concludes researcher Yves Levy, MD, Ph.D., who headed one of the clinical trials.

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