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LIAI scientists make important finding on cytomegalovirus transmission

SAN DIEGO (May 10, 2007) -- Researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology have shown that cytomegalovirus (CMV) in the salivary glands can be reduced and in some cases eliminated through the use of antibodies to enhance the disease-fighting power of the immune system. The research teams findings, based on controlled laboratory studies of mice, may also have implications for other chronic virus infections, such as hepatitis and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The teams findings were published online this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine in a paper entitled, "Cytomegalovirus exploits IL-10-mediated immune regulation in the salivary glands." LIAI scientists Ian Humphreys, Ph.D., Carl Ware, Ph.D., and Michael Croft, Ph.D. led the study. CMV is a virus that affects the majority of the worlds population, but produces little or no symptoms in healthy individuals. However, it can cause multi-organ disease in newborns or persons who are immuno-compromised such as organ transplant recipients or AIDS patients.

Ware said, "The main importance of these experiments is identifying 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." Ware noted that the salivary glands are a primary source of transmission for many viruses due to sneezing, coughing and kissing. Eliminating the virus at this critical juncture may significantly reduce CMVs spread, he said.

In the study, Croft said the research team used an antibody to block the action of the IL-10 protein in the salivary glands of mice by inhibiting binding of IL-10 to its receptor. "IL-10 is a messeng
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Contact: Bonnie Ward
contact@liai.org
619-303-3160
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
10-May-2007


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