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September 25, 1991

Immune Boosters Disappoint AIDS Researchers

JAMA. 1991;266(12):1613-1614. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470120015006

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TRYING TO REBUILD the immune system with drug therapy has been one of the more disappointing areas of research into treatment of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Trials "have either shown no evidence of immune reconstitution with laboratory parameters, or differences in clinical end points we are hard pressed to explain," says Robert T. Schooley, MD, professor of medicine and chief of infectious diseases, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, and chair of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases AIDS Clinical Trials Group immune-based therapies study group.

Whether small improvements in immune parameters that are seen with some agents are clinically relevant is hard to tell, adds Schooley. "We know a lot about human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] immune-specific responses, but we don't know enough about what aspects of that response are protective yet. We're a long way away from having enough sophistication about what we're measuring to do