"Now we know what directs the body's killer T cells
to an area of infection, increasing the expression of this homing molecule will, in theory, increase the number of killer T cells
at the site of infection and boost the killing of the virus."
Meanwhile, the interleukin-2 induced rapid proliferation of the killer T cells
. In the monkeys that were given the new vaccine, a very high percentage--between 18 and 40 percent--of all circulating killer T cells
were specifically programmed to lock onto the AIDS viral protein, Letvin says.
Without this assistance, the killer T cells
can't do their job.
Those peptides would spur killer T cells
to recognize not just one, but several targets on the malignant cancer cell, she adds.
The treatment consists of taking uninfected killer T cells
from the blood of healthy people who have been exposed to a particular virus and inserting those cells into a sick person infected with the same virus.
They found that killer T cells
also interact with another white blood cell type called macrophages --which ingest HIV and, like lymphocytes, play a role in cell-mediated immunity.