Medicine: Beefing Up The Defenses

Victims of AIDS must not only combat the virus that causes the disease but must also fend off potentially fatal infections that overrun their weakened immune systems. A team of researchers in Boston and Los Angeles, led by Hematologist Jerome Groopman of New England Deaconess Hospital, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine last week that a genetically engineered version of a naturally occurring hormone partially restored depressed immune systems in 16 AIDS patients.

Known as granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, the drug boosted the victims' count of white blood cells, the body's primary defense against infection, after just ten days of...

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