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Chronic Illnesses become chronic because the bodies T cells become exhausted and cannot effectively expel the virus from the body. Research into the mechanisms for T cell exhaustion have shown that the PD-1 (programmed death) protein is upregulated in exhausted T cells. Other research has shown that the PD-1 protein has two ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2. By inhibiting binding of PD-1 to PDL-1, researchers have been able to restore function to these T cells and have been able to allow mice infected with chronic illnesses to expel the virus and to be restored to health. We would like to research this with respect to other diseases and/or to look at ways to better inhibit PD-1 to PDL-1 binding.


References:

Cherfas, Jermery. “A Therapeutic Tonic for Helpless, Exhausted Killers.” www.sciencewatch.com.

Barber, Daniel et al. “Restoring function in exhausted CD8 T cells during chronic viral infection.” Nature 9 February 2006. Vol 439 p 682-687

Kozako, T et al. "PD-1/PD-L1 expression in human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 carriers and adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma patients." Nature 2 October 2008.

Kroner A et al. "The co-inhibitory molecule PD-1 modulates disease severity in a model for an inherited, demyelinating neuropathy." Neurobio Dis. 15 October 2008.

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