HIV: “Functional vs. Immunological” Cure

A seminal article in the HIV field was published recently in PLoS Pathogens: March 2013:vol 9, issue 3, e1003211, doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003211. Investigators working with the hypothesis that the earlier an HIV infection is treated the better, reported that 14 individuals who received antiretroviral therapy within 1.1-2.1 months after infection, and continued for a median of 3 […]

Our Not-for-Profit Hospitals’ Profits

The March 4, 2013 issue of Time magazine has a superb and shocking article focused on the reasons for the accelerating health care costs in our country:,9171,2136864,00.html   The article points out that health care costs now comprise 20% of our Gross Domestic Product. To account for this huge expenditure, writer Steven Brill […]

IL-2 for GvHD: How can IL-2 both promote and suppress immune responses??

Recently, a friend of mine alerted me to an article that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Interleukin-2 and regulatory T cells in graft-versus-host disease” (vol. 365:2055, 2012). This report details the experience of the use of daily subcutaneous low dose IL-2 (0.3-3 x 106 IU/m2),compared with high dose IL-2 therapy used […]

A Leukemia Breakthrough? Really? Are “engineered” TCRs the hope?

The New York Times recently reported on a “Breakthrough in the leukemia battle”. A scientific team led by Carl June at the University of Pennsylvania has been trying to “engineer” T lymphocytes (T cells), one of the two major classes of lymphocytes, that normally function to recognize and respond to invasion by foreign microbes, so […]

An “Immunological Cure” of HIV Infection?

The New York Times announced recently that an infant born to an HIV+ mother treated with antivirals within 30 hours after birth is “cured” of HIV infection. The baby was found to be HIV+ just after birth and was treated with a 3-drug combination for 18 months, after which the mother discontinued the drugs. When […]

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome)

Yesterday, I was contacted by an old friend who had a very sick patient with TEN or S-J Syndrome. I have been meaning to write about a new finding in this regard that was published in June ( McClusky et al. Nature 486:554, ’12; Reinherz Nature 486: 479, ’12-Commentary). The McClusky group from Australia showed […]

The HIV/AIDS Dilemma

I am often asked why HIV/AIDS is such a problem and why there isn’t a vaccine or even a cure in sight after 30+ years of the epidemic. The simple answer regarding a preventative vaccine is that although it is fairly simple to generate a vaccine using the wonders of modern genetic engineering, it is […]

Doctor “Burnout”

The NYTs had a very timely article on Thursday about this issue, which is destined to get worse rather than better as the Affordable Care Act is instituted. See: “The Widespread Problem of Doctor Burnout” by Pauline Chen, August 23,2012, NYT. The only thing that I can add to this comprehensive analysis of the problem […]

“The Emperor of All Maladies”

I recently read this new book, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, which came out in 2010 amid acclaims from just about everyone that it was the best book of the year, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The book is subtitled as “a biography of cancer”, but I found it to be rather a biography of […]