As per a study published on March 23 in Nature Medicine, Yale-led team has identified a promising new combination immunotherapy to enhance the body’s ability to fight chronic viral infections and possibly cancer.

Viruses that cause chronic infection, such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C, are able to persist in the body despite attack from T cells, the body’s main line of defense against pathogens. They persist because, over time, our T cells weaken to the point of ‘T-cell exhaustion.’ To circumvent this process, the research team—led by Susan Kaech, associate professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine—investigated two pathways that cause T cell suppression.

The first pathway is triggered by prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a lipid known to suppress the immune system’s response to tumors. To explore the relationship between PGE2 and T cells, the research team studied mice with viral infections and observed that PGE2 levels increased, particularly during chronic infection. The enhanced PGE2 reduced both the number of T cells that attack the infected cells and their anti-viral functions.

One important implication of the study is the potential use of NSAIDs as adjunct therapy to treat patients with chronic infections and cancer.

Armed with a PhD in Alternative Medicine, a graduate degree in Biotechnology, an MSc, and an MBA in Clinical Research and Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Jonathan is a certified practitioner of Alternative Medicine and is actively involved in patient education initiatives. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Outsmart Diabetes. Dr Jonathan loves to share his passion for herbs and other alternative medicinal practices with others through his writing.