Norman L. Letvin, MD
Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Chief, Viral Pathogenesis, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
DF/HCC Program AffiliationCancer Immunology
Dr. Letvin uses nonhuman primates for studying the immune response to AIDS virus infections. Dr. Letvin and his co-workers have defined an AIDS-like disease of monkeys, demonstrated that it is induced by the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a close relative of the human AIDS virus, and have used this disease process as an animal model for the study of AIDS. They are also using it as a model for exploring vaccination strategies for protection against infection with the AIDS virus. In particular, they are assessing the use of plasmid DNA, live vector systems and peptide formulations to elicit AIDS virus-specific CTL. Dr. Letvin is also utilizing the SIV-induced disease of monkeys as a model for studying how cells of the immune system contain the spread of the AIDS virus in the infected individual. These studies have demonstrated the crucial role played by the CD8+ lymphocyte in controlling AIDS virus replication. Finally, he has utilized this disease in monkeys as a model system for examining novel therapeutic approaches to the treatment of AIDS.
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