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CD4saurus Rex &HIVelociraptor vs. development of clinically useful immunological markers: a Jurassic tale of frozen evolution

Andrea De Maria123* and Andrea Cossarizza45

Author Affiliations

1 Centro di Eccellenza per la Ricerca Biomedica, Università di Genova, Genova, Italy

2 Dipartimento Scienze della Salute (DISSAL), Università di Genova, Italy

3 S.S. Infettivologia, Istituto Nazionale per la ricerca sul Cancro, Genova, Italy

4 Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

5 Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Universidad de Valencia, Valencia, Spain

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2011, 9:93  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-9-93

Published: 16 June 2011


One of the most neglected areas of everyday clinical practice for HIV physicians is unexpectedly represented by CD4 T cell counts when used as an aid to clinical decisions. All who care for HIV patients believe that CD4+ T cell counts are a reliable method to evaluate a patient immune status. There is however a fatalistic acceptance that besides its general usefulness, CD4+ T cell counts have relevant clincal and immunological limits. Shortcomings of CD4 counts appear in certain clinical scenarios including identification of immunological nonresponders, subsequent development of cancer on antiretroviral teatment, failure on tretment simplification. Historical and recently described parameters might be better suited to advise management of patients at certain times during their disease history. Immunogenotypic parameters and innate immune parameters that define progression as well as immune parameters associated with immune recovery are available and have not been introduced into validation processes in larger trials. The scientific and clinical community needs an effort in stimulating clinical evolution of immunological tests beyond "CD4saurus Rex" introducing new parameters in the clinical arena after appropriate validation

CD4+T cells; immune reconstitution; antiviral treatment; clinical trials