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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Growth Factor Boosts Cell Counts in AIDS Patients and Bone Marrow"

November 2, 1988
Granulocyte-macrohage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) can increase the number and in some cases boost the performance of white blood cells in patients with AIDS, say researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of California. GM-CSF, known as a hematopoietic ("blood cell-forming") hormone, temporarily increased the levels of circulating leucocytes, other white blood cells, and some sub-classes of leukocytes in patients with AIDS. Principal investigator David W. Golde, director of the UCLA General Clinical Research Center, says that even very small doses boost the number of circulating white cells. Another researcher, Jerome E. Groopman, added, "the white counts were regulated in a safe and dose-dependent fashion." Doctors hope that increasing leukocytes in AIDS patients, who have defects in their hematologic functions as well as immunological problems, will help them fight off opportunistic infections. Further studies may investigate whether GM-SCF can decrease the toxicity of AZT when the two drugs are used together.