NEW YORK — An experimental drug that stimulates the immune system may someday help doctors treat chronic infections and some kinds of cancer, a study suggests.
In mice, the drug reduced virus levels in an experimental infection and cut the growth of implanted tumors.
In people, the drug might prove useful for chronic infections such as hepatitis B and the AIDS virus, and cancers where the immune system may limit tumor growth, such as melanoma, said researcher John Rhodes.
One advantage of the experimental drug, called tucaresol, is that it can be taken by mouth rather than injected, said Rhodes, of Wellcome Research Laboratories in Beckenham, Kent, England.
The drug stimulates immune system cells called T cells, which are key players in the body's response to infection. The mouse results are presented in the Sept. 7 issue of the journal Nature.