Antibodies that help to stop the HIV virus have been found in breast milk. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center isolated the antibodies from immune cells called B cells in the breast milk of infected mothers in Malawi, and showed that the B cells in breast milk can generate neutralizing antibodies that may inhibit the virus that causes AIDS.

HIV-1 can be transmitted from mother to child via breastfeeding, posing a challenge for safe infant feeding practices in areas of high HIV-1 prevalence. But only one in 10 HIV-infected nursing mothers is known to pass the virus to their infants.

That is remarkable, because nursing children are exposed multiple times each day during their first year of life, said senior author Sallie Permar, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at Duke. We are asking if there is an immune response that protects 90 percent of infants, and could we harness that response to develop immune system prophylaxis (protection) during breastfeeding for mothers infected with HIV-1.

Our work helped establish that these B cells in breast milk can produce HIV-neutralizing antibodies, so enhancing the response or getting more mucosal B-cells to produce those helpful antibodies would be useful, and this is a possible route to explore for HIV-1 vaccine development, Permar said.

The study was published on May 18 in PLoS One, an open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science.

This is important work that seeks to understand what a vaccine must do to protect babies from mucosa.

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medical procedures without reducing their chance of developing cervical cancer. The additional tests include different cervical biopsies that come with their own risks ranging from bleeding and cramping to infections to scarring of the cervix, which can make it harder to become pregnant and increase the chance for premature delivery.

Effective screening and treatment forcervical cancer have greatly reduced the threat and harm of this disease in the United States. This is progress that health advocates can celebrate, but we can still do better. Guaranteed access to appropriate screening could go a long way towards ending cervical cancer. The Network agrees with the evidence-based recommendation that sexually active women between the ages of 21 and 65 should be routinely screened for cervical cancer every three years. Eliminating over-screening would prevent women from the harms associated with unnecessary testing and treatment and eliminate the waste of healthcare dollars which could potentially be used instead to expand screening programs to reach women who are currently under-screened. The fact is that our healthcare system is overburdened and we need to better allocate our healthcare dollars. If we can avoid outright waste and use our scare resources more effectively, we could provide care to everyone living in this country rather than just those with the best insurance.