Vaccines are urgently needed to slow the spread of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), which together infect an estimated 240 million people, most of them in developing countries. To prepare a human vaccine, investigators need an animal model that can help them screen and prioritize vaccine candidates. Dr. Deng and his colleagues are working to improve techniques for creating mouse models with immune systems and livers that are similar enough to humans to allow testing of potential HIV and HCV vaccines. The team is working to create chimerical mouse models with hematopoietic cells (HSCs) and hepatocytes differentiated from human embryonic stem (hES) cells.
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