Weizmann Institute Claims Breakthrough in Battle Against Aids

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science at Rehovot claim a breakthrough in the battle against AIDS, the killer disease. The new development involves the isolation and synthesization of a hormone linked with the immunological process.

Prof. Natan Trainin, a cancer researcher in the Institute’s cellular biology department, has been working on cancer and immunology research for the past 20 years, dealing with a hormone known as THF (thymus humoral factor) found naturally in minute quantities in the thymus gland.

The hormone was synthesized some six months ago by Prof. Yigal Bornstein, who has been working with Trainin for the past seven years. Bornstein says that organic THF has been administered to some 100 cases of immunity deficiency in Israel since 1975, including two cases of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), with generally positive results.

But he stressed that no controlled study has yet been made, owing to the insufficient number of potential patients available in Israel.

Bornstein says that in regard to the two AIDS cases studied in Israel, one, a 20-year-old male, had made a partial recovery of his immune defenses, the first such case known. This victim was in the early stages of AIDS, which he had acquired from blood received from abroad to treat his hemophilia. He was given the biological THF, not the synthetic kind, and has recovered sufficiently to be discharged from the Beilinson Hospital.

The second, older, patient returned to Israel from the U.S. where he had acquired AIDS, but was in the final stages of the disease. After treatment with the biological THF, his immune system improved slightly, but he died later of complications. Bornstein says that the youth was the first AIDS case stopped by external treatment.