As others have already shown, hemophiliacs receiving clotting factor VIII therapy may develope an imbalance in T lymphocytes similar to that found in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). According to a new report delivered at the recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in San Diego, the severity of this T-cell imbalance is related to the number of doses of factor VIII concentrate received.
The unexpected incidence of AIDS in hemophiliacs—14 cases so far confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta—led James J. Goedert, MD, of the Investigative Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, Md, to hypothesize that a transmissible agent in factor VIII concentrates may somehow be involved. To investigate this, he looked at one of the apparent markers for AIDS—an abnormal ratio of helper to suppressor T lymphocytes. In normal blood, the ratio of helper to suppressor cells is about 2:1. In most