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Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD


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Diabetes Researchers Discover High Levels of Predatory CD8+ T Cells in the Pancreas of Healthy People

Mar 9, 2021 10:07:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in T Cells, Immunotherapy (Immunology)

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A new study that was led by scientists at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology showed that healthy people can have predatory CD8+ T cells in their pancreases, and in high numbers. 

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) develops when the body’s own immune system destroys the pancreatic beta cells. Breakdown in peripheral tolerance and compromised thymic selection have been thought to be associated with the development of T1D. However, the results of a recent study challenge this belief.

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Hematopoietic Stem Cell Mutations May Lead to Increased Risk for Leukemia and Heart Disease

Feb 23, 2021 10:03:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Stem Cells

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Two teams of scientists have discovered a set of inherited gene variants that can increase the risk of developing mutations in HSC’s in their lifetimes. The mutations can lead to two different age-related disorders: clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential and myeloproliferative neoplasms. 

Advancing age has been associated with an increased risk of various chronic diseases and conditions. Mutations in hematopoietic stem cells increase as people age and may be linked to an increased risk of leukemia and cardiovascular disease. Somatic mutations in hematopoietic stem cells are connected to the development of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) characterized by an excess of red blood cells, leukocytes, and platelets that leads to an increased susceptibility to develop leukemia.

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Researchers Discover Antigen-Specific pTfh Cells in Patients with COVID-19

Feb 2, 2021 10:23:39 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in T Cells, Immunotherapy (Immunology)

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Researchers found that follicular helper T-cells respond in different ways to structural proteins in COVID-19. They have been studying how the response happens over time.

Several studies report the observance of helper T-cell responses to the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, in over 80% of individuals recovering from COVID-19. Besides helping in developing cytotoxic T cells, helper T cells stimulate B cells to produce antibodies. Therefore, T cells may help in the development of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

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Researchers Discover New Way to Empower T Cells' Anti-Tumor Activity

Jan 5, 2021 10:08:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, T Cells

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Researchers have discovered that the use of antibody blocks TREM2 proteins can empower immune cells and destroy tumors, and eliminate completely in mouse models when they were combined with anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. 

Anti-cancer immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to destroy tumor cells. Despite breakthroughs in this medical arena, a limited number of patients actually benefit from these therapies. A significant reason for the less-than-desirable responses is tumor cells’ ability to circumvent various T-cell immune mechanisms. Therefore, populations of resistant tumor cells hinder the effectiveness of current immunotherapeutic approaches in many patients.

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T Cell Analysis Could Predict Type I Diabetes Immunotherapy Response

Dec 22, 2020 10:02:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in T Cells

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Researchers at University College London found that the analysis of T Cells slowed the reduction in beta-cell functions, noting that some benefited more than others.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that is T-cell–mediated. CD4+ T-helper cells and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells are thought to be involved in destroying insulin-producing β-cells. These immune cells and related subsets change in number and distribution throughout T1D pathogenesis. It is known that the level of T follicular helper cells (Tfh cells) in the peripheral blood of patients with T1D increase is higher compared to that in healthy patients.

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