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Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD


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Cancer CAR T Cell Therapy Adapted to Help Fight Threatening Fungal Infections

Sep 14, 2021 10:00:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, CAR-T, T Cells, Immunotherapy (Immunology)

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Cryptococcus fungi infections can be fatal as the immune system struggles to fight off the invaders, but through immunotherapy called CAR T cell therapy, researchers are seeing positive results.

Cryptococcosis, a systemic fungal infection, is caused by the polysaccharide encapsulated yeasts Cryptococcus gatti and Cryptococcus neoformans. The disease can cause pneumonia and meningitis, as well as pathology in other tissues.

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CAR T Cell Therapy Attacks Migrant Cells in the Immune System

Sep 7, 2021 10:10:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in CAR-T, T Cells

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The FDA has currently approved CAR-T cell therapies that express CARs recognizing CD19. CD19 is expressed on top of the majority of B cells’ surface, allowing for specific B-cell malignancy therapies.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are approximately 5,690 new cases of and 1,580 deaths from acute lymphocytic anemia (ALL), most of which affect children. More than 18,000 people are diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) yearly, with the majority being people over the age of 60. B cells secrete antibodies that are antigen-specific. T cells work differently by directly attacking pathogenic or infected cells, and they also secrete inflammatory cytokines to induce additional immune cell involvement.

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Genetically Engineered T-Cells May Lead to a New Immunotherapy for Type 1 Diabetes

Aug 31, 2021 10:15:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in CAR-T, T Cells

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University of Arizona researchers created a new five-module chimeric antigen receptor T cell that has shown potential to fight against Type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the destruction of pancreatic β cells by pathogenic, autoreactive T cells. Effective and safe immunotherapy approaches to treat T1D would enhance personalized medical approaches to mitigate the effects of pathogenic T-cell–mediated diseases such as T1D. A promising approach is the application of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, given its known mechanism and current use to treat other diseases such as hematological cancers.

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New Study Suggests Hematopoietic Stem Cells Transplantation is Effective for Patients with SPSD

Jul 27, 2021 10:15:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Autoimmune Disorders, Stem Cells

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Research from a new study has shown that an autologous non-myeloablative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in patients with stiff person spectrum disorder might be safe and effective.

Stiff person syndrome or stiff person spastic disorder (SPSD) is a progressive autoimmune neurological disorder characterized by painful and debilitating episodic muscle spasms and stiffness.

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"Invisible" Stem Cells May Help Enhance Immunotherapies to Destroy Tumors

Jul 20, 2021 10:15:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Stem Cells

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Scientists at UC San Francisco discovered a new method for controlling the natural killer cells in the immune system through tissue implants and cell therapies that can enhance immunotherapies’ ability to detect/destroy cancerous tumors.

A major challenge with regenerative medicine is the immune system’s ability to reject implanted tissues recognized as non-self. Immunological rejection is a significant obstacle that stunts success in stem cell transplantation. Overcoming immune rejection of transplanted stem cells can support the development of off-the-shelf immunotherapies that can be used in any patient.

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