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Targeting T Cells to Treat IBD

Sep 4, 2018 10:05:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in CD4+ T cells, T helper cells, autoimmune disease, autoimmune disorder

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Recent research looks into the relationship between T helper cells and the autoimmune conditions of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) caused by an immune dysfunction. People with IBD can experience diarrhea, rectal bleeding, constipation, abdominal pain and cramping, fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Dysregulated responses of a subset of CD4 T cells (T helper cells) are associated with autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions and may induce and maintain intestinal inflammation, but the mechanism is not fully understood. The primary cytokine secreted by T helper cells of the intestinal mucosa of people with IBD is interferon (IFN)-gamma. Recent research was conducted to better understand the role of IFN-producing CD4 T cells in the initiation and maintenance of IBD.

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Factor Expressed on Regulatory T Cells Keeps Autoimmunity in Check

Nov 2, 2016 12:42:11 PM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in autoimmune disease, autoimmune disorder, autoimmune disorder treatment, CD4+ T cells, customizable cytotoxic T cells, cytotoxic T cells, research

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Autoimmune disorders develop when the body’s immune system does not distinguish between the body’s own cells and antigens. The destruction by the immune system of normal tissues is the basis of autoimmune diseases. The search for effective treatments or cures for autoimmune disorders depends on understanding the factors involved in immune cell function.

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RNA Delivery to Dendritic Cells Launches Anti-Viral Defense for Cancer Immunotherapy

Jul 6, 2016 1:00:48 PM / by Karina Palomares posted in antigens, Cancer Immunology, cancer immunotherapy, CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells

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A new cancer immunotherapy approach uses nanoparticles carrying tumor RNA to target dendritic cells, leading to a strong anti-tumor response with antiviral-like features.

Researchers have been trying to develop vaccines to fight cancer for decades now, and it is now known to be more difficult than first thought. Cancer progression is not typically characterized by strong inflammatory signals that are necessary to initiate an immune response. Thus, most cancer vaccine strategies are aimed at directly activating a patient’s immune system. Since dendritic cells are extremely well suited at processing and presenting antigens for T cell activation, immunologists are currently working on developing vaccines that target these specialized antigen-presenting cells. Nanoparticles containing a tumor antigen and a dendritic-cell-targeting antibody have proven to be an effective strategy thus far.

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HIV Replicates in Macrophages, Independent of T Cells

Apr 20, 2016 1:00:20 PM / by Karina Palomares posted in CD4+ T cells, HIV, research

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New research indicates that HIV infects and replicates in macrophages, which has significant implications for finding a cure.

Despite the advances made with the development of antiretroviral therapy (ART), more than 37 million people worldwide are currently living with HIV, and another 2 million are expected to become infected each year. A low T cell count and HIV no longer go hand in hand, as ART can reduce blood HIV levels to undetectable levels, but viral reservoirs persist even during treatment. Strategies that identify the viral reservoirs and eliminate them are necessary to completely eradicate the disease.

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Will a Stem Cell Cure for HIV Be a Reality?

Feb 29, 2016 1:00:14 PM / by Maria posted in acute myeloid leukemia, CD4+ T cells, research, stem cell transplantation

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Finding a stem cell donor that could cure an HIV patient is difficult; performing the transplant is dangerous. What if we could use patients own stem cells instead?

Depending on how you look at it, Timothy Ray Brown was an unlucky or lucky man. The famous "Berlin patient" was not only HIV-positive but faced a daunting diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia. Treatment failed, so Mr. Brown underwent the standard procedure for such cases: an intense chemotherapy and radiation regimen to knock down his blood stem cells and make way for those from a healthy donor.

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