Blog | HemaCare

Unraveling the Mystery of Immune Response in Lyme Disease

Sep 19, 2016 4:31:13 PM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in CD8+ T cells, Cytotoxic T Cells, Lyme Disease


Vector-borne diseases are caused by insects such as mosquitoes, flies and ticks, etc., and can gravely affect both humans and animals. Diseases such as Lyme’s disease are caused by bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) carried by ticks. However, ticks can carry other types of disease-causing organisms, and it is possible that an unlucky person can be affected by more than one of those. This type of situation can make an already challenging Lyme’s disease diagnosis more difficult, making effective treatment complicated.

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CTLA-4 Discovery in Dendritic Cells Opens New Doors for Cancer Immunotherapy

Jul 18, 2016 1:00:18 PM / by Karina Palomares posted in ipilimumab, Cancer Immunology, cancer immunotherapy, CD8+ T cells, CTLA-4


New research suggests that dendritic cells produce and release CTLA-4, which typically inhibits anticancer responses.

Cancer immunotherapy strategies have made it increasingly evident that the immune system plays an integral role in managing and destroying cancer. Nevertheless, many mechanisms of immune suppression exist that may inhibit antitumor immunity. Recently, strategies that implement antibodies directed against negative immunologic regulators have demonstrated significant success. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associate protein-4 (CTLA-4) was the first immunologic checkpoint to be clinically targeted, by the cancer immunotherapeutic ipilimumab, an FDA-approved drug to treat melanoma. After T-cell activation, CTLA-4 is upregulated on the cell surface where it functions to downregulate T cell function. Ipilimumab binds to CTLA-4 on T cells, which blocks the inhibitory signals and enhances anti-cancer immune responses.
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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


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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Peptide Pools for Immune Monitoring? PBMC from HemaCare Help Argue the Case

Jun 29, 2016 1:00:53 PM / by Maria posted in antigens, CD8+ T cells, HLA alleles, research


How often do predicted peptides actually get recognized by CD8+ cells? The surprising answer was provided in part by HemaCare's PBMC.

We all have our type -- HLA type, that is. Each human has up to six different HLA Class 1 molecules, from out of more than 100  MHC/HLA Class I alleles in existence to "choose" from. These allelic HLA variants are unique in their peptide-binding specificity, meaning that antigen recognition by CD8+ T cells depends on the alleles that you have. "Peptide recognition by CD8 cells is therefore highly variable among individuals of an outbred population, as variable as the HLA system itself." [1]

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