Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic response characterized by the development of hives, swelling, and dramatic drops in blood pressure. It is estimated that 1,500 people in the United States die yearly from anaphylaxis. A plethora of substances can elicit allergic reactions, and the exact allergen is often unknown. What is known is that an allergen binds to IgE found on mast cells, and this leads to the release of inflammatory mediators such as histamine, the substances responsible for the allergic response. Mast cells are found in tissue, yet can respond to allergens in the blood via a mechanism that is not well understood.
Research efforts across different disciplines are beginning to uncover biological factors that underlie racial differences in health status and disease severity. One common condition with a prevalence of 7.3 percent among U.S. adults is atopic dermatitis. In terms of prevalence and disease severity, African Americans are disproportionately affected when compared to European Americans.
Dendritic cell molecules within the body’s immune system can be modified to improve our ability to combat viral and bacterial infections.
The body’s immune system is designed to protect it from invading organisms and other pathogens. However, the immune system alone may not always be able to combat viral and bacterial infections, and antimicrobial therapies are implemented. A different approach would be to manipulate or affect immune system cells to control infections. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA have discovered that immune system molecules exist that can make people more vulnerable to bacterial infections, and that modifying expression or function of these immune molecules can enhance resistance to detrimental bacterial infections.
“Kiss-and-run” approach helps researchers observe interaction between dendritic cells and T cells.
The normal biological processes needed for living beings to develop, grow, and function involve interactions between a diversity of cell types. Targeting these cellular interactions can enhance current cell-based immunotherapy and regenerative medicine, as well as provide the basis for new ones. Studying the mechanisms of these interactions is necessary in order to understand the means by which they affect cell signaling, immunity, growth and development, and more.
Skin transplants often face rejection by the immune system, but research shows skin grafts may be pre-treated with dendritic cells before the transplant to prevent organ rejection.
In 2016, more than 33,000 organ transplants occurred in the U.S. After a person receives a transplant, the immune system may attack the organ as foreign. This can occur rapidly, within the first year, in about 15% of people who receive kidney transplants, for example. However, skin transplants are rejected at a much higher rate for reasons that are not fully understood. Researchers of Brigham and Women's Hospital embarked on research studies to determine the cause of skin transplant rejection by the immune system and how this can be prevented.