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Combat Viral and Bacterial Infections with Targeted Immune Cells

Feb 26, 2019 10:02:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Dendritic Cells, immune system, immune cells

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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.

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2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine Recognizes Immunotherapy Researchers

Jan 29, 2019 10:03:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in immune system, Immunotherapy, T Cells

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Advances in immunotherapy research to combat cancer has provided unprecedented treatment success due to the discoveries of two different Nobel Laureates, Dr. James P. Allison (U.S.) and Dr. Tasuku Honjo (Japan). Working independently, they each discovered immune system proteins that are important in self-tolerance and that can be harnessed to kill cancer cells. Checkpoint molecules prevent the immune system from killing the body’s own healthy cells. When checkpoint molecules are encountered by T cells, the cells bearing these molecules are spared attack. However, some cancer cells wear checkpoint molecules, acting as imposters of normal cells to evade attack by T cells.

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How Dendritic Cells May Shed Light on Organ Rejection

Oct 29, 2018 10:02:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Dendritic Cells, immune system

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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.

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What's New in Psychiatric and Neurologic Disorder Immunotherapy?

Jul 16, 2018 10:03:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in immune system, Immunotherapy

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New studies are investigating the link between psychiatric disorders and the immune system. 

Treatments that modify the immune response, immunotherapy, are increasingly employed and researched to address many disease processes including autoimmune disorders and various types of cancer. However, the link between the immune system and the brain led to investigations regarding the role of immune function in mental health. Scientists found that the brain has a lymphatic system that links to the peripheral immune system. Also, T cells found in the meninges have an influence on cognition. The role of the immune system and effectiveness of immunotherapeutic approaches for psychiatric disorders have become important subjects of study. 

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How T Cells Navigate the Bloodstream

Feb 26, 2018 10:24:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in immune system, T Cells

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A crucial step in the T-cell immune response is its migration to the site of action in the body. Immature T cells do not migrate and remain in lymphoid tissue; however, mature T cells acquire the ability to migrate, and the means by which this is accomplished is not fully understood. Recent research shows that T cells migrate in a way similar to that discovered for neutrophils.

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