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Metabolism, Immune Systems, and Pregnancy: What T Cells Are Revealing

Feb 11, 2020 10:09:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in T Cells, NK Cells, Immunotherapy (Immunology)


In addition to fetal tissue tolerance, T cells and NK cells also play a role in fetal-maternal metabolic homeostasis.

Immune system adaptations in the maternal-fetal environment are essential for a successful pregnancy. When this adaptation is hindered or inadequate, infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy complications, and adverse fetal outcomes can occur. Specific immune cells have been studied to better understand their role in pregnancy and to know what this information can provide overall regarding the development of new immunotherapeutic approaches for disease states.

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University of Minnesota Opened New NK-Cell Immunotherapy Clinical Trial

Dec 3, 2019 10:06:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in NK Cells, Immunotherapy (Immunology)


The new FT516 immunotherapy is the first iPSC-derived therapy approved for clinical testing in the world and may provide a treatment for many different types of cancers.

A collaboration between the University of Minnesota and Fate Therapeutics will begin clinical trials for a novel “off-the-shelf” targeted natural killer (NK) cell cancer immunotherapy derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSCs are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed so that they regain the ability to differentiate into any cell type, making them pluripotent (similar to embryonic stem cells). The new NK cell therapy, FT516, is developed from genetically engineered human iPSCs with enhanced anti-tumor activity.

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NK Cells Used to Find Cause of Fatal Hepatitis A Cases

Nov 26, 2019 10:03:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Drug Discovery, NK Cells


A drug used to treat acetaminophen hepatotoxicity may give hope to an effective treatment for FVH caused by liver-impairing viruses, including hepatitis A.

Fulminant viral hepatitis (FVH) is a form of acute liver failure caused by a virus and characterized by severe impairment of liver function. Primarily, children and young adults are affected, and the condition is usually fatal unless liver transplantation is implemented early enough. FVH tends to occur in people who are healthy and without any history of previous liver disease and progresses rapidly leading to encephalopathy and death. Given the treatment challenges and lack of a full understanding of how FVH develops, a group of scientists from Rockefeller University in New York analyzed the DNA of an 11-year-old girl who died from FVH.

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NK Cells May Form Adaptive Memories

Sep 10, 2019 10:10:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in NK Cells, Vaccine Research, Humanized Mice


A new study shows that NK cells may be able to form adaptive memory and demonstrate specific antigen memory.

Innate immunity has long been considered the nonspecific first line of defense against an invading microorganism, while adaptive (or acquired) immunity is an antigen-specific immune response characterized by a memory that allows protection against a repeat exposure. Examples of cells of the innate immune response include natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and mast cells. T and B lymphocytes are cells of the adaptive immune system.

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NK Cell Clinical Trial Begins for Incurable Cancer

Jul 16, 2019 10:12:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, NK Cells, Immunotherapy (Immunology)


New tests begin in the United States using stem cell-derived natural killer cells to help patients suffering from incurable cancer.

Curing the incurable is an ongoing and top endeavor in medical research. This is particularly true for the various forms of cancer that are difficult to treat. The investigation and use of immunotherapy as an option for the treatment of different forms of cancer continues to increase. The main immunotherapeutic approach to cancer involves harvesting stem cells from the patient or a donor. Given the logistics, cost, and time this approach takes, the development of a strategy or cell products that can be used on demand is much desired.

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