Tag Archives: Immunology

Scientists identify immunological profiles of people who make powerful HIV antibodies

People living with HIV who naturally produce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) that may help suppress the virus have different immunological profiles than people who do not, researchers report. While bNAbs cannot completely clear HIV infections in people who have already acquired the virus, many scientists believe a successful preventive HIV vaccine must induce bNAbs. The […]

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* Treating autoimmune disease without harming normal immunity

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Preclinical study shows that engineered T cells can selectively target the antibody-producing cells that cause autoimmune disease. In a study with potentially major implications for the future treatment of autoimmunity and related conditions, scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found a way to remove the subset of antibody-making […]

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Natural metabolite can suppress inflammation

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An international research team has revealed a substance produced in humans that can suppress the pro-inflammatory activity of macrophages — specific immune cells. The substance known as itaconate is released in large quantities by macrophages themselves and according to the scientists, acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. These properties make itaconate promising for the […]

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New anti-cancer strategy mobilizes both innate and adaptive immune response

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Scientists have developed a new vaccine that involves injecting cells that have been modified so that they can stimulate both an innate immune response and the more specific adaptive response, which allows the body to keep memories and attack new tumor cells as they form. Though a variety of immunotherapy-based strategies are being used against […]

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* Droppings activate the immune system in nestlings

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Until now, it was believed that birds removed droppings from their nests to avoid the appearance of parasites. A recent investigation contradicts this hypothesis, concluding that feces activate the immune system of blackbird chicks and only attract insects. In the animal world, strict rules are followed to deal with sources of contamination and potential dangers […]

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Itchy inflammation of mosquito bites helps viruses replicate

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Mosquito bite sites are not just itchy, irritating nuisances — they also make viral infections spread by the insects far worse, new research has found. The study, led by the University of Leeds, found that inflammation where the insect has bitten not only helps a virus such as Zika or dengue establish an infection in […]

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* New drug clears psoriasis in clinical trials

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About 80 percent of patients with moderate to severe psoriasis saw their disease completely or almost completely cleared with a new drug called ixekizumab, according to three large, long-term clinical trials led by Northwestern Medicine. The results of these phase III trials were compiled in a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. […]

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* Fighting cancer with the help of someone else’s immune cells

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A new step in cancer immunotherapy: researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and University of Oslo/Oslo University Hospital show that even if one’s own immune cells cannot recognize and fight their tumors, someone else’s immune cells might. Their proof of principle study is published in the journal Science on May 19th. The study shows that […]

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Putting the brakes on cell’s ‘engine’ could give flu, other vaccines a boost

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A relatively unknown molecule that regulates metabolism could be the key to boosting an individual’s immunity to the flu — and potentially other viruses — according to research reported today in the journal Immunity. The study, led by University of Vermont (UVM) College of Medicine doctoral student Devin Champagne and Mercedes Rincon, Ph.D., a professor […]

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Zika virus may cause microcephaly by hijacking human immune molecule

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently concluded that Zika virus infection in pregnant women can stunt neonatal brain development, leading to babies born with abnormally small heads, a condition known as microcephaly. Now, for the first time, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have determined one way Zika […]

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Researchers show ‘dirty mice’ could clean up immune system research

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Scientists at the University of Minnesota have developed a new way to study mice that better mimics the immune system of adult humans and which could significantly improve ways to test potential therapeutics. Published online in the journal Nature, the researchers describe the limitations of laboratory mice for immunology research and reveal the benefits of […]

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Critical to screen patients with rheumatoid arthritis for hearing impairment

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common autoimmune arthritis, affecting 1% of the general population. Despite its main articular manifestations, RA can involve extra-articular organs including the auditory system. HI in RA is multifactorial. Mechanism of injury and predisposing factors are not clearly understood. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type in RA patients […]

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Treating myasthenia gravis with autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplants

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A report on seven cases of severe myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune disease characterized by severe muscle weakness) suggests that autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (when a patient’s own stem cells are used) may result in long-term remission that is symptom and treatment free, according to an article published online by JAMA Neurology. The study by […]

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* On the road to allergy prophylaxis

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Researchers of MedUni Vienna succeeded in binding allergens to endogenous, endogenic white blood corpuscles to trigger a tolerance reaction in case of a future, possible contact with the respective allergen. The results in animal models are promising and give rise to hope that it may be possible in future to prevent allergens before they appear […]

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Precision medicine’s potential to define the genetics of autoimmune disease

Precision medicine is an emerging field that aims to deliver highly personalized health care by understanding how individual differences in genetics, environment, and lifestyle impact health and disease. SLE, commonly called lupus, is a serious, potentially fatal autoimmune disease that the National Institutes of Health reports affects nine times more women than men, and is […]

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The up- and downside of caloric restriction for aging and health

It’s already well known that a diet may have a life-extending effect. Researchers from Leibniz Institute on Aging — Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) in Jena, Germany, now showed that besides improving the functionality of stem cells in mice, a caloric restriction also leads to a fatale weakening of their immune system — counteracting the life-lengthening […]

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Moments of acute stress can cause molecular alterations in immune response

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Chronic psychosocial and emotional stress has well-documented negative effects upon the human immune system, measurably increasing the risk of disease. Much less is known about the health effects of acute but transitory episodes of stress, such as jumping out of an airplane. Do these panic-inducing moments also raise the risk of stress-related conditions and disorders, […]

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Its complicated: Benefits and toxicity of antiprion antibodies in the brain

Immunotherapy to ameliorate neurodegeneration by targeting brain protein aggregates with antibodies is an area of intense investigation. A study published on January 28th in PLOS Pathogens examines seemingly contradictory earlier results of targeting the prion protein and proposes a cautionary way forward to further test related therapeutic approaches. Damaging aggregation of proteins in the brain […]

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How herpes virus tricks the immune system

With over half the U.S. population infected, most people are familiar with the pesky cold sore outbreaks caused by the herpes virus. The virus outsmarts the immune system by interfering with the process that normally allows immune cells to recognize and destroy foreign invaders. How exactly the herpes simplex 1 virus pulls off its nifty […]

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* Immune response differences might determine severity of West Nile Virus disease

While most West Nile Virus (WNV) infections in humans are asymptomatic and go unnoticed, the virus causes serious and sometimes fatal neurologic illness in some people. A study published on January 21st in PLOS Pathogens suggests that an exaggerated and abnormal immune response contributes to the development of neurologic symptoms following West Nile virus infection. […]

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* Scientists prevent, reverse diabetes-related kidney destruction in animal model

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, and scientists have found that infusing just a small dose of a cytokine, thought to help cause that failure, can instead prevent or reverse it. The cytokine IL-17A has long been considered a classic promoter of inflammation, which plays a major role in progression of diabetes-related kidney […]

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Land use may weaken amphibians’ capacity to fight infection, disease

Human-made changes to the environment may be damaging the immune systems of a species of frog whose populations have drastically declined since the 1970s, according to a new study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University and the Holden Arboretum. “These Blanchard’s cricket frogs have nearly gone extinct in their northern range, so we’re almost […]

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New stem cell gene correction process puts time on researchers’ side

Researchers from the Morgridge Institute for Research and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Australia have devised a way to dramatically cut the time involved in reprogramming and genetically correcting stem cells, an important step to making future therapies possible. Led by Sara Howden, a postdoctoral fellow at MCRI and formerly with the Morgridge […]

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* Vulture’s scavenging secrets: Ironclad stomach, strong immune system

Vultures have a unique genetic make-up allowing them to digest carcasses and guard themselves against constant exposure to pathogens in their diet, according to the first Eurasian vulture genome published in the open access journal Genome Biology. The study also finds that this species of Asian vulture is more closely related to the North American […]

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Building immune system memory

Mechanism identified for enhancing immunological memory in helper T cells. Molecular mechanisms that control an immune cell’s ability to remember have been identified by scientists. They found that in helper T (CD4+) cells, the proteins Oct1 and OCA-B work together to put immune response genes on standby so that they are easily activated when the […]

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Immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer boosts survival by more than 75 percent in mice

A new study in mice by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has found that a specialized type of immunotherapy — even when used without chemotherapy or radiation — can boost survival from pancreatic cancer, a nearly almost-lethal disease, by more than 75 percent. The findings are so promising, human clinical trials are planned […]

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* Reptile pets: Food insects shuttle allergens into homes

Reptiles are often chosen as pets when an allergy risk exists within a family and the choice is made to avoid potentially allergenic pets such as dogs, cats or guinea pigs. Researchers at the Messerli Research Institute, however, recently described a noteworthy clinical case in which an eight-year-old boy developed nightly attacks of severe shortness […]

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Connecting Alzheimer’s disease, immune system

The role of the immune system in Alzheimer’s disease is a hot topic, but exactly how the two are connected and what interventions could help lower risk remain a mystery. In a new study published in Nature Neuroscience this week, researchers in the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) […]

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Probiotic formula reverses cow’s milk allergies by changing gut bacteria of infants

The newly tolerant infants had higher levels of several strains of bacteria that produce short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which help maintain homeostasis in the gut. The discovery of bacteria that drive tolerance to problem foods like cow’s milk could be crucial to developing new treatments to help children with food allergies. There […]

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Growing up on a farm provides protection against asthma and allergies

Researchers at VIB (a leading life sciences institute in Flanders, Belgium) and Ghent University have successfully established a causal relationship between exposure to so-called farm dust and protection against asthma and allergies. This breakthrough discovery is a major step forward towards the development of an asthma vaccine. The results of the research were published in […]

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