Tag Archives: Immunology

Blood test developed for devastating disease of boas, pythons

University of Florida researchers have developed a simple immune-based screening test to identify the presence of a debilitating and usually fatal disease that strikes boas and pythons in captivity as well as those sold to the pet trade worldwide. Known as inclusion body disease, or IBD, the highly infectious disease most commonly affects boa constrictors […]

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Want to fight allergies? Get a dirty dog

A mouse study suggests dust from dogs affects gut bacteria, which in turn may protect against allergies. A dog in the house is more than just good company. There’s increasing evidence that exposure to dogs and livestock early in life can lessen the chances of infants later developing allergies and asthma. Now, researchers have traced […]

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Scientists discover how immune cells die during HIV infection; identify potential drug to block AIDS

Research led by scientists at the Gladstone Institutes has identified the precise chain of molecular events in the human body that drives the death of most of the immune system’s CD4 T cells as an HIV infection leads to AIDS. Further, they have identified an existing anti-inflammatory drug that in laboratory tests blocks the death […]

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‘Immune gene’ in humans inherited from Neanderthals, study suggests

A research group at Bonn University and international collaborators discovered a novel receptor, which allows the immune system of modern humans to recognize dangerous invaders, and subsequently elicits an immune response. The blueprint for this advantageous structure was in addition identified in the genome of Neanderthals, hinting at its origin. The receptor provided these early […]

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How flu evolves to escape immunity

Scientists have identified a potential way to improve future flu vaccines after discovering that seasonal flu typically escapes immunity from vaccines with as little as a single amino acid substitution. Additionally, they found these single amino acid changes occur at only seven places on its surface — not the 130 places previously believed. The research […]

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Invasive sparrows immune cells sharpen as they spread

When invasive species move into new areas, they often lose their natural enemies, including the microbes that make them sick. But new research from evolutionary biologists at the University of South Florida has found that adjustments in the immune system may help house sparrows, one of the world’s most common bird species, thrive in new […]

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How body clock affects inflammation: Discovery could accelerate body’s response to infection, autoimmune disorders

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report that disrupting the light-dark cycle of mice increased their susceptibility to inflammatory disease, indicating that the production of a key immune cell is controlled by the body’s circadian clock. The study published in the Nov. 8 edition of Science identifies a previously hidden pathway by which the body’s circadian […]

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Scientists decipher how the immune system induces liver damage during hepatitis

Viral infections are the primary cause of liver inflammation or hepatitis, affecting hundreds of millions of people all over the world, and they represent a public health problem worldwide. The acute condition can cause irreversible damage to the liver, and if not cured can become chronic, leading to serious diseases such as cirrhosis or cancer. […]

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Progress toward treatment for dangerous allergies

New research published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology shows that a group of scientists, led by faculty at the University of Notre Dame, has made concrete progress toward the development of the first-ever inhibitory therapeutic for Type I hypersensitive allergic reactions. Our allergy inhibition project is innovative and significant because we brought a novel […]

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New antiviral response discovered in mammals

Many viral infections are nipped in the bud by the innate immune response. This involves specific proteins within the infected cell that recognize the virus and trigger a signalling cascade — the so-called interferon response. This activates a protective mechanism in neighbouring cells and often results in the death of the primarily infected cell. In […]

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Scientists discover important wound-healing process

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered an important process by which special immune cells in the skin help heal wounds. They found that these skin-resident immune cells function as “first responders” to skin injuries in part by producing the molecule known as interleukin-17A (IL-17A), which wards off infection and promotes wound healing. […]

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African breed of cattle harbors potential defense against life-threatening parasite

Every year, millions of cattle die of trypanosomosis. The UN and the International Livestock Research Institute list trypanosomosis among the ten diseases of cattle with the greatest impact on the poor. In Africa the disease is known as “Nagana,” which translates literally as “being in low or depressed spirits.” The disease is caused by a […]

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Autoimmune disease strategy emerges from immune cell discovery

Scientists from UC San Francisco have identified a new way to manipulate the immune system that may keep it from attacking the body’s own molecules in autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The researchers, led by immunologist Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, a professor with the UCSF Diabetes Center, have […]

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Dialing back Treg cell function boosts the body’s cancer-fighting immune activity

By carefully adjusting the function of crucial immune cells, scientists may have developed a completely new type of cancer immunotherapy—harnessing the body’s immune system to attack tumors. To accomplish this, they had to thread a needle in immune function, shrinking tumors without triggering unwanted autoimmune responses. The new research, performed in animals, is not ready […]

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Rare immune cells promote food-induced allergic inflammation in the esophagus

Food is an integral part of life; but, for some, it can be harmful. Allergic inflammation caused by inappropriate immune responses to some types of food has become a major public health issue. Over the past ten years, the prevalence of food allergies has increased by nearly 20 percent, affecting an estimated six million people […]

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Immune cells essential to establishing pregnancy

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New research from the University of Adelaide shows for the first time that immune cells known as macrophages are critical to fertility by creating a healthy hormone environment in the uterus. Laboratory studies led by researchers in the University’s Robinson Institute have shown that macrophages play an essential role in production of the hormone progesterone, […]

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Immune-boosting colorectal cancer drug shows promise

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New data on an emerging treatment that aims to fight colorectal cancer by stimulating the immune system have been presented at the ESMO 15th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer. The findings confirm the biological action of the drug called MGN1703 and suggest it may be possible to identify which gastrointestinal cancer patients will benefit most […]

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Novel research model for study of auto-immune diseases developed

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A team of researchers at the IRCM, led by Dr. Javier M. Di Noia in the Immunity and Viral Infections research division, discovered a novel research model for the study of auto-immune diseases. The Montréal scientists are the first to find a way to separate two important mechanisms that improve the quality of antibodies. This […]

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Unusual antibodies in cows suggest new ways to make medicines for people

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Humans have been raising cows for their meat, hides and milk for millennia. Now it appears that the cow immune system also has something to offer. A new study led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) focusing on an extraordinary family of cow antibodies points to new ways to make human medicines. “These […]

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Scientists discover how HIV kills immune cells; findings have implications for HIV treatment

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Untreated HIV infection destroys a person’s immune system by killing infection-fighting cells, but precisely when and how HIV wreaks this destruction has been a mystery until now. New research by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, reveals how HIV triggers a signal telling an […]

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How do immune cells detect infections?

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How do immune cells manage to sort through vast numbers of similar-looking proteins within the body to detect foreign invaders and fight infections? “For immune cells, singling out foreign proteins is like looking for a needle in a haystack — where the needle may look very much like a straw, and where some straws may […]

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Boosting body’s natural flu killers as way to offset virus mutation problem

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The known difficulty in fighting influenza (flu) is the ability of the flu viruses to mutate and thus evade various medications that were previously found to be effective. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have shown recently that another, more promising, approach is to focus on improving drugs that boost the body’s natural flu […]

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How immune system peacefully co-exists with ‘good’ bacteria

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The human gut is loaded with commensal bacteria — “good” microbes that, among other functions, help the body digest food. The gastrointestinal tract contains literally trillions of such cells, and yet the immune system seemingly turns a blind eye. However, in several chronic human diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), HIV/AIDS, cancer, cardiovascular disease, […]

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Low population immunity to new bird flu virus H7N9 in humans

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The level of immunity to the recently circulating H7N9 influenza virus in an urban and rural population in Vietnam is very low, according to the first population level study to examine human immunity to the virus, which was previously only found in birds. The findings have implications for planning the public health response to this […]

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Do salamanders’ immune systems hold the key to regeneration?

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Salamanders’ immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have found. In research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers from the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) at […]

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Newly described type of immune cell and T cells share similar path to maturity

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Labs around the world, and a core group at Penn, have been studying recently described populations of immune cells called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs). Some researchers liken them to foot soldiers that protect boundary tissues such as the skin, the lining of the lung, and the lining of the gut from microbial onslaught. They also […]

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New drug stimulates immune system to kill infected cells in animal model of hepatitis B infection

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A novel drug developed by Gilead Sciences and tested in an animal model at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio suppresses hepatitis B virus infection by stimulating the immune system and inducing loss of infected cells. In a study conducted at Texas Biomed’s Southwest National Primate Research Center, researchers found that the immune […]

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Engineered T cells kill tumors but spare normal tissue in an animal model

The need to distinguish between normal cells and tumor cells is a feature that has been long sought for most types of cancer drugs. Tumor antigens, unique proteins on the surface of a tumor, are potential targets for a normal immune response against cancer. Identifying which antigens a patient’s tumor cells express is the cornerstone […]

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Fish oil can boost the immune system

Fish oil rich in DHA and EPA is widely believed to help prevent disease by reducing inflammation, but until now, scientists were not entirely sure about its immune enhancing effects. A new report appearing in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, helps provide clarity on this by showing that DHA-rich fish […]

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Engineered immune cells battle acute leukaemia

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Genetically engineered immune cells can drive an aggressive type of leukaemia into retreat, a small clinical trial suggests. The results of the trial — done in five patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia — are published in Science Translational Medicine and represent the latest success for a ‘fringe’ therapy in which a type of immune cell […]

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