Tag Archives: white blood cells

Leukaemia drug found to stimulate immunity against many cancer types

A class of drug currently being used to treat leukaemia has the unexpected side-effect of boosting immune responses against many different cancers, reports a new study led by scientists at UCL and the Babraham Institute, Cambridge.

The drugs, called p110δ inhibitors, have shown such remarkable efficacy against certain leukaemias in recent clinical trials that patients on the placebo were switched to the real drug. Until now, however, they have not been tested in other types of cancer. (more…)

Read More

UA Study’s Findings Key to Understanding Immunity as We Age

UA researchers have discovered that two separate defects combine to contribute to reduced T cell responses with aging.

Researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson have found a key to understanding the aging immune system’s decreased response to infectious diseases, which remain among the leading causes of death in older adults.

Aging profoundly affects the immune system’s T cells – the types of white blood cells that defend against intracellular pathogens, such as viruses, intracellular bacteria or parasites, such as malaria. Newly encountered pathogens are attacked by what are known as naïve T cells, some of which then learn and remember, becoming memory T cells that prevent reinfection when they encounter the same pathogen again. But naïve T cells become depleted with age, leading to less effective immune responses against new infections. (more…)

Read More

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria turns immune system against itself

Around 20 percent of all humans are persistently colonized with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, a leading cause of skin infections and one of the major sources of hospital-acquired infections, including the antibiotic-resistant strain MRSA.

University of Chicago scientists have recently discovered one of the keys to the immense success of S. aureus—the ability to hijack a primary human immune defense mechanism and use it to destroy white blood cells. The study was published Nov. 15 in Science. (more…)

Read More

IRCM scientists find a novel research model for the study of auto-immune diseases

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 study was featured in a recent issue of The Journal of Immunology.

Dr. Di Noia’s team studies B cells, a group of white blood cells known as lymphocytes whose main function is to produce antibodies to fight against antigens. Antibodies are proteins used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects (antigens), such as bacteria and viruses, by precisely binding to them, thus making them an essential part of the immune system. Antibodies can come in different varieties (or classes), which perform different roles and adapt the immune response to eliminate each different toxin or pathogen they encounter. The body’s great diversity of antibodies therefore allows the immune system to specifically neutralize an equally wide variety of antigens. (more…)

Read More

Multiple Sclerosis Study Reveals How Killer T Cells Learn to Recognize Nerve Fiber Insulators

Misguided killer T cells may be the missing link in sustained tissue damage in the brains and spines of people with multiple sclerosis, findings from the University of Washington reveal. Cytoxic T cells, also known as CD8+ T cells, are white blood cells that normally are in the body’s arsenal to fight disease.

Multiple sclerosis is characterized by inflamed lesions that damage the insulation surrounding nerve fibers and destroy the axons, electrical impulse conductors that look like long, branching projections. Affected nerves fail to transmit signals effectively. (more…)

Read More

When Cells Hit the Wall: UCLA Engineers Put The Squeeze on Cells to Diagnose Disease

If you throw a rubber balloon filled with water against a wall, it will spread out and deform on impact, while the same balloon filled with honey, which is more viscous, will deform much less. If the balloon’s elastic rubber was stiffer, an even smaller change in shape would be observed.

By simply analyzing how much a balloon changes shape upon hitting a wall, you can uncover information about its physical properties.

Although cells are not simple sacks of fluid, they also contain viscous and elastic properties related to the membranes that surround them; their internal structural elements, such as organelles; and the packed DNA arrangement in their nuclei. Because variations in these properties can provide information about cells’ state of activity and can be indicative of diseases such as cancer, they are important to measure. (more…)

Read More

How Tattoos ‘Move’ With Age

The dyes which are injected into the skin to create tattoos move with time – permanently altering the look of a given design. In this month’s Mathematics Today Dr Ian Eames, a Reader in Fluid Mechanics at UCL, publishes a mathematical model enabling us to estimate the movement of these ink particles and predict how specific tattoo designs will look several years in the future.

“Tattoos are incredibly popular worldwide with more than a third of 18-25 year olds in the USA sporting at least one design,” says Dr Eames. “A great deal of work has already been done on the short term fate of ink particles in the skin, tracking them over periods of just a few months – but much less is known about how these particles move over longer periods of time. (more…)

Read More

How Microbes Take Out the Trash

*The molecular machinery bacteria use to rid themselves of toxic substances including antimicrobial drugs has been studied in detail by a UA-led team of researchers. A better understanding of these mechanisms could lead to new weapons in the fight against pathogens.*

Microbes have colonized virtually every spot on this planet, from deep sea vents spewing scalding seawater laden with heavy metals to the icy pinnacles of the world’s tallest mountain ranges.

Part of their ability to thrive in the harshest of environments rests on sophisticated cellular mechanisms to deal with substances that are needed to run biochemical processes but dangerous when allowed to accumulate to higher levels. (more…)

Read More