Keyword: immunology

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Soaring MERS Cases in Saudi Arabia Raise Alarms

    05/03/2014 5:59:41 PM PDT · by neverdem · 16 replies
    Science ^ | 2 May 2014 | Kai Kupferschmidt
    Scientists are scrambling to make sense of a sharp increase in reported infections with the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus. In April alone, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have reported over 200 new cases—more than all MERS-affected countries combined in the preceding 2 years. That has sparked fresh fears that the virus may be about to go on a global rampage. The World Health Organization expressed alarm at the new numbers, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published an updated risk assessment on 25 April warning European countries to expect more imported...
  • Obesity is Inflammatory Disease, Rat Study Shows

    05/01/2014 3:12:41 PM PDT · by neverdem · 22 replies
    Sci-News.com ^ | Dec 5, 2013 | NA
    Scientists led by Dr David Fairlie from the University of Queensland, Australia, have found abnormal amounts of an inflammatory protein called PAR2 in the fat tissues of overweight and obese rats and humans. PAR2 is also increased on the surfaces of human immune cells by common fatty acids in the diet. When obese rats on a diet high in sugar and fat were given a new oral drug that binds to PAR2, the inflammation-causing properties of this protein were blocked, as were other effects of the high-fat and high-sugar diet, including obesity itself.Zucker Rat, a pet rat that has developed...
  • Researchers find source of new lineage of immune cells

    02/13/2014 8:39:38 AM PST · by neverdem · 6 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | February 12, 2014 | NA
    The elusive progenitor cells that give rise to innate lymphoid cells—a recently discovered group of infection-fighting white blood cells—have been identified in fetal liver and adult bone marrow of mice, researchers from the University of Chicago report early online in the journal Nature. Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are among the first components of the immune system to confront certain pathogens. They have a critical function at mucosal barriers—locations such as the bowel or the lung—where the body comes in direct contact with the environment. Yet they went undetected by researchers studying the immune system for a century. "Scientists tend to...
  • Study: Alcohol Can Boost Your Immune System

    12/26/2013 8:09:41 PM PST · by neverdem · 47 replies
    CBS News ^ | December 24, 2013 | NA
    ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a new study, alcohol can boost your immune system. Researchers vaccinated animals and then gave them access to alcohol. Researchers found that the animals that had consumed alcohol also had faster responses to the vaccines.According to Medical News Today, the researchers hope this study leads to a better understanding of how the immune system works, and how to improve its ability to respond to vaccines and infections.Researchers were able to show other data to back their findings. According to UCR Today, moderate alcohol consumption has long been associated with a lower mortality rate.Moderate alcohol...
  • New Treatment for Gonorrhea Prevents Reinfection

    10/08/2013 3:17:32 PM PDT · by neverdem · 27 replies
    Scientific American ^ | September 25, 2013 | Rachel Feltman
    A nanoparticle-based cancer therapy has been found to thwart an antibiotic-resistant, sexually transmitted infection in mice A first step has been taken toward a treatment for gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) notorious for its high reinfection rates. This news comes within days of a troubling update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that placed the STD on a list of “urgent threats”(PDF) in the fight against drug-resistant bacteria. According to the CDC, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that causes the malady in humans—which can initially result in painful inflammation and discharge, and can cause infertility and even death if...
  • New function for a well-known immune messenger molecule

    08/30/2013 2:39:15 PM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | August 26, 2013 | NA
    The molecule interleukin-7 (IL-7) is an important immune messenger protein which ensures that a sufficient number of T cells are present in our body for immune defence. Researchers from ETH Zurich have now demonstrated that IL-7 has another important function: it enhances the drainage function of lymphatic vessels, which collect fluid that has leaked out of blood vessels into the body tissue and return it to the bloodstream. In the future, this finding could become useful for lymphedema patients, whose lymphatic drainage system does not work properly, resulting in fluid accumulation and tissue swelling. The predisposition to develop lymphedema may,...
  • Antigenic sugars identified for Chagas disease

    07/27/2013 12:39:57 AM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 23 July 2013 | Sonja Hampel
    The triatomine beetles that transmit Chagas disease are known as kissing bugs because they tend to feed on peopleÂ’s facesScientists in the US and Spain have synthesised the combinations of sugars from the surface of the Chagas disease parasite that trigger the human immune response to it. This could help establish better diagnostic tests for the disease, and even a vaccine.Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The parasite is transmitted by contaminated food, blood transfusions and blood sucking beetles commonly known as kissing bugs. After a phase of acute local infection, the disease becomes chronic and can...
  • Women are more vulnerable to infections

    07/26/2013 11:17:15 PM PDT · by neverdem · 60 replies
    Nature News ^ | 26 July 2013 | Brendan Maher
    Public-health officials discount role of sex in people's response to flu and other infections. Sabra Klein came to the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction this week armed with a message that might seem obvious to scientists who obsess over sex: men and women are different. But it is a fact often overlooked by health researchers, says Klein, an immunologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Her research on influenza viruses in mice, presented at the meeting in Montreal, Canada, helps explain why women are more susceptible to death and...
  • Asymmetrical glycans synthesized in lab

    07/26/2013 11:03:21 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    Nature News ^ | 25 July 2013 | Richard Johnston
    Method uses core carbohydrate to build variations of ubiquitous but enigmatic biomolecules Scientists have demonstrated a new method for synthesizing glycans, a class of crucial but elusive carbohydrates. The technique opens the way to a comprehensive study of glycans, one of four key macromolecule groups in biology — along with proteins, nucleic acids and lipids — and the least studied of them. The results could also lead to a better understanding of the outer shells of viruses. Glycans are made of sugar molecules, which can form simple chains or more elaborate, branching arrangements. They are ubiquitous in the living world....
  • Genetic test fingers viral, bacterial infections: Method could help doctors treat children's fevers

    07/24/2013 12:29:45 AM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Science News ^ | July 16, 2013 | Tina Hesman Saey
    By differentiating between bacterial and viral fevers, a new test may help doctors decide whether to prescribe antibiotics. Fevers are a common symptom of many infectious diseases, but it can be difficult to tell whether viruses or bacteria are the cause. By measuring gene activity in the blood of 22 sick children, Gregory Storch, a pediatrician and infectious disease researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and colleagues were able to distinguish bacteria-sparked fevers from ones kindled by viruses. The activity of hundreds of genes changed as the children’s immune systems responded to the pathogens, but the team found that...
  • Interspecies Transplant Paves the Way for Diabetes Therapy

    07/20/2013 1:38:27 PM PDT · by neverdem · 24 replies
    Voice of America ^ | July 20, 2013 | Jessica Berman
    Researchers have come closer to the “Holy Grail” of treatment for people with type 1 diabetes. They have successfully transplanted insulin-producing islet cells from one species into another without the use of immunity-suppressing drugs. In the future this could provide an unlimited supply of tissue to treat people whose bodies cannot produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that delivers glucose - a form of sugar that the body uses for fuel - to cells for energy. Since the immune systems of people with type 1 diabetes attack and destroy the islet cells that produce insulin, many...
  • Cancer - A cure just got closer thanks to a tiny British company - and the result could change...

    07/15/2013 8:32:52 PM PDT · by neverdem · 15 replies
    Independent (UK) | 14 JULY 2013 | STEVE CONNOR
    Exclusive: Cancer - A cure just got closer thanks to a tiny British company - and the result could change lives of millions That's the complete title. Here's the link.
  • Rare mutation prompts race for cholesterol drug

    07/15/2013 12:16:26 AM PDT · by neverdem · 22 replies
    NY Times via Columbus Dispatch (OH) ^ | July 14, 2013 | Gina Kolata
    She was a 32-year-old aerobics instructor from a Dallas suburb — healthy, college-educated, with two young children. Nothing out of the ordinary, except one thing. Her cholesterol was astoundingly low. Her low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the form that promotes heart disease, was 14, a level unheard-of in healthy adults, whose normal level is over 100. The reason: a rare gene mutation she had inherited from both parents. Only one other person, a young, healthy Zimbabwean woman whose LDL cholesterol was 15, has ever been found with the same mutation. The discovery of the mutation and of the two women with...
  • New wonder drug matches and kills all kinds of cancer — human testing starts 2014

    07/11/2013 11:38:50 AM PDT · by GrandJediMasterYoda · 93 replies
    Ny Post ^ | 7/11/13 | By MICHAEL BLAUSTEIN
    New wonder drug matches and kills all kinds of cancer — human testing starts 2014 By MICHAEL BLAUSTEIN Last Updated: 2:03 PM, July 11, 2013 Posted: 12:55 PM, July 11, 2013 Stanford researchers are on track to begin human trials of a potentially potent new weapon against cancer, and would-be participants are flooding in following the Post’s initial report on the discovery. The progress comes just two months after the groundbreaking study by Dr Irv Weissman, who developed an antibody that breaks down a cancer's defense mechanisms in the body. A protein called CD47 tells the body not to "eat"...
  • Bacterial molecules may prevent inflammatory bowel disease

    07/13/2013 5:53:23 PM PDT · by neverdem · 34 replies
    Science News ^ | July 9, 2013 | Jessica Shugart
    Common compounds produced by gut microbes quench colitis in mice Common molecules made by bacteria in the gut may act as chill pills for the immune system. Molecules secreted by intestinal bacteria work to prevent misplaced immune attacks in inflammatory bowel diseases like colitis, a new study finds. “It is a huge advance,” says Sarkis Mazmanian of Caltech. “This opens up the notion that a very easy and potentially very safe therapy for inflammatory bowel disease could exist.” Decades of research have hinted that microbes play a role in immune-related diseases such as obesity, allergy, inflammatory bowel disease and colon...
  • Mom's Antibodies May Cause Some Autism

    07/13/2013 2:50:19 AM PDT · by neverdem · 17 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 10 July 2013 | Emily Underwood
    Enlarge Image Monkey business. Young rhesus monkeys that receive human antibrain antibodies in utero act oddly in social situations. Credit: Nancy Collins/Creative Commons "Antibrain" antibodies that slip through the placenta from mother to fetus during pregnancy may account for roughly a quarter of autism cases, a new study suggests. Some scientists say the work could lead to a blood test that accurately predicts whether a mother will bear a child with this immune-triggered form of the disorder—a claim that's raising eyebrows among skeptics. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a range of communication and social deficits estimated to affect 1 in...
  • Cholera is Altering the Human Genome

    07/04/2013 4:06:33 PM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 3 July 2013 | Mitch Leslie
    Enlarge Image Laid low. A cholera ward in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a country where nearly half the people are infected with the cholera bacterium by age 15. Credit: Mark Knobil/Creative Commons Cholera kills thousands of people a year, but a new study suggests that the human body is fighting back. Researchers have found evidence that the genomes of people in Bangladesh—where the disease is prevalent—have developed ways to combat the disease, a dramatic case of human evolution happening in modern times. Cholera has hitchhiked around the globe, even entering Haiti with UN peacekeepers in 2010, but the disease's heartland is...
  • Cancer Scientists Prove Long-Standing Theory on How Cancer Spreads

    06/30/2013 8:57:49 PM PDT · by neverdem · 18 replies
    SciTech Daily ^ | June 28, 2013 | Staff
    A newly published study shows that white blood cells and a cancer cells can fuse and initiate a tumor, providing the first proof in humans of a long proposed theory.Yale Cancer Center scientists, together with colleagues at the Denver Police Crime Lab and the University of Colorado, have found evidence that a human metastatic tumor can arise when a leukocyte (white blood cell) and a cancer cell fuse to form a genetic hybrid. Their study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, may answer the question of how cancer cells travel from the primary tumor’s site of origin to distant organs...
  • Type 1 diabetes vaccine hailed as 'significant step'

    06/27/2013 3:28:10 PM PDT · by CutePuppy · 14 replies
    BBC ^ | June 26, 2013 | BBC
    It may be possible to reverse type 1 diabetes by training a patient's own immune system to stop attacking their body, an early trial suggests. Their immune system destroys the cells that make insulin, the hormone needed to control blood sugar levels. A study in 80 patients, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, showed a vaccine could retrain their immune system. Experts described the results as a "significant step". Normally a vaccine teaches the immune system to attack bacteria or viruses that cause disease, such as the polio virus. Researchers at the Stanford University Medical Centre used a vaccine...
  • Medical research: Cell division - In 1962, Leonard Hayflick created a cell strain from an aborted...

    06/27/2013 5:22:04 PM PDT · by neverdem · 6 replies
    Nature News ^ | 26 June 2013 | Meredith Wadman
    In 1962, Leonard Hayflick created a cell strain from an aborted fetus. More than 50 years later, WI-38 remains a crucial, but controversial, source of cells. The woman was four months pregnant, but she didn't want another child. In 1962, at a hospital in Sweden, she had a legal abortion... --snip-- “Other vaccines are produced in a completely morally non-objectionable way. So why aren't we doing this with all vaccines?” says Debi Vinnedge, the executive director of Children of God for Life, a group based in Largo, Florida, that opposes the use of WI-38 in vaccine-making. In 2003, Vinnedge wrote...
  • New Type 1 diabetes vaccine shows promising results

    06/27/2013 3:53:11 PM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    CBS News ^ | June 27, 2013 | MICHELLE CASTILLO
    A clinical trial for a Type 1 diabetes vaccine has resulted in promising findings, suggesting there may be a future where we can prevent people from getting the disease. Researchers completed a 12-week trial on a DNA-based vaccine on 80 subjects with Type 1 diabetes. The patients were able to maintain levels of a blood-borne intermediary that can stimulate insulin production, and some subjects were able to increase levels. That suggests the cellular changes that occur in patients with Type 1 diabetes may be shut down.  "We're very excited by these results, which suggest that the immunologist's dream of shutting...
  • News in Brief: No link found between vaccines and nerve-damaging condition (Guillain-Barré syndrome)

    06/27/2013 2:23:30 PM PDT · by neverdem · 15 replies
    Science News ^ | June 27, 2013 | Nathan Seppa
    Recently immunized people are not more apt to develop Guillain-Barre syndrome Shortly after getting a vaccination, people are no more likely to develop a dangerous nerve-damaging condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome, or GBS, than they are at other times, a new analysis finds. Roger Baxter of Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and his colleagues reviewed medical records from 1994 to 2006 of more than 3 million Kaiser members and found 415 diagnoses of GBS. Only 25 of these people had received any vaccine in the six weeks prior to being diagnosed with the condition. None were children. Analyses showed that...
  • Students develop antivenom in high school lab

    06/24/2013 2:45:14 AM PDT · by neverdem · 13 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 20 June 2013 | Jennifer Newton
    © ShutterstockA US high school teacher and nine of his students have made nanoparticles that can neutralise venom from one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa. These nanoparticles could offer a way to make cheaper and more practical antivenoms.Traditional antivenoms are made by injecting sublethal toxin doses into an animal to invoke an immune response. Antibodies produced in this immune response are then harvested from the animal’s serum. Such antivenoms are not only expensive but they also required refrigeration – a major limitation considering antivenoms are often required in remote locations.Now, Steven Sogo and his best students from...
  • Drug Combo Helps Immune System Fight Tumors

    06/10/2013 9:38:01 PM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 30 May 2013 | Jocelyn Kaiser
    Enlarge Image Double whammy. Combining a SIRPa protein (CV1 mono) and the cancer drug rituximab virtually wiped out tumors in mice after 29 days. Credit: Adapted From K. Weiskopf et al., Science (2013) To avoid being destroyed by our immune systems, cancer cells engage in a bit of trickery. As they divide to form tumors, they fly under the radar of macrophages, immune cells whose job it is to ingest dead cells and dangerous invaders. Today, many cancer patients are treated with antibody drugs that work in part by marking tumor cells for destruction by macrophages. Although these drugs...
  • Multiple Sclerosis: MS Treatment 'Breakthrough'

    06/05/2013 1:15:04 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 23 replies
    SKY NEWS ^ | 06/05/2013 | Thomas Moore, Health Correspondent
    <p>Doctors hope a new experimental treatment could halt the progression of multiple sclerosis.</p> <p>For the first time, researchers have reprogrammed the immune systems of MS patients to stop cells attacking the protective layer around nerves in the spinal cord.</p>
  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Anti-Vaxxer

    06/06/2013 11:57:28 AM PDT · by neverdem · 27 replies
    Slate ^ | June 5, 2013 | Phil Plait
    The Kennedy family name is laden with history and brings to mind a definite set of characteristics: glamor, power, intelligence, wealth, influence. Kennedys have had their name on a president, numerous senators, representatives, ambassadors, and other high office holders. The Kennedy dynasty, if you wish to call it that, has seen its share of triumphs and disasters, of course. I need not go into detail; scores of books have been written about them, from putting humans on the Moon and the championing of civil rights to personal tragedies of assassination, death, scandal, and more. Most of these issues are in...
  • Immune Protein Could Stop Diabetes in Its Tracks, Discovery Suggests

    05/30/2013 5:06:32 PM PDT · by neverdem · 7 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | May 20, 2013 | NA
    Melbourne researchers have identified an immune protein that has the potential to stop or reverse the development of type 1 diabetes in its early stages, before insulin-producing cells have been destroyed. The discovery has wider repercussions, as the protein is responsible for protecting the body against excessive immune responses, and could be used to treat, or even prevent, other immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Professor Len Harrison, Dr Esther Bandala-Sanchez and Dr Yuxia Zhang led the research team from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's Molecular Medicine division that identified the immune protein CD52 as responsible...
  • Immunotherapy’s cancer remit widens - Combination therapies hold great promise, but at what cost?

    05/29/2013 12:19:38 AM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Nature News ^ | 28 May 2013 | Heidi Ledford
    Drugs that unleash the power of the immune system on cancers are generating considerable optimism in industry, but still Andrew Baum thinks analysts are selling them short. In a 22 May report, Baum, the London-based head of global health-care research at the investment bank Citi, forecasts that in ten years the drugs will be treating 60% of cancers and earning US$35 billion a year. Three elements contribute to his bullishness: the drugs are showing signs of wider effectiveness; many patients will take them for years; and the prices are stratospheric (see ‘Stiff medicine’). One of the first such drugs to...
  • 'Universal' flu vaccine effective in animals

    05/23/2013 10:32:31 AM PDT · by neverdem · 12 replies
    Nature News ^ | 22 May 2013 | Ed Yong
    Self-assembling nanoparticles could make updating seasonal vaccines easier. Under the microscope, they look like simple jacks, with eight spikes jutting out of a central ball. But these protein nanoparticles are science's latest weapon against influenza: a new breed of flu vaccine that provides better and broader protection than commercially available ones — at least in animal tests. Current flu vaccines use inactivated whole viruses and must be regularly remade to target the strains most likely to cause illness in the coming year. But the new nanoparticles would require fewer updates because they induce the production of antibodies that neutralize a...
  • UPDATE 1-Regeneron, Sanofi asthma drug seen as potential game changer

    05/22/2013 10:06:51 PM PDT · by neverdem · 10 replies
    Reuters ^ | May 21, 2013 | Ransdell Pierson
    A new type of asthma drug meant to attack the underlying causes of the respiratory disease slashed episodes by 87 percent in a mid-stage trial, making it a potential game changer for patients with moderate to severe disease, researchers said on Tuesday. "Overall, these are the most exciting data we've seen in asthma in 20 years," said Dr. Sally Wenzel, lead investigator for the 104-patient study of dupilumab, an injectable treatment being developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and French drugmaker Sanofi. The drug also met all its secondary goals, such as improving symptoms and lung function and reducing the need...
  • FLU VACCINE MAY HIT FAST TRACK

    05/19/2013 2:38:48 PM PDT · by neverdem · 23 replies
    San Diego Union-Tribune ^ | MAY 15, 2013 | Bradley J. Fikes
    Local researchers show online data transfer could lead to safer response in days rather than months Flu pandemic vaccine manufacturing could begin in days, not months, potentially saving a great numbers of lives in case of a severe outbreak, according to a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine. Starting with digitized viral genomes, researchers led by San Diego geneticist J. Craig Venter along with Rino Rappuoli of Novartis, reproduced, or “rescued” flu viruses in just four days and four hours. Traditional methods take about four months. “To date, we have not encountered any influenza virus strain that cannot be...
  • Step towards a spider venom vaccine

    05/14/2013 10:13:08 PM PDT · by neverdem · 13 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 13 May 2013 | Emma Stoye
    Brazilian researchers have engineered a protein that should make producing antivenoms to treat spider bites both cheaper and simpler. The protein may also pave the way for a vaccine, as it can prime the immune system to cancel out the worst effects of the spider venom.Venomous spiders inflict pain, injury and even death in several parts of the world. Those bitten often need to be treated with an antivenom, a serum containing specific animal antibodies against the venom toxins. Antivenoms are currently produced by injecting the venom into an animal to provoke an immune response. But a single spider only...
  • Interleukin-6: a new therapeutic target in systemic sclerosis?

    05/08/2013 3:50:30 PM PDT · by neverdem · 2 replies
    Clinical & Translational Immunology ^ | 12 April 2013 | Steven O'Reilly, Rachel Cant, Marzena Ciechomska and Jacob M van Laar
    Abstract Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a classic pro-inflammatory cytokine critical in mounting an effective immune response. It is secreted by a wide array of cell types; however, its effector cells are more restricted, owing to the fact that very few cells, except lymphocytes and hepatocytes, express the functional membrane IL-6 receptor thus reducing the number of IL-6-responsive cells. Trans-signalling, the shedding of the membrane-bound form of the IL-6 receptor into the local microenvironment, greatly increases the range of cells that can respond. IL-6 has been demonstrated to have a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, Castleman’s disease and Crohn’s...
  • New Immune Cells Hint at Eczema Cause

    04/27/2013 10:48:37 PM PDT · by neverdem · 16 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | Apr. 21, 2013 | NA
    Sydney researchers have discovered a new type of immune cell in skin that plays a role in fighting off parasitic invaders such as ticks, mites, and worms, and could be linked to eczema and allergic skin diseases. The team from the Immune Imaging and T cell Laboratories at the Centenary Institute worked with colleagues from SA Pathology in Adelaide, the Malaghan Institute in Wellington, New Zealand and the USA. The new cell type is part of a family known as group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) which was discovered less than five years ago in the gut and the lung,...
  • Antibody Transforms Stem Cells Directly Into Brain Cells

    04/24/2013 3:59:53 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | Apr. 22, 2013 | NA
    In a serendipitous discovery, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found a way to turn bone marrow stem cells directly into brain cells. Current techniques for turning patients' marrow cells into cells of some other desired type are relatively cumbersome, risky and effectively confined to the lab dish. The new finding points to the possibility of simpler and safer techniques. Cell therapies derived from patients' own cells are widely expected to be useful in treating spinal cord injuries, strokes and other conditions throughout the body, with little or no risk of immune rejection. "These results highlight the potential...
  • Researchers see antibody evolve against HIV

    04/04/2013 9:05:51 PM PDT · by neverdem · 15 replies
    Nature News ^ | 03 April 2013 | Erika Check Hayden
    Study could aid development of more effective vaccines. For the first time, scientists have tracked in a patient the evolution of a potent immune molecule that recognizes many different HIV viruses. By revealing how these molecules — called broadly neutralizing antibodies — develop, the research could inform efforts to make vaccines that elicit similar antibodies that can protect people from becoming infected with HIV. The researchers, led by Barton Haynes of Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, found that broadly neutralizing antibodies developed only after the population of viruses in the patient had diversified — something that...
  • Study: Getting flu shot 2 years in a row may lower protection

    03/24/2013 10:30:10 PM PDT · by neverdem · 31 replies
    Experts are puzzled by a new study in which influenza vaccination seemed to provide little or no protection against flu in the 2010-11 season—and in which the only participants who seemed to benefit from the vaccine were those who hadn't been vaccinated the season before. The investigators recruited 328 households in Michigan before the flu season started and followed them through the season. Overall, they found that the infection risk was nearly the same in vaccinated and unvaccinated participants, indicating no significant vaccine-induced protection, according to their report in Clinical Infectious Diseases. That contrasted sharply with several other observational studies...
  • Engineered immune cells battle acute leukaemia - Modified T cells seek out and destroy blood cancer.

    03/21/2013 4:30:31 PM PDT · by neverdem · 7 replies
    Nature News ^ | 20 March 2013 | Heidi Ledford
    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 Medicine1 and represent the latest success for a 'fringe' therapy in which a type of immune cell called T cells are extracted from a patient, genetically modified, and then reinfused back. In this case, the T cells were engineered to express a receptor for a protein on other immune cells, known as B cells, found in both healthy and cancerous tissue. When...
  • Salty Food May Be a Culprit in Autoimmune Diseases

    03/08/2013 7:29:35 PM PST · by neverdem · 42 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 6 March 2013 | Mitch Leslie
    Enlarge Image Don't pass the salt. The food flavoring prompts generic T cells like these to specialize into TH17 cells that stimulate autoimmune diseases, new findings suggest. Credit: N. Yosef et al., Nature 495 (6 March) © 2013 Nature Publishing Group For decades, doctors have been admonishing us to cut back on salt to reduce the odds of a heart attack or stroke. Now, there may be a new reason to avoid the seasoning: Studies on rodents and cultured cells, reported today, reveal that dietary salt might promote autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. The...
  • Immune cells chow down on living brain

    03/06/2013 5:27:33 PM PST · by neverdem · 14 replies
    Science News ^ | March 5, 2013 | Meghan Rosen
    Microglia eat neural stem cells in developing rat and monkey brains Zombies aren’t the only things that feast on brains. Immune cells called microglia gorge on neural stem cells in developing rat and monkey brains, researchers report in the Mar. 6 Journal of Neuroscience. Chewing up neuron-spawning stem cells could help control brain size by pruning away excess growth. Scientists have previously linked abnormal human brain size to autism and schizophrenia. “It shows microglia are very important in the developing brain,” says neuroscientist Joseph Mathew Antony of the University of Toronto, who was not involved in the research. Scientists have...
  • Molecule That Decreases Airway Inflammation Could Lead To New Asthma Treatments

    03/06/2013 4:41:09 PM PST · by neverdem · 14 replies
    redOrbit ^ | February 28, 2013 | NA
    Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston have discovered a molecule that controls cells responsible for decreasing airway inflammation in asthma patients, and their discovery could lead to new treatments for the millions of Americans that suffer from the disease. The molecule is known as lipoxin A4, and according to the researchers, it is responsible for resolving inflammation. It accomplishes this in two ways using two different types of immune cells. It encourages natural killer cells to decrease inflammation by working to facilitate eosinophil cell death. Lipoxin A4 also discourages type 2 innate lymphoid cells from promoting...
  • A Passport to Nanomedicine Success

    02/23/2013 8:36:57 PM PST · by neverdem · 2 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 21 February 2013 | Robert F. Service
    Enlarge Image Bypassing the guard. To avoid destruction by a wary immune system, nanoparticles must get past macrophages like the one shown here. Credit: Hemera/Thinkstock It's a popular goal in nanotechnology these days: using tiny particles as containers to ferry drugs to tumors, among other targets. But immune sentries called macrophages quickly spot foreign invaders and gobble them up. Now, a team of Pennsylvania researchers has found a way to give particles a molecular "passport" that gets them past the sentries in mice, where the particles then deliver their lethal cargo to tumors and help destroy them. That success...
  • How Common 'Cat Parasite' Gets Into Human Brain and Influences Human Behavior

    02/14/2013 1:19:40 AM PST · by neverdem · 44 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | Dec. 6, 2012 | NA
    Toxoplasma is a common 'cat parasite', and has previously been in the spotlight owing to its observed effect on risk-taking and other human behaviours. To some extent, it has also been associated with mental illness. A study led by researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden now demonstrates for the first time how the parasite enters the brain to influence its host. "We believe that this knowledge may be important for the further understanding of complex interactions in some major public health issues, that modern science still hasn't been able to explain fully," says Antonio Barragan, researcher at the Center for...
  • Newly identified natural protein blocks HIV, other deadly viruses

    02/12/2013 2:27:08 PM PST · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | February 11, 2013 | NA
    A team of UCLA-led researchers has identified a protein with broad virus-fighting properties that potentially could be used as a weapon against deadly human pathogenic viruses such as HIV, Ebola, Rift Valley Fever, Nipah and others designated "priority pathogens" for national biosecurity purposes by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. In a study published in the January issue of the journal Immunity, the researchers describe the novel antiviral property of the protein, cholesterol-25-hydroxylase (CH25H), an enzyme that converts cholesterol to an oxysterol called 25-hydroxycholesterol (25HC), which can permeate a cell's wall and block a virus from getting in....
  • Tests in Mice Misled Researchers on 3 Diseases, Study Says

    02/11/2013 6:58:20 PM PST · by neverdem · 18 replies
    NY Times ^ | February 11, 2013 | GINA KOLATA
    For decades, mice have been the species of choice in the study of human diseases. But now, researchers report stunning evidence that the mouse model has been totally misleading for at least three major killers — sepsis, burns and trauma. As a result, years and billions of dollars have been wasted following false leads, they say. The study does not mean that mice are useless models for all human diseases. But, its authors said, it does raise troubling questions about diseases like the ones in the study that involve the immune system, including cancer and... --snip-- “That started us thinking,”...
  • Small-molecule drug drives cancer cells to suicide

    02/07/2013 2:12:52 PM PST · by neverdem · 8 replies
    Nature News ^ | 07 February 2013 | Zoe Cormier
    Studies in mice show therapy is effective even in hard-to-treat brain tumours. Cancer researchers have pinned down a molecule that can kick-start the body’s own tumour-destroying systems, triggering cell death in cancerous but not healthy tissue in mice. The molecule, TIC10, activates the gene for a protein called TRAIL (tumour-necrosis-factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand), which has long been a target for cancer researchers looking for drugs that would avoid the debilitating effects of conventional therapies. “TRAIL is a part of our immune system: all of us with functional immune systems use this molecule to keep tumours from forming or spreading, so boosting...
  • Researchers show how cells' DNA repair machinery can destroy viruses

    01/24/2013 3:18:33 PM PST · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | January 21, 2013 | NA
    This is an illustration of what happens when viral DNA enters the nucleus of a cell with low dUTP levels (left) versus high dUTP levels (right). A team of researchers based at Johns Hopkins has decoded a system that makes certain types of immune cells impervious to HIV infection. The system's two vital components are high levels of a molecule that becomes embedded in viral DNA like a code written in invisible ink, and an enzyme that, when it reads the code, switches from repairing the DNA to chopping it up into unusable pieces. The researchers, who report the find...
  • Immune system molecule with hidden talents

    01/24/2013 2:41:11 PM PST · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | January 22, 2013 | NA
    Dendritic cells, shown here in an electron microscopic picture, need antibodies produced by B cells for their maturation. Dendritic cells, or DCs for short, perform a vital role for the immune system: They engulf pathogens, break them down into their component parts, and then display the pieces on their surface. This in turn signals other immune cells capable of recognizing these pieces to help kick-start their own default program for fighting off the invaders. In order to do their job, the DCs are dependent upon the support from a class of immune system molecules, which have never before been associated...
  • Tracking the origins of HIV

    12/21/2012 3:27:16 PM PST · by neverdem · 16 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | December 18, 2012 | NA
    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may have affected humans for much longer than is currently believed. Alfred Roca, an assistant professor in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, thinks that the genomes of an isolated West African human population provide important clues about how the disease has evolved. HIV is thought to have originated from chimpanzees in central Africa that were infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a retrovirus. "If you look at the diversity present across SIV in chimpanzees, it suggests that they have had it for tens of thousands of years," Roca...
  • HIV Vector Licks Leukemia

    12/10/2012 6:20:25 PM PST · by neverdem · 25 replies
    A gene therapy that uses infusions of patients’ own T cells genetically engineered to attack their tumors enjoyed its first successful and sustained demonstration of clinical-trial success in nine of 12 leukemia patients—two of whom have been in remission for more than two years. The therapy was pioneered by the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, whose researchers will present latest results from the study today at the American Society of Hematology (ASH)'s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Atlanta.According to Penn Perelman, the results pave the way for a potential paradigm shift in the treatment of these types of...