New insight into immune cell behavior offers opportunities for cancer treatment

An international group of scientists has discovered that certain cells of our immune system—the so-called T cells—communicate with each other and work together as a team. To fight an infection they stimulate each other’s growth, but at the same time, they inhibit each other when there is a surplus of T cells. That insight offers new opportunities for the treatment […]

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Blood-clotting protein and blood platelets promote immune evasion, cancer progression

A new study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC—James) reveals how a clotting protein and blood platelets can promote cancer progression and suppress immune responses to cancer. The findings show how thrombin, a clotting protein in the blood, causes blood platelets to release transforming […]

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How dying cells prevent dangerous immune reactions

Dying cells in the body can keep the immune system in check, thus preventing unwanted immune responses against the body’s own tissues. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center have now identified a receptor on murine immune cells that activates this protective mechanism and can thus prevent dangerous autoimmune reactions in which the immune system attacks the patient’s own body […]

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New model explains how our immune system sometimes helps cancer spread

Mathematicians at the University of Alberta have developed a model that explains how the immune system interacts with cancer—and in some cases, may help cancer spread to other areas of the body. “Past research has shown that sometimes, the immune system has the opposite effect of what we might expect,” said Thomas Hillen, a mathematical biologist at the U of […]

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Immune cells in skin kill MRSA bacteria before they enter the body

A type of immune cell called neutrophils could be responsible for controlling bacterial numbers of an antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on human skin before the bacteria get a chance to invade, according to a new study from Karolinska Institutet published in Cell Reports. The results could provide an explanation for why this superbug is only carried transiently by […]

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The night gardeners: Immune cells rewire, repair brain while we sleep

Science tells us that a lot of good things happen in our brains while we sleep—learning and memories are consolidated and waste is removed, among other things. New research shows for the first time that important immune cells called microglia—which play an important role in reorganizing the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage—are also primarily active while […]

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Using the immune system as a defence against cancer

Research published today in the British Journal of Cancer has found that a naturally occurring molecule and a component of the immune system that can successfully target and kill cancer cells, can also encourage immunity against cancer resurgence. Several teams led by Professor Livio Mallucci from King’s College London discovered that β-galactoside-binding protein (βGBP), a naturally occurring molecule produced by […]

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Bacteria injections help the immune system fight cancer

Cancers evade destruction by convincing some immune cells to suppress others. But a surprising interlocutor can persuade the suppressors to defect, and the destroyers to redouble. A review published in Frontiers in Oncology explains how bacteria can rally immune cells to attack tumors, via ancient lines of chemical communication with our immune system. Decoding these molecular signals is key to […]

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The type of fast you do could matter to your immune system

Those interested in fasting, to boost their health or lose a little belly fat, are not starved for choice. As the trend has grown in popularity, so too have the number of ways in which we can do it. There’s the 16:8, the 5:2, the fast 800, alternate-day fasting, fast "mimicking" and the eat-stop-eat 24-hour fast. But not all types […]

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A genomic barcode tracker for immune cells

Researchers from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have developed a new method to spot rare immune cells that are reactive against cancer cells, from within a patient’s own immune system. The patented ‘RAGE-seq’ method enables scientists to track how immune cells evolve inside tumour tissue for the first time, revealing unprecedented insight into how to better arm the immune […]

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