Immune system

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Finding therapeutic targets

Pancreatic cancer: Seeking viable treatment strategies

Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of any cancers, with immunotherapies currently offering negligible treatment benefits for patients. To help identify new therapeutic approaches, researchers from the University of Oxford have been focusing on leukocyte infiltration as a prognostic marker of the disease. Their study and findings were outlined by Dr Shivan Sivakumar during a session…

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Profiling the coronavirus

Experts unlock Covid-19 secrets

Experts have identified two distinct immunological and cellular profiles in the lungs of Covid-19 patients which they believe could help define treatment pathways. From some of the earliest Covid-19 autopsies conducted in Europe, Swiss-based researchers have performed integrative digital pathology and transcriptomic analyses of lung tissues of 16 coronavirus patients who died from respiratory…

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Biomaterial research

Wound-healing hydrogel to improve skin tissue repair

Researchers at Duke University and the University of California, Los Angeles, have developed a biomaterial that significantly reduces scar formation after wounding, leading to more effective skin healing. This new material, which quickly degrades once the wound has closed, demonstrates that activating an adaptive immune response can trigger regenerative wound healing, leaving behind stronger and…

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Improved patient response

Existing heart drugs may help with PD(L)1 immunotherapy

Researchers have found that a class of commonly-used heart drugs may also improve patients’ responses to anti-cancer immunotherapies called PD(L)1 inhibitors, according to preliminary findings to be presented at the 32th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics. Angiotensin receptor II blockers (ARBs) are often prescribed for high blood pressure, heart failure,…

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Fending off the coronavirus

The role of T-cells in SARS-CoV-2 virus defense

Our immune system can efficiently fend off viral diseases. Two types of immune cells play an important role in this process: The T-cells, which firstly can directly destroy virus-infected cells and secondly enable the formation of efficient, virus-neutralizing antibodies by B-cells. These two cell types also play a crucial role in the immune defense against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Whereas antibody…

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Coronavirus research

Boosting the immune system: a potential treatment strategy for COVID-19?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives around the world, much research has focused on the immune system’s role in patients who become seriously ill. A popular theory has it that the immune system gets so revved up fighting the virus that, after several days, it produces a so-called cytokine storm that results in potentially fatal organ damage, particularly to the lungs.

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Re-evaluation of the coronavirus disease

COVID-19: A tale of two conditions

The SARS CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 may have been named prematurely. As more has become known about the infection, the severe disease does not appear to be a respiratory syndrome at all. Patients who only have a respiratory illness tend not to have a severe condition, while patients who develop a severe condition tend to have non-respiratory conditions, primarily thrombotic or hyper-immune…

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Immune system sabotage

SARS-CoV-2 induces shutdown of protein synthesis

Although its name is relatively unspecific and indeed opaque, the Nonstructural Protein 1 (Nsp1) encoded by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is responsible for the current pandemic, has now been shown to have a devastating effect on host cells. Nsp1 is in fact one of the central weapons used by the virus to ensure its own replication and propagation in human hosts. Nsp1 was identified as a…

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Cross-presenting dendritic cells

How breast cancer sneaks past local immune defenses

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Associate Professor Mikala Egeblad and her colleagues describe a newly understood way by which breast cancer cells sabotage a key player in the body’s immune system. That key player provides local immune surveillance by activating killer T-cells, but if it cannot mature and do its job, breast cancer cells can escape detection from the immune system,…

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Coronavirus research

How type 1 interferon deficiency hints at severe forms of COVID-19

Which patient will develop a severe form of COVID-19? This is an essential question which must be answered in order to improve the individual management and the prognosis of these patients. In a publication in the journal Science, teams from the Assistance publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Inserm, Université de Paris, Institut Pasteur and Institut Imagine describe a unique and unexpected…

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The difficulty? Unpredictability in the entire process

Immunotherapy for lung cancer patients

Better outcomes, more favourable prognoses – oncologists and their lung cancer patients didn’t dare to dream about it. Finally, there might be hope. The so-called checkpoint inhibitors (immunotherapy drug) have been used successfully, albeit not for every patient. They are a double-edged sword, with risks as well as opportunities, as explained by Professor Cornelia Schäfer-Prokop.

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SARS-CoV-2

COVID-19: why do patients immune response differ?

It remains one of the key questions of the current corona pandemic: Why do people infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience varying degrees of COVID-19, the disease which it triggers? Researchers, led by Professor Mascha Binder from University Hospital Halle (Saale), have investigated more than 14 million receptor sequences of B and T cells, i.e. immune cells, obtained from blood samples of COVID-19…

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Immune system overreaction

Sepsis can cause long-term damage in the brain

Infections can trigger a particularly strong immune reaction of the body (termed sepsis). In such a sepsis the immune system reacts so strongly that not only the pathogens but also tissues and organs are damaged. In a study with mice, researchers from the Technische Universität Braunschweig were able to show that sepsis can have long-term effects on the brain and learning behaviour even after…

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Light or severe progression

The dangerous dual role of the immune system in COVID-19

Infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 follows a highly variable course: some of those infected do not even notice it, while others become so seriously ill that their lives are placed at risk. Scientists from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and their colleagues from Leipzig and Heidelberg have now discovered that the immune system has a…

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Immunology

COVID-19 study reveals universally effective antibodies

The first round of results from an immunological study of 149 people who have recovered from COVID-19 show that although the amount of antibodies they generated varies widely, most individuals had generated at least some that were intrinsically capable of neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Antibodies vary widely in their efficacy. While many may latch on to the virus, only some are truly…

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Deadly mechanism uncovered

Inside COVID-19's 'cytokine storm'

Leading immunologists in Japan are proposing a possible molecular mechanism that causes massive release of proinflammatory cytokines, or a cytokine storm, leading to the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients. Their suggestions, published in the journal Immunity, are based on recent findings that explain how SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells.

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Cause for lack of immune defense against tumors discovered

Improving immunotherapy for cancer

Our immune system not only protects us against infection, but also against cancer. This powerful protection is based in particular on the activation of special cells of the immune system, CD8+ T cells. These cells recognize infected or cancer cells and kill them specifically. “The ability of the immune system and especially CD8+ T cells to eliminate cancer cells in tissues such as the lung, gut…

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After the denoidectomy

Using tonsils as an 'immune testbed'

Biomedical researchers in Munich have isolated immune cells from human tonsils obtained following routine surgery, and used them to analyze aspects of the immune response and test the effects of anti-inflammatory agents at the cellular level. Human tissues that have been surgically removed from patients are normally treated as waste, especially when they are derived from a ‘dispensable’ organ…

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Intestinal distress

Celiac disease: 'Reprogramming' the immune system to tolerate gluten

Celiac disease affects 0.3-2.4% of people in most countries world-wide, and approx. 2% in Finland. Celiac patients suffer from a variety of symptoms, typically intestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, but are often symptom-free. Immunologist Tobias Freitag co-developed and tested nanoparticles containing gliadin for the immunomodulatory treatment of celiac disease in Professor Seppo Meri’s…

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Immune response regulation

Using iPS cells to fight transplant rejection

Scientists suggest a new strategy that uses induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to regulate immune reaction to transplanted tissues. The team, led by Professor Ken-ichiro Seino of Hokkaido University’s Institute for Genetic Medicine, found that thymic epithelium cells derived from mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can regulate immune response to skin grafts, extending their…

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Novel immune checkpoint discovered

Targeting the cancer microenvironment

Researchers discover a novel checkpoint in immune cells with the potential to treat the cancer cell microenvironment. The recognition of bacterial infections or foreign substances is mediated and controlled by the human immune system. This innate and adaptive immune system comprises the most important metabolic and cellulare processes to fight against infections and other diseases. Paradoxically,…

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