#immune system

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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, a…

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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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Coronavirus vaccine research

'Immune memory' of blood stem cells could help fight COVID-19

Blood stem cells have a surprising ability. In addition to ensuring the continuous renewal of blood cells, they keep track of past infections so that faster and more effective immune responses can be triggered in the future. This is according to a new study co-led by Inserm researcher Sandrine Sarrazin and CNRS researcher Michael Sieweke at the Center of Immunology Marseille-Luminy…

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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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"Immune escape"

Cancer camouflage: how our immune system is duped

T cells play a huge role in our immune system's fight against modified cells in the body that can develop into cancer. Phagocytes and B cells identify changes in these cells and activate the T cells, which then start a full-blown program of destruction. This functions well in many cases – unless the cancer cells mutate and develop a kind of camouflage that let them escape the immune system…

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Personalized treatment

Could B cells turn the tide in sarcoma immunotherapy?

How can the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas, these particularly resistant and aggressive forms of cancer, be improved and better personalized? An international team led by Wolf Hervé Fridman with researchers from Inserm, Sorbonne Université and Université de Paris at the Cordeliers Research Center, in collaboration with the French League against cancer and Institut Bergonié, has shown that…

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Armed antibodies

Tough against cancer, gentle to the immune system

Scientists from the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) at Tübingen University Hospital have managed to attach immunostimulatory cytokines to cancer-specific antibodies for the first time in such a way that they activate the immune response against cancer without causing a dangerous overreaction by the immune system. The research team has now been granted…

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Multiple myeloma therapy

Finding a formula for blood cancer vaccine

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered a way to move precision immunotherapy forward by using genomics to inform immunotherapy for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, in December. This is the first study to experimentally determine which…

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Sprue POCT

Celiac disease: faster detection through new method

Researchers from the University of Helsinki developed a novel diagnostic method for the rapid on-site measurement of antibodies from patient samples. Now they have applied this new method for the diagnostics of celiac disease, with promising results. Point-of-care (POC) testing is a rapidly growing sector, bringing medical testing from central laboratories to where the patient is receiving care.…

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Personalized diagnostics

AI checks effectiveness of immunotherapy

Scientists from the Case Western Reserve University digital imaging lab use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict which lung-cancer patients will benefit from expensive immunotherapy. This is done by teaching a computer to find previously unseen changes in patterns in CT scans taken when the lung cancer is first diagnosed compared to scans taken after the first 2-3 cycles of immunotherapy…

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Tricky virus

Measles infections erase 'immune memory' – vaccination confers protection

Measles infections are not harmless – they can cause disease courses that may be of fatal outcome. Researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) in co-operation with researchers from the UK and the Netherlands have now found out that measles viruses erase part of the immunological memory over several years. Affected persons are thus more susceptible to infections with other pathogens beyond…

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