||Last Updated: Nov 17th, 2006 - 22:35:04
Pregnant women with lupus are at higher risk for complications
Women with systemic lupus who become pregnant are at significantly greater risk for death or other medical complications than are pregnant women without lupus, Duke University Medical Center researchers have found in a nationwide study of more than 18 million women.
Nov 12, 2006, 16:21
Molecular 'signature' protects cells from viruses
Every cell constantly produces a whole arsenal of proteins. The instruction what is to be built comes from the cell nucleus: this is where the DNA is stored, the heredity molecule in which, so to speak, the construction blueprints for all cellular proteins are stored. If a particular protein is to be produced, the appropriate command is 'copied' in the cell nucleus. The copy consists of a DNA-like substance, the RNA. Via pores in the cell nucleus it reaches the cell plasma. The individual parts of the desired protein are put together there on a kind of assembly line. In this process the assembly line follows exactly the blueprint which is stored in the relevant RNA.
Oct 13, 2006, 01:34
Discovery in the evolution of the immune system absorbing cells
Led by Dr J Oriol Sunyer, of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and formed by researchers from Philadelphia, St Louis and Idaho (USA) and by Dr Lluís Tort of the Universitat Autňnoma de Barcelona, the group has been able to show that B cells in fish as well as in amphibians are capable of strong phagocytosis both in in vivo and in vitro experiments. The work has been published in Nature Immunology, the most prestigious journal worldwide in the field of immunology.
Oct 5, 2006, 01:02
Leeds University study shows eculizumab may be an effective therapy for PNH
A study led by Dr Peter Hillmen of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, relating to an uncommon and severe haemolytic anaemia known as paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH), was published in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
Sep 21, 2006, 20:23
Research Reveals Inner Workings of Immune System “Thermostat”
When bacteria, viruses or parasites attack, immune system cells unleash the soldiers. These “hot” protein compounds kill invaders – but also trigger inflammation, which, if unchecked, can destroy tissue, induce shock and kill the host. So immune system cells let loose another protein compound to cool down the immune response.
Aug 19, 2006, 16:43
CD23 Protein in Stool Samples may Indicate Food Allergy
Researchers have identified one of the proteins that may be responsible for causing food allergies, which could lead to the development of more accurate non-invasive tests to identify true food allergies, according to a study published in the July issue of Gastroenterology, the journal for the members of the American Gastroenterological Association.
Jul 24, 2006, 18:18
Molecular signals triggering maturation of natural killer cells uncovered
A collaboration between scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Pasteur Institute in Paris has uncovered the molecular signals that trigger maturation of natural killer cells, an important group of immune system cells, into fully armed killing machines.
Jun 6, 2006, 14:47
New method to analyse the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) of the human genome
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have developed a new method for analyzing the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) of the human genome. This large region, found on chromosome 6, encodes more than 400 known genes. The best known of these genes are the HLA genes that govern tissue type and participate in the immune system by protecting people from infection or by governing susceptibility to autoimmune diseases or cancer.
Apr 23, 2006, 17:04
Front Line Immune Cells Mature in Four Stages - Study
Researchers here have cracked the site and the stages of development for the last major set of human immune cells. The researchers found that natural killer (NK) cells, one of the body's front-line defenses against cancer and infections, mature from progenitor stem cells in four discrete stages. They also found that this happens in secondary lymphoid tissue such as tonsils and lymph glands.
Apr 21, 2006, 00:45
Caspase-12 gene that shuts down immune system is found in 20% of people of African descent
Caspase-12 is a molecule with a death-wish. Found only in people of African descent, this protein shuts down our body's immune system, opening the door to potentially lethal infections. In a groundbreaking new study published in the prestigious journal Nature this week, the team that first discovered the role of caspase-12 in humans has now uncovered the mechanism by which it sabotages us, allowing researchers to develop methods to counter its damaging effects.
Apr 20, 2006, 16:59
FDA grants priority review of infliximab for children with Crohn's disease
Centocor, Inc. announced today that the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for REMICADE (R) (infliximab) for the treatment of pediatric Crohn's disease has been accepted and designated for Priority Review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Centocor is seeking approval for the treatment of moderately to severely active pediatric Crohn's disease in patients who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapies. Currently, there are no approved biologic therapies for the treatment of pediatric Crohn's disease, a chronic, potentially debilitating condition that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, typically resulting in symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and weight loss. Children with Crohn's disease may also experience delayed development and stunted growth. Orphan drug designation was granted by the FDA to REMICADE for the treatment of pediatric Crohn's disease on November 12, 2003. In addition, on August 30, 2004 a REMICADE Phase 3 clinical development program for pediatric Crohn's disease was designated Fast Track by the FDA.
Apr 5, 2006, 14:06
New insights into how anti-rejection drug daclizumab helps MS patients
Discovery of the mechanism of a drug being tested for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) has revealed that it's not only more effective than first thought, but might also help in the management of other autoimmune diseases, organ transplant rejection and even cancer.
Mar 29, 2006, 06:47
Phagocytosis depends more on particle shape than size
Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have made a surprising discovery: phagocytosis depends more on particle shape than size. The research, which has far-reaching implications for immunology, vaccine development and drug delivery, is published today online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Samir Mitragotri, a UCSB professor of chemical engineering, and graduate student Julie A. Champion.
Mar 22, 2006, 01:46
Newly discovered killer cell "IKDC" fights cancer
A mouse immune cell that plays dual roles as both assassin and messenger, normally the job of two separate cells, has been discovered by an international team of researchers from the United States and France. The discovery has triggered a race among scientists to find a human equivalent of the multitasking cell, which could one day be a target for therapies that seek out and destroy cancer.
Mar 6, 2006, 17:14
Antibody-interleukin complexes stimulate immune responses
The study, which was published in the February 16 issue of the online journal Science Express, showed that these injections caused a massive selective increase in the immune system's two main types of T cells. The findings could also be significant for developing new ways to help patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or juvenile diabetes.
Feb 23, 2006, 12:20
Sexual differences in immune response appear at puberty
The differences in the male and female immune responses, which make females more prone to autoimmune disease and males more subject to infections, are established during puberty. In a study published today in the open access journal BMC Immunology, researchers identified one of the mechanisms responsible for the difference in immune response between male and female mice. They show that this sexual disparity is established during puberty and is influenced by sex hormones. These findings have implications for studies of autoimmunity, transplantation and vaccination.
Feb 22, 2006, 16:15
Infant transplant patients resist infections in immunodeficient states
Investigators have discovered that some type of protective system goes into action in some cases when a baby's immune system is deficient. This discovery indicates a hidden safety net that might have far-reaching consequences for treating diseases of the immune system such as AIDS. The Mayo Clinic-led study was conducted with colleagues in Toronto and Baltimore, and is reported in the early online edition of the Feb. 1 Journal of Immunology.
Jan 31, 2006, 19:32
Immune system response to viral DNA is unique
The human body has a unique immune system response to foreign DNA, suggesting that DNA viruses and RNA viruses are detected by different mechanisms, Yale School of Medicine researchers report this week in Immunity.
Jan 24, 2006, 23:43
Immune cells help to maintain cognition
A team of scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science, led by Prof. Michal Schwartz of the Neurobiology Department, has come up with new findings that may have implications in delaying and slowing down cognitive deterioration in old age. The basis for these developments is Schwartz's team's observations, published today in the February issue of Nature Neuroscience, that immune cells contribute to maintaining the brain's ability to maintain cognitive ability and cell renewal throughout life.
Jan 22, 2006, 15:52
Report shows significant improvement in survival rates for patients with X-linked agammaglobulinemia
Individuals who have a rare genetic immune system disorder that prevents them from making antibodies nevertheless appear to be moderately healthy and lead productive lives, according to results of a study by investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. A report on this study appears in the current online edition of Clinical Immunology.
Jan 14, 2006, 18:42
Potential strategy to improve T cell immunotherapy
Like boxers wearied by a 15-round bout, the immune system's CD8 T cells eventually become "exhausted" in their battle against persistent viral infection, and less effective in fighting the disease. In a study to be published Dec. 28 on the journal Nature's website, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Emory University have traced the problem to a gene that turns off the infection-fighting drive of CD8 T cells in mice. The discovery raises the possibility that CD8 cell exhaustion can be reversed in human patients, reinvigorating the immune system's defenses against chronic viral infections ranging from hepatitis to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Jan 1, 2006, 21:08
NK cells involved in ensuring the success of a pregnancy.
Natural killer (NK) cells are a type of white blood cell. NK cells circulate in the blood stream and are also residents in a few tissues, including the uterus, where they are the primary type of white blood cell. On their surfaces, they carry a variety of receptors, which sense the exterior environment and trigger a host of internal responses. When activated, NK cells are cytotoxic—they kill target cells, such as virus-infected cells and tumor cells—and secrete soluble signaling molecules that help mount immune responses to infection by parasites, bacteria, and other invaders. NK cell receptors bind to proteins on the surfaces of other cells. One type of NK cell receptor, called killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)2DL4, binds to the protein human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G, whose precise role is unknown and which occurs in both membrane-bound and secreted (soluble) forms. Interestingly, HLA-G is primarily found on trophoblast cells, a type of embryonic tissue that invades the uterine lining to support the developing fetus.
Dec 29, 2005, 16:33
Oral Contraceptives in Women with Lupus might be Safe
In a major study funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), women with either inactive or stable systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) — a disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and damages healthy tissues of the skin, joints and internal organs — were able to take oral contraceptives without increased risk of flares, or periods of increased disease activity, that characterize the disease. Safe and effective contraception is an issue that many women of childbearing age face. But for women with lupus, doctors have often been hesitant to prescribe one of the most effective forms of contraception — oral contraceptives, or the “pill” — for fear that it might increase disease activity.
Dec 25, 2005, 00:59
Immune cell receptors act in combination to regulate attack
The complexities of the mammalian immune system allow our bodies to fend off countless diseases. But researchers are still working to pin down exactly how it works — and to understand why some people’s antibodies, and some therapeutic antibodies, are better able to fight off disease than others’. In research published in today’s issue of Science, Rockefeller researchers show how a newly discovered receptor may be partly responsible.
Dec 4, 2005, 10:06
Developing effective vaccines for immunocompromised
The development of effective vaccines for people with compromised immune systems may be feasible after all, according to a team of researchers, who demonstrated their approach could protect against pneumocystis pneumonia in mice lacking the same population of immune cells that HIV destroys in humans. The vaccine platform developed by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh researchers, working in collaboration with researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Louisiana State University, suggests that the immune system can be primed to ward off other infections as well, such as those caused by the flu, smallpox or exposure to anthrax, even in patients who have the highest risk for infection.
Nov 25, 2005, 06:40
New Way to Study T Cell Signaling
An experiment that began as a “fantasy pipe dream” just three years ago is now a reality. Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley, combining nanotechnology with biochemistry, have created unique synthetic membranes that, for the first time ever, enable them to directly control signaling activity in living T cells from the immune system. Already their experiments have yielded surprising results.
Nov 19, 2005, 15:07
Pro-inflammatory HDL (piHDL) is a potential biomarker for lupus atherosclerosis
Groundbreaking research reported at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology indicates that a certain form of the normally "good" high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol linked to cardiovascular health plays a counterproductive role in people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis, promoting atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease in many of these individuals.
Nov 16, 2005, 19:27
Tryptophan plays a pivotal role in immune system
Tryptophan is the source of Thanksgiving legend and grist for a "Seinfeld" episode, but it's not the chemical that you'd expect to find in Lawrence Steinman's lab. A professor of neurology and neurological sciences and chair of the immunology program, Steinman, MD, and his lab generally focus on high-tech genetic therapies for diseases of the brain and nervous system. But his latest paper, to be published in the Nov. 4 issue of Science, breaks new ground on the effects of tryptophan - an amino acid found in turkey, among other foods, that is rumored to cause extreme post-Thanksgiving-feast sleepiness. It was featured in "Seinfeld" as a way for Jerry to knock out a woman by feeding her turkey so he could play with her classic toy collection.
Nov 4, 2005, 19:02
Test Model Accounts for T Cells' Discriminating Ways
When a pathogen slips into the body, it might infect a cell or get eaten by a specialized white blood cell. Either way, its proteins get chopped into peptide fragments, loaded onto molecules encoded by genes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), and sent to the cell surface as a peptide-loaded MHC molecule (pMHC) for immune surveillance. The immune system can rally against billions of pathogens, in part because every T cell expresses a unique receptor (TCR), acquired during development, that recognizes specific pMHCs. Developing T cells undergo a selection process that weeds out more than 98% of cells, leaving only those cells whose receptors react to â€śselfâ€ť pMHCs enough to signal but not enough to fully activate the T cells. Because antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in an infected host bear both self and pathogen-derived pMHCs, proper immune function depends on the discriminatory capacity of TCRs: they must allow a full T cell response to foreign antigens and avoid reacting to self-peptides on the same cell surface.
Oct 26, 2005, 15:59
Investigating spatial & temporal distribution of risk factors in allergy
The prevalence of asthma and allergy, defined as immunologically mediated hypersensitivity, is increasing. It is estimated that more than 20% of the world's population has IgE-mediated allergic diseases. The scale of the clinical problem is immense. The World Health Organization estimates that asthma affects nearly 150 million people worldwide, and more than 180,000 deaths each year are due to asthma. Approximately US$20 billion is spent globally each year on allergic rhinitis, including medications, time off work, and clinician consultations. The cost of allergy drugs alone is estimated to be US$8 billion per annum.
Oct 7, 2005, 18:44