Jumpstarting a Compromised Immune System
Permalink | View Comments (0) | Post Comment | | Posted by Reason

A range of research currently underway focuses on limited but potentially effective ways to reprogram the immune system, so as to work around naturally occurring damage or compromise, or to boost immune system activity when it would do the most good. It's worth keeping an eye on the AIDS research community on this topic, as there are a few broad structural similarities between the aged immune system and the AIDS-compromised immune system: "researchers report on a promising new technique that potentially could turn immune system killer T cells into more effective weapons against infections and possibly cancer. The technique involves delivering DNA into the immune system's instructor cells. The DNA directs these cells to overproduce a specific protein that jumpstarts important killer T cells. These killer cells are typically repressed in patients who have HIV or cancer. ... their technique proved effective in jumpstarting defective immune systems in immuno-compromised mice and in human killer T cells taken from people with HIV. .. In the study, snippets of DNA were delivered into skin instructor cells by a device known as a gene gun. The DNA directed the instructor cells to produce specific proteins, which act like molecular keys. When CD8 T cells interact with the instructor cells, the keys unlock the CD8 T cells' killer properties - jumpstarting them to go out and kill pathogens and cancer cells. With the use of this technique, the killer T cells would not need the assistance of helper T cells. So even if a tumor were to put the helper T cells in a suppressive cage, the killer T cells would still be able to go out and kill cancer cells. Researchers expect that future studies using the technique will make it applicable to many diseases, including cancer."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/luhs-htr022312.php

Comments
Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. Please note that comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.









Remember personal info?