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Innate immune mechanisms can control disease progression in HIV-positive patients
This study by researchers from Hospital Clinic of Barcelona shows that dendritic cells in HIV positive patients who spontaneously control the infection produce high levels of alpha-defensins. Results show that cells from these patients produce higher levels of alpha-defensins than the noninfected ones. This reveals a better control of HIV and slower disease progression. The study of patients, especially elite controllers, is relevant since these individuals demonstrate that natural control of HIV without therapy is possible. (2010-02-24)

New cancer-fighting strategy focuses on signaling molecules
Cancer researchers studying the immune system have identified a previously unrecognized set of targets and biomarkers to battle solid tumors. (2010-02-24)

Protein found to be key in protecting the gut from infection
A signaling protein that is key in orchestrating the body's overall immune response has an important localized role in fighting bacterial infection and inflammation in the intestinal tract, according to a study by UC San Diego School of Medicine investigators, published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe. (2010-02-17)

Duke scientists image brain at point when vocal learning begins
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center imaged living juvenile songbird brains at the moment the brains heard a tutor's mating song. Instead of staying plastic and dynamic after hearing the song, the bird's neurons snapped into a framework nearly immediately, surprising the researchers. Some birds were unable to learn or learn it well, indicating they were past their prime learning window. (2010-02-17)

Blocking cell movement for cancer, MS treatment
University of Adelaide researchers in Australia are finding new ways to block the movement of cells in the body which can cause autoimmune diseases and the spread of cancer. (2010-02-10)

Engineering a new way to study hepatitis C
Researchers at MIT and Rockefeller University have successfully grown hepatitis C virus in otherwise healthy liver cells in the laboratory, an advance that could allow scientists to develop and test new treatments for the disease. (2010-01-25)

Identified: Switch that turns on allergic disease in people
A new study in human cells has singled out a molecule that specifically directs immune cells to develop the capability to produce an allergic response. The signaling molecule, called thymic stromal lymphopoietin, is key to the development of allergic diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis (eczema) and food allergy. (2010-01-20)

Memory molecule, deja vu
Recent studies reestablish the importance to memory processes of calpain, a protease first hypothesized to play a crucial role in memory 25 years ago. (2010-01-19)

How amyloid beta reduces plasticity related to synaptic signaling
The early stages of Alzheimer's disease are thought to occur at the synapse, since synapse loss is associated with memory dysfunction. Evidence suggests that amyloid beta plays an important role in early synaptic failure, but little has been understood about Aβ's effect on the plasticity of dendritic spines. (2009-12-28)

Researchers work on vaccine to improve immune system in newborns
As soon as babies are born, they are susceptible to diseases and infections, such as jaundice and E. coli. For up to a month, their immune systems aren't adequately developed to fight diseases. Although these infections are often minor, they can lead to serious problems if left untreated. To help strengthen newborns' immune systems, University of Missouri researchers have pinpointed a group of depleted white blood cells, which might lead to an immune-strengthening vaccine. (2009-12-15)

Immune cell activity linked to worsening COPD
A new study links chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with increased activity of cells that act as sentinels to activate the body's immune system. COPD affects more than 12 million Americans. Immune factors may be key if doctors are to find better ways to detect and treat the disease early when patients might benefit. (2009-12-15)

DC-SCRIPT found to have prognostic value in breast cancer
DC-SCRIPT, or dendritic cell-specific transcript, is a key regulator of nuclear receptor activity that may have prognostic value in breast cancer, according to a new study published online Dec. 14 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. (2009-12-14)

Hindering HIV-1-fighting immune cells
Immune proteins called HLA molecules help to activate killer T cell responses against pathogens. But according to a study that will be published online on Dec. 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, one particular group of HLA molecules cripples this activation, perhaps explaining why HIV-infected individuals who express these HLAs progress to AIDS more rapidly than others. (2009-12-14)

Hebrew University, American researchers show 'trigger' to stem cell differentiation
A gene which is essential for stem cells' capabilities to become any cell type has been identified by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of California, San Francisco. (2009-12-10)

Why cancer cells just won't die
When cells experience DNA damage, they'll try to repair it. But if that fails, the damaged cells are supposed to self-destruct, a process called apoptosis. A cancer researcher at Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario has identified a protein that regulates apoptosis, a new discovery which has implications for both the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Caroline Schild-Poulter's findings are now published online in the journal Molecular Cancer Research. (2009-12-09)

Fruit fly neuron can reprogram itself after injury
Studies with fruit flies have shown that the specialized nerve cells called neurons can rebuild themselves after injury. These results, potentially relevant to research efforts to improve the treatment of patients with traumatic nerve damage or neurodegenerative disease, will be presented at the American Society for Cell Biology 49th Annual Meeting, Dec. 5-9, 2009, in San Diego. (2009-12-06)

Lifelong memories linked to stable nerve connections
Our ability to learn new information and adapt to changes in our daily environment, as well as to retain lifelong memories, appears to lie in the minute junctions where nerve cells communicate, according to a new study by NYU Langone Medicine Center researchers. The study is published online this week in the journal Nature. (2009-12-03)

Clinical trials launched for treating most aggressive brain tumor with personalized cell vaccines
The University of Navarra Hospital has launched a series of clinical trials in order to assess the efficacy of an immunotherapy treatment. This approach involves the application of personalized vaccines -- produced from healthy and tumor cells from the patient him or herself -- and designed to combat glioblastomas, one of the most aggressive and frequent malignant tumors. (2009-11-30)

Study shows new brain connections form rapidly during motor learning
New connections begin to form between brain cells almost immediately as animals learn a new task, according to a study in which researchers observed the rewiring processes that take place in the brain during motor learning. (2009-11-29)

Implant-based cancer vaccine is first to eliminate tumors in mice
A cancer vaccine carried into the body on a carefully engineered, fingernail-sized implant is the first to successfully eliminate tumors in mammals. The new approach, pioneered by bioengineers and immunologists at Harvard University, uses plastic disks impregnated with tumor-specific antigens and implanted under the skin to reprogram the mammalian immune system to attack tumors. (2009-11-25)

Tailor-made HIV/AIDS treatment closer to reality
An innovative treatment for HIV patients developed by McGill University Health Centre researchers has passed its first clinical trial with flying colors. The new approach is an immunotherapy customized for each individual patient, and was developed by Dr. J-P. Routy from the Research Institute of the MUHC in collaboration with Dr. R. Sekaly from the University of Montreal. (2009-11-25)

ASH announces 2009 Merit Award winners
The American Society of Hematology is pleased to recognize the following abstract presenters with the highest scoring abstracts in the categories of undergraduate student, medical student, graduate student, resident physician, and post-doctoral fellow. Merit Award winners receive a $500 honorarium plus annual meeting travel reimbursement. (2009-11-25)

New discovery about the formation of new brain cells
The generation of new nerve cells in the brain is regulated by a peptide known as C3a, which directly affects the stem cells' maturation into nerve cells and is also important for the migration of new nerve cells through the brain tissue, reveals new research from the Sahlgrenska Academy published in the journal Stem Cells. (2009-11-23)

Interstitial macrophages: immune cells that prevent asthma
The continual presence in the air of the microbe-derived molecule LPS promotes asthma in some individuals. What prevents inhalation of LPS from promoting asthma in most individuals is not well understood. However, researchers have now ascribed this function in mice to a population of lung immune cells known as lung interstitial macrophages (IMs); this is the first in vivo function described for these cells. (2009-11-09)

Th17 cells summon an immune system strike against cancer
A specific type of T helper cell awakens the immune system to the stealthy threat of cancer and triggers an attack of killer T cells custom-made to destroy the tumors, scientists from the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report in the early online edition of the journal Immunity. (2009-10-29)

Dendritic cells spark smoldering inflammation in smokers' lungs
Inflammation still ravages the lungs of some smokers years after they quit the habit. What sparks that smoldering destruction remained a mystery until a consortium of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine found that certain dendritic cells in the lung -- the cells that (2009-10-28)

Sperm may play leading role in spreading HIV
Sperm, and not just the fluid it bathes in, can transmit HIV to macrophages, T cells and dendritic cells (DCs), report a team led by Ana Ceballos at the University of Buenos Aires. By infecting DCs, which carry the virus and potently pass it to T cells, sperm may play a leading role in spreading HIV. (2009-10-26)

Reprogramming a patient's eye cells may herald new treatments against degenerative disease
Scientists have overcome a key barrier to the clinical use of stem cells with a technique which transforms regular body cells into artificial stem cells without the need for introducing foreign genetic materials, which could be potentially harmful. The research, published in Stem Cells, suggests that cells taken from a patient's eye can be (2009-10-22)

Could some forms of mental retardation be treated with drugs?
Growth factors. They are the proteins that trigger a countless number of actions in cells. Drugs that increase or decrease certain growth factors have lead to treatments for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Georgetown University Medical Center researchers say a new understanding of a growth factor implicated in some mental retardation disorders could lead to a novel treatment. (2009-10-20)

APP -- Good, bad or both?
New data about amyloid precursor protein, or APP, a protein implicated in development of Alzheimer's disease, suggests it also may have a positive role -- directly affecting learning and memory during brain development. So is APP good or bad? Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center say both, and that a balance of APP is critical. (2009-10-18)

Prophylactic administration of paracetamol to children receiving vaccinations can reduce vaccine response
Fever is part of the body's normal inflammatory process after receiving immunizations. Paracetamol is sometimes administered prophylactically to allay parental fears of high fever or febrile convulsions in children after routine infant vaccinations. But while prophylactic paracetamol does reduce post-vaccination fever, it also reduces the child's response to some of the vaccine antigens. Thus use of prophylactic paracetamol can no longer be routinely recommended in this setting. (2009-10-15)

Stem cells which 'fool immune system' may provide vaccination for cancer
A study published in Stem Cells reveals the potential for human stem cells to provide a vaccination against colon cancer. (2009-10-07)

UBC researchers identify key behavior of immune response to Listeria
A team of University of British Columbia microbiologists has identified a key defense mechanism used by the immune system against Listeria with strong implications for the future development of vaccines. (2009-10-05)

'Treason' by immune system cells aids growth of multiple myeloma
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute find Multiple myeloma cancer cells thwart many of the drugs used against them by causing nearby cells to turn traitor -- to switch from defending the body against disease to shielding the myeloma cells from harm. The new study is in the October issue of Cancer Cell. (2009-10-05)

Neurons found to be similar to Electoral College
A Northwestern University study has found that certain neurons, at one level, operate a little like the US Electoral College. The findings provide evidence supporting the (2009-09-14)

Large-scale study probes how cells fight pathogens
Scientists have deciphered a key molecular circuit that enables the body to distinguish viruses from bacteria and other microbes, providing a deep view of how immune cells in mammals fend off different pathogens. The new research, which appears in the Sept. 3 advance online edition of the journal Science, signifies one of the first large-scale reconstructions of a mammalian circuit and offers a practical approach for unraveling the circuits that underpin other important biological systems. (2009-09-03)

Promising new target emerges for autoimmune diseases
University of Michigan scientists have uncovered an important way that aggressive immune cells normally are held in check so they don't attack the body's own cells. The findings open a new avenue of research for future therapies for autoimmune diseases, organ transplants and cancer. Regulatory T cells influence aggressive immune cells by regulating the chemical environment between cells, the scientists report in Nature Chemical Biology. (2009-09-01)

Getting wired: How the brain does it
In a new study, researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University have found an important mechanism involved in setting up the vast communications network of connections in the brain. (2009-08-26)

American Society for Microbiology honors Tobias M. Hohl for work on Aspergillus fumigatus
The 2009 American Society for Microbiology ICAAC Young Investigator Award will be presented to Tobias M. Hohl, assistant professor, Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and assistant professor, division of allergy and infectious diseases, University of Washington, Seattle. Sponsored by Merck US Human Health, this award recognizes early career scientists for research excellence in microbiology and infectious diseases. (2009-08-19)

Traffic jam in brain causes schizophrenia symptoms
Northwestern researchers have discovered that schizophrenia symptoms -- which begin to develop in adolescents -- are caused by a low level of a brain protein necessary to build pathways between neurons. Without enough of the protein, there are too few roads for information to flow between neurons -- causing a traffic jam in the brain. This discovery provides a fresh target for treatment. (2009-08-10)

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