Scientists have discovered a new process that allows immune cells to move more quickly and effectively to fighting infection.
The process, known as ‘priming’, was discovered by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and is already being used to treat cancer patients.
Priming occurs when certain immune cells are exposed to a pathogen or cancerous cell. This exposure ‘primes’ the cells, making them more responsive to subsequent exposures.
The researchers found that priming makes the cells move more quickly and with greater force. This allows them to better kill the pathogen or cancer cell.
The process is similar to the way in which a person’s immune system responds to a vaccination.
UTS researcher Associate Professor Guangdi Li said the discovery could lead to more effective treatments for cancer and other diseases.
“The process of priming is a key step in the immune response and our findings show that it can be harnessed to improve the effectiveness of treatments,” he said.
“This is an exciting discovery that could lead to better outcomes for patients.”
The research is published in the journal Nature Immunology.
A newly discovered process allows immune cells to quickly adapt to rapidly mutating pathogens, according to a new study.
The findings, published in the journal Science, could have implications for the development of new vaccines and therapies for conditions like cancer.
The human immune system is constantly faced with the challenge of protecting the body from a vast array of pathogens.
To do this, it relies on a type of white blood cell known as a T cell.
T cells are able to recognize specific molecules on the surface of pathogens, known as antigens.
Once a T cell has recognized an antigen, it will multiply and produce a range of chemical signals that help to fight the infection.
However, some pathogens, such as the flu virus, can mutate rapidly, making it difficult for the immune system to keep up.
Now, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have discovered a process that allows T cells to rapidly adapt to these changing antigens.
The process, known as “antigen drift,” involves the production of new T cells that are specific for the new form of the pathogen.
Importantly, the new T cells are able to recognize the pathogen even in the absence of the original antigen.
senior author of the study.
“This process allows the immune system to keep pace with rapidly mutating pathogens and mount an effective response.”
To investigate antigen drift, the team used a mouse model of the flu.
They found that when flu viruses mutate, they produce a range of new antigens on their surface.
The immune system responds to this by producing new T cells that can recognize all of the new antigens.
Importantly, the researchers found that the new T cells are able to provide protection against the mutant virus.
“This study provides insights into how the immune system is able to keep pace with rapidly mutating pathogens,” said senior author Aimee Sedgewick, PhD, of UCSF.
“This knowledge could be used to design new vaccines and therapies that take advantage of this process to provide more effective protection against a wide range of diseases.”