Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New role for immune system player may help improve cancer vaccines

01.11.2002


Researchers have discovered that a molecule best known for its anti-microbial properties also has the ability to activate key cells in the immune response. This newly discovered function, reported in the Nov. 1, 2002, issue of Science*, suggests the molecule, a peptide called ß-defensin 2, may be useful in the development of more effective cancer vaccines. Scientists have found that ß-defensin 2 initiates a chain of events leading to the growth and multiplication of T cells, components of the immune system that recognize and kill foreign cells that have invaded the body.



Defensins are known to be an important component of the body’s immediate response to infection. ß-defensin 2 attacks and destroys a broad range of bacteria as part of the innate immune system, the body’s first line of defense against such infections.

The new finding links ß-defensin 2 to the second arm of the immune system, adaptive immunity. The adaptive immune response combats pathogens that evade the body’s initial defense mechanisms. Unlike innate immunity, the adaptive immune system develops specifically in response to an infection, changing as needed to ward off each invader.


"This link between the innate and adaptive immune systems is important for our understanding of the body’s ability to detect infection," said Arya Biragyn, Ph.D., National Cancer Institute (NCI) staff scientist and first author of the study. "ß-defensin 2 is likely to play an important role in the immune system’s ability to recognize protein fragments from the body’s own cells, including tumor cells."

Working in both mice and laboratory cell cultures, Biragyn and his colleagues found that ß-defensin 2 directly activates immune cells known as dendritic cells. Once activated, dendritic cells interact with other components of the immune system to stimulate the multiplication of a subset of T cells that will recognize and destroy infected cells. Dendritic cells can also trigger attack of tumor cells by the immune system.

"When we administered ß-defensin 2 to mice, we observed a robust response among cells involved in anti-tumor immunity," noted NCI’s Larry W. Kwak, M.D., Ph.D., the senior investigator on the study. Researchers hope to take advantage of this property by incorporating ß-defensin 2 into cancer vaccines.

Cancer vaccines are an investigational therapy designed to program the body’s own immune system to attack a tumor. The vaccine does this by training T cells to recognize cancerous cells. Scientists hope that adding ß-defensin 2 to such vaccines will promote the growth and multiplication of the tumor-destroying cells, improving patient response to the therapy.

Similarly, researchers hope that ß-defensin 2 will also be useful in improving AIDS vaccines in the future.

NCI Press Office | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cancer.gov
http://www.nci.nih.gov/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Research reveals how diabetes in pregnancy affects baby's heart
13.12.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

nachricht Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gecko adhesion technology moves closer to industrial uses

13.12.2017 | Information Technology

Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Research reveals how diabetes in pregnancy affects baby's heart

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>