Researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre have made a critical discovery in T cell development bringing immunologists one step closer to enabling the creation of tailored T cell therapy that could one day be used to treat patients with AIDS or other immune system deficiencies.
"For the first time we understand which sets of molecules are required to induce different types of T cells," says Canada Research Chair and principal investigator Dr. Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker, a senior scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute who is also a professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto.
The immune system uses two main types of T cells, alpha-beta and gamma-delta, each with unique roles in protecting us from disease. The findings show that T cell progenitors will develop into mature gamma-delta T cells despite the absence of the Notch molecule, a molecule that Zúñiga-Pflücker's lab recently showed was essential for the early-stage development of both types of T cells.
Published today in the journal Immunity, the research is also the first to show at what developmental stage the two types of T cells become distinct lineages. The lead researcher, Maria Ciofani, a PhD student in Zúñiga-Pflücker's lab, used precise cell isolation techniques to show which molecular cues are needed, and when for each lineage development. Collectively, the work clarifies how both T cell types can be generated in the laboratory, thereby enabling further study directed at tailoring their unique functions to specific clinical needs.
Gamma-delta T cells in particular hold exciting clinical promise for their ability to orchestrate immunity to a broad range of foreign molecules; experiments in mice have shown that gamma-delta T cell injections can eliminate cancerous tumours, although much work remains to translate this research into viable clinical therapy.
Zúñiga-Pflücker was recently identified by the prestigious Thomson Scientific Essential Science Indicators as one of the most cited researchers in the field of immunology for his landmark December 2002 paper in Immunity, which showed how to generate T cells from stem cells in a Petri dish. In addition to enabling Zúñiga-Pflücker's current work, this breakthrough discovery established a simple and effective way for other researchers to study T cell development, and has advanced this study in hundreds of labs around the world.
Jennifer White | EurekAlert!
Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell
21.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
UNH researchers create a more effective hydrogel for healing wounds
21.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.
Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences
21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences