Research may assist in the development of more effective vaccines and ability to boost immune systems of susceptible patients, such as the elderly
A key discovery about the immune systems skill to fight off harmful disease-causing germs may lead to the ability to boost the immune systems of the elderly and otherwise susceptible, and offer more effective vaccines for the flu or AIDS, according to a study published in the November 29 issue of Science.
"This research is of particular interest to populations that are highly vulnerable to disease, such as the aging population," said Janko Nikolich-Zugich, M.D., Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Oregon Health & Science University Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, who led the research. "We are currently facing the annual flu season where seniors are at a particularly higher risk than the rest of the population. In fact, the majority of the 20,000 people who die each year because of the flu are over 65 years of age. We hope that years down the road, this research finding will help us boost the immune systems of the elderly, reducing this staggering number of deaths."
Martin Munguia | OHSU
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