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All biological cells are bounded by a lipid bilayer known as the plasma membrane. In addition, the cells of higher organisms contain specialized intracellular membrane compartments, which interact with each other and with the plasma membrane. The highly dynamic functional interplay between these membrane systems plays a vital role in many biological processes, and is essential for normal cell function and survival. A new report published by a group of researchers led by Christoph Klein (Professor of Pediatrics at Dr. von Hauner's Children's Hospital, which is part of the LMU Medical Center) throws new light on the action of a key component of this network, and uncovers its significance for the development and function of human T cells. The
Scientists at The Wistar Institute discovered a novel pathway that enables detection of DNA in the cytoplasm and triggers inflammation and cellular senescence. This pathway may be modulated during senescence-inducing chemotherapy to affect cancer cell response to checkpoint inhibitors. Results were published online in Nature Communications.
One of the frustrations with anti-cancer therapy is that no one drug fits all: Most work well in some people but have little effect in other patients with the same type of cancer. This is as true of the newer immunotherapy treatments as it is of older types of chemotherapy. Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have now identified new markers that can help predict which patients have a better chance for a positive response to immunotherapy treatments. Their findings were reported in Nature Communications.
Yvonne Chen engineers immune cells to target their most evasive enemy: cancer. New cancer immunotherapies generate immune cells that are effective killers of blood cancers, but they have a hard time with solid tumors. Chen, Associate Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, is designing ways for immune cells to "outsmart" solid tumors. She will present her research on Tuesday, February 18, at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society in San Diego, California.
The first detailed cell atlas of the immune cells and gut bacteria within the human colon has been created by researchers. The study from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and collaborators revealed different immune niches, showing changes in the bacterial microbiome and immune cells throughout the colon. As part of the Human Cell Atlas initiative to map every human cell type, these results will enable new studies into diseases which affect specific regions of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and colorectal cancer.
Each one of us carries about 38 trillion bacteria around with us in our gut every day—if you wanted to count them all, it would take you more than a million years. How can such a veritable zoo of microbes reside peacefully in our guts without triggering our immune systems to attack them, as do "bad" bacteria that cause disease? The answer lies in the intestinal mucosal barrier, which includes tightly connected epithelial cells that line the intestine, a layer of dense mucus that protects those cells from bacteria and other gut contents, and immune cells underneath the epithelial cells that quickly kill any microbes that penetrate the barrier.
An international group of scientists has discovered that certain cells of our immune system—the so-called T cells—communicate with each other and work together as a team. To fight an infection they stimulate each other's growth, but at the same time, they inhibit each other when there is a surplus of T cells. That insight offers new opportunities for the treatment of cancer. The study is published in Immunity.
The goal of most cancers is to grow and take over the host's body. The immune system has long been in the crosshairs of cancer researchers, as it plays a central role in defending the human body from foreign invasion. In a new study, researchers from the University of Tsukuba have revealed that tumors that produce a protein called soluble CD155 accumulate in the lungs of mice by disabling the immune system of the animals.
As many as 1,230 cases of childhood asthma in Barcelona—48% of the total—could be attributable to air pollution each year. This is the main conclusion of a new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). The study also finds that childhood asthma related to air pollution may have a larger effect on the city's less socially deprived children.
Mathematicians from RUDN University have developed a computational model that allows predicting the mobility of T-lymphocytes, immune cells that recognize and destroy viruses. The model will help in the treatment of immune system disorders, including those that can lead to cancer, and in the development of HIV vaccines. The study was published in Frontiers in Immunology.

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