BAD APPLES MADE GOOD: THE IMMUNE SYSTEM'S SECRET WEAPON REVEALED

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BAD APPLES MADE GOOD: THE IMMUNE SYSTEM'S SECRET WEAPON REVEALED

Post by Dreamweaver » 29 Apr 2018, 12:40

Cells once thought to be useless – and even a liability – could be important tools in the fight against disease, particularly in vaccines for diseases like HIV

Media Release: 13 April 2018
The ‘bad apples’ of the immune system are also its secret weapon, according to major Australian research published today in the world-leading journal Science.
In a world first, scientists from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research have revealed how a mysterious population of cells in the immune system – which are usually ‘silenced’ because they can harm the body – can provide crucial protection against invading microbes. The research was carried out in mice.
Until now, the cells were thought to be ‘bad apples’ because they each produce an antibody that attacks the body’s own tissues and can cause autoimmune disease.
The new findings reveal, for the first time, that the cells are a crucial part of the body’s immune defences. Far from remaining silent, the cells can be rapidly ‘redeemed’ ¬– and then activated to attack – when the body is faced with a disease threat that other immune cells cannot tackle.
In the process of ‘redemption’, each cell rapidly acquires changes to the antibody gene it carries. Together, the changes mean that the cells can produce antibodies that no longer threaten the body – but instead become highly potent weapons to fight disease.
Importantly, antibodies from the redeemed cells are equipped to attack some of the trickiest microbes that the immune system faces: those that evade detection by disguising themselves to look like normal body tissue. Campylobacter, HIV and other microbes disguise themselves as ‘self’, and are problematic targets for the immune system, which systematically avoids attacking ‘self’.
Because the antibodies in the redeemed cells started out as self-reactive, the improved versions have a powerful ability to recognise ‘almost-self’, So, the ‘bad apple’ cells represent a valuable untapped resource for the development of new vaccines against HIV.

https://www.garvan.org.au/news-events/n ... -made-good
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