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UNDERSTANDING ONE COMPONENT OF THE IMMUNE RESPONSE MAY SHED LIGHT ON A TYPE OF CANCER, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

A normal immune system responds to invaders by recruiting a variety of cells to join in the fight.  Joel Pomerantz, a researcher at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, have found one pathway of immune response regulation that may also be important in one type of cancer as well as diseases where the body aberrantly turns against itself in so called autoimmune disease.

POMERANTZ: We studied the molecular components inside the white blood cells by which the cells interpret signals from their environment that tell them there’s an infection going on, and then they tell other molecules inside their cells to activate new genes, new programs of gene expression to help the white blood cells fight the infection and recruit other cells to fight the infection.  And what’s really interesting is that this process by which these cells see evidence of an invader and respond by fighting it, that same process is dysregulated or goes wrong in many diseases, including cancer and autoimmunity.   :33

Regulating this pathway may point the way to new types of therapeutics, Pomerantz says.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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