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Researchers Tease Out Glitches in Immune System’s Self-Recognition

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Fast facts: • In order to distinguish self from other, the immune system processes proteins from inside and outside the body in different ways. • A new study revises understanding of how the process works and sheds light on autoimmune disease.

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Every Step You Take: STING Pathway Key to Tumor Immunity

A protein complex known as STING plays a crucial role in detecting the presence of tumor cells and promoting an anti-tumor response by the body’s innate immune system, according to two separate studies in Immunity. The results have major implications for the growing field of cancer immunotherapy.

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The STING of Radiation

A team of researchers led by Ludwig Chicago’s Yang-Xin Fu and Ralph Weichselbaum has uncovered the primary signaling mechanisms and cellular interactions that drive immune responses against tumors treated with radiotherapy. Published in the current issue of Immunity, their study suggests novel strategies for boosting the effectiveness of radiotherapy, and for combining it with therapies that harness the immune system to treat cancer.

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A Signature for Success

A team led by Ludwig and Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) researchers has published a landmark study on the genetic basis of response to a powerful cancer therapy known as immune checkpoint blockade. Their paper, in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, describes the precise genetic signatures in melanoma tumors that determine whether a patient will respond to one such therapy.

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Natural Gut Viruses Join Bacterial Cousins in Maintaining Health and Fighting Infections

Microbiologists at NYU Langone Medical Center say they have what may be the first strong evidence that the natural presence of viruses in the gut — or what they call the ‘virome’ — plays a health-maintenance and infection-fighting role similar to that of the intestinal bacteria that dwell there and make up the “microbiome.”

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UCLA Stem Cell Researcher Pioneers Gene Therapy Cure for Children with “Bubble Baby” Disease

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UCLA stem cell researchers cured 18 children born without a working immune system due to life-threatening ADA-deficient Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID). Breakthrough stem cell gene therapy developed by Dr. Donald Kohn and team identifies and corrects faulty gene in children with ADA-deficient SCID using child’s own cells.

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Viruses Impaired if Their Targets Have Diverse Genes

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When a viral infection spread through five genetically identical mice in a row, the virus replicated faster and became more virulent or severe. But when the infection spread one-by-one through five genetically diverse mice, the virus had trouble adapting and became less virulent. The University of Utah study suggests that increased genetic diversity should be promoted in livestock and in captive-bred endangered species so as to limit their risk of getting deadly infections.

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Infection-Fighting B Cells Go with the Flow

Newly formed B cells take the easy way out when it comes to exiting the bone marrow, according to researchers at Yale University School of Medicine.

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Researchers Develop Novel Method to Prevent, Cure Rotavirus Infection

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Activation of the innate immune system with the bacterial protein flagellin could prevent and cure rotavirus infection, which is among the most common causes of severe diarrhea, says a Georgia State University research team that described the method as a novel means to prevent and treat viral infection.

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Single-Dose, Needle-Free Ebola Vaccine Provides Long-Term Protection in Macaques

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Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a single-dose, needleless Ebola vaccine given to primates through their noses and lungs protected them against infection for at least 21 weeks.

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