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A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 22-Sep-2014 9:00 AM EDT

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Cancer and the Immune System: A Double-Edged Sword

During cancer development, tumor cells decorate their surfaces with sugar compounds called glycans that are different from those found on normal, healthy cells. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that sialic acids at the tips of these cancer cell glycans are capable of engaging with immune system cells and changing the latter’s response to the tumor – for good and bad.

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Gut Bacteria Tire Out T Cells

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Leaky intestines may cripple bacteria-fighting immune cells in patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), a rare hereditary disease. The study may explain why these patients suffer from recurrent bacterial infections.

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T-Bet Tackles Hepatitis

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A single protein may tip the balance between ridding the body of a dangerous hepatitis virus and enduring life-long chronic infection, according to researchers in Germany.

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Simple Method Turns Human Skin Cells Into Immune-Fighting White Blood Cells

The fast and safe technique developed at the Salk Institute circumvents problems that have hindered regenerative medicine.

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Blocking Single Receptor Could Halt Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have shown for the first time how the activation of a receptor provokes the inflammation and bone degradation of rheumatoid arthritis -- and that activation of this one receptor, found on cells in the fluid of arthritic joints, is all that is required.

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Study Sheds Light on Asthma and Respiratory Viruses

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In a new study that compared people with and without asthma, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found no difference in the key immune response to viruses in the lungs and breathing passages. The work suggests that a fundamental antiviral defense mechanism is intact in asthma. This means that another aspect of the immune system must explain the difficulty people with asthma have when they encounter respiratory viruses.

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Virginia Tech Scientists Reveal Cell Secret Potentially Useful for Vaccines

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Researchers open a new page in the immune system's playbook, discovering more chatter goes on among the body's infection fighters than was suspected.

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Novel Approaches to Immunotherapy Rapidly Gaining Ground

Expert is available to comment on the impending likely approval of Merck & Co.’s immuno-oncology drug, pembrolizumab, as a treatment for melanoma. According to Dr. Robert H. Pierce of OncoSec Medical, it is believed that 60 to 70 percent of patients with metastatic melanoma exhibit no response to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy that Merck is developing, so it could be useful to combine it with other forms of immunotherapy. One such alternate form is OncoSec’s ImmunoPulse, which delivers brief electrical pulses of DNA IL-12 and has shown in early studies to date to penetrate and destroy cancer cells.

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Team Identifies Important Regulators of Immune Cell Response

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Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology have developed a more effective method to determine how T cells differentiate into specialized cell types.

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