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Immune cells may help deliver cancer vaccines for children

In a finding that could lay the groundwork for future cancer vaccines for children, cancer researchers working in cell culture have shown that modified immune cells can efficiently deliver genetic material to stimulate a desirable immune response.
Researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania manipulated immune cells called CD40-activated B cells to carry RNA produced by tumors and viruses. The RNA, which carries genetic codes from DNA, was obtained either from tumor or viral proteins. The researchers adapted an approach used in research on adults to one more appropriate for children.

Sometimes in science no news is good news

Sometimes finding out what doesn?t matter in science is just as important as finding what does. That?s the case for a study that looked at the function of the viral protein, MTase1. Researchers found that the rate of virus replication in tissue culture was not affected when MTase1 was removed. The finding is important as researchers look for what proteins are essential and how they function in cells, potentially providing answers to everything from insect control to the control of human diseases such as smallpox.

Herpes Virus Trashes Detection Mechanism to Hide from Immune System

Herpes viruses are notorious for their ability to hide from the immune system and establish lifelong infections. Researchers have now discovered how one mouse herpes virus escapes detection. “These findings not only provide a better understanding of viral infections,” says study leader Ted H. Hansen, Ph.D., professor of genetics, “they also offer novel insights into basic cellular processes in the immune system.”

Common human virus may be associated with colon cancer

An association between a common human virus and colon cancer has been established by a group of researchers in the U.S., suggesting a possible role for it in the development of cancer in the human intestinal tract. The so-called JC virus most likely infects humans through the upper respiratory tract and remains in a latent stage in most people throughout their lives, and, in some cases, causes minor sub-clinical problems. But in people whose immune systems are depressed, either through chemotherapy given to organ transplant recipients or an illness such as AIDS, JCV can become active and may contribute to cancer in the brain or cause the fatal demyelinating disease Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML).