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Macrophages: The ‘defense’ cells that help throughout the body

Westminster, Colo. (August 26, 2010) -- The term "macrophage" conjures images of a hungry white blood cell gobbling invading bacteria. However, macrophages do much more than that: Not only do they act as antimicrobial warriors, they also play cri...

Scientists Develop Colony of Mice That Fight Off Virulent Cancer

Scientists at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University have developed a colony of mice that successfully fight off virulent transplanted cancers. "The mice are healthy, cancer-free and have a normal life span," the 10-member team reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online edition to be published the week of April 28. The transplantation of the cancer cells in these special mice provokes a massive infiltration of white blood cells that destroy the cancer, said Zheng Cui, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and the lead scientist.

Nanotech Decoys for Viruses

Using nanotechnology to stop HIV viruses from entering cells is the ultimate aim of a new project at the University of California, Davis. The researchers hope to create tiny particles that can interfere with the proteins that viruses such as HIV use to attach to cells.

Researchers create powerful stem cells from blood

The particularly powerful ? and very scarce ? flexible forms of stem cells needed for medical research and treatment may now be both plentiful and simple to produce, with a new technology developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory ? and the source is as close as your own bloodstream. These flexible stem cells, able to morph into a variety of cell types, are called "pluripotent," and before this Argonne research, they have been found only in fetal tissue, which is limited, and in bone marrow, which is difficult to collect. Pluripotent stem cells are important because they can generate all types of tissues found in the body, and the Argonne-developed technology can produce them from adult blood cells.

Research reveals how strep bacterium evades immune system

Like a well-trained soldier with honed survival skills, the common bacterium, Group A Streptococcus (GAS), sometimes can endure battle with our inborn (innate) immune system and cause widespread disease. By investigating the ability of combat-ready white blood cells (WBCs) to ingest and kill GAS, researchers have discovered new insights into how this disease-causing bacteria can evade destruction by the immune system. The research is being published this week in the Online Early Edition of the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA."

New antibody library speeds search for new detection tools

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have extracted part of the human immune system and reconstituted it in brewer's yeast in a fashion that enables powerful machines to quickly identify new antibodies. The advance could have major repercussions for fundamental biological science as well as industries that use antibodies for sensors, biodetectors, diagnostic tools and therapeutic agents.

Study first to show how tuberculosis moves through the body

A University of Washington study is the first to provide visualizations of tuberculosis infections in an intact living organism and reveals how tuberculous granulomas, the tight aggregates of macrophages that are the hallmarks of this infection, are formed within infected organisms (Macrophages are a specialized class of white blood cells that patrol tissues and ingest foreign particles, such as bacteria and viruses, as well as dead and dying cells. Macrophages provide the backbone of the immune system.)

Researchers ID protein behind tissue inflammation

Inflammation is usually a normal and beneficial response by the body to tissue injury or infection. But sometimes it can spiral out of control and lead to serious complications and diseases including pulmonary fibrosis, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers have uncovered a mechanism that regulates the inflammatory response during tissue repair, providing the first specific molecular targets for developing ways to prevent highly destructive and potentially fatal inflammatory reactions.

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