Scientists 'invigorate' tired immune cells

Sept. 16, 2008 at 2:14 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they've found a way to invigorate the body's immune cells that often become exhausted and ineffective while battling chronic infections.

Wistar Institute researchers in Philadelphia said they found a way to restore vigor to the killer T cells by blocking a key receptor on their surface. That finding, the scientists said, might advance the development of new therapies for fighting diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C and cancer.

The researchers said they found using an antibody to block the receptor, known as programmed death-1, or PD-1, dramatically restored immunity in chronically infected mice. Furthermore, they discovered a method to distinguish between T cells that can be revitalized in such a manner from those that can't.

Assistant Professor E. John Wherry, who led the study, said the findings will help researchers develop PD-1 blocking agents, and also provide a way to select patients who might benefit most from such novel drugs.

The research appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news from
Related UPI Stories
share with facebook
share with twitter
Trending Stories