The hematopoietic system is responsible for the formation of all blood cell types from hematopoietic stem cells (immature cells that are able to mature into any type of blood cell). This is a key process for the immune system because it produces white blood cells (along with red blood cells and platelets). With this in … Continue reading The Golden Star Tunicate: A Golden Star of Immunology Research
Bacteria are virtually everywhere—on bus seats, on our hands, and even inside of our gut—but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These bacteria are part of the microbiome, the collection of microorganisms that live in or on an environment (such as the human body). The microbiome is thought to influence many aspects of human health, … Continue reading What’s gut got to do with it? How the gut microbiome affects cancer immunotherapy
Within the last decade, immunotherapy has emerged as a promising and viable treatment for many patients suffering from cancer. This type of therapy takes advantage of a patient’s own immune cells in order to specifically target and eradicate tumor cells. In order to understand how this class of therapy works, we need to first review … Continue reading Cancer Immunotherapy
Whether you or someone you know has suffered from them, many will undoubtedly recognize the puffy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, hives, and difficulty breathing that are often triggered during an allergic reaction. The irritants that cause most allergies are generally quickly identifiable, as responses to them are generated rapidly after exposure. However, some allergic reactions … Continue reading Tick Bites and Red Meat Allergies: a surprising cause of idiopathic anaphylaxis
The cells of the adaptive immune system attack foreign pathogens by producing proteins, such as antibodies, that use a lock-and-key mechanism to recognize pathogenic antigens, or molecules that can elicit an immune response (Figure 1). In order to defend our bodies against the millions of different pathogens that could harm us, the adaptive immune system … Continue reading Somatic Recombination
Head-to-head interactions between antibodies make a better anti-malarial antibody response.
Our body can remember specific pathogens and other foreign substances (antigens) years after the first encounter. B cells, the type of lymphocytes that produce antibodies, are one of the key players for the establishment of this long-term memory. Upon activation, B cells proliferate and give rise to antibody-secreting plasma cells (PCs) or memory B cells … Continue reading The regulatory role of IL-9/IL-9R signaling in memory B cell response
Many of us may know someone who has taken allergy shots. These shots work on the concept of tolerance—that small doses of an antigen in the context of no inflammation or illness leads to the body learning that antigen is safe. When the body is exposed to that antigen again, no inflammation happens because the … Continue reading Tolerance-inducing therapies: A how-to guide for vaccinating against autoimmunity
Thousands of skilled assassins are currently moving through your body. Natural Killer cells, or NK cells, are constantly on the watch, checking up on cells to make sure they are healthy and have not gone rogue. If a cell is healthy, the NK cell passes it by. But if it is infected or cancerous, the … Continue reading NK Cell Killing: How many lytic granules does it take?
Mitochondrial proteins fine-tune CD8+ T cell metabolism to limit immune damage during tuberculosis response.