The re-emerging threat of tuberculosis (TB) may actually be countered with help from proteins from our bodies, scientists from Ohio are hoping.
In a research report published in the June 2010 print issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org), scientists show how the protein CCL5 plays a protective role in helping the body ward off this contagious, airborne disease in the early stages of infection. CCL5 is a member of a large family of proteins responsible for immune cell migration toward infection sites. The work on this molecule suggests that CCL5 and/or related proteins may lead to new therapies that help the immune system resist TB.
"We hope this study will spark interest in understanding the mechanisms which control cell migration to sites of infection, help define the protective immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and ultimately improve our capacity to predict and/or treat patients with TB," said Gillian Beamer, V.M.D, Dipl. ACVP, Ph.D., a researcher from the Center for Microbial Interface Biology at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio who was involved in the work.
"Tuberculosis may not be top of mind for most people in the developed world, but TB is a leading cause of global disease and drug resistant forms of TB are an ever increasing problem," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "Studies such as these this give us hope that as organisms evolve resistance to current therapies, we can develop promising new approaches to treat infectious disease."