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Key Drivers of Immune Response Identified

by Sheela Philomena on March 9, 2011 at 12:04 PM
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 Key Drivers of Immune Response Identified

Regulatory T cells - Immune cell population responsible for regulating the body's immune response has been identified.

The finding by the scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute could have wide-ranging repercussions for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, organ transplantation and cancer, and change how the efficacy of newly developed drugs is measured.

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Dr Erika Cretney, Dr Axel Kallies and Dr Stephen Nutt from the institute's Molecular Immunology division made the discovery. It centered on a population of immune cells called regulatory T cells.

Regulatory T cells (T-regs) are responsible for limiting the immune response. Disorders that decrease T-reg activity can lead to autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes or coeliac disease, while increased T-reg activity can suppress the immune system when it should be actively killing cancerous or infected cells.
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Kallies said the research team had used molecular signatures to identify which cells within the regulatory T cell population were responsible for suppressing immune responses.

"It turns out that the bulk of cells which are classified as regulatory T cells may not do much," Kallies said.

"In this study we have identified a distinct group of effector regulatory T cells, or 'active T-regs', which are the key drivers of immune response regulation," Kallis added.

Source: ANI
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