Findings may help develop potential vaccines or immunotherapy for various cancers and inflammatory diseases — ScienceDaily

Findings may help develop potential vaccines or immunotherapy for various cancers and inflammatory diseases — ScienceDaily

Scientists have long sought to better understand the human body’s immune responses that occur during various diseases, including cancer and inflammatory diseases.

In a recent study at the University of Missouri, Emma Teixeiro, associate professor in the MU School of Medicine, and her team analyzed how immunological memory—the memory the body’s immune system retains after infection or vaccination that helps protect against reinfection – – generated and maintained, as well as the role of inflammation in shaping that immunological memory.

“Our immune system protects us from disease, but it’s a very complex system with many interactions happening, and if things get out of control, it could actually play a role in causing disease,” said Teixeiro, who works in the NextGen Precision Health Institute on the MU campus. “Therefore, our research focuses on better understanding how these immune responses can be generated and controlled, specifically by looking at the critical role played by T cells, as T cells help protect the body from infection and may play a role in cancer attack.”

Using a mouse model, the researchers created different strains of pathogenic bacteria that increased levels of inflammation by stimulating the genes of interferon — or STING — proteins inside T cells. Although many scientists assumed that a stronger immune response would be this increase in inflammation resulted in a stronger immunological memory, Teixeiro and her team found the opposite: immunological memory was reduced.

“Some scientists in the field believe that the activation of STING could be targeted to improve cancer vaccines or immunotherapy, so a basic understanding of all the interacting mechanisms at play is essential to reduce the chance of unintended consequences or adverse side effects ,” said Teixeiro. “We want to better understand how to regulate immunological memory, which has implications for potential vaccines or immunotherapy that stimulate T cells in a way that promotes long-term memory, and hopefully protects our bodies from disease over time. “

Although her research is basic in nature, Teixeiro’s findings could contribute to the development of more effective treatments to help patients suffering from cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), STING-related vasculopathy with infantile onset (SAVI) , asthma. and other chronic inflammatory syndromes.

“The pursuit of knowledge is what drives my curiosity as a scientist,” said Teixeiro. “While there are still more questions to be answered, this research is a small step in the right direction, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Recently published in PNAS. Co-authors on the study include Michael Quaney, Curtis Pritzl, Rebecca Newth, Karin Knudson, Vikas Saxena, Caitlyn Guldenpfennig, Diana Gil, Chris Rae, Peter Lauer, Mark Daniels and Dezzarae Luera.

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