This news release is available in German.
The immune system has evolved to recognize and respond to threats to health, and to provide life-long memory that prevents recurrent disease. A detailed understanding of the mechanism underlying immunologic memory, however, has remained elusive. Since 2001, various lines of research have converged to support the hypothesis that the persistence of immune memory arises from a reservoir of immune cells with stem-cell-like potential. Until now, there was no conclusive evidence, largely because experiments could only be carried out on populations of cells. This first strict test of the stem cell hypothesis of immune memory was based on mapping the fates of individual T cells and their descendants over several generations.
That experimental capability was developed through a long-term collaboration, focused on clinical cell processing and purification, between researchers based in Munich and Seattle. Since 2009, the groups of Prof. Dirk Busch at the Technische Universitt Mnchen (TUM) and Prof. Stanley Riddell at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have combined their technological and clinical expertise under the auspices of the TUM Institute for Advanced Study. The University of Heidelberg, the University of Dsseldorf, the Helmholtz Center Munich, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), and the National Center for Infection Research (DZIF) also contributed to the present study.
Homing In On The "Stemness" of T Cells
After generating an immune response in laboratory animals, TUM researchers Patricia Graef and Veit Buchholz separated complex "killer" T cell populations enlisted to fight the immediate or recurring infection. Within these cell populations, they then identified subgroups and proceeded with a
|Contact: Vera Siegler|
Technische Universitaet Muenchen