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Natural (born) killers: What do they really do?
Date:2/22/2011

lls have normal T-cell responses to tumours, although their NK cell-mediated responses are naturally dramatically reduced. This experiment proves conclusively that the mouse can be used to untangle the web of interactions among the various cells of the immune system.

Sexl's work has immediate implications for the treatment of cancer in humans. As an example, leukemia is sometimes treated by inhibiting the STAT5 protein. Sexl's findings make it clear that this approach has a real drawback: inhibition of STAT5 will lead to a drop in the number of NK cells and so interfere with one of the body's own mechanisms for fighting the cancer. It will be important to assess whether NK cells normally play a part in fighting diseases before inhibiting STAT5. For the first time, the newly developed mouse provides a tool to do so. Not surprisingly, it is already attracting a great deal of interest as Sexl says, "They've been going like hot cakes ever since the word got out."


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Contact: Prof. Veronika Sexl
veronika.sexl@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-2901
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

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