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The immune system has protective memory cells, researchers discover
Date:11/28/2011

n production in the mice it provoked a weaker autoimmune response, due to the presence of already activated T regulatory cells.

T regulatory cells already are being explored in therapies aimed at preventing the rejection of transplanted organs, including treatment developed by a team led by Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, now UCSF executive vice chancellor and provost.

But the discovery of long-lived memory cells among the T regulatory cell population highlights the potential for using specialized memory cells in treatment to help prevent attack on specific molecular targets, which immunologists call "antigens." It may be possible to raise such specialized memory cells outside the body and return the bolstered ranks of protective cells to the patient, Rosenblum said.

Although the role of activated T regulatory memory cells had not previously been recognized, "It's the generally accepted success of what the allergists call specific immunotherapy that has led to recent clinical trials of antigen administration in multiple sclerosis and in type 1 diabetes," Abbas said.


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Contact: Jeffrey Norris
jeff.norris@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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