Navigation Links
U of Alberta researcher steps closer to understand autoimmune diseases
Date:3/6/2012

Understanding why immune cells, called T-cells, attack the body is vital in the war against autoimmune diseases like diabetes. University of Alberta researcher Troy Baldwin is a step closer to understanding why the body's T-cells sometimes attack healthy cells causing autoimmune diseases.

Baldwin and graduate student Alex Suen looked at a specific molecule, Bim, which is vital in regulating T-cell death. When they removed Bim they found that the autoreactive T-cells, which are normally eliminated from the blood, were able to survive but were left inactive.

The other part of this study, which is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is that there is another mechanism controlling these T-cells above and beyond Bim.

"When the autoreactive [T-cells] survived because Bim was absent, they weren't able to kill the insulin producing cells in the pancreas," said Baldwin, who is looking specifically at the T-cells that target the pancreas, which causes diabetes.

"Our future work is going to look at what those mechanisms are that are controlling these cells," said Baldwin. "Even though they [T-cells] are present in the body and should be able to target, in this case, the pancreas and cause diabetes, they don't."

This work has big potential. Understanding why these cells didn't target the pancreas and why they are inactive could lead to new therapies to control auto-reactive T-cells and help people with autoimmune diseases.

"Something is telling them not to become active," said Baldwin. "If we can figure out what that something is, we could then potentially use that information to try and either suppress cells that would normally become activated and cause autoimmunity or vice versa. We could now take T-cells that are not active and make them more active.

"Cancer therapies, for example, are one place where we want to boost the T-cell response. So if we turn that suppressive mechanism off, then perhaps we can make a cell that wouldn't normally respond, responsive."

The lab, in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, continues its work in this area. The next step will be to find other mechanisms that regulate T-cells.

"First, we want to try and understand if there are other cells in the laboratory model that are controlling this auto-reactive population or if it is something in the cells themselves that is preventing them from being active," said Baldwin.

"If we can break those control mechanisms, then we can understand how autoimmune diseases can progress," said Suen. "That will give us an idea of what to target to generate therapies to either try to prevent breaking that control or enforcing that control more strictly."


'/>"/>

Contact: Quinn Phillips
quinn.phillips@ualberta.ca
780-248-2048
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. U of Alberta research group recognized with national chemistry awards
2. Mountain pine beetle marching east from Alberta
3. U of Alberta researcher discovers potential cancer therapy target
4. U of Alberta researchers discover important mechanism in fighting infection
5. U Alberta-led team studies T cell activation with nanoparticles
6. U Alberta find could shield humans from influenza virus
7. U of Alberta researchers find mechanism that could prevent or treat deadly peroxisome diseases
8. U Alberta researcher in same group as Darwin and Hawking
9. New dinosaur species possible in Northwestern Alberta
10. A new dinosaur species, Pachyrhinosaur lakustai, unveiled from Pipestone Creek, Alberta, Canada
11. Study jointly led by UCSB researcher supports theory of extraterrestrial impact
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2017)... 2017 A new independent identity strategy consultancy ... (IdSP) . Designed to fill a critical niche in ... founding partners Mark Crego and Janice ... in identity expertise that span federal governments, the 9/11 ... Crego-Kephart combined expertise has a common theme born from ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... 2, 2017  EyeLock LLC, a market leader of ... paper " What You Should Know About Biometrics in ... user authenticity is a growing concern. In traditional schemes, ... However, traditional authentication schemes such as username/password suffer from ... authentication offers an elegant solution to the problem of ...
(Date:2/1/2017)... BOSTON, Massachusetts , February 1, 2017 ... and events on emerging technology, announces the availability of a new ... Continue Reading ... ... systems in industrial and collaborative robots. Source: IDTechEx Report "Sensors for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/20/2017)... ... February 20, 2017 , ... ... telemedicine company announces at HIMSS 2017 Annual Conference (Orlando, FL) a world-wide ... via a global cloud-based sharing and collaboration platform as part of the ...
(Date:2/20/2017)... ... February 20, 2017 , ... PuraCath Medical, an emerging company ... announced today that it has published the result of its recent research on ... (PDI), the official Journal of the International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis . ...
(Date:2/20/2017)... Fla. , Feb. 20, 2017  At ... conference in Orlando , IBM ... offerings, collaborators and clients. IBM Chairman, President and ... HIMSS17 opening keynote address today from 8:30-10 am ... www.ibm.com/watson/health , and ibm.com/industries/healthcare. Her remarks examine the ...
(Date:2/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... Expanding Portfolio to Include Lab Equipment ... with the goal of expanding the reach of its quality and precision to ... analysis meters were introduced into the market in 2014. , The OHAUS Starter ...
Breaking Biology Technology: