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Protein amplification in melanoma is possible drug target

lls to produce antibodies with a high affinity for specific attackers. Because TACI mutations are dominant, people with even one copy of the mutation will be unable to mount a strong antibody response.

"A test for TACI would allow for diagnosis of more children and their relatives," says Geha, senior author of the study and a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. "Many children who are sick are now missed, because they can have normal IgA and IgG levels, yet they still have poor antibody responses and get the same bacteria and viruses again and again."

The gene discovery will immediately not change therapy, Geha adds. "For the time being, it's prophylactic antibiotics or IV immunoglobulin infusions every three weeks," he says.

Geha's team previously demonstrated that TACI binds to two other proteins made by cells in the respiratory and gastrointestinal lining, known as APRIL and BAFF, to trigger the signal for B cells to mature. Geha believes that additional cases of immune deficiency result from mutations in the APRIL and BAFF genes, and plans to verify this in further studies.


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