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Research reveals control of potent immune regulator

of its production in the healthy state.

"This might help us harness the cancer-killing ability of NK cells to control tumor growth and lead to new treatments that complement current cancer therapy," he says.

The body carefully regulates IFNg levels. If there is too little of the substance, the risk of infection and cancer rises. If there is too much IFNg, NK cells become too plentiful and autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease can occur.

"Our findings explain the yin and yang of the system that controls NK cells," says first author Jianhua Yu, a post-doctoral student in Caligiuri's laboratory. "When NK cells are called into action, the body not only turns up the activation pathway, it also shuts down the anti-activation pathway."

Likewise, when TGFb turns down NK cell activity, it not only turns off the IFNg gene, it also shuts down the pathway that activates the gene.

"In each instance, these regulatory cytokines deliver a double whammy," Caligiuri says. "They turn on what is needed and turn off anything that interferes with it."


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Source:Ohio State University


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