Navigation Links
Mathematical models of adaptive immunity
Date:12/11/2008

More than five million people die every year from infectious diseases, despite the availability of numerous antibiotics and vaccines. The discovery of penicillin to treat bacterial infections, along with the development of vaccines for previously incurable virus diseases such as polio and smallpox, achieved great reductions in mortality during the mid-20th century.

Recently, spectacular advances in medical imaging combined with mathematical tools for modelling the human immune system have provided a base for a new push against infectious disease. The challenges and opportunities presented by these new experimental and theoretical technologies were discussed at a recent workshop organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF), which set out an agenda for quantitative immunology.

"A better understanding of how the immune system responds to infection and of the factors that determine whether an infection results in protective immunity or disease could lead to medical advances resulting in a great reduction in human suffering", said Paul Garside, director of the Centre for Biophotonics at the University of Strathclyde, and Carmen Molina-Paris and Grant Lythe, applied mathematician at the University of Leeds, co-convenors of the ESF workshop.

The fact that a conference on immunology should be co-convened by mathematicians typifies the change in the field from a qualitative science into a quantitative one using comprehensive data sets derived from imaging. This should help answer the question of why a given infection is controlled by the immune system in some people, leading to prolonged adaptive immunity, while in others causes serious disease. The answer depends on numerous factors relating to interaction between metabolism, immune system pathways, and even external factors such as diet and micro-organisms in the gut. Unravelling these factors requires mathematical modelling based on data obtained from images of the processes as they actually take place in the body, combined with chemical analysis of samples such as urine or blood.

One technology in particular, two-photon microscopy, is providing valuable data on immune processes, such as movement and interaction between cells, in real time, as they happen. Two-photon microscopy evolved from conventional light microscopy and exploits the fluorescence effect, causing the object of interest to emit light that can then be observed in high resolution. The ESF workshop focused on how modelling and imaging could help resolve the complex immunological and metabolic interactions between three key groups of cells involved in defence against disease, T cells, B cells, and dendritic cells. T cells are a type of white blood cell involved in the adaptive memory against previous infections, in destroying infected viral or tumour cells, and in mediating the immune response to avoid an attack on the host organism. B cells are another type of white blood cell, producing antibodies that identify and mark invading pathogens such as bacteria, also playing a key role in adaptive memory. Dendritic cells aid the other immune cells by processing invading pathogens at an early stage and presenting their antigens (unique surface components, including proteins and carbohydrates, identifying a pathogen) so that they are easily accessible to those other immune cells.

"Modelling the interactions of T cells, B cells and APCs (Antigen presenting cells) such as dendritic cells in the lymph node is one of the great challenges we face", said Garside, Lythe and Molina-Paris. "In particular, it is essential to understand the timescales of these interactions."

There are also broader questions identified at the ESF workshop, such as how the immune system maintains such great diversity in its repertoire of mature antibodies, providing protection against such a wide range of pathogens, while at the same time it is able to discriminate between self and non-self, and achieve a proportionate response to infection, so that collateral damage against the host is minimised. The importance of this fine regulation is emphasised when it goes wrong, for example in septic shock when the immune system over reacts to a pathogen, or in chronic auto immune diseases such as MS or rheumatoid arthritis, when these immune cells attack the body's own tissue. Although the ESF workshop concentrated on infectious diseases, the research it will stimulate will also lead to better understanding and improved therapies for these conditions where the immune system malfunctions.


'/>"/>

Contact: Paul Garside
paul.garside@strath.ac.uk
44-014-154-84694
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. A new mathematical formula for cancer progression
2. Mathematical modeling offers new approaches to fight dual-resistant hospital infections
3. Novel mathematical model predicts new wave of drug-resistant HIV infections in San Francisco
4. Computer models help raise the bar for sporting achievement
5. NIH awards Phylonix phase II SBIR to develop zebrafish models for eye diseases
6. In vitro models will minimize animal use in arthritis studies
7. Millar Instruments Launches Complete Pressure-Volume System for Large and Small Animal Models
8. EntreMed Presents Results for ENMD-1198 and Vincristine in Preclinical Leukemia Models
9. Researchers train the immune system to deliver virus that destroys cancer in lab models
10. New Website Showcases 24 Promising Models That Are Transforming How Health Care Is Delivered
11. Spinal cord injury research hampered by animal models, says new study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... , ... April 24, 2017 , ... Michael Vick announced ... transforming the quarterback position. The former overall number one pick in the 2001 NFL ... career. He holds the record for the most career rushing yards by a quarterback ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... NEPC Director Kevin ... of Education Research Award. The award honors scholars exemplary in their capacity to ... scholar who has demonstrated the capacity to deepen the public’s understanding and appreciation ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... Sean Fay is the undisputed king ... Toothbrush, Juiceman Juicer, and the George Foreman Grill (which sold more than 100 million ... the last 25 years. , Now, due to changes in the broadcast media landscape, ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The world-class designers of Happy Gadget Alert ... lifesaving device for the everyday use of parents worldwide. It is a lightweight, ... a child’s vital signs, and detect unusual symptoms or physical patterns. This innovative ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... ... prescription opioid overdose deaths now claim the lives of 62 Americans each day.(1) ... filings against drug manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and prescribers by more than half.(2) ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... April 20, 2017 Research and Markets ... Contract Manufacturing Services Market Analysis By Service (Manufacturing, Research), By ... 2014 - 2025" report to their offering. ... The Latin American pharmaceutical contract ... by 2025 Low drug registration cost in Latin ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 The Mobile X-Ray product ... a healthy CAGR during the forecast period Mobile ... the global digital mobile X-Ray devices market, which is estimated ... 2017, expanding at a CAGR of 7% over the forecast ... opportunity of more than US$ 100 Mn in 2017 over ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... 19, 2017 Global Prostate Cancer Therapeutics ... the prostate cancer therapeutics market analyzes the current ... prevalence of prostate cancer, launch of promising emerging ... of new drugs & therapeutic biological products, and ... to lesser side effects are some of the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: