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Natural killer cells could be key to anthrax defense
Date:10/27/2011

e of anthrax spores, but the non-treated (NK cell-intact) mice had much lower levels of bacteria in their blood. "This is a significant finding," Endsley said. "Growth of bacteria in the bloodstream is an important part of the disease process."

The next step, according to Endsley, is to apply an existing NK cell-augmentation technique (many have already been developed for cancer research) to mice, in an attempt to see if the more numerous and active NK cells can protect them from anthrax. Even if the augmented NK cells don't provide enough protection by themselves, they could give a crucial boost in combination with antibiotic treatment.

"We may not be able to completely control something just by modulating the immune response," Endsley said. "But if we can complement antibiotic effects and improve the efficiency of antibiotics, that would be of value as well."


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Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

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