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Rutgers team discovers novel approach to stimulate immune cells
Date:5/11/2012

when we combine the Mu receptor blocker (antagonist) with the Delta receptor stimulator (agonist), the immune cells accrue increased foreign cell-killing ability," explains Sarkar. "This makes the body highly effective in fighting against bacterial infection and tumor growth."

Sarkar believes that combining this opioid antagonist and agonist may have potential therapeutic value in humans for the treatment of immune incompetence, cancer, pain and ethanol-dependent diseases.

Previous research by the Sarkar group showed that replenishing endorphins by cell therapy did prevent many of the stress and immune problems in fetal alcohol-exposed test subjects. However, cell therapy is highly complex, involving the cumbersome process of producing endorphin cells from neural stem cells of patients and can sometimes result in rejection and other issues.

The beginning of the team's interest into how stress causes diseases started with the observation that mothers who suffer from alcohol abuse or with other developmental problems often give birth to children who exhibited hype-stress responses, linked to childhood disease, child abnormality, immune diseases and cancer.

As part of their investigation, the Sarkar research team learned that the endogenous opioid system in the brain is abnormal in kids and adults who demonstrate hyper-stress responses.

"With the link between hyper-stress responses and manifested immune issues, the goal has been to replenish the opioid deficit in the brain and lead to an effective therapy for immune and other diseases," explained Sarkar.

The team also found that when people consume alcohol, the effectiveness of the body's ability to defend against viral and bacterial invasion, and fight against cancer decreases.

"The overall goal of our research program is to increase our understanding of and develop new therapy for the treatment of cancer, immune and other alcoholism-induced diseases," sa
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Contact: Paula Walcott-Quintin
quintin@aesop.rutgers.edu
848-932-4204
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Rutgers team discovers novel approach to stimulate immune cells
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