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Trudeau Institute reports new approach to treating Listeria infections
Date:10/17/2011

a. He discovered that activated macrophages play a critical role in killing Listeria. He also discovered that lymphocytes, another type of immune cell, orchestrate this killing response. These seminal observations remain the foundation for modern studies of cell-mediated defense against pathogens.

The Trudeau Institute's second director, Dr. Robert J. North, extended this work by identifying the key subset of anti-Listeria lymphocytes: T cells. Dr. North and his Trudeau colleagues also described crucial roles for NK cells and neutrophils.

Several years ago, Dr. Smiley discovered that blood-clotting proteins also play critical protective roles during immune defense against Listeria. "I was really intrigued by our finding that clotting protects against Listeria because so many other studies had shown that clotting clogs blood vessels and contributes to organ failure and death during septic infections," said Dr. Smiley.

"Our finding suggested that some degree of blood clotting is essential for effective immune defense, but too much is harmful. We set out in search of ways to prevent the bad clotting while maintaining the good."

Specifically, Dr. Smiley's lab looked for clotting factors that appeared to be hyperactive in the septic state.

"The paper we've just published is our first demonstration of this exciting new approach to treating sepsis we found that FXI is overproduced during septic Listeria infections and that therapeutics targeting FXI can reduce septic disease while maintaining immune defense."


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Contact: Kim Godreau
kgodreau@trudeauinstitute.org
518-891-3080 x561
Trudeau Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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