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An All Important Breakthrough Reached In Understanding T cell response For Parasitic Diseases

Researchers from the University of Georgia have conducted a new study that gives vital information as to how the T cells in the body react to parasitic diseases that affect scores of people every year. //

A study led by scientists at the University of Georgia, that has been just published in the online journal PLOS Pathogens, which is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science, states that scientists now have a better understanding than ever before on the response of T cells against the parasitic diseases which affect millions each year around the world, killing scores. This study is expected to give some vital information about the diseases caused by parasites, as that has been one area that has remained unclear for scientists who have so far been able to understood how T cells worked in other kinds of diseases.

In the 1980s, the phrase 'T cell count' burst into the world’s medical vocabulary as thousands and then millions of patients died of AIDS. The public began to understand the crucial importance of T cells—cellular Pac-Men that roam the bloodstream gobbling up infection and guarding against future attacks.

'We have needed to really know what happens in these infections,' said Rick Tarleton, research professor of cellular biology and a faculty member in UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases (CTEGD). 'What is the body’s response? This study is the first to show that one parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas Disease, elicits a T cell response focused on a few peptides, despite having some 12,000 genes capable of generating hundreds of thousands of potential targets for T cells.'

Diana Martin, the lead author and postdoctoral fellow at UGA; former UGA undergraduates Melissa Cabinian and Matthew Crim; computational biologist Brent Weatherly of the CTEGD; former UGA postdoctoral fellow Susan Sullivan; doctoral students Matt Collins, Charles Rosenberg and
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