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The Immune System

— Medical

New technique bodes well for lung transplant success rate

Our bodies have developed a particularly unforgiving immune response when a threat is posed to our lungs. This is great for warding off infections and illness, though is something of a double-edged sword regarding transplants, with the recipient's body often perceiving the incoming organ as a threat and seeking to destroy it. But a new approach promises to boost the success rate of such procedures, by both repairing unhealthy donor lungs that wouldn't otherwise make the grade and reducing the chances of rejection once it is implanted.

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— Medical

Time-lapse captures the death of white blood cells for the first time

With a pivotal role in fending off infections and disease, white blood cells are the engine room of the body's immune system. But little was known about what happens exactly when these cells reach the end of their life cycles. Scientists have now captured the death of white blood cells on camera for the first time, showing that they eject much of their contents while decomposing. One reason for this could be to warn neighboring cells of dangerous pathogens in the area. The researchers say learning more about their expiration could help bring about improved health treatments in the future.

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— Health & Wellbeing

New study finds e-cig vapor contains same free radicals found in cigarette smoke

Many people assume e-cigarettes are a healthier – or less unhealthy, at least – option than regular cigarettes, resulting in a rapid uptake in recent years. While the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown, research out of Johns Hopkins University has found that e-cigs may deliver a false sense of security along with their nicotine hit. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

Researchers shed new light on skin-based immune system

The skin is the body's first line of defense against infection, with an extensive network of skin-based immune cells responsible for detecting the presence of foreign invaders. However, in addition to pathogens, an immune response can be triggered by allergens or even our own cells, resulting in unwanted inflammation and allergies. Researchers have now shed new light on the way the immune system in our skin works, paving the way for future improvements in tackling infections, allergies and autoimmune diseases. Read More
— Medical

Vaccine self-assembles into 3D structure to better fight cancer and deadly infections

Scientists have had some success activating the body's immune system to take the fight to cancer and other diseases, a process known as immunotherapy. Now, a new method developed by researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University could advance this form of treatment even further. The technique involves the injection of biomaterials that assemble into 3D scaffolds inside the body to accommodate huge amounts of immune cells, a process that could trigger an attack on deadly infections ranging from HIV to cancer to Ebola. Read More
— Space

NASA study examines the effects of microgravity on the immune system

A new study by NASA intends to examine the detrimental effects of microgravity on the immune system, by studying the blood of rats and blue mussels over the course of a prolonged stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The experiments, TripleLux A & TripleLux B, will be transported to the station by consecutive SpaceX commercial resupply missions. It is hoped that the results of the study could potentially inform future treatment options for immune system deficiencies both in space and on Earth. Read More
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