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The Immune System

Researchers have regenerated the thymus in mice, potentially paving the way for regenerati...

It may not be to quite the same level achieved by Victor Frankenstein, but work by a team from the University of Edinburgh is likely to have significant real-world implications in the field of regenerative medicine. For the first time, the team has successfully regenerated a living organ in mice, not by using a jolt of electricity, but by manipulating DNA.  Read More

New technology could allow vaccines to be produced when and where they're needed (Photo: S...

Researchers from the University of Washington have created a vaccine with the potential to make on-demand vaccination cheaper and quicker, using engineered nanoparticles. Tests with mice show definite promise for the technology's use on humans.  Read More

A new approach targets bad bacterai, such as Salmonella (pictured), while leaving good bac...

The increasing prevalence of bacteria resistant to antibiotic drugs is largely blamed on the over prescription and use of such drugs in humans and animals, leading to the evolution of so-called "superbugs." A new antibiotic "smart bomb" that can target specific strains of bacteria could provide the next-generation antibiotic drugs needed to stave off the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Read More

A normal nerve cell, with the myelin (brown) intact (Image: Shutterstock)

In multiple sclerosis, the body’s immune system attacks and damages myelin, which is the insulating layer on nerves in the spinal cord, brain and optic nerve. Just as would happen with an electrical cord with compromised insulation, this causes the nerves to short-circuit and cease functioning properly. An international team of scientists, however, have recently reported success in the first phase of clinical trials in which MS victims’ immune systems were conditioned to become much more tolerant of myelin.  Read More

Bacteriophage attacking an infectious bacterium

Though not something people like to ponder, the purpose of mucus as a protective barrier that keeps underlying tissues moist and traps bacteria and other foreign organisms is well known. However, researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU) have now discovered that the surface of mucus is also the site of an independent human immune system that actively protects us from infectious agents in the environment.  Read More

Cambridge scientists have unveiled new data on the mechanisms of a contagious tumor that t...

While many animals face extinction due to poaching or loss of habitat, Tasmanian devil numbers are sbeing dramatically reduced due to a contagious tumor with a mortality rate of 100 percent. Called Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), it kills the animal in a matter of months. Now fresh research from the University of Cambridge has delivered new data on the mechanism of the disease which could increase the chances of developing a vaccine.  Read More

U.S. researchers are developing a new technique to treat autoimmune diseases like  rheumat...

A team of scientists at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has developed a new technique to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The approach, which is based on the infusion of cells that regulate immune responses, has been demonstrated to to be effective in mice, even weeks after the disease was initiated.  Read More

A new gene therapy approach could lead to the end of drug treatments for HIV patients (Ima...

One of the biggest problems in treating HIV patients is the amount of daily individual medications it takes to keep the virus at bay. In a new study, scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have engineered a new approach to tailored gene therapy that they say makes key cells of the immune system resistant to attack from the HIV virus, which may eventually lead to the removal of life-long dependencies on drugs for patients living with HIV.  Read More

A conceptual image of the vaccine patch developed at MIT that could enable the use of DNA ...

Taking a two-month-old in for vaccination shots and watching them get stuck with six needles in rapid succession can be painful for child and parent alike. If the work of an MIT team of researchers pans out, those needles may be thing of the past thanks to a new dissolvable polymer film that allows the vaccination needle to be replaced with a patch. This development will not only make vaccinations less harrowing, but also allow for developing and delivering vaccines for diseases too dangerous for conventional techniques.  Read More

A 750x view of the Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles used in the study (Image: Lonn...

Good news may be on the way for sufferers of multiple sclerosis – a team of scientists from Illinois-based Northwestern University, the University of Sydney, and the Myelin Repair Foundation in California have succeeded in halting the effects of the disease in lab mice. It all comes down to using nanoparticles to trick the immune system.  Read More

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