Posts Categorized: News & Information

Tumour Suppressor Protein Plays Key Role in Maintaining Immune Balance

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[1/21/15] St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists in Memphis, TN, have discovered that a protein widely known for suppressing tumour formation also helps prevent autoimmune diseases and other problems by putting the brakes on the immune response. The research was published recently online ahead of print in the scientific journal Nature Immunology. Researchers showed that the tumour suppressor protein PTEN is essential for proper functioning of regulatory T cells. This small population of white blood cells helps to maintain immune system balance by suppressing specialized T cells called helper T cells that fuel distinct parts of the immune response. The helper T cells investigated in this study included type 1 T helper (Th1) and follicular T helper (Tfh) cells. The interplay… Read more..

Yeast-eating gut bacteria can help battle bowel problems and autoimmune diseases

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[1/14/15] Human gut bacteria that feast on the yeast contained in fermented foods like bread and beer provides clues to new treatments for people suffering from bowel diseases. University of Melbourne researchers collaborating with scientists from the UK, USA Canada and Belgium have unravelled the process healthy gut bacteria use to degrade complex carbohydrates in the wall of yeast cells contained in fermented foods. Publishing their findings in Nature, the international research team say the discovery of this process could accelerate the development of prebiotic medicines to help people suffering from bowel problems and autoimmune diseases. Coauthor Professor Spencer Williams, School of Chemistry School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne and Bio 21 explains: The common gut bacteria called Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron… Read more..

Simple New Test Detects Early Signs of Diabetes

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[1/6/15] People with Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in children and young adults, must take insulin injections and watch their diet to keep their blood sugar levels balanced. Diagnosing the disease usually requires taking blood samples, a frightening experience for many youngsters. But researchers in the United Kingdom say they have developed a simple, non-invasive initial test, which requires only a whiff of the patient’s breath. It is estimated that each year, as many as 80,000 children develop Type 1 diabetes. The autoimmune disease can be lethal if untreated, so early discovery is of ultimate importance. One of the side effects of diabetes is sweet-smelling breath. Oxford University Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Gus Hancock says it is due to the… Read more..

Stress can be a factor for developing diabetes and autoimmune diseases

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[1/2/15] Over time, recurrent stress can trigger insulin resistance, hypertension, and abdominal fat deposition, researchers have found. Stress is an instinctual adaptation to fight or flee when confronted with threats. Stress responses provide adaptation to various physical conditions including burns, bruises, bleeding or psychosocial traumas. But when the situation becomes recurrent, stress can trigger diseases such as diabetes, depression, insulin resistance, hypertension, abdominal fat deposition and other autoimmune diseases, says Siegfried Miracle Lopez, chief of endocrinology at the Advanced Immunology Center in Hospital Angeles Lomas. Type II diabetes is a disease caused by a systemic imbalance. The body is in a constant state called homeostasis,describing a balance between the external medium variants like the weather, temperature, light, night and such… Read more..

Stem cell transplants may halt progression of multiple sclerosis

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    [12/30/14] A NIH-funded study yields encouraging early results. Three-year outcomes from an ongoing clinical trial suggest that high-dose immunosuppressive therapy followed by transplantation of a person’s own blood-forming stem cells may induce sustained remission in some people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). RRMS is the most common form of MS, a progressive autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord. The trial is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted by the NIAID-funded Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) External Web Site Policy. Three years after the treatment, called high-dose immunosuppressive therapy and autologous hematopoietic cell transplant or HDIT/HCT, nearly 80 percent… Read more..

Tips for a gluten free holiday

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1. Do your homework. Because a gluten-free diet is the only way to manage celiac disease, knowing which foods you can and cannot eat is crucial. While wheat rolls and pasta dishes are obvious no-no’s, learn what other foods—such as casseroles, gravies, salad dressings, and soy sauces—might also contain gluten and look for gluten-free alternatives and recipes. When it comes to holiday cheer, a cocktail made with distilled alcohol is safe, but avoid the beer unless it is gluten-free. 2. Be creative. Experiment with gluten-free alternatives to holiday favorites. Try cornbread instead of wheat bread stuffing, or cookies, breads, and rolls made with a combination of gluten-free flours such as bean, corn, nut, potato, rice, sorghum, or soy flour. If… Read more..

Key protein may contribute to understanding immune system

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[12/9/14] A key protein may allow for a new way to use the immune system to speed healing and counter inflammatory, infectious and autoimmune diseases, according to a new study led by an Indian-origin scientist. Researchers led by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai focused on proteinases, enzymes that break down proteins as part of cellular life. Matrix metalloproteinases or MMPs specifically target the extracellular matrix, the non-cell, structural framework within tissues. Beyond that role, the new study found that one member of this family, MMP-2, has another signalling role related to the human immune system. It may shift a set of cells to become part of immune response that accelerates healing in some cases, but may worsen… Read more..

X-ray study identifies key determinants of a recognition process that relies chiefly on sialic acid

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[12/4/14] An international team has used X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to identify the key determinants of a recognition process that relies chiefly on sialic acid, a glycan that is expressed on all human cells, to let the immune system distinguish between “friend” and “foe”. The findings could have important implications for immunology, vaccine research and understanding autoimmune disease. The team comprises Bärbel Blaum and Thilo Stehle of the Interfaculty Institute of Biochemistry, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany, Jonathan Hannan of the Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA, Andrew Herbert and Dušan Uhrín of The School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK and David Kavanagh of the Institute of Genetic… Read more..

Study Finds Obesity Can Trigger Autoimmune Diseases

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A new Israeli study says obesity can play a major role in triggering and prolonging autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s Disease and multiple sclerosis (MS), in which the immune system attacks its own body rather than predatory invaders. A study published recently in Autoimmunity Reviews by Prof. Yehuda Shoenfeld, the Laura Schwarz-Kipp Chair for Research of Autoimmune Diseases at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Head of Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases at Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, shows that obesity leads to a breakdown of the body’s protective self-tolerance, creating the optimal environment for autoimmune diseases, and generates a pro-inflammatory environment likely to worsen the disease’s progression and hinder its treatment. “We’ve been aware of a long list of causes of autoimmune disorders — infections,… Read more..

Molecule causing rheumatoid arthritis found

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[11/5/14] Japanese researchers have taken one step closer to the cure of rheumatoid arthritis. These researchers have successfully found the molecules that lead to this condition which is useful to crack down its cure, media reported. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, immune cells mistakenly identify molecules in the body as invasive substances and attack them, resulting in an inflammatory condition that causes joint swelling and pain.  But it has remained unknown which molecules are targeted by the immune cells. Through experiments with mice, scientists from Kyoto University and other institutes detected one of the target molecules, which is involved in intracellular protein synthesis. The team then found that the immune cells adversely reacted to the identified molecule in 17 percent of all… Read more..