Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mayo Clinic Boosts Immune System: May Lead To Cancer Vaccines, Better Protection For Elderly

Date:
September 26, 2005
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a way to dramatically boost the output of immune system cells from the thymus, which may lead to improved cancer vaccines, as well as to ways to otherwise strengthen immune responses.

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a way todramatically boost the output of immune system cells from the thymus,which may lead to improved cancer vaccines, as well as to ways tootherwise strengthen immune responses.

Related Articles


The Mayo report appears in the current online edition of the journal AIDS, (http://www.aidsonline.com).Mayo Clinic scientists studied the immune system responses in bloodsamples from health care workers accidentally exposed to HIV, who thenreceived a commonly used anti-AIDS treatment known as antiretroviraltherapy (ART). None of the workers developed HIV infections.

In these non-HIV-infected test subjects, the scientistsdiscovered that ART dramatically increases (up to a factor of 1,000)the production of cells from which the immune system makesdisease-attacking T cells. Importantly, the increase in T cells alsooccurred in older people who generally produce few new T cells. Furtherexperiments were performed in mice to see if the ART treatment causedthe immune system to erroneously attack the host instead of diseaseagents. It did not.

Significance of the Mayo Clinic Research

The findings are significant because they suggest new ways touse an existing and approved drug regimen of ART to stimulate thethymus to produce more T cells -- without provoking an "autoimmune"reaction in which the body attacks itself. T cells are major diseasefighters of the immune system that are depleted in diseases such asAIDS and cancers, as well as in bone marrow transplant recipients. ARTis a combination treatment of antiretroviral drugs and drugs thatprevent cell death.

Possible Applications

"One of the potential uses we envision is to use the ARTtreatment as a way to use tumor components to immunize cancer patientsagainst their own cancer cells," explains Mayo Clinic immunologistDavid McKean, Ph.D. "The current problem with this treatment strategyis that the tumor gives off a variety of soluble products which wedon't fully understand, but which we know wreck havoc on the immunesystem by suppressing its various components. If we can use the ARTdrugs to increase the number of newly produced T cells in cancerpatients first, we can potentially improve the likelihood of getting acancer vaccine to work."

The findings may also benefit the aging population.

"The ability of ART to boost T cell numbers may allow patientswho normally don't respond to vaccines -- such as those with chronicdisease, or the elderly -- to mount an effective immune response ifthey receive the vaccination in combination with ART," says co-authorand Mayo Clinic immunologist Andrew Badley, M.D.

With age the thymus (located in the upper chest) diminishes andproduces fewer T cells. This leaves the elderly more vulnerable todisease and less able to make effective use of vaccines. However,researchers say if the aging immune system was primed by the ARTregimen prior to receiving vaccines, a stronger immune response mightbe provoked. That way people might be better protected, and publichealth officials could use their supplies of vaccine more effectively.

About the Investigation

In the seven participants treated with ART, five showed adramatic increase in a specific kind of cell known as "naive T cells".This is important because naive T cells are used by the body to destroytumor cells or cells that have been infected by viruses to which theindividual has not been previously exposed. Says Dr. McKean, "A personin their 60s doesn't produce many new T cells. Yet in order toeffectively respond to a pathogen you haven't seen before, you reallyneed those new T cells produced by the thymus. So that's why as peopleget older they become more susceptible to particular viruses."

###

Collaboration and Support
In addition to Drs. McKean and Badley, the Mayo Clinic researchteam included Daniel Graham, Ph.D.; Michael P. Bell; Catherine Huntoon;Joel Weaver; and Nanci Hawley. Their work was supported by grants fromthe National Institutes of Health and the Burroughs WellcomeTranslational Research Award.

To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. MayoClinic.com (www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your health stories. For more on Mayo Clinic research, go to www.mayo.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Mayo Clinic Boosts Immune System: May Lead To Cancer Vaccines, Better Protection For Elderly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926081031.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2005, September 26). Mayo Clinic Boosts Immune System: May Lead To Cancer Vaccines, Better Protection For Elderly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926081031.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Mayo Clinic Boosts Immune System: May Lead To Cancer Vaccines, Better Protection For Elderly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926081031.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins