Report: Immune cells are essential for combating several diseases

(MENAFN) Australian researchers are part of an international research team that has identified a novel class of immune cells that they hope will play a critical role in the body's ability to combat serious infections and cancer.

Their research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Nature, may help explain why immunotherapy sometimes fails to treat cancer and some viruses, including the hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Professor Axel Kallies, a molecular immunologist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, said those life-threatening conditions can result in "immune exhaustion" that affects a group of immune cells called cytotoxic T cells.

His team has previously demonstrated that certain T cell subtypes may endure contact with the pathogens.

The resilient T cell population that supports the body's long-term reactions has been identified in the most recent study, which was carried out in partnership with researchers from Germany's Technical University of Munich (TUM).

"These cells are like the fountain of youth for T cell immunity, allowing exhausted T cells to self-renew and remain functional," according to first author of the research, Dr Lorenz Kretschmer, from TUM.


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