Image: Coloured tissue sample of the pancreas; Copyright: Helmholtz Zentrum München

How does friendly fire happen in the pancreas?


In type 1 diabetes, the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells. Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Diabetes Research, and their colleagues at Technical University of Munich have now reported in the journal PNAS about a mechanism used by the immune system to prepare for this attack.
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Image: Colony of two different bacteria; Copyright:

Gaming for gut research


You may not think of yourself in this way - but in some ways your body is just a host for hundreds of trillions of microbes (including bacteria) that colonize us in fairly unique combinations in our guts, inside our various orifices and on the surface of our skin. These tiny creatures are essential to our survival - we could not digest anything without them, for instance.
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Image: Enlarged illustration of a cancer cell (in green) and T-cells; Copyright:

Dying tumour cells release intracellular ions


Researchers at the National Cancer Institute in the USA and the Babraham Institute, UK, have discovered how a mineral ion leaked from tumour tissue as it dies acts to stop the work of anti-tumour immune cells. This discovery provides a new approach in the development of treatments to engage the immune system in the fight against cancer.
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Image: A word cloud. In the centre is written

Belgian scientists discover missing link in septic shock


Researchers at VIB and Ghent University have discovered an important mechanism of sepsis, an overreaction of the body’s immune system to an infection. In this condition, the brain is unable to curb an inflammatory response, causing organ failure or ‘septic shock’.
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Image: Five researchers in a laboratory; Copyright: Thor Balkhed

Predicting the severity of multiple sclerosis


Cells in the immune system of patients with multiple sclerosis behave differently from those of healthy individuals. Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have exploited this difference to develop a method that can predict disease activity in multiple sclerosis.
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Image: Immunohistochemical staining of nasal polyp tissue; Copyright: Helmholtz Zentrum München

Response to house dust mites is age-dependent


In adults with a house dust mite allergy, a cascade of inflammatory signals on the surface of the airways leads to airway remodeling. This process cannot be influenced by standard cortisone therapy. Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich have reported these findings.
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Image: Enlarged Mycobacterium smegmatis; Copyright: J. McKinney/EPFL

A new path for killing pathogenic bacteria


Bacteria that cause tuberculosis, leprosy and other diseases, survive by switching between two different types of metabolism. EPFL scientists have now discovered that this switch is controlled by a mechanism that constantly adapts to meet the bacterium's survival needs, like a home's thermostat reacting to changes in temperature.
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Image: Fluorescence microscopy image of stem cells; Copyright: Aalto University

Nanofiber scaffolds show new behaviour of stem and cancer cells


A discovery in the field of biomaterials may open new frontiers in stem and cancer cell manipulation and associated advanced therapy development. Novel scaffolds are shown enabling cells to behave in a different but controlled way in vitro due to the presence of aligned, self-assembled ceramic nanofibers of an ultra-high anisotropy ratio augmented into graphene shells.
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Image: Illustration of a bacteria; Copyright: Lehigh University

New immunotherapy to fight bacteria


An estimated 23,000 people in the U.S. die each year of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A UK government-commissioned review reports that such infections take 700,000 lives per year globally.
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Photo: Child gets pierced into the finger using a lancing device

Diabetes: comprehensive prevention, early "vaccination"?


A diagnosis of diabetes often catches new patients off guard - for instance if they end up in the emergency room suffering from metabolic decompensation. Children are often affected by this. Their immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas early on in their lives, thus causing type 1 diabetes.
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Cancer Immunotherapy: Individual mutations as new target structures


A tumor is as unique as the person who is affected by it. For a long time, it was assumed this would make treatment more difficult since cancer drugs are not able to be one hundred percent effective in targeting the affected cells. In this interview with, Professor Ugur Sahin explains why it is precisely these individual mutations that make him hopeful for a new type of therapy.
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Photo: People in the waiting room of a doctor's office

Vaccines: activatable depot to replace multiple injections


Besides antibiotics, vaccines may be the most important development in medicine: they protect us from diseases by “introducing” our immune system to pathogens. This way, a small injection saves us from severe and potentially mortal courses of disease.
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Multi-resistant bacteria want to conquer the world


Bacteria lurk everywhere: on the skin, in the intestines and in every puddle. Most of them that are hanging out in the human body are good bacteria. But not all of them. Those pathogens that exhibit resistance and are thus very hard to combat are the most dangerous kind. Their spread threatens people all over the world.
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"The immunosensory system goes beyond the actual immune cells"


It guards the body but can become its enemy: the immune system defends us from intruding pathogens; it is also able to cause severe diseases if it falsely recognizes the body itself as a threat. Molecular receptors in the whole body enable the immune system to “sense” what happens within.
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