How Does Candida Elude the Immune System?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Alistair J P Brown DSc FSB FAAM FRSE Aberdeen Fungal Group, MRC Centre for Medical Mycology, University of Aberdeen, Institute of Medical Sciences, Foresterhill, Aberdeen UK

Prof. Al Brown

Professor Alistair J P Brown  DSc FSB FAAM FRSE
Aberdeen Fungal Group, MRC Centre for Medical Mycology,
University of Aberdeen, Institute of Medical Sciences,
Foresterhill, Aberdeen UK 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Most of us harbor the yeast Candida albicans, and most of the time it does us no harm.  However, under certain circumstances it can break out to cause nasty infections of the mouth or genitalia (thrush), or potentially fatal infections in vulnerable intensive care patients.  Indeed, over half of women will suffer at least one episode of vulvovaginal candidiasis in their lifetime, and over 5% of women suffer recurrent episodes (four or more episodes per annum).  Also, it has been estimated that there are over 400,000 life-threatening systemic Candida infections worldwide per annum, of which over 40% are fatal (see Science Translational Medicine (2012) vol. 4, 165rv13).  A key to this is the potency of our immunological defenses: the weaker our defenses the more vulnerable we are to fungal infection.  Therefore, we in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Medical Mycology – and other groups worldwide – are studying the mechanisms by which our immune cells recognize and kill invading Candida cells, thereby protecting us from infection.

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Protein Found To Enhance Ability To Kill MRSA

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Warren Leonard, M.D. NIH Distinguished Investigator Laboratory of Molecular Immunology NHLBI, NIH

Dr. Warren Leonard

Warren Leonard, M.D.
NIH Distinguished Investigator
Laboratory of Molecular Immunology
NHLBI, NIH

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: TSLP is a cytokine that has been well studied in the context of T cell helper type 2 (TH2) responses and the promotion of atopic diseases. TSLP is naturally expressed at barrier surfaces, such as the skin; however, its role in skin infections was not previously explored.

In our study, we investigated whether TSLP plays a role in host defense to Staphylococcus aureus skin infections, using the most common strain of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) present in the United States.

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Rogue Protein Facilitates Breast Cancer Metastases

David Gallego Ortega, PhD Group Leader, Tumour Development Group Cancer Division Garvan Institute of Medical Research Conjoint Lecturer, St Vincent’s Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW, Australia National Breast Cancer Foundation and Cure Cancer Foundation Australia Fellow

Dr. David Gallego Ortega PhD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David Gallego Ortega, PhD
Group Leader, Tumour Development Group Cancer Division
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Conjoint Lecturer, St Vincent’s Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW, Australia

National Breast Cancer Foundation and Cure Cancer Foundation Australia Fellow 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Ortega: We have identified a protein that ‘goes rogue’ in breast cancer. The protein, called Elf5, ‘tricks’ the immune system producing inflammation so that the immune cells now help the breast cancer cells to spread throughout the body.

Cancer spread, or metastasis, is the ultimate cause of death of breast cancer patients, so we are very excited about our discovery because it opens the door to explore anti-inflammatory drugs that can be combined with existing therapies.

We have found that luminal breast cancer patients that present high levels of Elf5 progress earlier in their disease. The Luminal subtype is the most common type of breast cancer, so these therapies will potentially benefit to 2/3 of all breast cancer patients.

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Space Flight Model Links Aging, Osteoporosis and Immunity

Dr. Jean-Pol Frippiat Stress, Immunity and Pathogens Laboratory at Lorraine University Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, FranceMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Jean-Pol Frippiat
Stress, Immunity and Pathogens Laboratory
Lorraine University
Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France 


What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Frippiat: Osteoporosis is associated to spaceflight. Consequently, we wondered whether changes in bone micro-structure induced by a ground-based model of spaceflight, hindlimb unloading (HU) that simulates some of the effects of spaceflight on mice, induces changes in B lymphocyte production in the bone marrow.

To this end, we analyzed both bone parameters and the frequency of cells of the B lineage in the bone marrow of young, old and HU mice. We found that HU leads to a decrease in both bone micro-structure and the frequency of B cell progenitors in the bone marrow. A major block at the pro-B to pre-B cell transition was observed indicating a decrease in the formation of B cells in the bone marrow. Interestingly, the modifications in B cell production were similar to those observed in aged mice.

These findings demonstrate that mechanical unloading, to which astronauts are subjected during spaceflight, results in a decrease in B cell differentiation that resemble age-related modifications in B lymphopoiesis.

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