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Author: Ben Youngblood, PhD

Cells trained to recognize returning infections

How our lab found out Memory T cells are made, not born How are memory T cells formed? The answer could help researchers design more effective vaccines and expand cancer immunotherapies. Our lab conducted experiments to help resolve this question, and what we found has established a path to further investigate how to effectively support them in a body’s efforts to rid itself of pathogens. We worked specifically with CD8 T cells, a powerful part of our body’s immune system. These cells eradicate intracellular infections, and through vaccination, manufacture immunity to chronic illness and cancer. What are T cells...

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Supercharging T cells to fight cancer

When it comes to cancer therapies, the field is abuzz with enthusiasm for treatments that rely on the patient’s own immune cells. What are T cells? Immunotherapies for cancer enlist the body’s own immune system to kill cancer cells. One such therapy, called immune checkpoint blockade, involves patients receiving a drug that reactivates a patient’s T cells, a type of white blood cell trained to recognize and attack viruses and tumors, allowing them to kill virally infected or tumor cells. These tumor-fighting T cells detect a protein, called an antigen, on the cancer cells’ surface that triggers the attack....

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