Author: Mary Powers

Research homes in on drug to dampen inflammation fueling life-threatening immune disorder

Researchers know small molecules called cytokines fuel the fire that drives the life-threatening immune disorder hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). St. Jude investigators recently detailed how the drug ruxolitinib functions like a fuel shut-off valve to dampen the immune response. Treatment was associated with improved survival in mouse models of HLH compared with a targeted HLH cytokine inhibitor. “Results of this preclinical study support including ruxolitinib in future clinical trials,” said corresponding author Kim Nichols, MD, Oncology. The research appeared in the journal Blood. HLH is a family of rare, related and often-fatal immune disorders characterized by a massive accumulation and overactivation...

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Histiocytic disorders are the focus of annual meeting at St. Jude

Imagine parenting a child with a disorder so rare that the correct diagnosis is a challenge. Finding enough other children with the disease for research to improve understanding and treatment is difficult. Generating interest or funding for the work is even tougher. That’s what the families of children diagnosed with histiocytic disorders, such as Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) and hemophagocytic lymphihistiocytosis (HLH), often face. This family of diseases are rare, related and often fatal. While the causes vary or in some cases are still unknown, the disorders share a common feature: Overproduction of white blood cells called histiocytes. The...

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The beginning of the end for the annual flu shot?

Just in time for the flu season comes news that federal health officials are pumping millions into developing more broadly effective and possibly longer-lasting influenza vaccines. Not surprisingly, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists are involved. Stacey Schultz-Cherry, PhD, of Infectious Diseases, and Ted Ross, PhD, of the University of Georgia, will lead one of three new vaccine development centers. The centers are funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The effort includes support to manufacture and test the most promising vaccine candidates. Funding for the initiative, known as...

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