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Immune programming cells may hold key to new treatments


Researchers with the National University of Singapore found a new type of T helper cells, TH-GM, play a crucial role in immune system and pathogenesis of neuronal inflammation. The discovery may lead to new treatments for multiple sclerosis.

The research team, led by professor Xin-Yuan Fu, senior principal investigator from CSI Singapore, found that STAT5, a member of the STAT family of proteins, programs TH-GM and initiates the immune response to an auto-antigen in responding to a signal from an interleukin, IL-7, causing neuro-inflammation, pathogenesis and damage in the central nervous system. The discovery was the product of the induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis

Results of mouse model studies sometimes do not translate to humans and may be years away from being a marketable treatment. However, the researchers suggest that blocking IL-7 or STAT5 would provide a significant therapeutic benefit for this disease.

The study was published in the journal Cell Research.

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