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Researchers discover Protein that can help make Vaccinations more effective, also protection from Cancer

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Cancer patient in hospital. Wikimedia

New York, April 8, 2017: Researchers have discovered a protein that could help make vaccinations more effective and also provide protection from other diseases such as cancer.

The researchers purified a protein found on the exterior of bacteria (neisseria meningidis) and used it as an accessory to provide a better vaccination response.

Typically, vaccines can either increase the amount of antibody production or they can stimulate cells (called cytotoxic T cells) to directly kill the offending agent.

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The protein, called PorB, is unique in that it can do both, the researchers said.

The study, published online in the journal Scientific Reports, may lead to greater understanding of how vaccine enhancers work and can best be used.

“This study has wide implications as it could not only be used to help the body identify and fight off bacterial infections, but it could also potentially help the body use its own machinery to fight off other diseases like cancer, HIV, and influenza before they have a chance to establish within the body,” explained corresponding author Lee Wetzler, Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) in the US.

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In this study, the researchers used two experimental models. The first model was given a vaccination with antigen and mixed PorB, while the second model was given the antigen alone.

The model that received the PorB had an increase in the response to the vaccine antigen, evidenced by an increased number of activated cells in the lymph nodes and a gain in the production of cytotoxic T cells, as compared to the vaccination with the antigen alone.

“Our study deepens the general understanding of how vaccine adjuvants modulate immune responses,” Wetzler said.

“The antigen formulation with PorB triggers a sequence of cellular events at the periphery and in lymphoid tissue that are critical for the establishment of protection to a broad array of infectious diseases, and maybe for other diseases like cancer,” Wetzler added. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Find Way to Make Cancer Cells Self-destruct

It also shows that ATF4 turns on the genes MYC needs for growth and also controls the rate at which cells make specific proteins called 4E-BP

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Cancer, Patients, Invasive
Traditional treatments often include chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Pixabay

In a new hope for cancer patients, researchers have found a way to cause some cancer cells to self-destruct.

The research team has identified a new pathway that works as a partner to a gene called MYC which controls normal cell growth, but when it is mutated or amplified in cancer, it sets off a chain reaction that helps tumours grow uncontrollably.

The pathway involves a protein called ATF4, and when it’s blocked, it can cause cancer cells to produce too much protein and die.

Published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the study done on mice points the way towards a new therapeutic approach as inhibitors that can block synthesis of ATF4 already exist.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

“What we’ve learned is that we need to go further downstream to block tumour growth in a way that cancer cells can’t easily escape, and our study identifies the target to do just that,” said Constantinos Koumenis, Professor at the University of California.

According to researchers, this finding shows the alternative approach is to target ATF4 itself, since it’s the point where both signal pathways converge, meaning there’s less redundancy built in to allow cancer to survive.

Also Read: Consuming this Bacteria May Cut Risk of Heart Diseases

It also shows that ATF4 turns on the genes MYC needs for growth and also controls the rate at which cells make specific proteins called 4E-BP.

This study also found that when tumours in humans are driven by MYC, ATF4 and its protein partner 4E-BP are also overly expressed, which is further evidence that these findings may point to an approach that could work for humans. (IANS)