3 April 2012
20 September 2011
A study led by Professor Arne Akbar, Associate of the IHA, was published today. The work focussed on ways to revitalise white blood cells that were thought to have been deactivated after fighting infections.
Previous research had suggested that white blood cells had a finite lifespan, meaning they gave less protection as a person aged. This was thought to be determined by 'caps' on the end of DNA called telomeres which get shorter as the body fights infection. Prof Akbar's team showed however that some white cells were inactive yet had long telomeres, suggesting another mechanism in the immune system was switching them off. When they blocked off the newly identified pathway, they found that the white blood cells appeared to 'come to life' again.
For more on this story, see the following links:
Journal of Immunology