Top 12 Immunology News In 2017

Immunology News In 2017

Top Immunology News In 2017: Immunology is one of the sub-divisions of biology (to be precise biomedical science) that encompasses the study of immune system in all living organisms. In this page, learn biological advancements and research news in the field of immunology and related top stories in 2017.

Top 12 Immunology News In 2017

New broad-spectrum antiviral drugs for Zika & Dengue


A recent study published in Science Immunology reports that a receptor on the surface of the natural killer cells can recognize an amino acid sequence found to be conserved in many similar groups of viruses called flaviviruses like Zika or Dengue. This newly discovered fact could be used in developing broad-spectrum antivirals.

Reference: “KIR2DS2 recognizes conserved peptides derived from viral helicases in the context of HLA-C | Science Immunology”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

German Scientists Find Crucial Factor In Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's Disease

A group of scientists at the University of Bonn and the German center for neurodegenerative science have discovered the mechanism that drives Alzheimer’s disease progression. Inflammation caused by the brain’s immune systems promotes the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Reference: “Microglia-derived ASC specks cross-seed amyloid-β in Alzheimer’s disease | Nature”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

Researchers Discover Blood Platelets Help Against Pathogens

Blood Platelets

Researchers have discovered a new role for blood platelets – that of assembling bacteria into piles or aggregates for elimination by phagocytes. Blood platelets thus, help protect the body against pathogens.

Reference: “Migrating Platelets Are Mechano-scavengers that Collect and Bundle Bacteria”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

Innovative Treatment Found For Sepsis


Scientists at the University of California developed nanoparticles covered in macrophage cell membranes called “nanosponges” used to treat sepsis. These nanosponges detect and clear sepsis-causing pathogens from the bloodstream. This study shows promise in treatment and management of sepsis by helping to clear out endotoxins, and pro-inflammatory cytokines form the blood.

Reference: “Macrophage-like nanoparticles concurrently absorbing endotoxins and proinflammatory cytokines for sepsis management”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

Researchers Publish Breakthrough Study on Immunotherapy Drugs

Immunotherapy Drugs

Researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute have discovered the mechanism that enables cancer cells to become resistant to immunotherapy drugs. The findings from this study can be implemented in developing novel drugs and drug targets.

Reference: “A major chromatin regulator determines resistance of tumor cells to T cell mediated killing | Science”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

Study Finds HIV Vaccine Needs Rare Naïve precursor B cells


Findings from a recent study show that development of the HIV vaccine is still difficult. For the development of an antibody-based HIV vaccine, a type of B-cell known as Naïve precursor B cells are required. These produce mature B cells that produce a range of antibodies. However, researchers found that these B cells are very rare.

Reference: “Precursor Frequency and Affinity Determine B Cell Competitive Fitness in Germinal Centers, Tested with Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Immunogens”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

MGH Researchers Discover New Methods of Creating Antibodies


Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital developed a method of creating antibodies. Autoantibodies that generally attack the body or self-cells can be converted into inflammation fighting antibodies using this technique. The experiment was carried out in mouse models of autoimmune disorders.

Reference: “Engineered Sialylation of Pathogenic Antibodies In Vivo Attenuates Autoimmune Disease”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

Houston Scientists Find A Method For Curing Autoimmune Disorders

T Helper Cells

Scientists at Houston Methodist have discovered a method of curing autoimmune disorders and preventing donor organ rejection. Findings from this study reveal that a molecular switch present in the T-cells help activate or deactivate T cell function. This switch is controlled by the IRF4 molecule which can help cure autoimmune diseases and prevent transplanted organ rejection.

Reference: “Ablation of Transcription Factor IRF4 Promotes Transplant Acceptance by Driving Allogenic CD4+ T Cell Dysfunction”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

Natural Killer Cells in Uterus Helps During Early Pregnancy

Pregnancy Killer Cells

A recent study published in “Immunity” identified Natural killer cells to be among the most common cells found in the uterus during the first trimester of pregnancy. These cells help provide nourishment to the fetus by increasing the production of growth factors. Natural killer cells can be used for the treatment of fetal impairment.

Reference: “Natural Killer Cells Promote Fetal Development through the Secretion of Growth-Promoting Factors”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

Swiss Researchers Find New Autoimmune Diseases Cure

Nervous System

Similar to Houston researchers finding a method of curing the autoimmune disorders, researchers at the University of Zurich discovered that the mechanism by which cells break down their cellular components in immune cells cause them to target the central nervous system thereby leading to the development of autoimmune disorders. Findings from this study can help design new ways to treat autoimmune diseases.

Reference: “ATG-dependent phagocytosis in dendritic cells drives myelin-specific CD4+ T cell pathogenicity during CNS inflammation”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

A New Time-based Treatments For Autoimmune-related Disorders

Drugs for autoimmune disorders

Scientists at Trinity College Dublin established that the time of day influences immune response and activity, as well as autoimmunity in the body. Due to this, the way the immune system responds to certain drugs can also vary depending on the time of the day. Findings from this study can help develop better drugs that can be targeted based on this concept.

Reference: “Loss of the molecular clock in myeloid cells exacerbates T cell-mediated CNS autoimmune disease | Nature Communications”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

Study Finds Malaria Causing Mosquito Outsmarts Immune System

Malaria (Plasmodium falciparum)

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have shown that the parasite responsible for causing Malaria, namely Plasmodium falciparum is extremely skilled at outsmarting the Immune system. It employs various strategies to evade attack by the immune system, by hiding from it, as well as deceiving it.

Reference: “Malaria parasite DNA-harbouring vesicles activate cytosolic immune sensors | Nature Communications”. Accessed January 12, 2018. Link.

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