Infections during pregnancy may interfere with key genes associated with autism and prenatal brain development21 Mar 2017
If a mother picks up an infection during pregnancy, her immune system will kick into action to clear the infection – but this self-defence mechanism may also have a small influence how her child’s brain develops in the womb, in ways that are similar to how the brain develops in autism spectrum disorders. Now, an international team of researchers has shown why this may be the case, in a study using rodents to model infection during pregnancy.
Researchers have identified a series of genetic variants that affect the severity of Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease – but surprisingly, none of these variants appear to be related to an individual’s risk of developing the condition in the first place.
A weight loss condition that affects patients with cancer has provided clues as to why cancer immunotherapy – a new approach to treating cancer by boosting a patient’s immune system – may fail in a substantial number of patients.
A small molecule that can turn short-lived ‘killer T-cells’ into long-lived, renewable cells that can last in the body for a longer period of time, activating when necessary to destroy tumour cells, could help make cell-based immunotherapy a realistic prospect to treat cancer.
Anti-inflammatory drugs similar to those used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis could in future be used to treat some cases of depression, concludes a review led by the University of Cambridge, which further implicates our immune system in mental health disorders.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have taken the first step towards developing a new form of treatment for type 1 diabetes which, if successful, could mean an end to the regular insulin injections endured by people affected by the disease, many of whom are children.
Yoshinori Ohsumi is a deserving winner of this year's Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, whose work shows the value of basic research, writes Professor David Rubinsztein, Deputy Director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research on The Conversation website.
A new mechanism that affects how our immune cells perform – and hence their ability to prevent disease – has been discovered by an international team of researchers led by Cambridge scientists.
Smoking increases an individual’s risk of developing tuberculosis (TB) – and makes the infection worse – because it causes vital immune cells to become clogged up, slowing their movement and impeding their ability to fight infection, according to new research published in the journal Cell.