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Studying Immune Cells

by KYW’s medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough

New research in the journal Nature takes a look at how immune cells make a choice, so to speak, about whether to continue to expand in numbers just the way they are or differentiate –that is to change into other types of cells. The research also takes a look at what makes them live and die.

I know this sounds extremely technical and it is but here is the way I understand it. The scientists know that cells in our body develop from stem cells that go in different directions to become different things. The reason they are studying immune cells is because they want to see if they can come up with new and better ways to attack infections.

Think about it. Rather than just depend on our bodies to make immune cells in response to a problem, there could be a way to actually inject a medication that selects the immune response.