Researchers Make New Discovery in Battle Against Infections

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Researchers have identified a previously unknown link between the migration of white blood cells to infected tissues and immune memory. Researchers from Dr. David Woodland's lab at the Trudeau Institute have now identified a previously unknown link between the migration of white blood cells to infected tissues and the ability of these cells to survive and become long-lived memory cells after the infection has been cleared. The new data is featured on the cover of this month's Journal of Experimental Medicine.

"Defining the factors that regulate the generation of these long-lived memory cells is crucial, as these are the cells that provide protection from re-infection," says Woodland. "Our study focuses on influenza and tuberculosis infections, but a similar study from our colleagues in Japan that was published simultaneously in the Journal of Experimental Medicine shows this observation is relevant to other pathogens, suggesting these findings may be applicable to many infectious diseases. Hopefully, we can use this information to design vaccines that generate larger numbers of memory cells and can therefore provide better protective immunity."

The lab envisions the findings will lead to the development of additives that act to boost vaccine efficacy. This would be especially important for the elderly population that tends to be difficult to effectively vaccinate.

Woodland's studies are funded by the Trudeau Institute and grants from the National Institutes of Health.

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