A crucial ‘on switch’ that boosts the body’s defences against infections has been successfully identified in new scientific research.
The breakthrough made by researchers at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Dundee could lead to the development of new drugs to enhance the body’s immune responses to attack, which could benefit people suffering from cancer and other serious conditions.
Their findings have been published in the Journal of Molecular and Cell Biology.
“We have shown that the cells which turn on our immune responses to defend against, for example, infectious diseases, require a particular protein to activate them in order to function properly,” explains Dr Martin-Granados formerly of the University of Aberdeen and now at Cambridge.
“This protein, or enzyme, (PTP1B) effectively acts as a kind of ‘on switch’ and if it is missing or dysfunctional in our body, we cannot mount effective immune responses to tumours or infections.”