Oncology & Cancer

New cancer treatment may reawaken the immune system

Immunotherapy is a promising strategy to treat cancer by stimulating the body's own immune system to destroy tumor cells, but it only works for a handful of cancers. MIT researchers have now discovered a new way to jump-start ...

Arthritis & Rheumatism

A two-pronged approach to keep rheumatoid arthritis in check

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune, inflammatory disease. Though the precise mechanism of the disease is only partially understood, people with RA produce antibodies that target their own tissues, contributing to ...

Medical research

A specific subset of immune cells that mitigates kidney damage

The immune system is highly complex. For example, a particular class of cells called mononuclear phagocytes (MNPs) plays important roles in the uptake and disposal of damaged cells, the elimination of invasive pathogens and ...

Immunology

How immune cells survive their battle with cancer

The body's immune system can recognize and attack cancer cells, but when those are able to overcome this assault, malignant tumors develop in patients. New research led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) ...

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Dendritic cell

Dendritic cells (DCs) are immune cells that form part of the mammalian immune system. Their main function is to process antigen material and present it on the surface to other cells of the immune system, thus functioning as antigen-presenting cells.

Dendritic cells are present in small quantities in tissues that are in contact with the external environment, mainly the skin (where there is a specialized dendritic cell type called Langerhans cells) and the inner lining of the nose, lungs, stomach and intestines. They can also be found in an immature state in the blood. Once activated, they migrate to the lymphoid tissues where they interact with T cells and B cells to initiate and shape the adaptive immune response. At certain development stages they grow branched projections, the dendrites, that give the cell its name. However, these do not have any special relation with neurons, which also possess similar appendages. Immature dendritic cells are also called veiled cells, in which case they possess large cytoplasmic 'veils' rather than dendrites.

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