Medical research

New cancer treatment not as toxic as others

A QIMR Berghofer study has identified how a newly approved blood cancer drug works and found the treatment is better than other drugs at targeting cancer stem cells while causing minimal damage to healthy cells.

Neuroscience

Study explores blood-brain barrier leakage in CNS infections

A new study published in the journal mBio shines light on the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) that occurs during many infections of the central nervous system. The findings implicate interferon gamma, a major cytokine ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Guidelines updated for TB screening, treatment in health care workers

(HealthDay)—Guidelines have been updated for screening and treatment for tuberculosis (TB) infection among health care personnel, according to research published in the May 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control ...

Immunology

Pediatric health researchers offer insights for RSV vaccine

In healthy adults, RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, feels like the common cold with a runny nose, chest congestion and cough. However, it is the second leading cause of death in infants. In fact, nearly 40 percent of ...

Neuroscience

Common treatment for multiple sclerosis may prolong life

Researchers from the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute have found that a widely prescribed drug for multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with longer survival for patients.

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Interferon

Interferons (IFNs) are proteins made and released by host cells in response to the presence of pathogens—such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites—or tumor cells. They allow communication between cells to trigger the protective defenses of the immune system that eradicate pathogens or tumors.

IFNs belong to the large class of glycoproteins known as cytokines. Interferons are named after their ability to "interfere" with viral replication within host cells. IFNs have other functions: they activate immune cells, such as natural killer cells and macrophages; they increase recognition of infection or tumor cells by up-regulating antigen presentation to T lymphocytes; and they increase the ability of uninfected host cells to resist new infection by virus. Certain host symptoms, such as aching muscles and fever, are related to the production of IFNs during infection.

About ten distinct IFNs have been identified in mammals; seven of these have been described for humans. They are typically divided among three IFN classes: Type I IFN, Type II IFN, and Type III IFN. IFNs belonging to all IFN classes are very important for fighting viral infections.

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