immune system cell

A groundbreaking gene therapy treatment which boosts a patient’s own immune cells has been shown to clear disease from one third of terminal patients.

US pharmaceutical company Kite Pharma released results from the first six months of its trial of the new treatment, called CAR-T cell therapy.

Some 36 per cent of the 101 patients on the trial were still in complete remission at six months, and eight in 10 saw their cancer shrink by at least half during the study.

“The numbers are fantastic,” said Dr Fred Locke, a blood cancer expert at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa who co-led the study.

“These are heavily treated patients who have no other options.”

The treatment, which has been dubbed ‘a living drug’ by doctors, works by filtering a patient’s blood to remove key immune system cells called T-cells, which are then genetically engineered in the lab to recognise cancer cells.

Cancer cells are very good a evading the immune system, but the new therapy essentially cuts the brakes, allowing immune cells to do their job properly.

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK’s head cancer information nurse, said: “These results are promising and suggest that one day CAR-T cells could become a treatment option for some patients with certain types of lymphoma.

“But, we need to know more about the side effects of the treatment and long term benefits.”

Patients in the study had one of three types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer which affects 13,600 patients in Britain, and had failed all other treatments. Most patients with such an advanced condition only live for six months but half of the trial group are still alive nine months since the trial began, and a third may be cured.

Dimas Padilla, 43, of Orlando, who was warned his case was worsening after chemotherapy stopped working, is now in complete remission after undergoing the therapy last August.

After learning his cancer was probably terminal he said: "I was thinking how am I going to tell this to my mother, my wife, my children,” he said.

After CAR-T therapy he saw his tumours “shrink like ice cubes” and is now in complete remission.

“They were able to save my life,” Mr Padilla added.

However there are still concerns that the treatment has significant side effects, and can even kill some patients, as it puts the immune system into a state of over-drive. During the trial two people died from the therapy, rather than their cancer.

Of the study participants, 13 per cent developed a dangerous condition where the immune system overreacts in fighting the cancer, and roughly a third of patients developed anaemia or other blood-count-related problems.

Nearly one third also reported neurological problems such as sleepiness, confusion, tremor or difficulty speaking, but these typically lasted just a few days.

The scans show how cancer has disappeared after just three months, and the remission has continued
The scans show how cancer has disappeared after just three months, and the remission has continued
Full results will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference in April and the company plans to seek approval from European regulators later this year.

“It’s a safe treatment, certainly a lot safer than having progressive lymphoma,"said the cancer institute’s Dr Steven Rosenberg,

Other companies, such as Juno Therapeutics, have had to halt trials into CAR-T treatments following patient deaths.

Requested Anonymously

Swalot swallows a lot. According to the pokédex, Swalot has no teeth but can open its mouth wide enough to swallow a tire, where it can be dissolved in its acidic stomach. There’s lots of interesting science going on in this purple blob of a pokémon, so let’s talk about it!

There are a lot of animals in our world who don’t have teeth for chewing, so they swallow things whole: frogs, ducks, and most remarkably, snakes. A snake’s lower jaw actually has two parts, connected by tendons. This makes the snake’s jaw extremely flexible, and able to open extremely wide to swallow things that are practically bigger than it. (Check out this video to see it in action)

While that’s really cool, it doesn’t really help us understand Swalot. We have no reason to believe Swalot is a vertebrate at all, or even has a jaw bone. In fact, Swalot’s whole body seems incredibly flexible, and it is able to distort itself to swallow prey.

This is a lot less like an animal eating a meal, and more like a process called phagocytosis used by single-celled protozoans and a few other cells, including in your own body. In your immune system, white blood cells will often devour harmful bacteria using phagocytosis. Phagocytosis comes from the greek work “to devour”, and that’s a fairly accurate description of what it does. 

During phagocytosis, the predator engulfs the prey by surrounding it with its body. The predator’s cell membrane wraps around the prey and fuses back together, sealing the prey inside its own body and creating a cavity known as a phagosome, essentially a new stomach. Other parts of the cell, called lysosomes, will then flock towards the new stomach, and release enzymes to digest the prey: stomach acid. As the prey digests, the nutrients are absorbed into the cell. Whatever is leftover, the waste, can be thrown away by simply parting the membrane again, opening the stomach out to the world, and dropping the waste out. 

Creatures that use phagocytosis don’t have just one stomach. Instead, they essentially create a new stomach every time they need to eat. This stomach can be as big or as small as they want: whatever size it needs to be to dissolve their prey.

At first glance, Swalot might look too large to be a single-celled organism and use phagocytosis. But, there are plenty of single celled organisms that aren’t microscopic. The algae Valonia ventricosa, for example, is a single cell that grows several inches in diameter.

So maybe Swalot is a single-celled organism! Perhaps Swalot’s mustache is a kind of flagellum, which acts as a sensory organ to see/smell/detect chemicals like flagellum do in single-celled organism. It is pokémon, so the interpretation is entirely up to you. One alternative theory could be that Swalot is a colonial organism, like Trubbish (read here).

Swalot is a single-celled organism that uses phagocytosis to digest its prey. It wraps its body around its prey, sealing them in and creating a new stomach. Enzymes are injected into the new stomach by lysosomes, which digest the prey and absorb its nutrients.

Cellules du système immunologique : cellules qui combattent les maladies dans le corps ou pathogènes.

  • n°1 : Phagocyte en phase d’endocytose du pathogène. La cellule peut capter les virus ou les bactéries, les enveloppe avec deux bras - les pseudopodes - pour l’inclure en son sein : c’est l’endocytose. L’intrus est ensuite digéré par les sucs contenus dans des petites vésicules.
  • n°3 : Lymphocytes T cytotoxiques. Ils sont spécifiques, c’est à dire que chaque type de lymphocyte ne peut tuer qu’un type de pathogène. Les cytotoxiques éliminent les cellules infectées qui circulent dans le sang en les faisant exploser de l’intérieur avec des enzymes : c’est la cytolyse.
  • n°5 : Rien à voir avec l’immunologie, les hématies ou globules rouges circulent dans le sang et transportent l’oxygène nécessaire au fonctionnement des organes.
  • n°7 : Monocytes : voyagent dans le sang. Si le corps détecte une infection, les monocytes sortent des vaisseaux et se transforment en macrophages, des cellules capables de phagocyter les agents infectieux (voir n°1).
  • n°9 : Granulocytes : cellules capables de phagocytose aussi. Contient des granules digestives. A la particularité d’avoir un noyau en plusieurs lobes, donc aussi appelé polynucléaire - à tort.
  • n°11 : Lymphocyte B. Cellule spécifique qui peut se transformer si besoin en “usine” à anticorps.

Mitose : processus de duplication de la cellule en conservant le patrimoine génétique intacte de la cellule mère.

  • n°2 : cellule normale, avec membrane, noyau et cytoplasme. La base!
  • n°6 : Interphase. Phase ou la cellule grossie avant de se séparer en deux, et ses chromosomes se multiplient par deux.
  • n°4 : Prophase. Les parois du noyau éclate, et les chromosomes deviennent visibles au microscope.
  • n°10 : Métaphase : Les chromosomes se placent en centre de la cellule.
  • n°8 : Anaphase : Ils migrent ensuite aux pôles de la cellule de façon symétrique : on retrouve les mêmes chromosomes de part et d’autres de la cellule.
  • n°12 : Télophase : La cellule se sépare en deux et l’enveloppe du noyau se reforme sur les deux ensembles de chromosomes pour avoir deux cellules identiques.

J’adooore la biologie!

i’ve seen a text post going around saying something to the effect of “do you know how much ur body loves you? so you should love it back!” (i’m paraphrasing here)

i want to give a shoutout to girls with autoimmune illnesses.

to the girls whose bodies don’t love them, to the girls whose bodies betray them every instant of the day, to girls whose immune system attacks the very cells it’s designed to protect:

i love you and i am so, so sorry that you are in this position. i wish i could offer advice or make it go away but i can’t.

for me, one of the worst things about being diagnosed w/rheumatoid arthritis was the loss of confidence that went with it because i started thinking “why bother loving my body if it doesn’t even love me?”

i still don’t know, intellectually, why you should love your body but i know that learning to love it again was the best decision i ever made (tho god knows i’m forever a bitter cripple). 

please remember that it’s okay to mourn the life your disability didn’t let you have. but one day, i hope that every girl with an autoimmune illness can learn protect and love her body even though it doesn’t love her back.

i’m still trying to learn too.

Passive Immunotherapy

Active immunotherapies:

  • Cytokines (TNFa IL-2, IFNs)
  • Cancer vaccines
  • tumour CTL and APC
  • DC priming

Passive immunotherapy:

  • Administration of monocolnal (clone derived asexually from a single individual or cell) antibodies which target either tumour-specific or over expressed antigens
  • Generally comprised of antibodies made outside of the body (in a lab)
  • administered to patients to provide immunity against a disease, or to help fight existing disease
  • do not stimulate a patient’s body to ‘actively’ respond to a disease the way a vaccine does
  • immunogen is given several times to induce a strong secondary response
  • blood serum contains many different antibodies to the immunogen
  • most immunogens have multiple antigenic epitopes 
  • each stimulates a different B cell clone/receptor –> polyclonal antibody (PAb) response 

Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy is the most widely used form of cancer immunotherapy. Monoclonal antibodies cannot be purified from a polyclonal sample and are derived from a single clone/specific for a single epitope.

Antibodies in cancer therapy:

  • Trigger immune system to attack cancer cells 
  • Block molecules that stop the immune system working (checkpoint inhibitors)
  •  Block signals telling cancer cells to divide 
  • Carry drugs or radiation to cancer cells

Checkpoint inhibitors

  • Immune system uses particular molecules to stop it being over activated and damaging healthy cells  - these are known as checkpoints
  • some cancers make high levels of checkpoint molecules to switch of immune system T cells which would normally attack cancer cells
  • examples of targets include CTLA-4, PD-1 and PD-L1 (programmed death ligand 1)

Blocking cell division signals 

  • Cancer cells often express large amounts of growth factor receptors on their surface –> rapid cell division when growth factors stimulate them
  • some monoclonal antibodies stop growth factor receptors working
  • either by blocking the signal or the receptor itself 
  • cancer no longer gets signal to divide

Carrying drugs/radiation

  • drugs or radioisotopes can be attached to monoclonal antibodies
  • the mAB binds to the cancer cell, delivering directly
  • known as conjugated MABs

We are constantly on the look out for ways to improve our lives, ourselves, our bodies, and our minds. No matter how many hacks there are to implement, things to learn and to ponder upon, there are a few simple things that if we learn to start doing now and everyday, they will become valuable habits for a lifetime.

Keep reading

MCAT Immune System (Specific Defenses) Review
Adaptive immunity: highly specific response to pathogen/antigen
Antigen presenting cells (APCs) present foreign antigen on their surface → antigen is recognized by T and B cells → cytotoxic T cells kill infected cells → helper T cells activate macrophages (engulfs pathogens), T cells, and B cells
B cells produce antibodies
Antibodies binding to antigen affects:
Neutralization: pathogens can not attack the host cells
Opsonization: phagocytosis can occur easier
Complement activation: kills infected cells by puncturing holes on the membrane
Memory cells: made without T cell activation
Proliferate and produce antibodies to prepare for same infection in the future

Immune system review video

ELI5: Getting sick from a 'bacteria' vs. 'virus'

Bacteria produce harmful chemicals as part of their life processes. They use up your body’s resources (like eating your sugar or even eating your cells) and spit out toxic waste. Sometimes that waste is specifically designed to protect the bacteria by killing your immune system cells that try to attack it. But it also just basically poops all up in your body, which causes some damage. The symptoms of bacterial infections are related to what waste products the bacteria produces and where the bacteria is living. Your body fights bacterial infections by basically eating them, along with some other toxic chemicals that destroy them.

Viruses hijack the DNA in your cells to make more of the virus. They invade the cell and tell it to stop doing whatever it’s doing that your body needs it to do, and instead all it does is manufacture more of that virus. Eventually, the cell dies - usually by literally exploding - when it fills up with copies of the virus. Those viruses go on to infect other cells. Viral symptoms are caused by your body’s own attempt to kill them, and by the deaths of the cells they’re infecting. Your body fights viruses also by eating them, but it’s harder because they’re a lot smaller and have special protein shells that disguise them as “totally not a virus don’t eat me you guys”.

For extra fun, there are also prion diseases! Prions are proteins that folded the wrong way. When properly-folded proteins come into contact with prions, they re-fold into the same wrong shape as the prion. Your body can’t do anything about it because although it’s folded wrong, it’s still a protein that’s supposed to be there. Proteins are the way your body communicates and accomplishes certain things, so folding them wrong can really muck-up what is supposed to happen. In the case of Mad Cow Disease, as more and more proteins turn into prions, your brain turns to mush and gets holes in it until you go crazy and die.

If you think of your body as a factory that builds cars: bacteria are like a drunk hobo sneaking into your factory and dumping empty wine bottles into the machinery so it breaks. Viruses are like a roomba wandered in and reprogrammed your factory to start making more factory-invading roombas instead of cars. Prions are like a weird European car showed up and crashed into one of your factory’s cars after it left the factory, and now they both keep crashing into other cars (which then go on to crash into more cars) and also they all keep crashing into your factory.

Also fungal infections. Fungi can’t produce their own food, so they steal yours. Often that means invading parts of your body to get to it, and dumping toxic waste like bacteria. In the factory, a fungus would be someone building a shed attached to your factory and stealing your power so your factory doesn’t have enough to run and dumping garbage into your factory.

Also also, parasites. Parasites do the same thing as bacteria, but they’re [often] multicellular, so they’re much larger. Instead of a bunch of them, it’s usually a few big ones (although sometimes also a lot of them). In the factory, a parasite would be like the mafia moving into your factory, breaking stuff, and punching you right in the kidneys (or more likely, in the intestines) while they steal your money.

Explain Like I`m Five: good questions, best answers.


Viral Membrane Protects Medical Nanorobots From Immune System

Scientists say they have developed a cloaking device to spirit medical nanorobots of the future past immune systems into diseased cells. Their innovation comes from stealing a powerful weapon viruses wield to infect their hosts.

Some viruses wrap themselves in a protective membrane to avoid detection by their host’s immune system and enter cells they are trying to infect. A team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have been able to construct their own version of a viral membrane.

Keep reading

A tattoo machine causes a wound that alerts the body to begin the inflammatory process, calling immune system cells to the wound site to begin repairing the skin. It is this very process that makes tattoos permanent.

From the TED-Ed Lesson What makes tattoos permanent? - Claudia Aguirre

Animation by TOGETHER

For disabled people like me, watching what's happening with Obamacare in the US is horrifying

“You’re just lucky it didn’t happen here,” a US-based friend said after hearing of my near death through having been run over by a cement truck. “They’d have been asking for your insurance details as soon as they got you out.”

Thing is, prior to President’s Obama’s Affordable Care Act, I might not have had those details.

I have a pre-existing medical condition. When I was two, I caught a virus and, unfortunately for me, in the process of fighting it my immune system destroyed the cells in my pancreas that produce insulin, leaving me with type 1 diabetes.

The issue of pre-existing medical conditions like mine shot to the top of the US political agenda after late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel delivered an emotional 13-minute monologue on the subject of the birth of his son, who was found to have a congenital heart condition.

Jimmy Kimmel reveals details of his son’€™s birth and heart disease

“No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life,” Kimmel said through floods of tears. “It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”

He continued with an appeal to make healthcare accessible to all, including those with pre-existing medical conditions.

It came against the backdrop of President Trump’s American Healthcare Act rising from the grave, like Freddie Krueger or some other fictional bogeyman.

There will be another attempt to get it through Congress today.

An amendment has been included that will provide $8bn towards securing healthcare coverage for people like William Kimmel, or me.

But Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, described that as “like administering cough medicine to someone with stage four cancer”. He might be right. It isn’t expected to be a deal breaker for the hard right Republican House Freedom Caucus. That speaks volumes.

Those Republicans. They’ll bang on about their desire to “protect life”, referring, of course, to abortion. But once you’ve been born? If you’re not healthy and/or wealthy, then screw you.

Kimmel didn’t put it that way. Whist he is a liberal, he has a much lighter touch than a columnist like me, or some of his rivals; the Stephen Colberts or the Samantha Bees, who have been eviscerating President Trump with brutally effective humour.

Kimmel tends to generate controversy when he’s too soft, not too tough. That, however, might help to explain why his emotional appeal to both Democrats and Republicans – “we gotta look after each other” – has had such an impact

I have to admit, I was almost in tears watching it myself. Things like that resonate with me, given what I and my family have been through.

But it wasn’t just because of the emotion of Kimmel’s appeal, or even the fact that it stirred memories of the troubled birth of my own son (his heart rate swung violently at one point and my wife was rushed into surgery, but he was healthy).

I found it absolutely chilling because it took me back to the issue my friend raised: what would have happened to me had my accident happened in America? Would I be here writing this now? Would I even have had an accident – I might not have got as far as my third birthday?

I was not born to wealthy parents. When my diabetes was diagnosed, we were living in a council house on the edge of Sheffield. In the US, my parents might not have had good coverage, like a lot of Americans modest means. They might not have had any.

Obama’s Affordable Care Act was constructed not just with pre-existing conditions in mind. Its aim was to prevent people from falling through the very limited safety net existing before it.

Watching a sorry, and depressing, UK election campaign, looking back on some of the events of the last six months, I haven’t felt very good about the country in which I live.

But there are three letters that provide some soothing balm: NHS.

It’s desperately underfunded. It doesn’t always work very well. I’ve decided to try and write a book chronicling some of my experiences with it, and the events following my accident. The current draft contains some pointed criticisms of our health service because some of the things I want to say need saying.

On one occasion, for example, I was left writhing in agony after being transferred to a new hospital because they couldn’t find a doctor to approve morphine that had already been prescribed for me. Partly it was down to a funding issue - we need more doctors. But it needn’t have happened had the transfer process been managed a bit better. Let’s not pretend the NHS is perfect.

However, it is still a damn sight better than what some people have. It’s a damn site better than Trump’s American Healthcare Act, a piece of legislation that will leave millions of people like me without cover again.

Some of them will die.

When Obamacare was being pushed through, Conservative Euro MP Daniel Hannan infamously went on Fox News to say he “wouldn’t wish the NHS on anyone” branding it a “relic”.

It’s a relic that saves lives, including mine. Twice.

Watch Kimmel’s monologue – it’s available on YouTube. When you do, consider what he says. I hope, I’d even be moved to pray, that we don’t ever get to a place where we need someone like him to make the same points in this country.

‘Serial Killers’ Seek Out & Destroy Cancer Cells In Astonishing New Video

“Inside all of us lurks an army of serial killers whose primary function is to kill again and again."That might sound like something you’d hear in a movie preview. In fact, it’s Prof. Gillian Griffiths, director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research in England, and she’s talking not about science fiction but about a very real kind of immune system cell.

does anyone recall when Maria hill mentioned that Pietro has an increased metabolism?

if I’m not mistaken, that means he wouldn’t just be able to run at incredibly high speeds. all of his bodily systems would have to function at incredibly high rates, especially if his body is going to handle and support such a fast runner. Everything from his muscles to his nerves to his respiratory system would have to work much faster than normal. his heart would beat very very fast, which would pump his blood pretty quick too, which leads me to believe that if he were wounded, say, a bullet to the arm, Pietro would probably bleed quite a bit.

But remember, he has an increased metabolism.

Meaning his immune system and white blood cells would also work much faster than normal, which only tells me that not only can he run fast, but he can also HEAL pretty fast too.

This explains why when he’s shot in the arm, he doesn’t really show any signs of actual pain, and the wound doesn’t look like it bleeds much for a bullet wound. Most likely, as soon as he took off again after being shot the first time, his arm was probably pretty well healed over.

And the point? Well, when Ultron shot at Clint and Pietro took the bullets, of course the caliber and speed of the bullets was greater, not to mention the number. So yeah, he took extensive damage, and maybe was dead for a few minutes at most, but most likely, by the very end of AOU, the only reason we don’t see him in the new Avengers line up is because Wanda grounded him to his hospital bed for scaring her so bad.

Diabetes: Type 1 vs Type 2


Total lack of insulin

  •  5 to 10% of people who have diabetes.
  • autoimmune disease - immune system attacks beta cells in pancreas that produce insulin
  • eventually eliminating insulin production from the body.
  • cells cannot absorb glucose to produce energy
  • symptoms usually start in childhood or young adulthood. 
  • episodes of low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) are common
  • cannot be prevented  
  • treated with insulin injections or pump


 Too little insulin or cannot use insulin effectively 

  •  can develop at any age but most commonly becomes apparent during adulthood. 
  • vast majority of diabetics
  • body develops insulin resistance 
  • body compensates by producing much more, but can’t always produce enough and eventually beta cells may be destroyed from overwork - resulting in deficiency 
  • may not have symptoms before diagnosis
  • there are no episodes of low blood sugar level, unless the person is taking insulin or certain diabetes medicines.
  • can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle 

Both types increase a person’s risk for complications. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure.

  • excessive build up of blood glucose causes an increase in osmotic pressure 
  • the kidneys no longer able to absorb most of the glucose - due to extreme concentration
  • the body pulls fluid from the tissues to try to dilute the blood and counteract the high glucose 
  • dehydrated tissues signal the need to drink more, subsequent increase in urination 
Skin Protection Spell

I have family history of skin cancer and while I go for skin checks regularly, I’ve had five moles removed and four of them came back dysplastic. So I guess I’ll let you pick - could you do either a spell to help me ward off skin cancer while I’m in Mexico this summer to use in tandem with my sunscreen or something for the scars from all my excisions? Thanks <3

(Posted with permission from @operagnostic)

For this you will need a few items, which you will charge to increase their effectiveness and decrease your exposure to the sun, which is, aside from genetics, one of the things that most often causes damage that leads to skin cancer.


  • A hat you like, with a nice wide brim
  • A shawl or cover-up that has a pleasing pattern or color to you
  • SPF 15+ UVA/UVB sunscreen
  • Herb infused water or oil = choice based on the smells/associations you like; for this I would recommend sunflower, lavender, or rosemary.
  • Items = crystals of your choosing (citrine, tiger’s eye or rose-quartz) or sigils of your choosing


Charge some water or oil with your herbs and other items and/or write a sigil on your sunscreen bottle. For example – infusion with sunflower petals and citrine, which sits bathed in the light of a waning moon.


Lay out the clothing you will be using as your cover-up, setting the shawl almost like an altar-cloth (on a bed, or the floor, or a table, whatever works for you) and put the hat over it, along with a small squirt of the sunscreen in a little bowl or jar. Arrange the altar however it is pleasing to you. Add a few drops of the infusion you’ve made with the clothing, in little flicks and sprinkles (or you can make it in the shape of a sigil if you used water instead of oil). Add a little to your hand with the sunscreen you are going to apply for that day.

Meditate, pray or focus on your skin and body, as you apply your sunscreen to wherever the sun might reach you, but especially on your arms, legs, face and chest. Imagine the cells of your body working well together, their DNA and proteins being protected by the top layer of skin, the sunscreen and clothing, and your immune system effectively keeping cancerous cells from growing.

To recharge this spell, reapply the sunscreen every hour or after swimming, and sit in the shade. This spell is most effective before 10 AM and after 3 PM; as the hottest part of the day is more aggressive. If you do get a sunburn, I highly recommend using aloe vera gel, which has been shown to have a healing and moisturizing effect, especially effective for mild burns.

Use of substitutions for crystals and herbs are always acceptable depending on what is available to you or what you feel best about. The most essential parts of this spell are utilizing the sun protection methods listed above(hat, sunscreen, cover-up).

Disclaimer: Do NOT avoid seeking medical attention if you are struggling from any illness, whether it be physical or psychological. This spell is only meant to augment existing medical care.