New white blood cell discovery 'could improve vaccine designs'
31 July 2012 16:27 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
Researchers have discovered a new white blood cell type that could revolutionise the design and discovery process for vaccines.
Scientists from Newcastle University allied with Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research to describe a new human tissue dendritic cell with cross-presenting function.
These specialised cells are able to activate a killing immune response to an external source, whereas most cells are only able to present antigens from within themselves.
Medical researchers have been trying to isolate these cells for some time and their discovery will pave the way for better targeted vaccine strategies to treat cancer and infections such as hepatitis B.
Dr Muzlifah Haniffa, a Wellcome Trust intermediate fellow and senior clinical lecturer at Newcastle University, said: "Our discovery offers an accessible, easily targetable system which makes the most of the natural ability of the cell."
According to data from the NHS, more than 150 potentially lifesaving vaccine therapies are currently being tested.
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Story collated for Zenopa by the Adfero News Agency