And’ an Italian biologist the important discovery of the mechanism that regulates the memory cell involved in the immune response
The results of the study that he coordinated, published in Science, open new perspectives in the development of therapies against cancer.
Luigia Pace, roman, 41 years old, after ten years of research spent in France – the Institut Curie of Paris – and Germany has just returned in Italy, at the Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine of Turin, thanks to the double funding of the Fondazione Armenise Harvard and the Compagnia di San Paolo. The researcher describes the lymphocytes of the immune system as an army that is immediately activated in the presence of the virus or bacteria and is also able to learn from experience: after winning a battle against a particular pathogen, the lymphocytes-the soldiers of the memory and remember how to respond in case the same danger recurs. This property of memory was known, but now, thanks to a study coordinated by Peace, it is possible to understand for the first time the biological mechanism on which it is based. When our body is attacked, the population of lymphocytes responds and proliferates exponentially. Lymphocytes, so-called effectors, killer cells, programmed with the mission of killing the cells infected by the pathogen, carried on the good end of the mission, that is when the infection is finished, they are doomed to die.
But a small group of cells survives to become the memory, the watchman of the infection that controls the likelihood that the pathogen will come back again. In the case of cancer, the lymphocytes, the effectors are not numerous, and after a while cease to be functional. The biological mechanism discovered by Luigia Pace, and its contributors may be used to reverse the trend and manipulate the effector taking advantage of the reversibility in the lymphocytes of the memory. In other words, you could reprogram and strengthen the immune response to defeat the cancers. (ANSA).