Posted: 8:14 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013
By Rick Couri
It all has to do with memory. Not the one in your brain but in your cells.
Researchers at the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research knew the immune system identifies viruses when they enter the body and store that information in what’s known as memory B cells in the lungs.
HealthDay reports the problem has come from the fact those cells are hard to isolate and study.
But now with the help of mice, scientists have good news.
“The researchers attached a fluorescent label to the flu virus, which allowed them to identify flu-specific B cells. They then used a cloning technique to create a line of mice with virus-specific B cells and cell receptors.”
Why is that good?
“It kills the initial round of cells our immune system releases when a foreign body is present. That gives the virus time to replicate and flourish, before the second round of attack can begin.”
The hope is the findings will lead to a much more effective flu vaccination and even to carry over and fight other illnesses.