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It’s hoped the discovery will inform the development of better treatments for a range of conditions from inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) to certain cancers.
The research, led by Dr John Grainger from the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR) and Dr Yasmine Belkaid from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the USA will be published in the journal Immunity.
Their work focuses on understanding the role of specialised immune cells, known as monocytes, which are constantly being made in the bone marrow and circulated in the blood stream. These cells are rapidly called to sites of infection and injury and have an amazing ability to change what they do to suit the situation in which they find themselves. This either involves them protecting the body from an attacking infection or acting as a repair agent to aid wound healing.
However, when these cells choose the wrong function this can result in severe inflammation leading to conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases and even cancer.
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Source: University of Manchester