Newly Found White Blood Cell Withstands Chemotherapy

Vaccine-induced macrophages open a new realm of study into remodeling the immune system to reduce the risk of infections during cancer treatment.

Ben Andrew Henry
Jan 1, 2017

LAST ONES STANDING: Unlike other immune cells, these vaccine-induced macrophages from a mouse’s lung manage to withstand chemotherapy treatment. ST. JUDE CHILDREN'S RESEARCH HOSPITAL

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN IMMUNOLOGY

The paper
A. Kamei et al., “Exogenous remodeling of lung resident macrophages protects against infectious consequences of bone marrow-suppressive chemotherapy,” PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1607787113, 2016.

Bloodletting
Chemotherapy wipes out cancerous cells and dividing normal cells alike, often particularly damaging those in bone marrow that produce white blood cells. As a patient’s immune system is weakened, even minor infections can become life-threatening. Researchers are exploring ways to circumvent this problem by “remodeling” the immune system prior to chemotherapy.

Below the radar
Akinobu Kamei of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and his colleagues identified a class of white blood cell that only becomes active in the lungs of mice following vaccination for a common bacterial strain that causes pneumonia. Like some other immune cells in...

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