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Information regarding immune cells revealed

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

New research conducted by the University of Manchester has uncovered more information on how white blood immune cells fight tumors and viral infections. University scientists revealed how the cells alter the construction of surface molecules in response to proteins that are carried by tumor or viral-infected cells.

The report expressed hope that these findings will lead to better treatments for chronic diseases. Researchers specifically discovered that the protein found on viral-infected or tumor cells is not evenly spaced, but instead can be found in clusters. The study likens the pattern to how stars appear in the galaxy.

"This is the first time scientists have looked at how theses immune cells work at such a high resolution," said Daniel Davis, lead investigator. "The surprising thing was that these new pictures revealed that immune cell surfaces alter at [the nano scale] which could perhaps change their ability to be activated in a subsequent encounter with a diseased cell."

Researchers used high quality fluorescence microscopy with super-resolution to examine samples taken from blood tests and to learn more about the white blood immune cells. Previously, light microscopy has been unable to look at the cells at such an extreme scale.

Davis noted that being able to look at the cells in such great detail enabled the researchers to better understand the function of the immune system.

What do white blood cells do?
According to the National Institutes of Health, some white blood cells are vital for the function of the body's immune system. The cells are also necessary to produce antibodies, which attach to antigens and help cells destroy the foreign objects. White blood cells known as phagocytes destroy germs and damaged cells that occur because of inflammation.

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