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Home Industry News Scientists visualise key immune system protein’s mechanisms

Scientists visualise key immune system protein’s mechanisms

1st November 2010

Researchers have been able to visualise and monitor the mechanisms and actions of the vital immune system protein perforin for the first time ever.

The Birbeck College-based team – which was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Wellcome Trust – used electron microscopes to study the way in which perforin is able to punch holes through harmful cells.

This process plays a vital role in combating disease and has been known for more than 110 years, but has not been fully documented before now.

It is hoped that the analysis can provide insight into how perforin performance could be boosted to combat cancer, or inhibited in other cases to counter tissue rejection.

Professor Douglas Kell, chief executive at the BBSRC, said: "This is a great example where the knowledge we gain about the normal structure and function of a molecule has the potential to underpin important developments in our health and wellbeing."

This comes in the same week that research from Johns Hopkins University revealed a new epitope-mapping method through which drugs can be developed that are tailored to help the immune system deal with disease in a more targeted way.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-800209244-ADNFCR

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