Singapore: Scientists have discovered a new class of white blood cells in human lung and gut tissues that play a critical role as the first line of defence against harmful fungal and bacterial infections. The research by Agency for Science, Technology and Research`s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) will have significant impact on the design of vaccines and targeted immunotherapies for diseases caused by infectious microbes such as the hospital-acquired pneumonia. The scientists also showed for the first time that key immune functions of this new class of white blood cells are similar to those found in mice. This means that findings in the mouse studies can be applied to develop advanced clinical therapies for the human immune system, researchers said. All immune responses against infectious agents are activated and regulated by dendritic cells (DCs), a specialised group of white blood cells which present tiny fragments from micro-organisms, vaccines or tumours to the T cells.
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