Gene `that creates armies of natural-born killers` discovered
Last Updated: Monday, September 14, 2009, 00:00

London: Scientists have discovered a gene that they claim allows the body to produce cells which are the lynchpin of the immune system, a breakthrough which could pave the way for new treatments for diseases including cancer.

A team at the Imperial College London has identified the master gene, called E4BP4, which is behind the frontline troops of the body`s immune system -- in fact, it kick-starts production of natural killer (NK) cells in the bone marrow.

According to the `New Scientist`, laboratory rodents genetically engineered to lack the gene were able to make all other components of the immune system -- such as B cells which produce antibodies and Tcells that attack pre-selected targets -- but not NK cells. And, this suggests E4BP4 is indispensable for their production.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, September 14, 2009, 00:00

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