Search results for: Research

Exploring a new one-step approach to creating cancer vaccines

Antigen presenting cells (APCs) of the immune system, such as dendritic cells, can stimulate naïve CD8+ effector T cells to identify and destroy tumors. Given this tremendous anti-tumor potential, there is great interest in harnessing the power of APCs for cancer immunotherapy. APC-based cancer therapies are considered vaccines in that they provoke the patient’s immune system to kill the tumor. However, efforts to develop APC-based cancer vaccines have produced limited success, partially due to suppression of APC function by the tumor environment. A research team at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute (BSWRI) examined a strategy to overcome these challenges by designing cancer vaccines from artificial APCs (aAPCs). 

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Langerhans cells modify the epidermal cell environment

It is easy to envision the immune system as a “police force” that is separate from the organ systems and designed to only respond to threats. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that tissue-resident immune cells are more involved in organ homeostasis than previously thought. Recent work from researchers at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute (BSWRI) has shed light on the alternative functions of immune cells in the skin.

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In Barrett’s epithelial cells, weakly acidic bile causes DNA damage with response and repair mediated by p38

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause Barrett’s esophagus, a change in the lining of the esophagus that predisposes to a type of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma.  It is thought that the reflux of strong acid and bile salts from the stomach into the esophagus contributes to the development of this cancer.  In an attempt to prevent esophageal adenocarcinoma, physicians prescribe proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for patients with Barrett’s esophagus.  These PPIs reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach, but they do not stop the reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus.  The gastric contents of patients taking PPIs are weakly acidic and they contain bile salts, and our team at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute’s Center for Esophageal Research were concerned that this material still might be damaging to the esophagus.  

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New insights into hepatic encephalopathy

Hepatic encephalopathy (HE), which manifests as decreased brain function, is a common, debilitating condition seen in patients with liver disease. The symptoms can range from attention deficits to coma and are largely reversible. The healthcare burden of HE is profound: HE is the leading cause of 3-month readmission for patients with cirrhosis in North America and is associated with increased mortality. Researchers at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute have summarized the latest insights into the pathophysiology and treatment of HE in a recent issue of Nutrition in Clinical Practice.

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Advanced genome sequencing identifies new genetic links for leukodystrophy

During the last decade, incredible improvements in the speed, accuracy and cost-effectiveness of whole-genome sequencing have accelerated our understanding of genetic disorders. An international Leukodystrophy Study Group, including researchers with Baylor Scott & White Research Institute (BSWRI), has used these next-generation sequencing methods to reveal the genetic abnormalities in a cohort of 71 persistently undiagnosed individuals with suspected leukodystrophy. Leukodystrophies are rare genetic disorders that disrupt the myelin sheath, which forms the white matter in the brain.

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