• Imaging Technique Sheds Light on Hidden World of Inflammation

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Imaging Technique Sheds Light on Hidden World of Inflammation

May 05 2010

New understanding of the way the body reacts to infection through the work of scientists at the University of York and the Hull York Medical School will help improve vaccines, drugs and the use of computer modelling in medical research.

Researchers in the Centre for Immunology and Infection have used a technique known as 2-photon microscopy to investigate inflammation in organs targeted by the parasite that causes the disease leishmaniasis.

The technique allowed them to examine the inflammatory nodules, called granulomas, that form around the parasite and to see in real time how killer T lymphocyte cells enter these granulomas and target the infection.

This information will help in the development of new drugs that work in conjunction with the immune system and in developing vaccines. It will also improve the reliability of computer simulations of inflammation
that can be used to reduce the use of animals in research.

Professor Paul Kaye, Director of the Centre for Immunology and Infection, said: “Little is known about granulomas despite the fact the body produces them in response to a range of diseases from tuberculosis to rheumatoid arthritis. Using 2-photon microscopy has opened a window into this previously hidden world of inflammation with remarkable results.”

The latest findings are part of long term research by the Centre into leishmaniasis, a disease which affects around two million people every year. The disease can leave disfiguring scars and kills around 70,000 people annually. The research was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust with findings published in PloS Pathogens.

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