Promising stem cell treatment options for lung conditions, identifying cells that unleash allergic reactions and is your brain responsible for weight gain?

Got allergies? Scientists may have finally pinpointed the cells that trigger reactions

(Science, 8/2/2017, Mitch Leslie)

Scientists report they’ve pinpointed which immune system cells trigger allergies. A new study has identified a subset of hyper-responsive immune cells that trigger allergic responses and may explain why some people develop allergies whereas others do not. Scientists found that the cells were abundant in the blood of patients with allergies to a variety of triggers, including grass pollen and house dust mites. But they were absent from the blood of people who weren’t sensitive. The work could ultimately benefit patients through new treatments and better ways to monitor the disease.

 

Potential Stem Cell Treatment Developed for Lung Disorders

(GEN News, 8/3/2017)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and is projected to be the third by 2020, but details from a new study hopes to halt that projection.  A team of investigators released details from a promising study that could potentially offer new stem cell treatment options to patients afflicted with lung conditions. This study demonstrated that scientists can harvest lung stem cells from people using a relatively noninvasive doctor’s office technique. Consequently, the scientists were then able to multiply the harvested lung cells in the lab to yield enough cells sufficient for human therapy. Due to the success of this new research, the investigators have been in discussions with the FDA and are preparing an application for an initial clinical trial in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).    

 

Brain Inflammation and Obesity

(LabRoots, 8/3/2017, Brenda Kelley Kim)

Maybe New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady is on to something.  Brady has not been quiet about his diet that eliminates certain foods that cause inflammation. If you were skeptical about his philosophy there is now a new study to back it up. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco and the University of Washington Medical Center suggests that immune cells in the brain, triggered perhaps by inflammation, could be a key factor in weight gain. The part of the brain that deals with eating habits and weight regulation is the hypothalamus, a small region near the base of the brain. Neurons in this area are often investigated in obesity treatments, but the most recent research suggests that immune cells called microglia are heavily involved. Along with the microglia, the mediobasal hypothalamus part of the brain is involved in regulating food intake and energy expenditure. A high-fat diet can mess with this regulation, however, and cause the microglia to increase in number.

 

—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola