Tuesday, 6 January 2015

50 years of B lymphocytes and why it matters for Melanoma

Immunology: Fifty years of B lymphocytes


In 2013, Cancer Immunotherapy was chosen as the breakthrough- therapy of the year 2013 by the scientific journal Science, a choice Melanoma patients can relate to very well- as it is novel anti-based therapies blocking brakes in the bodies own immune system- like CTL4, PD1 or PDL1 antibodies- that for the first time ever provide substantial hope of long-term survival in Melanoma.

The article in Nature at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the paper that first described two classes of lymphocytes- without this knowledge, we wouldn't have today's greatest hopes in Melanoma.

From the article- 

'At the time, the central question in immunology was how vertebrates tailor their defences to bacteria and viruses, whose chemical structures show nearly unlimited diversity. Within two years of joining Good's laboratory, Cooper had made a discovery about the cells that accomplish this task — lymphocytes — that proved essential to cracking the mystery, and ultimately to unifying the camps of his field.
Fifty years ago this week, Good, Cooper and their colleague Raymond Peterson published a paper1 in this journal revealing that there are two types of lymphocyte. The insight shaped the course of modern immunology and influenced the study and care of immunodeficiency conditions, cancers of the immune system and the development of monoclonal antibodies — powerful research tools and therapeutics.
…. read further here

p.s. considering the amount of tax-funded research that went into these discoveries over now more than 50 years, maybe society should be getting a better ROI in form of affordable drugs? 

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