Reprogramming immune system cells to strengthen against infections and cancer in geriatric patients

What if the key to aging well lies in reprogramming immune system cells to strengthen them against infections and cancer? Researchers at UT Southwestern are working to find out.

Tuoqi Wu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology and in the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, studies aging in immune cells. His groundbreaking work at UT Southwestern was recently recognized with a grant from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and the American Federation for Aging Research, part of a $2.26 million mulifaceted grant program in support of biomedical research on aging.

Dr. Wu will investigate potential opportunities to improve immunity using strategies to reverse age-driven decline in CD8 T cell immunity.

The results from this study could help develop novel interventions to improve immune surveillance against infections and cancer, diseases associated with increased frequency in the elderly."

Tuoqi Wu, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Immunology and Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center

CD8 T cells are a type of white blood cells and are essential for the immune system to fight infections. As people age, these cells become less effective in controlling infections, and the risk of infection-related hospitalizations, deaths, and cancer increases. In addition, vaccines are less protective in the elderly because they work by activating the immune system.

The UT Southwestern scientists recently discovered a type of CD8 T cells, termed stem cell-like CD8 T cells, which have longer lifespans and are more effective in combating infections and cancer. In this study, they will evaluate strategies to reverse age-driven decline in CD8 T cell immunity by reprograming the aged CD8 T cells into stem cell-like CD8 T cells.


UT Southwestern Medical Center

Posted in: Medical Research News | Medical Condition News | Healthcare News

Tags: Aging, Blood, Cancer, Cell, Drugs, Education, Frequency, Health Disparities, Immune System, immunity, Immunology, Medical Research, Medicine, Next Generation, pH, Research, T-Cell

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