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A pathway to balance revealed

Memphis, Tennessee, July 7, 2021

Researcher wearing a blue shirt smiles at camera.

 Hongbo Chi, PhD, of St. Jude Immunology, found a biological pathway that can be a new therapeutic target to tune the immune response.

A balanced immune response is vital for good health. St. Jude scientists have found a biological pathway that could help.

They found a metabolic control pathway that regulates how specialized immune cells develop. When these cells are activated, they help immune cells called B cells make infection-fighting antibodies.

The finding could lead to drugs that trigger this pathway and help vaccines work better. The work also lays the foundation for drugs to dial back an overactive immune system that leads to autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

“This finding was a big surprise, in part because this pathway was thought to have a housekeeping function,” said Hongbo Chi, PhD, St. Jude Immunology. “Our findings reveal the pathway to be a new therapeutic target to tune the immune response.”

Nature published a report on this work.

Read the News Release

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