Researchers investigate central function of immune defence system
Diseased human cells can mark themselves in order to activate the body’s immune defence mechanisms. PD Dr. Anita Kremer and her team at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen are investigating what influences this warning system. Their research is being funded by the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung with 250,000 euros.
Human cells inform the body’s immune system when they are affected by disease or toxins. For this purpose, they produce a certain type of protein, or protein complexes. Antigens are markers that activate the defence cells. The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) supports the cells in activating the immune response. Like candles placed on a candlestick, it presents the antigens to the defence cells.
Dr. Kremer intends to investigate a specific part of the HLA. In particular, she is interested in finding out how and by which factors the protein’s function is influenced on the genetic level. ‘We were able to show that the section of the HLA we have been investigating so far is important for the immune system. That is why we would like to investigate this section even more closely. This will become important for immunotherapy in the context of stem cell transplantations for new procedures in leukaemia treatment,’ says Dr. Kremer. ‘The expected results will also help us gain new insights into the development and course of type 1 diabetes and possibly other autoimmune diseases and will allow us to develop completely new treatment concepts.’
PD Dr. Dr. Anita Kremer
Phone: +49 9131 8543162