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Hybrid T Cells May Open Door to Novel Vaccines and Autoimmune Disease Therapies

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin say they have identified a rare, new cell in the immune system with “Jekyll and Hyde properties.” These cells play a key protective role in immunity to infection but, if unregulated, also mediate tissue damage in autoimmune disorders. The findings, “A population of proinflammatory T cells coexpresses αβ and γδ T cell receptors in mice and humans”, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, should help scientists design more effective vaccines to prevent infections such as MRSA, and may also assist in the development of new therapies for autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Trinity College team.

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