A CRUCIAL ‘on switch’ for the body’s immune system has been found, according to new scientific research.
The breakthrough, made by researchers at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Dundee, could lead to the development of new drugs to enhance the immune system’s response to attack.
It is thought the findings could help people suffering from cancer and other serious conditions.
Dr Martin-Granado, formerly of the University of Aberdeen and now at Cambridge, said: “We have shown that the cells which turn on our immune responses need a particular protein to activate them in order to function properly.
“This protein, or enzyme, (PTP1B) effectively acts as a kind of ‘on switch’ and if it is missing or dysfunctional in our body, we cannot mount effective immune responses to tumours or infections.”
He added: “This important protein in our cells is a potential target for new therapies to regulate the immune system when it needs a boost as in severe infections or when it goes wrong as in cancer.”
The research was published in the Journal of Molecular and Cell Biology and is available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26063615.