Insight Centenary: The possibility of medical research

The possibility of what we can discover from the very fundamental research we do on chronic diseases is what makes my work really interesting.

PhD scholar Tom Guy, T cell Biology

PhD scholar Tom Guy, T cell Biology

As a child, some of my close family suffered from cancer, so when I started university I became fascinated with the study of tumour immunology. I found it intriguing that people were looking to the immune system to fight off cancer as a new form of treatment.

Now that I’m working at Centenary I’ve been able to do 
just that. I’m essentially investigating the best strategy for the immune system to stop tumour growth. I look at two cell types, CD4 T cells and B cells, and how these two cells work together to kill tumours once regulatory T cells (T regs) are switched off. T regs are the network managers of our immune system. Continue reading

From the prick of a rose thorn to a better understanding of ageing

Inflammation

Professor Weninger, Immune Imaging Group Head

Following the prick of a rose thorn, a paper cut, or an infection our bodies start to fight back. And the defence begins with inflammation. That inflamed, tender, red patch we all know as the hallmark of a wound or infection is the result of certain white blood cells summoning the troops and increasing the blood supply to deal with a wound or invasion.

Professor Wolfgang Weninger, head of Centenary’s Immune Imaging program, who leads our work in research, says “understanding inflammation is becoming an important topic across Centenary, helping us understand cardiovascular disease, organ rejection and auto-immune diseases, for example. Another important issue is ageing. Our immune system response changes with age. It’s part of the process of ageing, where the body becomes less and less capable of coping with destructive events.”

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How a simple infection can lead to something much worse

Immunology

Dr Chris Jolly has made an important contribution to understanding how infections can trigger autoimmune diseases

The Centenary Institute has made an important contribution to a significant study that suggests how infections can trigger serious autoimmune diseases such as rheumatic fever.

The research, just published in the international journal Immunity, shows how, in unusual circumstances, the B cells of the immune system occasionally work against the body, producing antibodies that attack the cells of our own organs—in the case of rheumatic fever, the heart.

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