Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Infectious Diseases, and Catherine Cai, M.D./Ph.D. student, recently published a paper in PLoS Pathogens detailing their findings on Th17 cells, a subset of white blood cells that provide significant protection against Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan parasite that causes Chagas disease.
Th17 cells were not formerly thought to play a role in immune function. However, the researchers found that these cells directly and indirectly help boost immunity to T. cruzi, opening the door to development of a vaccine for Chagas disease and possibly other treatment options. This work could also lead to vaccines and treatments for similar intracellular pathogens, such as tuberculosis and HIV.
For more information, read the full article in Newslink.