Researchers hack final part of the immune system code

July 10, 2008

A group of researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the Biocentre at the Technical University of Denmark have managed to decipher the final part of the immune system’s key codes.

The same researchers already broke the first part of the codes last autumn, and have now put together a comprehensive picture of how the immune system checks for dangers both in and outside our cells.

According to the researchers this new information, produced with the aid of artificial neural networks, means that it should be possible to predict all the immune system’s known, and also as yet unknown codes. This should in turn lead to the development of new targeted treatments, for e.g. cancer and infectious diseases.

Professor Søren Buus from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen has been at the forefront of this research project.

The body’s natural defences uses these codes in such a way that microorganisms cannot detect and discover its functions. It this unique protection that has so far made it difficult for scientists to decode the entire human immune system and thus develop precise immunological tools and carry out organ transplants.

Citation: PloS Computational Biology 4(7): e1000107. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000107

Source: University of Copenhagen

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