Related topics: immune system · hepatitis c

A new molecular guardian of intestinal stem cells

Intestinal stem cells hold a fine balance between two potential forms: remaining as stem cells, or developing into intestinal epithelial cells. In a new study, researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) discovered ...

Japan scientists grow drugs in chicken eggs

Japanese researchers have genetically engineered hens whose eggs contain drugs that can fight serious diseases including cancer, in a bid to dramatically reduce the cost of treatment, a report said Monday.

Researchers discover how mole rat wards off cancer

Biologists at the University of Rochester have determined how blind mole rats fight off cancer—and the mechanism differs from what they discovered three years ago in another long-lived and cancer-resistant mole rat species, ...

Enhancing the efficacy of immunity-activating nucleic acid drugs

(Phys.org)—The Nanotechnology Innovation Station of the National Institute for Materials Science has succeeded in development of a technology which utilizes nanoparticles to enhance the action of immunity activating nucleic ...

STAT2: Much more than an antiviral protein

A protein known for guarding against viral infections leads a double life, new research shows, and can interfere with cell growth and the defense against parasites. In a new paper publishing 25 October in the open-access ...

Enzyme helps detect foreign DNA

The human immune system responds to DNA from pathogens by triggering the production of a defense molecule known as interferon. A research team led by A*STAR scientists has now pinpointed an enzyme integral to this process, ...

A gel that can make drugs last longer

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR have developed a drug-delivering hydrogel to treat chronic diseases such as hepatitis C, a liver disease that kills around 500,000 people worldwide ...

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Interferon

Interferons (IFNs) are proteins made and released by host cells in response to the presence of pathogens—such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites—or tumor cells. They allow communication between cells to trigger the protective defenses of the immune system that eradicate pathogens or tumors.

IFNs belong to the large class of glycoproteins known as cytokines. Interferons are named after their ability to "interfere" with viral replication within host cells. IFNs have other functions: they activate immune cells, such as natural killer cells and macrophages; they increase recognition of infection or tumor cells by up-regulating antigen presentation to T lymphocytes; and they increase the ability of uninfected host cells to resist new infection by virus. Certain host symptoms, such as aching muscles and fever, are related to the production of IFNs during infection.

About ten distinct IFNs have been identified in mammals; seven of these have been described for humans. They are typically divided among three IFN classes: Type I IFN, Type II IFN, and Type III IFN. IFNs belonging to all IFN classes are very important for fighting viral infections.

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