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Reported December 17, 2012

Deadly Parasite Vaccine Closer Than Ever


(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Certain parasites, such as Toxoplasma gondii, can cause serious illness in humans. Finding effective vaccines are exceedingly important to treating people with T. gondii and other parasites, but these vaccines are not yet a reality. After discovering new information on how the immune system fights T. gondii, researchers may be closer to developing the vaccines.
In the study mice were genetically engineered to not have the protein TLR12. Also called Toll-like receptors, TLRs activate immune responses when microbes are detected. Researchers looked at TLR12 because a prior study had found that TLR11 is crucial in recognizing T. gondii. 
Mice without TLR12 would succumb to the T. gondii infection quickly, leading researchers to conclude that the protein must play an important role in combating the parasite. 
“We have demonstrated that TLR12 is essential for resistance to T. gondii in mice,” study leader Sankar Ghosh from Columbia University was quoted as saying. 
With this study shedding more light on how the immune system fights T. gondii, vaccines for all sorts of deadly parasites could soon be invented. 
“By investigating how immune cells expressing TLR12 organize the immune response against T. gondii infection, we hope to identify new means of promoting protective immune responses against T. gondii and potentially other important parasitic pathogens,” Ghosh was quoted as saying.
Source: Immunity, December, 2012

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