The importance of the enzyme AEP as a key regulatory of the immune system has been discovered in new research from Newcastle University, UK.
Factors that regulate the immune system play a key role in holding the immune system in balance. Too active and there is a danger of developing autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Too passive and cancer cells and infections are free to grow. A key regulator is the inhibitory co-receptor PD-1. Antibodies to this co-receptor, known as checkpoint inhibitors, have been successful in activating the immune system to attack cancer cells, although their responses are not always successful or long lived.
In work published in the journal Immunity today, the researchers led by Dr Shoba Amarnath investigated factors that were inhibited by activating PD-1 in immune cells. One such factor was the enzyme AEP. In the absence of AEP, mice were resistant to developing autoimmune disease but susceptible to tumour cells.
Dr Amarnath explains: “What we have found in our lab studies is that AEP enhances the effect of these checkpoint inhibitor drugs in advanced melanoma.
“When found in higher levels in the T-cells of the immune system, the supporting AEP worked in combination with
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