Researchers find elusive source of most abundant immune cell
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IMAGE: The top left cells represent neutrophil progenitors and the right bottom ones are fully differentiated neutrophils. The color of nucleus matches the color on the viSNE map in the… view more 

Credit: Dr. Yanfang Peipei Zhu, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology

LA JOLLA, CA–Neutrophils–short-lived, highly mobile and versatile–outnumber all other immune cells circulating through the blood stream. Yet, despite the cells’ abundance, the progenitor cell that only gives rise to neutrophils had eluded all efforts to track it down. Now, researchers at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology identified a progenitor of neutrophils in the bone marrow of mice and humans and tied it to cancer-promoting activities.

Their study, published in the August 28, 2018, issue of Cell Reports, found that neutrophil progenitors promote tumor growth and that the frequency of the usually rare cell increases dramatically in the blood of human melanoma patients. The findings could assist in the detection of cancers by serving as an early warning sign and drive new therapeutic and pharmaceutical approaches for the treatment of neutropenia, chronic inflammation and cancer.

“For many years, the cancer immunology field has been really focused on T cells, which led to the development

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