March 8, 2018 – MRSA and T


Anchor lead: A special type of cell helps some people fight off severe skin infections, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Many skin infections are caused by a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus, with the most infamous strain known as methicillin resistant staph aureus, or MRSA, which can be life-threatening. Now research by Lloyd Miller and colleagues at Johns Hopkins offers hope that a specific cell type might be activated against the disease.

Miller: We found a single cell type, a type of T cell, that was able to provide long term protection against recurrent Staph aureus skin infection. It’s been a real problem for the scientific community to understand which mechanisms provide protective immunity against Staph aureus. One of the most difficult situations that we deal with as physicians is that in patients who get a Staph aureus skin infection about 50% will actually get a recurrent Staph aureus skin infection within the next six months.   :29

Miller says it’s not yet known why some people seem to activate these cells while other don’t, but that learning to invoke such a response could help manage the infection. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.