March 9, 2018 – Skin and Cancer


Anchor lead: What do skin infections and tumor responses have in common? Elizabeth Tracey reports

You’ve probably heard of MRSA, a skin infection that can turn deadly for some people. This is just one strain of a bacterium that’s called staph aureus, with this group of bugs responsible for some half a million hospitalizations and $3 to $4 billion dollars in healthcare costs each year. Now research by Lloyd Miller and colleagues at Johns Hopkins has identified a cell type known as gamma delta T as protective against the infection in some people.

Miller: Us finding this new response with gamma delta T cells is very novel. In general gamma delta T cells are very very exciting because they happen to be found around tumors. And in the whole cancer immunology field they’re trying to harness the power of gamma delta T cells to help fight tumors and help shrink tumors, and use those same immune responses. So us finding this as important in Staph aureus we might be able to build on all the discoveries they’ve been working on in cancer immunology with these same cells.  :28

Learning how to turn these cells on is one next step, Miller says. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.