Breaking News
March 21, 2018 - Dermira’s Two Phase 3 Trials Evaluating Olumacostat Glasaretil in Patients with Acne Vulgaris Did Not Meet Co-Primary Endpoints
March 21, 2018 - ‘Oh, It Was Nothing’
March 21, 2018 - Herbal drug kratom linked to salmonella illnesses, CDC says
March 21, 2018 - New optical point-of-care device could enhance screening for thyroid nodules
March 21, 2018 - FDA Expands Approval of Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) for First-Line Treatment of Stage III or IV Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma in Combination with Chemotherapy
March 21, 2018 - Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Late Manifestation of Allergic March
March 21, 2018 - Signaling pathway involving the Golgi apparatus identified in cells with Huntington’s disease
March 21, 2018 - Quintupling inhaled steroid doses may not benefit children with asthma
March 21, 2018 - Study shows clear connection between cardiovascular fitness in middle age and dementia risk
March 21, 2018 - Premature babies have higher risks of health complications in Bangladesh
March 21, 2018 - Child’s temperament and parenting influence weight gain in babies
March 21, 2018 - Researchers find the heart to be capable of arrhythmia termination after local gene therapy
March 21, 2018 - Inhealthcare to provide digital infrastructure for NHS to help protect people from falls
March 21, 2018 - Flu Season Finally Slowing Down
March 21, 2018 - Mixed Results for Shorter DAPT in ACS Patients
March 21, 2018 - Scientists discover fish scale-derived collagen effective for healing wounds
March 21, 2018 - Genomics England announces new partnership to improve efficiency of next-generation sequencing analysis
March 21, 2018 - Adjuvant AC chemotherapy found to be effective in treating HRD-positive breast cancer patients
March 21, 2018 - Researchers identify new treatment targets for lung diseases using big data
March 21, 2018 - Kids see more women in science than five decades ago
March 21, 2018 - Research shows link between chronic fatigue syndrome and lower thyroid hormone levels
March 21, 2018 - Alzheimer’s disease on the rise
March 21, 2018 - Two Agents Equal as Pretreatment for Adrenal Tumor Surgery
March 21, 2018 - ‘Icebreaker’ protein opens genome for T cell development, researchers find
March 21, 2018 - Women in medicine shout #Metoo about sexual harassment at work
March 21, 2018 - Mother’s pre-pregnancy waist size may be linked to child’s autism risk
March 21, 2018 - Second hand marijuana smoke can cause serious damage
March 21, 2018 - International study shows benefits of using MRI at the start of prostate cancer diagnosis
March 20, 2018 - Santhera Reports Outcome of Exploratory Trial with Idebenone in PPMS Conducted at the NIH
March 20, 2018 - ECG Patch Ups At-Home Afib Diagnosis in mSToPS Trial
March 20, 2018 - ROS-scavenging nanozymes for anti-inflammation therapeutics
March 20, 2018 - Genomics England announces appointment of global genomics pioneer as first CEO
March 20, 2018 - Test flight at German Aerospace Center in Cologne demonstrates functionality of deficopter
March 20, 2018 - Music therapy helps treat combat-related psychological injuries in military personnel
March 20, 2018 - Innovative psychotherapeutic treatment protocol for obsessive-compulsive disorders
March 20, 2018 - Weight loss after lap-band surgery alleviates arthritic knee pain
March 20, 2018 - New diabetes drug may help obese people shed body weight
March 20, 2018 - Novel Peanut OIT a Winner in Phase III Trial
March 20, 2018 - Can gene therapy be harnessed to fight the AIDS virus?
March 20, 2018 - Education and academic achievement can lessen effects of child abuse, neglect
March 20, 2018 - Researchers develop new algorithm to make CPR more effective
March 20, 2018 - Diabetes medication reduces chance of late miscarriage, premature birth among women with PCOS
March 20, 2018 - SSRIs may be more effective option for treating anxious youth, UC research shows
March 20, 2018 - Antibiotics could benefit women suffering from chronic bladder pain
March 20, 2018 - Health Highlights: March 16, 2018
March 20, 2018 - Interventional Radiology Has a Problem of ‘Unseen’ Value
March 20, 2018 - Antibodies show effectiveness for HIV prevention and promise for treatment and cure
March 20, 2018 - New 3-D-printed technology will improve radiology training
March 20, 2018 - New study identifies key role for particular gene in 16p11.2 deletion syndrome
March 20, 2018 - Red and processed meat increase the risk of liver disease
March 20, 2018 - 50% of Australians do not brush teeth twice a day
March 20, 2018 - American Gene Technologies receives second immuno-oncology patent
March 20, 2018 - Study finds no link between long-term violent video game play and adult aggression
March 20, 2018 - Weight loss surgery widely underutilized among young patients with severe obesity
March 20, 2018 - Scientists uncover new answers to cell aging in children with rare, fatal disease
March 20, 2018 - The Pistoia Alliance Calls for Greater Life Sciences Collaboration to Build the ‘Lab of the Future’
March 20, 2018 - Morning Break: Psychopathic Thought; Americans Flout Zzz’s; Farm to Pharma
March 20, 2018 - Perceptions of old age change as we age
March 20, 2018 - New standards for public involvement in research launched across the UK
March 20, 2018 - Whole Genome Sequencing used as diagnostic solution for TB
March 20, 2018 - Researchers show how two cancer genes work together to trigger leukemia
March 20, 2018 - Scientists discover basic molecular mechanism that helps understand how ALS works
March 20, 2018 - Multi-center study to evaluate promising new intervention for upper limb dysfunction after SCI
March 20, 2018 - Researchers develop technology to program DNA for delivering cancer drugs
March 20, 2018 - Northwestern scientists bring precision medicine to rheumatoid arthritis
March 20, 2018 - Research suggests possible link between heading a soccer ball and brain imbalance
March 20, 2018 - Robocall increases diabetic retinopathy screening rates among poor minorities
March 20, 2018 - INSYS Therapeutics Initiates Phase 3 Clinical Trial of Cannabidiol (CBD) Oral Solution for Treatment of Infantile Spasms
March 20, 2018 - Little Talk Between Docs and Patients Pre-PSA Screen
March 20, 2018 - Women GPs bring remote care to rural Pakistan
March 20, 2018 - Adults skipping vaccines may miss out on effective new shingles shot
March 20, 2018 - Suppressing emotions appears to reduce negative memories
March 20, 2018 - Epidural stimulation can safely, effectively normalize blood pressure in patients with SCI
March 20, 2018 - ‘Fast track’ project shows promising results in cancer whole genome analyses
March 20, 2018 - Advanced insulin pump system can also manage type 1 diabetes in children, study shows
March 20, 2018 - Flu risk less on flights if in a window seat finds study
March 20, 2018 - Sarepta Therapeutics Announces Plan to Submit a New Drug Application (NDA) for Accelerated Approval of Golodirsen (SRP-4053) in Patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) Amenable to Skipping Exon 53
March 20, 2018 - Post-Transplant Fatty Liver Disease on the Rise
March 20, 2018 - New mutation linked to ovarian cancer can be passed down through dad
March 20, 2018 - Alex’s experiences of living with rare genetic disease
Anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for the elderly

Anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for the elderly

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

By identifying why skin immunity declines in old age, a UCL-led research team has found that an anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for elderly people.

The study, published today in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that an excessive inflammation reaction in older people can obstruct the immune system.

“We know that the immune system declines with age, and people can be affected by pathogens they were once immune to. We found that when it comes to cutaneous immunity – specific to skin – the immune system was being obstructed by skin cells that were too prone to producing inflammation responses. We’ve now identified a way to block that inflammation in the short term,” said the study’s senior author, Professor Arne Akbar (UCL Infection & Immunity).

To investigate immune responses, the researchers injected an antigen – a derivative of a pathogen that creates an immune response without inducing illness – into the skin of 175 participants (78 were over 65 years old and the rest were under 40). The pathogen was the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which causes chicken pox.

After a person contracts chicken pox, they become immune to VZV, but it can re-activate in old age and cause shingles if T cell immune responses aren’t strong enough. All study participants had previously had chicken pox, meaning they should be immune.

The researchers found that the older subjects exhibited weaker immune responses, as there was less T cell activation, and less reddening and swelling of the skin. The reduced response was not due to a lack of resident memory T cells present in the skin.

As a control, they also injected a benign saline solution into the other arm of each participant. The researchers noticed that even the saline solution brought about an inflammation response in some of the older participants. Those who had the strongest inflammation responses to the saline solution had the weakest immune responses to the VZV, suggesting that the excessive inflammation was inhibiting VZV-specific immunity.

“Normally inflammation is a healthy part of the body’s immune response, so we were surprised to find that in this case, too much inflammation was getting in the way of the rest of the body’s defenses,” said Professor Akbar.

By analyzing skin biopsies post-injection, the researchers found that the excessive inflammation was associated with activation of the p38 MAP kinase pathway. To test whether this enzyme was to blame, they conducted a follow-up test with 18 of the over-65 participants, who took Losmapimod, a drug that inhibits the enzyme in order to reduce acute inflammation responses. While the drug was designed for long-term use and has been trialed for treatments of COPD and arthritis, the participants only took the pill for 4 days, before once again being injected with the VZV antigen.

Losmapimod treatment successfully increased the immune responses to the VZV antigen.

“A short-term blockade of the inflammation response opened up a window of opportunity for the immune system to respond effectively,” explained the study’s first author, Dr Milica Vukmanovic-Stejic (UCL Infection & Immunity).

The researchers are currently planning a follow-up study which will test whether a flu vaccine is more effective for the elderly when combined with brief use of Losmapimod.

“Vaccine efficacy is known to decline in old age, so we’re hopeful that this novel application of the drug could help make vaccines more effective in older people,” said co-author Dr Veronique Birault (Francis Crick Institute).

Dr Jonathan Pearce, head of infections and immunity at the Medical Research Council (MRC), said: “This interesting study shows how our immune system changes as we age, with increased inflammatory responses potentially hindering our ability to raise a protective immune response to pathogens. This insight may help us improve vaccine responses in the elderly – a group at particular risk of diseases including influenza – by pre-treatment with anti-inflammatory agents.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles