(From AVMA Health NewsBytes)
The bacteria that causes Lyme disease, one of the most important emerging diseases in the United States, appears to hide out in the lymph nodes, triggering a significant immune response, but one that is not strong enough to destroy the infection, according to researchers at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The study suggests for the first time that the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in people, dogs and wildlife has developed a novel way to undermine and weaken the immune response, explaining why some people experience repeated Lyme disease infections.
When you hear “naked mole rat,” you might think of Rufus, the naked mole rat in the cartoon “Kimpossible.” Although Rufus is a great cartoon sidekick for Kim and Ron, studying real naked mole rats might just help us find the Fountain of Youth. Although naked mole rats are rodents, just like mice and rats and others, they are very different. For one thing, they live MUCH longer—naked mole rats have lived to be 28 years old! Compare that to mice, which only live a couple of years. They also don’t seem to get cancer—at all—which makes them very unique. Scientists are studying them to try to find out just what makes them live so long and why they seem to be immune to cancer. If they can solve those mysteries, people might be on the way to longer, healthier, cancer-free living. Read more in the New York Times.
As if we need another reason to exercise, scientists have found that exercise boosts the immune systems of mice and helps them fight off the flu. Mice that were exercising regularly didn’t get as sick as non-exercising mice when they were all exposed to a flu virus.
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Maintaining a strong immune system is a key weapon in a person’s fight against cancer, and researchers at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences are working hard to give our immune systems a boost. The researchers are investigating the impact a class of drugs has on cells that suppress the immune system and allow for tumor growth. So far, the results are encouraging, with studies in dogs showing that the treatment approach is shrinking tumors or stopping their growth. Such early success, the researchers say, will provide important insights into developing new ways to fight many different types of tumors.