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A chronic inflammatory process that occurs in some, but not all, older people may trigger cardiovascular problems, a new Stanford study shows. Part of the solution might be found in a cup of coffee. The study, published online Jan. 16 in Nature Medicine, implicates this inflammatory process as a driver of cardiovascular disease and increased rates of mortality overall. Metabolites, or breakdown products, of nucleic acids — the molecules that serve as building blocks for our genes — circulating in the blood can trigger this inflammatory process, the study found.
“More than 90 percent of all noncommunicable diseases of aging are associated with chronic inflammation,” said the study’s lead author, David Furman, PhD, a consulting associate professor at the Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection. More than 1,000 papers have provided evidence that chronic inflammation contributes to many cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and even depression, he said.
Mark Davis, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology and the director of the Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection, shares senior authorship of the study with Benjamin Faustin, PhD, a cell biologist at the University of Bordeaux in France. Davis is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
There’s a clear connection between chronological age, chronic inflammation, cardiovascular disease and… coffee consumption. More than 90 percent of all noncommunicable diseases of aging are associated with chronic inflammation. And more than 1,000 papers have provided evidence that chronic inflammation contributes to many cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and even depression. It’s also well known — well, at least among the scientists who study this kind of thing — that caffeine intake is associated with longevity. Now, Stanford immunologists David Furman, PhD, and Mark Davis, PhD, and their colleagues have revealed a likely reason why this may be so. In a study published in Nature Medicine, the researchers conducted extensive analyses of blood samples, survey data and medical and family histories obtained from more than 100 …
Effective anti-tumor activity requires a systemic, rather than only a local, immune response at the tumor site. A Stanford study may help clinicians pinpoint why only some cancer patients respond to immunotherapies. “Immunotherapy can be remarkably effective against cancer, but we don’t know why some patients respond and some don’t,” said Edgar Engleman, MD, professor of pathology and of medicine. “We don’t understand the parameters that determine efficacy. In this study, we analyzed millions of living cells simultaneously for 40 parameters from multiple tissues throughout the body to show that you need a systemwide immune response to effectively attack and eradicate a tumor.”
Spitzer, Carmi and their colleagues collaborated with co-author Garry Nolan, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford who has developed a way to use a technique known as mass cytometry to monitor the physical attributes of individual cells in samples of millions or billions. This allows researchers to piece together a dynamic picture of how multiple cell populations respond in real time to changing conditions like disease or drug therapies.
Other Stanford co-authors are former life sciences research associate Deepthi Madhireddy; graduate students Maria Martins and Tyler Prestwood; former postdoctoral scholar Pier Gherardini, PhD; former research technician Jonathan Chabon; and assistant professor of pathology Sean Bendall, PhD. Engleman and Nolan are members of the Stanford Cancer Institute.
Maria Birukova, 1990-2016
Stanford Immunology is grieving the tragic loss of Maria Birukova, an MD/PhD student who began her Stanford studies in August 2013. Maria died after a climbing accident on Sunday, September 18 in Bishop, CA. A memorial service to honor Maria is being planned for later this fall.
2016 Asilomar Retreat Prize Results!
Michael Bscheider, Roshni Roy Chowdhury, Erika Bongen, and Ian Linde won the best postdoc and graduate student posters at this year's annual Immunology retreat.
Click HERE to visit the Asilomar page.
Photo courtesy of Albert Tsai
Stanford Immunology Students Combat Anti-Vaccine Movement with Video - "I Just Can't Wait for My Vaccine."
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From the desk of Dr. Patricia Jones, Director
Stanford Immunology is home to faculty, students, postdocs and staff who work together to produce internationally recognized research in many fields of immunology. The long tradition of collaboration among the immunology laboratories at Stanford fosters highly productive interdisciplinary research, with an emphasis on the application of molecular approaches to problems in cellular and clinical immunology. Faculty research interests include both bench-to-bedside approaches and basic science research. Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars receive outstanding training through their participation in research, teaching, seminars, journal clubs, and the annual Stanford Immunology Scientific Conference. Many members of our community are also affiliated with Stanford Institutes of Medicine. Stanford Immunology joined the Institute of Immunity, Transplantation and Infection in January 2011.