Over an 18-month period, Gregoire Lauvau, Ph.D., Johanna Daily, M.D., M.S., and colleagues studied the immune responses of children and adults in Malawi as they were undergoing an episode of malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum (Pf), the protozoan parasitic species that causes the most severe cases of malaria, which is responsible for an estimated 619,000 deaths annually. In examining the blood of these patients, the researchers identified a new population of parasite-specific cytotoxic memory CD4+ T cells, which were actively produced early in the course of the disease and may be able to clear Pf from the body. The researchers believe that the T cells may be crucially important for lowering the parasite load and avoiding clinical complications. The discovery of this population of Pf-specific cytolytic memory CD4+ T cells could help for the design of better vaccines and therapies against malaria.
The paper published online on November 25 in Nature Communications.
Dr. Lauvau is professor of microbiology & immunology and is the Sylvia and Robert S. Olnick Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research at Einstein. Dr. Daily is professor of microbiology & immunology and of medicine at Einstein and an infectious disease physician at Montefiore.
Posted on: Wednesday, December 20, 2023