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Immune system ageing 'could be reversed'

Immune system ageing 'could be reversed'
17th August 2011

Scientists could potentially reverse the process of ageing in the immune system, new findings have indicated, which could aid those using home care.

A study published in the Journal of Immunology uncovered a new mechanism controlling ageing in white blood cells.

Research found that some immune system cells are being actively switched off by a mechanism now thought to be important in the ageing system.

However, the investigators believe that these cells could be reactivated to temporarily restore the immune system.

Professor Douglas Kell, chief executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, said: "This is a fantastic example of the value of deepening our understanding of fundamental cell biology. This work has discovered a new and unforeseen process controlling how our immune systems change as we get older."

As people age, their immune system weakens, making them more vulnerable to infections which are often severe.

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