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How allergens trigger asthma attacks

A team of Inserm and CNRS researchers from the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology—or IPBS (CNRS / Université Toulouse III—Paul Sabatier)—have identified a protein that acts like a sensor detecting various allergens in the respiratory tract responsible for asthma attacks. Their study, codirected by Corinne Cayrol and Jean-Philippe Girard, is published in Nature Immunology (march 19, 2018). These scientists’ work offers hope for breakthroughs in the treatment of allergic diseases.

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Identification of a critical actor controlling trafficking of leukemia cells 

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia in adults. Accumulation of abnormal B cells in spleen and lymph nodes is associated with resistance to treatment. A better understanding of the mechanisms controlling trafficking of leukemic cells to lymphoid organs is thus urgently needed. A research team from the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology (IPBS - CNRS/Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier) has identified a molecule that plays a key role in the attachment of CLL cells to blood vessels in lymph nodes. These studies supported by ‘Laboratoire d’Excellence Toulouse Cancer’ (LABEX TOUCAN) and performed in close collaboration with ‘Institut Universitaire du Cancer de Toulouse (IUCT)’ and ‘Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Toulouse (CRCT)’, were published in BLOOD First Edition on July 10th 2015.

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Key step in allergic reactions revealed

By studying the mode of action of the interleukin-33 protein, an alarmin for white blood cells, a team at the Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale (IPBS - CNRS/Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier) has been able to evidence truncated forms of the protein that act as potent activators of the cells responsible for triggering allergic reactions. This breakthrough in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying allergy could have important applications in the treatment of asthma and other allergic diseases such as eczema and allergic rhinitis. Co-directed by CNRS researcher Corinne Cayrol and INSERM senior researcher Jean-Philippe Girard, this work is published in PNAS on 13 October 2014.

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A novel mechanism in the activation of IL-33 during inflammation

Inflammation is a mechanism to help the body cope with an injury, inducing repair and regeneration of the damaged tissue and getting rid of what has caused the injury (virus, bacteria or physical injury). Researchers at the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology in Toulouse (CNRS/Université de Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier) have discovered a novel step in the sequence of events leading to inflammation. They have found a mechanism involved in the activation of interleukin-33 (IL-33), an IL-1 family cytokine which play critical roles in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Their findings are published in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Early Edition of January, 16th 2012.

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Blood vessels participate in the eradication of tumors

Breast cancer: for the first time, very specific blood vessels have been discovered in tumors. These vessels facilitate the access of certain white blood cells, known as “killer lymphocytes”, into tumor tissues and thus lead to the efficient destruction of tumors. This work, led by Jean-Philippe Girard, Inserm senior researcher at the Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale (CNRS/Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier), in collaboration with the Institut Claudius Regaud, is published in the journal Cancer Research (August 2011).

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Dendritic cells control lymphocyte entry into lymph nodes

Dendritic cells, discovered in 1973 by Ralph Steinman (2011 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine) and known for their role as sentinels of the immune system, have an essential function in the development of high endothelial venules (HEVs), acting as genuine entry sites of lymphocytes into lymph nodes, inflamed tissues and malignant tumors. This is what Christine Moussion and Jean-Philippe Girard(1), researchers at the Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale (CNRS/Université de Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier) showed in a study(2) published online in the journal Nature on November 13, 2011. A better understanding of this process could lead to major applications in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer.

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