“When you receive a vaccine against a disease like polio or influenza, your immune system gears up to defend against that particular infection. If you wind up getting chickenpox instead, or even a slightly different strain of the flu, you would be out of luck. That’s because traditional vaccines enlist the adaptive immune system, the functions of which are carried out largely by hyperspecific T and B cells, each targeted to a particular threat.
But what if a more general vaccine existed, that could steel the immune system against threats of various sorts, from infection to chemotherapy? In a new paper, published in Cell, Penn researchers collaborated with an international team to show how the innate immune system, which responds more generally to dangers detected in the body, can be trained to “remember” past threats and respond more robustly to future challenges.”
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