There are many ways to modulate the immune response in a therapeutic setting. Drugs that target the proinflammatory mediator IL-1, for instance, can counteract disease in certain types of inflammatory conditions. But such drugs do not work well for other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. New clinical studies, examined by Kingston Mills and Aisling Dunne, provide insight into this discrepancy. Another approach that has worked well in mice harnesses the ability of regulatory T cells to dampen the immune response. But one barrier in the way of successful application to people is the ability of such cells to change their character for the worse. Massimo Gadina and John O'Shea take a look at a basic research study that highlights this dilemma and examine what it means for the future of human trials.
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K.H.G.M. is a cofounder, minority shareholder, consultant, and scientific advisory board member of Opsona Therapeutics, Ltd.
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Mills, K., Dunne, A. Immune modulation: IL-1, master mediator or initiator of inflammation. Nat Med 15, 1363–1364 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm1209-1363
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