Stanford University researchers detail cellular marker discovery

Stanford University researchers detail cellular marker discovery.
Stanford University researchers detail cellular marker discovery.
Researchers at Stanford University have discovered a set of cellular markers that distinguish between patients with types of viral infections and those with types of bacterial infections.

This work focuses on methods of cellular expression — that is, the ways cells appear and respond to disease and to vaccine. The researchers suggest that these variations in cellular appearance and response reveal information about a person’s risk for disease, because genetic material in cells changes based upon healthy and infected cellular appearance.

According to the research, the information given from cellular appearance can help determine risk for disease, making it more detectable and discernible, thereby enabling more rapid and effective means of treatment for common diseases, such as influenza.

“It [cellular appearance] can also identify a flu infection before a person has symptoms and even reveal whether a person is building immunity after getting the flu vaccine,” Dr. Purvesh Khatri, lead author of the study, said. 

This visual set of clues can make vaccine customization for treating individual disease much more effective and make broad-spectrum antibiotics — those targeting a range of bacteria — more effective, too.

A key to whether such visual clues are effective is found in what is called a virus signature: cellular material left behind and indicated by a person’s immune system’s response to infection. Finding this material at the right time for analysis is critical.

Everyone responds differently to disease and treatment, which makes this work difficult. However, work and sampling are ongoing, with new hope of finding exact causes and more effective vaccines and treatments ever closer to reality.

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Stanford University Medical Center

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