Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF May 27, 2011 Issue | Archived Issues

Multivitamin and Multi-Trace Metals Injection Shortage Resolved

Pharmacy Focus

Please note that the Pharmacy Department has been able to secure a sufficient amount of both Infuvite Adult Injectable MVIs (this formulation contains small amounts of Vitamin K-150mcg/10ml) and Adult Multi-Trace Metals (MTE-4). Therefore, these shortages are considered to be resolved at this time.  

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How Do White Blood Cells Detect Invaders to Destroy?

Research Corner

Scientists are one step closer to understanding how our bodies fight disease thanks to a discovery made at Cedars-Sinai. Researchers here found how a receptor on the surface of white blood cells can tell when invading fungi pose an immediate infectious threat. The discovery provides insight into how the body's immune system saves energy by not wasting its "ammo" on invaders that aren't as serious.

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IRB Announces Analyst Designations by Division

The Office of Research Compliance and Quality Improvement has changed its process for distributing the workload among the IRB analysts.

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Meetings and Events


Grand Rounds

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How Do White Blood Cells Detect Invaders to Destroy?

Research Corner

Scientists are one step closer to understanding how our bodies fight disease thanks to a discovery made at Cedars-Sinai.

Researchers here found how a receptor on the surface of white blood cells can tell when invading fungi pose an immediate infectious threat. The discovery provides insight into how the body's immune system saves energy by not wasting its "ammo" on invaders that aren't as serious.

Called Dectin-1, the receptor is being studied in the laboratory of David Underhill, Ph.D., an associate professor in Cedars-Sinai's Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute. The findings were featured as the cover story in the April 28 edition of Nature.

"Our lab has been studying Dectin-1, which directs white blood cells to eat and kill the fungi that they encounter directly, but to ignore soluble material sloughed off of the fungal surface which does not pose an immediate threat," said Helen Goodridge, Ph.D., first author on the study and a researcher in the laboratory headed by Underhill.

White blood cells engulf the microbes by a process called phagocytosis and then destroy them. This process and other anti-microbial defense responses take a lot of energy and should only be used when absolutely necessary, Goodridge said.

Discovering the actions of Dectin-1 explains how immune cells can selectively ignore debris shed by microbes that are not in the immediate vicinity.

A molecular structure that the Underhill lab calls a "phagocytic synapse" forms at the surface of the white blood cell when Dectin-1 detects fungi. As a phagocytic synapse forms, two inhibitory proteins that block transmission of signals inside the white blood cell are pushed aside. This allows Dectin-1 to instruct the cell to respond. The phagocytic synapse does not form when Dectin-1 encounters soluble fungal debris, so the white blood cell does not respond.

"The phagocytic synapse resembles another molecular structure, the 'immunological synapse,' that is critical during more complicated later stages of an immune response," said Underhill. "It appears that the phagocytic synapse may be an evolutionary precursor of the immunological synapse."