Hope for Autoimmune Skin Disorder Sufferers with New Immunotherapy Strategy

Researchers, led by University of Melbourne’s Professor Laura Mackay, a Laboratory Head and Immunology Theme Leader at the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), discovered distinct mechanisms controlling different types of immune cells, and found that, by precisely targeting these mechanisms, they could selectively eliminate “problematic cells” and reshape the skin's immune landscape. Our skin is packed with specialized immune cells that protect against infections and cancer, and promote healing. These cells, called tissue-resident memory T cells or TRM cells, stay in place to fight infections and cancerous cells in the skin. However, when not controlled properly, some of these skin TRM cells can contribute to autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis and vitiligo.

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