The human immune system is comprised of numerous different cells that interact to protect the body from viruses and microorganisms, as well as cancer. The strength and efficiency of our immune system becomes obvious when something goes wrong; immunodeficiency and autoimmune diseases are often serious and sometimes deadly conditions.
Dr Yenan Bryceson at the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Bergen, studies genetic defects that affect the functioning of two lymphocytes: cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells. Both of these have the task of recognizing and killing infected cells and cancer cells. They also control the activity of other cells in the immune system, ensuring they are not overactive. Bryceson’s aim is to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate the lymphocytes and how genetic defects can disrupt the lymphocytes’ normal functioning.
The knowledge generated by the project will be used by Yenan Bryceson to develop sensitive diagnostic methods for diseases that are linked to these lymphocytes. The hope is that this also results in better treatment methods.
Photo: Jenny Mjösberg