traveller.ct writes: Researchers from Melbourne and London have identified the mechanism by which the immune system destroys malignant cells. The notion of killer cells puncturing a malignant cell to inject toxic enzymes has been understood for over a century, but now, using the Australian Synchrotron, researchers have identified the protein which is responsible for forming a pore in the malignant cell: perforin. Perforin resembles the cellular weaponry employed by bacteria such as anthrax, but may have been appropriated by our immune system in our evolutionary past to fight against them. The researchers are now investigating ways to boost perforin for more effective cancer protection and therapy for acute diseases such as cerebral malaria.
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