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As part of this process, instead of fighting disease, immune cells.

Mye-EUNITER: New COST Action on Immune Regulation

Bm1404-17256 Mye-euniter Figure - Large WebIn a healthy person the immune system is perfectly balanced to provide protection against invading harmful pathogens or malignant cells, while maintaining a state of unresponsiveness (‘tolerance’) to our own body tissues and to the harmless substances we eat or inhale. However, in major diseases such as infections (e.g. AIDS), inflammation (e.g. arthritis) and cancer (e.g. skin cancer, leukaemia), a pathological disbalance in this immune homeostasis occurs.

The latest developments in basic and clinical research have suggested that myeloid regulatory cells contribute to this pathological immune disbalance. Myeloid regulatory cells are a specialised subset of white blood cells, which include granulocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and acquire immunoregulatory and/or immunosuppressive activity as a consequence of the disease of the host. Unfortunately, the dysfunction of these cells is still poorly understood. The reason for this is that, worldwide, myeloid regulatory cells have been researched using vastly different methods and markers. The new COST Action Mye-EUNITER, short for “European Network of Investigators Triggering Exploratory Research on Myeloid Regulatory Cells,” aims to establish technical standards for the characterisation and analysis of these cells.

“These standardised and validated tools will aid the development of cellular biomarkers of disease and guide the design of novel therapies to manipulate the functions of these cells,” hopes Sven Brandau, an immunologist at the University of Duisburg-Essen and Vice-Chair of BIOME Graduate School who is spearheading the Action. Mye-EUNITER includes member scientists from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The network also has collaborative partners in USA.

A further innovative aspect of Mye-EUNITER is that it strongly fosters the exchange of young scientists between institutions and laboratories within Europe by organising early stage researcher symposia, workshops, training schools and short-term scientific missions. “The symbiotic investment in long-term international interdisciplinary scientific exchange between biomedical research centres within Europe has always been one of BIOME’s main aims since its establishment in 2010,” adds Delia Cosgrove, Coordinator of UDE’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science, “and now we are particularly delighted through this COST Action to be in a position to offer specialised training to some of our PhD students.”

The Mye-EUNITER concept stems from an IRUN biomedical initiative which held meetings in Duisburg-Essen (2011), Münster (2012) and Nijmegen (2013).

COST Action BM1404

Related news:
NL: RIMLSRadboud University Nijmegen DE: Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster PL: Jagiellonian University Krakow, Newsletter Summer 2014 (p. 16)