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Scientists Identify Immune Cells That Keep Gut Fungi Under Control

Photo above shows opportunistic fungus called candida albicans (red) engulfed by CX3CR1+ phagocytes (green) in the gut villi (blue). Photo credit: Dr. Iliyan Iliev and Dr. Irina Leonardi.

Immune cells that process food and bacterial antigens in the intestines control the intestinal population of fungi, according to a new study from Weill Cornell Medicine scientists. Defects in the fungus-fighting abilities of these cells may contribute to some cases of Crohn’s disease and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The findings, published Jan. 11 in Science, illuminate a strong connection between fungi, immunity and intestinal inflammation and suggest a new, targeted treatment strategy for IBD.

“After discovering that fungi might be involved in the pathology of IBD, one of the big questions in the field has been how to identify patients who would benefit from antifungal co-therapy, and our finding suggests a way to do that,” said senior author Dr. Iliyan Iliev, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and a scientist at the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. To continue reading...

Disruption of Intestinal Fungi Leads to Increased Severity of Inflammatory Disease

Fungi that live in a healthy gut may be as important for good health as beneficial intestinal bacteria, according to new research conducted at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Scientists have known for quite some time that the so-called "good" gut bacteria in the intestines, known as commensal bacteria, are a key component of a healthy body. These bacteria are critical for proper digestive and immune system function. Recent discoveries, however, have indicated that other microbes, such as fungi and viruses, may also play a part in how the body handles inflammation.

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Kenneth Rainin Foundation Awards $750,000 for Collaborative Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Projects

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced today that it has awarded $750,000 for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research through its Synergy Award program. The Rainin Foundation funds scientific projects that have the potential to yield transformative discoveries and major insights into predicting and preventing IBD.

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