Leishmaniasis is a parasite that is transmitted by sand flies. Infection causes skin ulcers and severe tissue damage, and currently, there’s no vaccine to protect humans. However, thanks to mice, that may change.
By carefully studying mice that had recovered from leishmania infection, researchers found that special T cells were retained in the skin, and these T cells were able to ‘remember’ the infection. Scientists transferred these T-cells into mice that had never been infected with the parasite. They found that the transferred T cells helped to protect the naive mice!
In this study, mice were a good model for researchers, because mice can be infected with this parasite just like dogs and people. The infection in mice is very similar to what happens in humans.
This research is important because the success of the transferred cells suggests that hope for a leishmaniasis vaccine for humans could be on the horizon. Currently, no vaccine exists, so this would be great news. To learn more about leishmaniasis, click here. Read more about this specific research here.