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Work at UCL: co-operation between T cells and conjugate vaccines


Work at UCL: research into F liver protein
Avrion Mitchison Scientist
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I was very fortunate. Leaving Mill Hill, I had- took the Chair of Zoology- Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in University College, with no- initially, with no secure source of funding at all, but in the course of the next few months the Imperial Council Research Fund, ICRF, offered to found, to finance an immunology unit, a tumour immunology unit, in University College, which I thought would be great for- for my mates and I, and independently the MRC decided to support the research of you, Martin. I think that happened a little slightly later, but not- not very much- more or less the same time. So I would like to say a few words about what we did during those 20 years, and I would like to make it clear at the beginning that that research was not- it was in a sense world level research, but it wasn't as sparkling as the preceding five years in the National Institute for Medical Research, and I will explain why I think that was the case later. But what did we do We looked much more carefully at whether T-cells or B-cells, or both of them, are responsible for low zone tolerance. We chose to do that, and by we, I really mean here Mike Iverson who was an American who came over and worked first as an assistant and then as a research student, and did very well indeed. We chose to look at a naturally occurring protein called F-liver protein, secreted by the liver, where the body is clearly immunologically tolerant of its own protein but can react against foreign proteins- the allelic form of the same proteins, the foreign form of the same protein - and we were able to show that that was strictly a matter of T-cells. The body had B-cells which could react against self but they didn't do so, the tolerance in that situation was entirely guided by T-cells. And we thought that that was a paradigm for the whole of self tolerance, and I think that is the way things have worked out, so I think that was a- that was a useful thing to have done.

Avrion Mitchison, the British zoologist, is currently Professor Emeritus at University College London and is best known for his work demonstrating the role of lymphocytes in tumour rejection and for the separate and cooperative roles of T- and B-lymphocytes in this and other processes.

Listeners: Martin Raff

Martin Raff is a Canadian-born neurologist and research biologist who has made important contributions to immunology and cell development. He has a special interest in apoptosis, the phenomenon of cell death.



Listen to Martin Raff at Web of Stories



Duration: 3 minutes, 12 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008