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Cytokine Research

September 21, 2018

A breakthrough in medical research arises out of an unexpected finding in chicken eggs.

Transcript

Eggs and immunity. (monicor/Pixabay)

Eggs and immunity. (monicor/Pixabay)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Egg research hatches unexpected benefits.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In the early 1970s, microbiologist Stanley Cohen was studying chicken eggs when he noticed something really weird: bacteria-fighting immune compounds, even though there were no immune cells to produce them. Cohen found that they, and a whole family of similar molecules, were produced by many kinds of cells- not just in chickens, but in people, too. He named them cytokines, and they turned out to be critical to many cell functions.

STANLEY COHEN:

The cytokines are basically the vocabulary that cells use as part of their language in talking to each other. And allows it to interact with other cells.

HIRSHON:

Today, cytokine research has led to new treatments for cancer, heart disease,  Alzheimer’s disease and many other illnesses. Last week, Cohen received a Golden Goose Award, for silly-sounding research that yields enormous benefits. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon