Cachexia (Muscle Wasting)

Cachexia (Muscle Wasting)

Overview

Cachexia is a severe muscle wasting syndrome that affects people with a variety of chronic conditions including diabetes, cancer and infectious disease. It is highly debilitating, and associated with reduced responsiveness to therapy and poor prognosis. Our understanding of the disease process has increased substantially over the past decade. We know that it is associated with a complicated mix of immune, metabolic and inflammatory pathways, but we still don’t know the cause nor can we prevent the process once it has begun. As a result, there is currently no cure or treatment for cachexia.

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Studies

The Davies research group has identified an immune cell type that can substantially reduce the severity of cachexia in both type 1 diabetes and cancer. Furthermore, this cell type can re-establish immune perturbations that are associated with cachexia. Ongoing research is aimed at understanding whether these immune perturbations can be used as biomarkers to identify patients at risk of cachexia and whether correcting these perturbations might improve the effectiveness of therapies to prevent the onset of cachexia in patients with cancer.

Select Publications

Zhao C, Marrero I, Narsale A, Moya R, Davies JD. CD4+ CD44v.low cells are unique peripheral precursors that are distinct from recent thymic emigrants and stem cell-like memory cells. Cellular Immunology. 2015; 296:106-114.

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Zhao C, Davies JD. A peripheral CD4+ T cell precursor for naïve, memory and regulatory T cells. J Exp Med. 2010;207(13):2883–94.

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Zhao, C., Wang, Z., Robertson, M. W., and Davies, J. D. Cachexia in the non obese diabetic mouse is associated with CD4+ T cell lymphopenia. Immunology. 2008. 125:48-58.

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Wang, Z., Zhao, C., Moya, R., Davies, J. D. A novel role for CD4+ T cells in the control of cachexia. J. Immunol. 2008. 181:4676-4684.

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Our research programs are funded primarily by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Private donations help to accelerate the progress of research through the purchase of laboratory supplies and equipment or the recruitment of additional laboratory personnel. Thank you!

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