Steven writes:

B cells or T cells in TB: a continuing conundrum – The Lancet Respiratory Medicine

Hail to the geniuses who can make head or tail of immunology!

Here is a Lancet paper I can’t even begin to unpick‎, so I thought, perhaps it might be a good one to help you illustrate some principles.

I’d be particularly interested to know if my BCG scar was all for nothing, as it appears that people can still be infected with TB even after having gone through this scabby procedure as a child?

Keep it up.





Grey day, but plum blossoms out at last, and birds singing.

Anthony writes:

I heard you mention this on the recent Immune.  You seemed to indicate that this was an ongoing issue.

I raised mice for the pet trade some years back and never encountered this problem.  

I’d first look at enriching the diet and environment.  Put the cardboard centers from rolls of toilet paper or sections from paper towels in the cages.  This gives the mice tunnels to explore. Particularly for the moms, give them handfuls of paper strips from a shredder to build nests.

In addition to the mouse chow, give sections of celery, sections of carrot, chickpeas (canned), peas (frozen, cooked and cooled), whole corn (canned), peanuts, sunflower seeds, pieces of apple, and squares of whole wheat bread (possibly with peanut butter).  Many other items for human consumption can be used. These don’t have to be given all at once, just a couple each day.

If a conference room generates left over sandwiches, salads, bagels, etc, these can be collected and used instead of purchasing fresh.  Don’t use avocado or chocolate.

Mung Bean sprouts are particularly valuable, but these need to be grown on site.  The light famished stuff in stores is expensive, nutritionally bereft and often microbe infested.

Covering the sides of the enclosures that house the pregnant mice with paper (newspaper or other)  can also be tried. I never had to do this myself, but my mouse housing was all kept low. Labs often have the mice on high shelves.  Mice are not squirrels; elevation is certain to stress mice.


Melanie writes:

Hello to the “Immune” group,

I have been enjoying your podcasts for a while Vincent. I am delighted to listen to your Immune series whereby you have done a great job to explain the basics as well as keep us up to date in a complicated area. I like the format so far!

I was looking for an “Immune” mug or shirt to buy but I couldn’t find any. Please direct me in the right direction if there are any available to purchase. Or let me know if I need to wait a bit longer…

Thank you for making my long commute to work much more enjoyable. I’m at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS.

Can’t wait for the next Immune!


Dr. Melanie Coombs


Acadia University

Brandon writes:

Hello Cindy, Steph, and Vincent! My name is Brandon and I am a undergraduate at the University of Alaska Anchorage working on graduating by next spring. I do research under a professor in the field of immunology and virology which has led me to be fascinated in immunotherapy for diseases specifically cancer. I am writing you to request you do a podcast on the recent Cancer ‘vaccine’ paper. I thought your podcast on CART therapy was incredibly informative and well produced and I would find it would be incredible if you guys presented this paper on the podcast. I have included a copy of the paper attached in this email. I love the great content you produce! Thanks!

Eradication of spontaneous malignancy by local immunotherapy

Bob writes:

What does the panel make of this:

To quote a part of the article:

“Levy’s method works to reactivate the cancer-specific T cells by injecting microgram amounts of two agents directly into the tumor site. (A microgram is one-millionth of a gram). One, a short stretch of DNA called a CpG oligonucleotide, works with other nearby immune cells to amplify the expression of an activating receptor called OX40 on the surface of the T cells. The other, an antibody that binds to OX40, activates the T cells to lead the charge against the cancer cells. Because the two agents are injected directly into the tumor, only T cells that have infiltrated it are activated. In effect, these T cells are “prescreened” by the body to recognize only cancer-specific proteins.”


Mark writes:

Hi team,

This is a question for you all, and possibly a question for listeners of the podcast as well. I was wondering if anyone could recommend some books for people like me who are interested in human immunology which are not textbooks, something in a casually readable format. A textbook feels more geared to be read with the guidance of a teacher, and often assumes the reader has done some prerequisite biology study.

It’s a broad question I know, I would settle for a textbook if no one knows anything more casual.

Thanks for your time, and all that you do.



Auckland, New Zealand

Nathan writes:

Hi Stephanie & Vincent,

I’m loving the Immune podcast.  Keep up the great work in your podcasting and tweeting.  

I recently found this 2017 review that touches on both immunology and viruses.  What a great name, super-antibodies! Plain ordinary antibodies are quite amazing, some might even say super.  I thought it would be a great topic for either a snippet or a full discussion.

It’s 29 oC (85 oF) and partly cloudy in Chapel Hill.


Nathan aka @sciguy999