The premise behind vaccines is that it will help children fight viral infections as they age. But a U-M study suggests the natural ability to fight infection is there early on. Vaccines can inhibit the growth of essential immune cells early in life, and avoiding vaccines could actually improve an infant’s response to infection. More specifically, vaccines are suppressing a very specific type of protein which inhibits the growth of specific cancers.
“What happens at early age is that natural killer cells, like many other immune cells, do not complete their functional maturation until adulthood,” says study senior author Yasmina Laouar, Ph.D., assistant professor in the U-M Department of Microbiology and Immunology.