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Death Nets and Premature Babies

When locked in mortal combat with infection, some mature white blood cells have a formidable weapon: they literally cast a DNA net—called a neutrophil extracellular trap (NET)—that captures and kills bacteria that invade the human body. But the ability to form this "death" NET is missing in the white blood cells of newborn infants, born either at term or prematurely, and that, in part, may explain why millions of newborns worldwide are at higher risk for a potentially deadly blood infection, University of Utah medical researchers have discovered.
 
 

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