Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Major Breakthrough In Transplantation Immunity

Date:
April 9, 2009
Source:
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Summary:
Australian scientists have made a discovery that may one day remove the need for a lifetime of toxic immunosuppressive drugs after organ transplants.

Australian scientists have made a discovery that may one day remove the need for a lifetime of toxic immunosuppressive drugs after organ transplants.

Professor Jonathan Sprent and Dr Kylie Webster from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, in collaboration with colleagues, Dr Shane Grey and Stacey Walters, have successfully tested a method, in experimental mice, of adjusting the immune system for just long enough to receive a tissue transplant and accept it as 'self'. At no stage, during or after the procedure, is there any need for immunosuppressive drugs.

"Under normal circumstances, the body would attack a transplanted organ unless immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporin were given," said Sprent. "In this project, mice were given a substance, or 'complex', that altered their immune systems, so that they accepted transplanted cells as their own."

Sprent developed the 'complex' with Professor Charles Surh from California's Scripps Research Institute and Dr Onur Boyman, physician and Head of the Basic Immunology Unit at the University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland.

The complex combines a molecule, interleukin-2 (IL-2), with an antibody in order to stimulate immune cells known as T regulatory cells.

"In broad terms, IL-2 is a growth factor for T cells," explained Sprent. "My colleague Onur Boyman discovered that by combining IL-2 with different antibodies you can control its action, boosting specific populations of T cells, while subduing others. For this project we needed to boost the numbers of T regulatory cells."

"T regulatory cells quiet the immune system, subduing the body's killer T cells when it's time to stop fighting an infection."

"The other side of the coin is that a superabundance of T regulatory cells prevents killer T cells from functioning. And you wouldn't want to be without killer T cells for long because they fight infections and cancers."

"For this project, we boosted T regulatory cells temporarily, in a procedure that we believe might be very useful clinically, particularly for preventing rejection."

It was the task of postdoctoral researcher Kylie Webster, working with Stacey Walters, to see if she could make the T regulatory cell response work in a clinically realistic setting.

"We took normal, healthy mice, injected them for three consecutive days with the complex, then transplanted insulin-producing cells on the fourth day," said Kylie. "By the time of transplant there were huge numbers of T regulatory cells in their systems, making graft-destroying T cells ineffective."

"The numbers of T regulatory cells dropped over time, and the immune systems returned to normal in about two weeks. By that time 80% of the mice had accepted the grafts of insulin producing cells as their own."

"This acceptance rate is very high for transplantation, with mice normally rejecting grafts within 2-3 weeks."

"A graft is considered accepted if it's tolerated after 100 days. We took some mice out to 200-300 days, and not one of them rejected."

While cautious, Professor Sprent is very encouraged by the results.

"We have yet to determine exactly how the complex works. Once we do, I believe a clinical trial of this very non-toxic agent would be worthwhile."

"Our approach works well with pancreatic islets, or insulin-producing cells, but we have yet to try other clinically-relevant grafts such as kidneys and hearts, which are technically very difficult in mice," he said.

"I am also aware that effective approaches in mice do not necessarily give good results in humans because of subtle differences in the immune systems of mouse and man."

"Those provisos given, if we were able to duplicate this experiment in humans, it would fulfil the dream of everyone in the transplant field."

The results are now online in the current edition of Journal of Experimental Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "Major Breakthrough In Transplantation Immunity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090407105307.htm>.
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. (2009, April 9). Major Breakthrough In Transplantation Immunity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090407105307.htm
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "Major Breakthrough In Transplantation Immunity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090407105307.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins