Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Manipulating the immune system like a parasite

11.04.2008
One day it may be possible to mimic the tactics used by parasites to trick the body into accepting transplanted tissues or organs.

That is the hope of Dr Shane Grey from the Garvan Institute for Medical Research and Professor John Dalton from the Institute for the Biotechnology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Technology (UTS). The pair has been awarded a $400,000 grant through the Australian Islet Transplantation Program, administered jointly by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.

The grant will be divided equally between Garvan and UTS over a period of two years, and will combine Professor Dalton’s expertise in parasitology and biochemistry with Dr Grey’s expertise as a transplant immunologist.

When parasites invade humans, they secrete compounds that appear to change the way the immune system sees them. In other words, they alter the immune response.

“Over time our immune system has evolved different ways to deal with different organisms and challenges,” explained Dr Grey. “What the parasite does is deviate the immune system from an effective response to one that’s more suited to attacking other organisms or pathogens. It’s quite cunning.”

“By effectively disarming its host, the parasite is doing the equivalent of replacing the weaponry of a modern army with bows and arrows.”

The Australian Islet Transplantation Program funds much innovative transplant therapy work in the hope of one day finding a way for recipients to tolerate islet (insulin producing cells in the pancreas) transplants without having to take highly toxic immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives. Many people believe that effective islet transplantation offers the greatest hope for curing Type 1 diabetes, or insulin dependent diabetes.

Before applying for the grant, the Garvan and UTS teams undertook a short pilot study to test their approach. The initial test results left Dr Grey feeling very optimistic about the proposed collaboration.

“The UTS team sent us some biochemically pure compounds which we delivered over three weeks to mice that had received an islet transplant. Stacey Walters, a member of my research team, found that the optimal combination of compounds gave permanent graft survival. In that type of model, the outcome we achieved was extraordinary.”

“Our first step now that we have received funding will be to repeat our initial result on a larger cohort of animals. Then our challenge will be to work out exactly what the compounds do to a recipient’s immune system. Obviously we’d like to tease out the good bioactive components and remove any that could be harmful.”

“Ideally, we’d like to bring about an alteration of the immune system to allow the retention of a graft yet perform other functions as normal. If we achieve that, we will be very happy.”

Alison Heather | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.garvan.org.au

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>