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 'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS

nachricht New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

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: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>