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!
Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
11.12.2017 | Information Technology