Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Immune system drug may increase availability of liver transplants

30.07.2003


Animal research at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has found that a drug already approved by the FDA for testing in people might one day dramatically expand the number of livers useable for human transplantation.



Studying rats with fatty livers, the researchers discovered that bathing the livers in a human immune system protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6) rescues them from failure when transplanted into other rats. The findings appear in the July issue of Gastroenterology.

Roughly 40 percent of adults in the United States have so-called "fatty" livers, which frequently fail to function at all or fail quickly when transplanted.


"IL-6 really works," says Zhaoli Sun, M.D., Ph.D., a scientist in the department of surgery. Sun cautions that IL-6’s ability to "rescue" fatty livers for transplantation needs to be tested in larger animals, such as pigs, before human studies are undertaken.

"IL-6 is already approved for use in humans, but it has many negative effects when injected," says Sun. "Fortunately, our technique stores the liver in IL-6 before it’s transplanted, rather than giving IL-6 to the organ recipient, so side effects should be minimized."

For his experiments, Sun developed two special rat colonies while an instructor in the laboratory of Andrew Klein, M.D., in collaboration with Anna Mae Diehl, M.D., a professor of gastroenterology whose research has focused on regeneration -- rather than transplantation -- of fatty liver. In humans, fatty livers generally stem from either diet or alcohol consumption, and the two rat models developed fatty livers under equivalent conditions.

After removing a fatty liver from one animal, and before transplanting it into another, Sun bathed the liver in a soup of nutrients that either did or did not include IL-6. Livers soaked in IL-6 had better blood flow and better function and allowed recipients to live, while fatty livers never exposed to IL-6 succumbed quickly to damage and never worked well enough to save their new hosts.

Sun says it’s not known yet how IL-6 protects the fatty livers from damage or how it improves so-called "microcirculation," which helps prevent large chunks of the liver from dying. But while those questions are interesting scientifically, Klein, director of the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center, says clinical trials won’t need to wait for those answers.

"Eventual clinical trials, if approved, would probably begin by looking for reduced damage or improved function in organs we would already use for transplant," says Klein, who notes that that a generally acceptable cutoff is a liver with no more than 30 percent of cells containing big droplets of fat. "Moving toward livers that currently would be borderline would be a gradual process."

Roughly 17,500 people are awaiting liver transplants in the United States, and 5,327 liver transplantations were performed last year across the country, according to statistics kept by the United Network for Organ Sharing. IL-6 has been administered to people as part of early phase clinical trials in adults and children with various cancers, but was limited by its toxicity.

Joanna Downer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gastroenterology.com
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/transplant/adult/liver/index.html
http://www.unos.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>