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 The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>