Washington, July 7 (ANI): If Medical College of Georgia researchers are to be believed, organ transplantation in future may include microscopic beads that create "designer" immune cells so that patients may tolerate their new organ.
Dr. Anatolij Horuzsko, reproductive immunologist at the MCG Center for Molecular Chaperone/Radiobiology and Cancer Virology, has already used this approach successfully in mice with skin grafts.
"It's absolutely natural," says the researcher.
The degradable microparticles deliver the most powerful known form of HLA-G, a natural suppressor of the immune response, straight to dendritic cells, which typically show the immune system what to attack.
The microparticles are given right after a transplant, just as dendritic cells are giving the immune system a heads up to get busy attacking the new organ.
Dr. Horuzsko says that microparticle therapy likely would be needed for just a few weeks, until the dendritic cells have learned instead to ignore it.
"It's like a calming effect and once tolerance is established, we don't need it any more," he says.
His team compared the success of HLA-G microparticles with the dendritic cell marker to those without a marker, those with were much more efficient at getting where needed and acting.
He says that those without direction likely were consumed by garbage eaters called macrophages.
"We want to create in kidney transplant patients, the same tolerance to the new kidney," says Dr. Horuzsko, who reckons that HLA-G microparticles could be doing just that within five years.
He presented the patented process along with his other latest HLA-G findings during an opening lecture of the 5th International Conference on HLA-G in Paris, July 6-8.
Dr. Horuzsko believes that marked microparticles also have treatment potential in diseases where the immune system attacks normal tissue, such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.
He is currently working in collaboration with Dr. Laura Mulloy, chief of the Section of Nephrology, Hypertension and Transplantation Medicine in the MCG School of Medicine, to find out whether higher natural levels of HLA-G already are giving some transplant patients an edge, by comparing HLA-G expression in those who keep and reject their transplanted kidneys. (ANI)