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Immune Microparticles

July 28, 2009

A new approach to regulating the immune response may make organ transplants safer.


Smarter immune therapy. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Organ transplant patients take broad-acting drugs that cripple their entire immune system, in order to protect the new organ. But in the future, a more targeted therapy lasting just a few weeks may do the trick. Anatolij Horuska and his colleagues at the Medical College of Georgia are working with a natural molecule called HLA-G. Fetuses use it to make peace with Mom’s immune system. It acts on dendritic cells, a kind of immune cell that identifies new threats and rallies the rest of the immune system against them.

ANATOLIJ HORUSKA (Medical College of Georgia):
So if we target this early stage of recognition, we will create tolerance mechanisms.

Horuska’s strategy is to deliver the molecule in microscopic, degradable beads, which are injected right after a transplant. Recent trials in mice with skin grafts look promising. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.