The researchers then injected white blood cells from each of the two groups of people into immune-deficient mice. All the people were healthy and tested positive for EBV.
They found that white blood cells from people who had the genetic difference for lower IFNgƒnlevels were more likely to cause EBV-related cancer in the mice than cells from people with the genetic difference for higher IFNg levels. They also found that blocking TGFb prevented the EBV-related cancer.
We hypothesize that the balance between IFNgƒnand TGFb is probably important in determining whether or not the cancer develops, VanBuskirk says.
In the new study, for example, adding IFNg to TGFb prevented the scout cells from changing and allowed them to strongly re-stimulate the memory T cells.
If our hypothesis proves to be true, VanBuskirk says, it may one day be possible to identify transplant patients who are at greater risk for PTLD and to develop new therapies that prevent or treat the disease.