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Bypassing Immune Rejection in Stem-Cell-Based Therapies
Date:8/16/2013

Durham, NC (PRWEB) August 16, 2013

The scientific community has held tremendous hope for the eventual emergence of stem cell transplantation as a broadly applicable and highly effective therapeutic strategy. However, the realization of this hope has been plagued by the indomitable immune response to the transplantation of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) derivatives, which prevents the engraftment and long-term survival necessary for functional recovery or preservation of the host tissue.

In an article featured in the latest issue of STEM CELLS, a research group from Stanford University describes a novel regimen for quashing this immunologic barrier — a short-course treatment with two costimlation-adhesion blockade agents, allowing engraftment of transplanted differentiated stem cells and their prolonged survival in tissue.

"Inducing immune tolerance to human embryonic stem cell graft is critical for the clinical success of regenerative medicine,” commented Dr. Joseph Wu, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Radiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “We have realized, however, that traditional immunosuppressive therapies used to prevent solid organ rejection, such as calcineurin inhibitors and corticosteroids, are insufficient to prevent human embryonic stem cell rejection following transplantation.”

In the study, hESCs were made to express enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP), differentiated to endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes, and transplanted into mouse hindlimbs as well as into both healthy and ischemic mouse myocardia. A novel costimulation-adhesion blockade method was then used alongside a more traditional therapy involving cyclosporine to induce immunosuppression. Detection of eGFP in the tissues allowed the team to track the engraftment and longevity of the transplanted cells over time. The costimulation-adhesion method yielded vastly superior results to the cyclosporine tr
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