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King's College London reveals promising techniques for extending the life of an organ transplant
Date:9/15/2010

e and safe. The next step is large-scale clinical trials to test whether this method has clinical benefits for patients undergoing organ transplants.

Cell therapy

The other exciting area of research is cell therapy a type of potential treatment scientists hope will improve the longevity of a transplant.

Currently, transplant recipients have to stick to a strict regimen of potent drugs that pacify the immune system and hopefully prevent rejection of the donated organ. However, because these drugs suppress the immune system, they may also bring serious health complications, such as infections and some types of cancer.

Scientists at King's are looking at other ways of prolonging the life of a transplant, which involves using a type of white blood cell regulatory T cells found in healthy individuals as a treatment to prevent an individual's immune system from becoming over active and rejecting the organ.

Professor Giovanna Lombardi, Professor of Human Transplant Immunology at the MRC Centre for Transplantation, said: 'Animal studies have already shown that these cells can effectively prevent a transplant being rejected. We are currently identifying ways to 'grow' these cells from the blood of healthy individuals in the laboratory without them losing their ability to suppress other immune cells and are carrying out a study of the number and quality of regulatory T cells from patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. We are optimistic that we will be able to carry out the first clinical trials in transplant patients in the next few years.'

It is expected that any clinical trials would involve the isolation and expansion of these cells. The cells would be taken from a patient, multiplied in the laboratory into the numbers of cells needed, and reintroduced into the patients themselves. In any clinical trial, these cells would be generated in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant facilities
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Contact: Melanie Haberstroh
melanie.haberstroh@kcl.ac.uk
44-020-784-83076
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

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