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New approaches to protecting transplanted organs make first steps toward patients
Date:12/3/2008

f HLA-G dimer. Now they'll look at more patients to see if the finding holds true and look at IDO levels as well to see how they correlate with transplant success.

They'll also look for novel biomarkers of transplant rejection. An Austrian group already has documented increased IDO activity as a prelude to a rejection episode, said Dr. Mellor, noting that in this scenario IDO could be rallying like firefighters to battle rejection. "It's a potential early marker of a problem that transplant physicians will want to deal with," he said, noting that IDO's role may differ in immediate acute rejections and more chronic rejection episodes.

By the end of three-year grant, MCG researchers in collaboration with Dr. Alan D. Kirk, scientific director of the Emory Transplant Center and GRA Eminent Scholar in Transplantation Immunology, want to move to the next step: to see if IDO can protect kidney transplants in non-human primates. If the promised potential holds up, the following step would involve transplant patients at MCG and Emory.

An MCG research team led by Drs. Mellor and David Munn found a decade ago that IDO was a primary mechanism for localized immune tolerance. Since then, they have explored the potential of increasing IDO expression to combat autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes and help transplanted organs survive and, conversely, turning IDO off to help kill tumors and attack infections such as HIV. Drs. Mellor and Munn co-direct a new Immuno Discovery Institute in the MCG School of Medicine which will help strengthen this type of translational science.


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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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