- Transplantation Research Immunology Group (TRIG) Research Group
B.Sc., D. Phil
- Senior Post-Doctoral fellow and University Research Lecturer
Summary of Research
Transplantation is rightly described as a miracle of modern medicine but the survival of transplanted organs and tissues depends on the patient receiving life-long immunosuppressive therapy to prevent rejection. Although very effective in the short-term, immunosuppressive drugs increase the risk of serious complications including opportunistic infections, vascular disease, cancer and diabetes. In the last 10-15 years it has become apparent that the mammalian immune system has evolved multiple mechanisms for preventing harmful autoimmune responses. One of the most powerful components of this control system is provided by populations known as regulatory T cells (Treg). We and others have shown that Treg can prevent transplant rejection independently of long-term therapeutic intervention. Thus, the aims of our work are three-fold:-
- Understand how Treg develop and how they control immune responses.
- Develop and optimise protocols to generate/expand Treg and apply them to models relevant to clinical transplantation.
- Develop human Treg protocols suitable for use in kidney transplant patients
The hope is that by engaging natural, physiological control mechanisms, it may be possible to achieve long-term organ transplant survival and function in patients with only minimal levels of drug-based immunosuppression