New Organ Transplant Strategy Aims to Better Prevent Rejection
UCSF News reports on the work of Qizhi Tang, Ph.D., and other UC San Francisco researchers to develop new organ transplant strategies that better prevent rejection of donated organs. The research of Dr. Tang, Associate Professor in the Division of Transplant Surgery, and Director of the Transplantation Research Lab and Tang Lab, and colleagues, is reported on in two recently published journal articles.
"Organ-transplant recipients often reject donated organs, but a new, two-pronged strategy developed by UC San Francisco researchers to specifically weaken immune responses that target transplanted tissue has shown promise in controlled experiments on mice,"
"The hope is that using this novel treatment strategy at the time of transplantation surgery could spare patients from lifelong immunosuppressive treatments and their side effects. The approach might also be used to treat autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, the researchers said.
The study was conducted in mouse studies of islet-cell transplantation – a procedure used to restore insulin secretion and control over glucose levels in the blood in patients with life-threatening diabetes. The treatment allowed more than 70 percent of mice to accept transplants without requiring any long-term treatment with immunosuppressive drugs."
The approach, led by Diabetes Center member Qizhi Tang, PhD, (pictured right) involved using cells from donors to activate immune cells called donor-reactive effector T cells. The researchers then gave the mice a drug called cyclophosphamide, known to specifically kill activated cells."
"In another UCSF study published online in September in American Journal of Transplantation, Tang, Bluestone and colleagues described a way to preferentially grow human TREGs in a clinical laboratory that are specifically targeted to protect donor tissue.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the donor-targeted TREGs in liver transplant patients in clinical trials, Tang said.
“We decided to go with liver transplantation first, because the therapy is new, and liver grafts are more resilient,” she said. “We are also actively seeking approval for the use of this product in kidney transplant patients. We anticipate that these trials will start later this year.”
Co-authors of Tang’s latest American Journal of Transplantation study include postdoctoral fellow Karim Lee, PhD, and research specialist Vinh Nguyen; Kyung-Mi Lee, an immunologist at Korea University, Seoul, and Sang-Mo Kang, MD, a transplant surgeon and an immunologist at UCSF."