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New discovery may help transplants survive

nd living mice (in vivo), the team was able to show that VEGFR-3 was responsible for mobilizing APCs to move into the lymphatic system. Next, the research team blocked VEGFR-3 in mice using a specific protein (immunoglobulin) known to impede its function. When the VEGFR-3 was blocked, the APCs were also prevented from entering the lymphatic system, and the immune response was arrested. "We had never seen this connection before," says Dana. He added that while this connection was determined for the eye, it may well operate in other tissues as well.

While Dana says it is not yet clear exactly how this discovery will translate to the clinical setting, he believes continued study of this new pathway has potential for improving transplantation in the eye and potentially other parts of the body.

And, it could be a new piece of the cancer puzzle. "It has been shown that antigen presenting cells around tumors also express VEGFR-3 and we already know that access to lymphatics and lymph nodes is the way cancers spread through the body," he says.

"The findings of Dr. Dana and his colleagues provide new insights into transplant immunology and biology which go well beyond the eye, and offer new therapeutic approaches in organ transplantation and cancer treatment. Dr. Dana is clearly one of the outstanding physician scientists in our department," says Joan W. Miller, MD, Chief and Chair of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School.


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Contact: Patti Jacobs
pjacobs12@comcast.net
627-872-0364
Schepens Eye Research Institute
4-Aug-2004


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