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University of Pittsburgh researchers identify subtype of cell that promotes organ transplant acceptance

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Based on these studies, the researchers plan to see if these "good" dendritic cells are present in liver and kidney transplant recipients who are off all immunosuppression as part of a larger effort to identify laboratory profiles and tests consistent with tolerance.

Through the Immune Tolerance Network, an ambitious undertaking supported by the National Institutes of Health and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, Dr. Thomson and Adriana Zeevi, Ph.D., are leading this unique study to better understand the specific immunological process that occurs in transplant patients who are off all drugs. Specifically, Drs. Thomson and Zeevi are looking at the role of dendritic cells in tolerance as well as key regulatory proteins within the immune system, where small changes in the code may reveal a patient's potential for rejection.

"This will provide a 'roadmap' for clinicians, to help identify those for whom immunosuppression can be safely withdrawn," said Dr. Thomson, professor of surgery and molecular genetics and biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute.

"We'd like to identify the cellular and molecular clues so that assays, or very simple laboratory tests, can be developed that would be predictive of tolerance," added Dr. Zeevi, professor of pathology and surgery at Pitt's School of Medicine and the Starzl Transplant Institute.


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Contact: Lisa Rossi
rossil@msx.upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
14-May-2001


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