Professor Jonathan Sprent and Dr Kylie Webster from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, in collaboration with colleagues, Dr Shane Grey and Stacey Walters reported a major breakthrough in the area of transplantation tolerance in this month's issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine. This fascinating report describes a method of inducing tolerance of islet cell grafts transplanted into mice. The technique involves combining an antibody with IL2 in a complex that upregulated T-regulatory cells, suppressing T-Killer cells that lead to acute rejection. No immunosuppression was required by the animals and 80% enjoyed tolerance of the graft. While these results are preliminary and in an animal model, it does offer a glimpse at a potential strategy that might obviate or significantly reduce the need for toxic medications in human transplant recipients of all kinds.
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