Scientists in Canada have developed a new technology that prevents transplanted cells from being attacked by the body’s immune system in mice.
The rejection of donor cells and tissues by a patient’s immune system is a major hindrance in organ transplant medicine and means the patient has to take drugs – that can weaken their immune system – for the rest of their lives.
Now researchers (pictured) at Sinai Health and the University of Toronto, have found a way to make transplanted cells 'invisible' to the immune system, by modifying immune-related genes in mouse embryo stem cells. These donor cells were then transplanted to adult mice with a different genetic background, in order to study the immune reaction.
The technique, known as “immune cloaking” was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Lead researcher, Andras Nagy, said: “Our work paves the way for an ‘off-the-shelf’ supply of cells for therapies that could be safely given to many patients.
“This is the first time that we’ve been able to achieve this length of time without rejection in a fully functional immune system.”