John Hopkins Medicine’s deep dive into the immune system is paving the way for stem cell transplant and brain repair. The team there conducted experiments on mice to pave the future course of the said process. And, their results show that there might not be any need for lifelong anti-rejection drugs, going forward.
What Makes the Research Significant?
The journal, Brain, published details of the new approach, which is set to help children with critical genetic diseases. Currently, in the United States, about 1 in 100000 children suffer from these diseases. And, they result from lack of proper coating, myelin, around neurons. Due to this, neurons are unable to send messages. One such disorder leads babies to skip important milestones such a sitting upright and walking. In life, it can lead to involuntary spasms and partial paralysis. And, this is why the research plays an important role.
What Concern Does the Research Address?
Piotr Walczak, M.D., Ph.D., explains it well. The Associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, states that the mutation causes issue with one type of cell. This, in turn, makes targeted therapy a possibility and a good one at that. And, this makes transplantation more workable.
But, human immune system can determine self again non-self-tissues. And, since it targets foreign substances, it attacks these cells. As a result, anti-rejection drugs came into play but the problem with these is that they clamp down on immune system. So, patients get prone to infections and associated side-effects.
With this research, scientists attempted to do away with this response by doing away need for anti-rejection drugs. The team manipulated T cells, the force behind destruction of foreign substance. The special focus was on costimulatory signals. These belong to a series which T cells encounter to turn on destruction mode.