Dendritic Cell Research Publish Landmark Paper
Dendritic Cell Research (DCR) has a major interest in Dendritic Cell (DC) biology and the translation of our knowledge into diagnostics and therapeutics to enhance the benefits immune therapies for treating haematological malignancies. We have discovered that targeting a protein called CD83 that is present on activated dendritic cells with antibody can remove these cells and prevent or delay the onset on Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD), a major complication of bone marrow transplantation. Importantly this leaves behind an intact immune system ready to fight infections.
Allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) commonly referred to as bone marrow transplantation, is a potentially curative therapy for blood cancers such as leukemia. Each year, more than 550 stem cell transplants are performed in Australia and over 50,000 for patients worldwide with life threatening haematological malignancies.
Antigen presenting cells such as Dendritic Cells which are a specialized type of white blood cell that initiate, direct and maintain the immune response. One major limitation of alloHCT is an uncontrolled immune reaction against the patients tissues resulting in a potentially life threatening disease called graft verses host disease. To combat this patients receive drugs to suppress their immune system. This leaves them open to infections and the possibility of the cancer returning.
The scientific team from DCR recently published a landmark paper entitled Immunosuppressive human anti-CD83 monoclonal antibody depletion of activated dendritic cells in transplantation in a prestigious journal – Leukaemia.
The paper describes the production of a new clinical version of the anti—CD83 antibody using the science of gene cloning.
It demonstrates that this new version binds and kills the target cells more effectively. Importantly, it shows that it works in preclinical models of human stem cell transplantation to prevent GVHD and maintain an intact immune system without the need for powerful immunosuppressive drugs.
This culmination of work from around Australia is a major milestone for the development of a new first of its kind therapeutic that has the potential to change the way we manage transplantation, not only in the treatment of blood cancers but also in preventing organ rejection and limiting the severe side effect of immunosuppression.
For those interested, the paper can be found here.