[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/399374]
Prof Patrick Coates
Brief description ORGAN TRANSPLANT PATIENTS currently need life-long immune suppressing drugs to prevent rejection, often using 15 medications a day, costing Australia $52M in 2002. These drugs increase risks of infection and cancer. 90% of patients develop some form of cancer over 30 years. They also cause non-specific side effects including high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis. The average lifespan of a kidney transplant is 8-15 years. Major causes of kidney transplant loss are rejection and drug toxicity. TRANSPLANTS ARE REJECTED when a recipient's immune system sees the kidney as foreign. Immune suppressing drugs prevent rejection by stopping the reaction to foreign tissues, but this causes increased infection and cancer risk. IMMUNE TOLERANCE means the recipient's immune system sees a transplant not as foreign but as part of itself, no longer reacting to it. If tolerance could be achieved for transplants, patients wouldn't need to use immune suppressing drugs. Costs of immune suppression would be nil. Tolerance is the best long-term solution for patients needing transplants. Tolerance has been achieved in various ways in mice models. DENDRITIC CELLS can be used to induce tolerance as they can silence a recipient's immune system, preventing it from seeing transplant tissues as foreign. We have shown in mice that a single infusion of a certain type of dendritic cells caused prolonged transplant tolerance without needing immune suppression. This project aims to use dendritic cells to induce tolerance in a marmoset model - a required step before allowing this therapy to be done in humans. PRIMATES like MARMOSETS have close genetic identity to humans and are ideal transplant models as their immune systems react much more like humans than other animals. Marmosets are not an endangered species and are smaller, cheaper and easier to care for than other primates. Ultimately, experiments in other species would need repeating in primates before human trials could be done.
Funding Amount $AUD 162,756.60
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
New Investigator Grant