Cellular Therapeutics

Cellular research

Leading the Way Toward Safer and More Effective Methods for Bone Marrow Transplantation, Islet Transplantation, and Other Organ Grafts

Education and training of tomorrow's scientists continues to be a primary focus of the Institute. Suzanne T. Ildstad is the lead investigator in this research category within the Department of Surgery. Experiments are focused on developing safe and effective methods for bone marrow transplantation. A considerable amount of work has been aimed at developing an improved understanding of the mechanisms that allow engraftment to occur following bone marrow transplantation using mismatched haploidentical bone marrow from which hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and a novel population of graft facilitating cells (FC) are isolated. Studies are under way to establish the mechanism of action of murine FC and human FC. Additional studies include: evaluating partial conditioning of the recipient to allow "space" for graft acceptance; achieving mixed chimerism in sensitized recipients as a model to cure sickle cell disease; using bone marrow transplantation as a means to cure autoimmune diseases, such as type I diabetes; applying the establishment of mixed chimerism to induce tolerance and evaluating the role of HSC in tissue regeneration; and precisely identifying the cell subtype(s) in the CD8+/TCR- facilitating cell population in order to make the clinical application of allogeneic BMT to induce tolerance safer and widely available. The findings from these studies will lead to therapeutic strategies to produce a more potent tolerance-inducing clinical regimen with fewer side effects for islet transplantation and other organ grafts.

Future Plans

To continue development of independently funded, faculty driven research program, and to enhance biotechnology ventures and continue educational programs.

Faculty members, investigators, and more: