Foreign lessons

日期:2017-08-25 03:08:26 作者:毋丘抻钶 阅读:

By Jonathan Knight INSERTING a foreign gene into a patient’s bone-marrow cells could help their immune system to accept transplants from non-human donors. Although drugs can stop the body from rejecting a human transplant, the immune system won’t accept animal organs for very long. This is because the single most common antibody in human blood is directed against the carbohydrate &agr;Gal, found in the tissues of all non-primate mammals. But John Iacomini at the Harvard Medical School in Boston and his colleagues have found a way to persuade antibodies not to attack cells that are making &agr;Gal. To try the technique in lab animals, they used mice that were genetically engineered so that, like humans, they lacked the gene that allows &agr;Gal to be made and instead produced &agr;Gal antibodies. Then the researchers extracted antibody-producing B cells from bone marrow, added the aGal gene, and transplanted them back in. These cells produced &agr;Gal, and the rest of the body saw it as “self”. Antibodies in the mouse serum did not attack pig kidney cells in a dish (Science, vol 281, p 1845). Iacomini plans to use engineered marrow to try something like transplanting a pig’s organ into a baboon. Other experts in the field are cautiously optimistic. “It’s a very elegant solution,” says Uri Galili,