Mechanisms of tolerance in memory T cells (2007–2009)
Autoimmune diseases constitute a significant medical problem in the developed world and are increasing in incidence. Many control mechanisms exist in the body, but in people with genetic susceptibility to autoimmune disease, the mechanisms fail and the body's immune system attacks normal tissues or organs. We have developed a new approach, using the cells which train the immune system, to re-educate the cells that would otherwise attack normal healthy tissues in autoimmune-prone individuals. These cells (dendritic cells) are genetically modified to express the molecular targets of the autoimmune response. This in turn switches off the response to these targets. In this project, we will explore how these cells can be used to turn off the harmful cells present in the immune system.