Novel Coating for Blood Vessels Might Help Curb Transplant Rejection
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Using a special polymer to coat blood vessels of organs for transplant substantially diminishes rejection in mice, scientists have found.
“Our goal is to translate the technology for clinical uses,” said Dr. Jayachandran Kizhakkedathu, who developed the polymer with his team at the Centre for Blood Research at The University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada.
“It is an exciting technology and if successful, it will have clear benefits to patients and may decrease the use of immunosuppressants or even eliminate the need of such drugs,” Dr. Kizhakkedathu told Reuters Health by email.
During organ procurement and transplantation, there is a loss of endothelial integrity caused by the breakdown of the immune-modulating endothelial glycocalyx, the researchers explain in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
They synthesized a polymer to mimic endothelial glycocalyx and developed a cell-surface engineering process to apply it to blood vessels.
They showed that a mouse artery coated with the polymer and then transplanted exhibited strong long-term resistance to inflammation and rejection. They achieved similar results from a kidney transplant between mice.
“To our surprise, initial protection of organs and rebuilding of vascular endothelial surface have long-lasting beneficial effects in mice models. This confirms that early protection of the organ within the body is crucial and localized immunosuppression at the organs does have a clear advantage,” Dr. Kizhakkedathu told Reuters Health.
He cautioned, “We have demonstrated that the technology works for blood vessel and complex kidney transplantation in mice. However, the immune system of these animals is slightly different than in humans. Our next step is to investigate the protective effect of the technology in large animal transplantation, including non-human primates. We are also further developing the technology.”
The University of British Columbia has filed for patent protection on the technology.
SOURCE: https://go.nature.com/2UivxDt Nature Biomedical Engineering, online August 9, 2021.
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