April 10, 2018 – Metabolism and Transplantation


Anchor lead: Can metabolic therapy help improve transplantation success? Elizabeth Tracey reports

We’re learning to manipulate metabolism to impact our immune responses, recent research featured in the journal Science highlights. Jonathan Powell, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins who was cited in the article, says the attraction to this approach is clear.

Powell: We don’t want to necessarily suppress the immune response, we want to regulate it. So in the area of transplantation we want to inhibit the activating response, because we don’t want your body to reject the transplant, but alternatively we want to enhance the ability of the immune system to become tolerant to the transplant, to see the transplant as part of your normal body and leave it alone. By manipulating the metabolic function of the cells we have a greater command to do that. :30

Powell says one approach is to use currently approved drugs to inhibit cellular metabolism of those cells we’d like to keep in check, while leaving those we need alone, a process he hopes will eliminate use of drugs like prednisone, with its host of side effects. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.