Define the factors that regulate the development of alloantibodies to transfused and transplanted alloantigens

Individuals with a variety of hematopoietic diseases, ranging from sickle cell anemia to bone marrow failure secondary to chemotherapeutic treatment of neoplasia, often require repeat transfusions of various blood products.  In addition, individuals who are deficient in clotting factors, such as factor VIII, also necessitate clotting factor replacement therapy, which can also result in infusion of recombinant blood constituents.  In each of these settings, individuals are exposed to antigens that can induce an immune response against the blood product or clotting factor.  This can limit the effectiveness of the intervention and/or reduce the availability of compatible blood products for future transfusions.  Moreover, development of alloimmunization to these blood borne antigens can increase the rate of severe, if not fatal, immune reactions following subsequent exposure to blood products.

Given the negative consequences of alloantibody formation against blood products, our lab focuses on defining the key immune factors responsible for regulating antibody formation against various blood borne alloantigens.  These studies incorporate a variety of animal models and clinical studies to mechanistically examine the cells and factors responsible for alloantibody development. It is our hope that understanding the immune factors responsible for alloimmunization in these various settings will provide an opportunity to identify key immunological targets that may be manipulated to prevent alloimmunization in high risk populations.

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Lab members working in this area

Amanda Mener, Patty Zerra, Cliff Sullivan, Ashley Bennett