The research performed through this project is very important for the fields of solid organ and bone marrow transplantation because it focuses on a potential new target to increase engraftment of stem cells. Currently, patients that receive stem cell transplants from a non-identical donor must take medications to suppress their immune system; otherwise the stem cells will be rejected.
In our first year of this project we were able to develop a reliable model to delete specific receptors which directly influence stem cell engraftment in genetically different hosts. We have also found that deletion of defined receptors greatly improves stem cell engraftment for up to 20 weeks after injection in a murine model of bone marrow transplantation.
The plan for the next reporting period is to continue to focus our studies on characterizing the lodging and fate of the engrafted stem cells in long-lasting chimeric animals and to look into ways to improve the opportunities for long-term transplant survival without the use of toxic immunosuppressive medications.