Research NewsImmunology

Muscling Transplants Into Mice

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Science  05 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5271, pp. 33
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5271.33


Creating “immune-privileged” pockets where a new heart, liver, or kidney graft would be safe from immunologic rejection has long been a transplant biologist's dream. Now researchers have devised a way to do that by genetically engineering muscle cells to produce a key ingredient of immune privilege: a protein known as the Fas ligand, or FasL, that can induce immune cells to kill themselves. On page 109, they report using engineered muscle cells to protect transplants of islet cells, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, in diabetic mice—a feat that could lead to a treatment for some human diabetics and perhaps to a general strategy for guarding transplants against rejection.