Medicine

Teaching tolerance stops the bleeding

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Science  26 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6204, pp. 1575
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6204.1575-g

People with hemophilia A lack a clotting factor [factor VIII (FVIII)] that stops wounds from bleeding. Regular infusions of FVIII can help, but up to 30% of patients make antibodies that attack this treatment. To prevent this, Sherman et al. developed a way to teach the immune system to tolerate FVIII, rather than makes antibodies against it. For 2 months, the researchers fed mice leaves from plants engineered to produce fragments of FVIII. The fragments, safely encapsulated in plant cells, entered the area of the gut where immune cells reside and reduced the immune response to FVIII. Treated mice made fewer antibodies against FVIII, suggesting that teaching (immune) tolerance may allow FVIII to stick around and do its job.

Blood 123, 10 (2014).

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