10:00am Sunday 22 October 2017

New form of interleukin-2 could be fine-tuned to fight disease

Harnessing the action of IL-2 in a controllable fashion is of clinical interest with potential benefit in a range of situations, including transplantation and autoimmune disease.  The modified IL-2 molecules inhibited the actions of endogenous IL-2, potentially more effectively than existing agents, as well as inhibited the actions of another interleukin, IL-15, with additional therapeutic potential.  The research is published in the journal Immunity.  The principal research teams include scientists from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Stanford University, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, with contributions from other scientists at the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Co-senior authors of the paper were Warren J. Leonard, M.D., chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology and director of the Immunology Center at NHLBI, and K. Christopher Garcia, Ph.D., professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The scientists developed altered forms of IL-2 where activity can be tuned to either boost or block immune responses depending on the desired therapeutic application.  In laboratory studies, treatment with one type of modified IL-2 prolonged survival in a mouse model of graft-versus-host disease and blocked the growth in vitro of T-cells from a patient with chronic/smoldering adult T-cell leukemia, a rare form of cancer, they note.  A similar approach could potentially be used to engineer other immune-system cytokines to generate new molecules with therapeutic potential, the scientists say. The research was funded in part through NIH grant numbers R01AI051321 and F30DK094541.

 

Who

 

Warren J. Leonard, M.D., NIH Distinguished Investigator, chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, and director of the Immunology Center at the NHLBI, is available to comment on the findings and implications of this research.

 

Contact

 

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact the NHLBI Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education, and Communication at 301-496-4236 or nhlbi_news@nhlbi.nih.gov.

 

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

 

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

 

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

 

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