While ABO/Rh(D) red blood cells (RBC)-matched transfusions are generally considered as safe, a significant risk of alloimmunization to non-A/B blood group antigens exists; especially in chronically transfused patients. Indeed, alloimmunization to non-A/B antigens can be so severe that RBC transfusion can no longer be safely administered without the risk of a potentially deadly immune haemolytic reaction. Currently, no satisfactory solutions exist either to prevent blood group alloimmunization or to cost-effectively treat patients with severe alloimmunization. To address this problem, we have pioneered the immunocamouflage of donor RBC. The immunocamouflaged (stealth) RBC is manufactured by the covalent grafting of biologically safe polymers to RBC membrane proteins. As a result of the grafted polymer, non-A/B blood group antigens are biophysically and immunologically masked. Of particular interest is the immunocamouflage of the Rh(D) antigen which could be used to improve blood inventory and transfusion safety. The polymer-modified RBCs are morphologically normal and, in mice, exhibit normal in vivo survival at immunoprotective grafting concentration. In this chapter, we explore both the biophysical and immunological consequences of the grafted polymers, explore the conditions in which they might be appropriately used, and describe the technology necessary to manufacture functional transfusable units of these cells within the clinical setting.
Part of the book: Transfusion Medicine and Scientific Developments
T cells are key mediators of graft tolerance/rejection, development of autoimmunity, and the anticancer response. Consequently, differentially modifying the T cell response is a major therapeutic target. Most immunomodulatory approaches have focused on cytotoxic agents, cytokine modulation, monoclonal antibodies, mitogen activation, adoptive cell therapies (including CAR-T cells). However, these approaches do not persistently reorient the systemic immune response thus necessitating continual therapy. Previous murine studies from our laboratory demonstrated that the adoptive transfer of polymer-grafted (PEGylated) allogeneic leukocytes resulted in the induction of a persistent and systemic tolerogenic state. Further analyses demonstrated that miRNA isolated from the secretome of polymer-modified or control allogeneic responses effectively induced either a tolerogenic (TA1 miRNA) or proinflammatory (IA1 miRNA) response both in vitro and in vivo that was both systemic and persistent. In a murine Type 1 diabetes autoimmune model, the tolerogenic TA1 therapeutic effectively attenuated the disease process via the systemic upregulation of regulatory T cells while simultaneously downregulating T effector cells. In contrast, the proinflammatory IA1 therapeutic enhanced the anticancer efficacy of naïve PBMC by increasing inflammatory T cells and decreasing regulatory T cells. The successful development of this secretome miRNA approach may prove useful treating both autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Part of the book: Cells of the Immune System