Why our work is important
Regulatory cells, especially regulatory T cells, play an important role in immune homeostasis and in the induction and maintenance of tolerance to self-antigens. These cells have also the ability to suppress allogeneic immune responses and have therefore become interesting as a possible cellular therapy in transplantation. Our interests include understanding of basic biology of regulatory cells and mechanisms of suppression utilized by these cells with an aim of developing therapies that could benefit transplant recipients and patients with immune related diseases.
Spatial profiling and tissue specific immune responses
The cutting-edge technology of Digital Spatial Profiling allows us to determine the cellular and molecular composition of leukocyte infiltrates in tissue biopsies in various immune related diseases and indications. We are currently investigating immune infiltrates in transplant biopsies, COVID-19 lung specimens and tumour samples.
Our group have been instrumental in developing new humanized mouse models to study transplant rejection and investigation of Treg and co-stimulation blockade co-treatment effectiveness in tolerance induction.
Our preclinical data provide an effective bridge from the bench to the bedside enabling us to test the in vivo efficacy and safety of human Treg. We have been part of an EU funded clinical study, the ONE Study, evaluating the safety of different regulatory cell populations, including Treg, as a cellular therapy for kidney transplant recipients. As a part of the ONE Study our group, in collaboration with the Oxford Transplant Centre, has been testing the safety and efficacy of polyclonally expanded Treg as an adjunctive cellular therapy. Recently, our group has been awarded an MRC DPFS grant for the phase II randomised clinical study, the TWO study, of Treg cellular therapy in kidney transplantation.