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The Intersection of Tolerance and Islet Transplantation

The Intersection of Tolerance and Islet Transplantation

Xunrong Luo, MD, PhD, leads Northwestern’s efforts in the area of islet cell transplantation. Currently, Dr. Luo is embarking on a project that involves gathering spleen cells from a pancreas donor whose islet cells are being extracted for transplant. These spleen cells then are treated with a special chemical (EDCI) that couples with the cells. Next, the spleen cells and EDCI are infused into the recipient’s body, where they cause the recipient’s immune system to become “friendly” to them—and, by extension, to a transplanted organ from the same donor. This process has proven effective in early animal models, and Dr. Luo is hoping to continue her work and to translate it to human clinical trials.

As Dr. Luo’s study illustrates, a spirit of collaboration and a joining of programs (in this instance, immune tolerance and islet transplantation) characterize the work of those involved with Northwestern’s Comprehensive Transplant Center.

To ensure that such partnerships continue to thrive and to yield great benefits for transplant patients and their loved ones, we welcome the support of philanthropic partners. Generous contributions at this exciting time will help talented researcherssuch as Dr. Luo, Dr. Leventhal, Dr. Wertheim, and others to enter the next phase of research and discoveries, and to champion efforts that will further transform the field of organ transplantation.