2010 - Transplantomics and Biomarkers in Transplantation

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Presenter: Mark, Davis, Stanford, USA
Authors: Mark Davis

Mark Davis, Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Learning Objectives:
1. Why has the translation of basic immunology into the clinic been so slow?
2. What are some possible solutions to this problem?
3. What might this mean with respect to transplantation?
There has been an explosive growth in our understanding of basic immunological mechanisms, cell types and functions over the past fifty years, but the application of this knowledge to human health has ranged from "minute" to "undetectable".  There are many reasons for this, including the diversity of human beings,  likely differences between mice and humans, and problems with the experimental design of animal models of disease.  The key question though, is how to move forward, and at Stanford we have launched a series of initiatives designed to fill in critical gaps in our understanding of human immunology and establish metrics of immunological health. With such metrics we can begin to systematically diagnose correctly functioning immune systems from aberrant ones and develop corrective therapies for the later. We might also be able to predict who will reject an organ with standard therapy versus who will not. We also see this as a way to develop a systems biology approach to analyzing the immune system, which could reveal a wealth of new insights into how this complex network of cells and molecules organizes itself and responds to both pathological and non-pathological microorganisms.

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