Our research has been involved, for more than thirty years, with the subject of transplantation immunology and, more specifically, with questions relating to stem cell transplantation. Two major milestones, namely transplantation of haploidentical hematopoietic lectin separated stem cells in SCID patients, and, latterly, the use of ‘mega dose’ transplants in leukemia patients, have already been translated into clinical achievements. More recently major insights from our work could potentially pave the way for safe hematopoietic stem cell transplantation under reduced conditioning, as a platform for organ transplantation and cell therapy. Another line of investigation, published initially in Nature Medicine in 20031 could potentially pave the way for the use of embryonic committed stem cells as a new source for organ transplantation. The feasibility of this new approach which offers reduced immunogenicity in xenotransplantation is already in advanced preclinical primate studies, suggesting potential cure of diabetes. Very recently, we have described in Nature Medicine a new curative approach for lung diseases based on transplantation of human embryonic tissue.
In parallel to the major drive to improve outcome of transplants, a major basic subject of my studies addresses mechanisms of tolerance induction by progenitor cells in the bone marrow and by other tolerizing cells including veto cells, MSC, Tregs and immature dendritic cells.