Professor Graham Lord
The Experimental Immunobiology section is led by Professor Graham Lord based at Guy's Campus. The Section which includes Dr Maria Hernandez-Fuentes covers a wide range of research including the following major themes:
Genetic Biomarkers: The section has coordinated the largest genome-wide association scan in the world, analysing both donor and recipient genomic variation in renal transplant patients that associates with long term graft survival. The research team have analysed over 10,000 DNA samples.
Tolerance Biomarkers: This programme is investigating peripheral blood markers of long term allograft survival. The group recently discovered a 'signature of tolerance' in man which may enable some transplant recipients to reduce the damaging immunosuppressive drugs which they are required to take (JCI 2010). The section hopes to take this research into early translation shortly.
T cell Biomarkers and Immune Monitoring: Following on from fundamental scientific discoveries about T cell and dendritic cell biology (Cell 2007, PNAS 2009, Cancer Cell 2009), the Section has pulled through these discoveries into validation studies in the clinic. The findings in this preclinical model of Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD) were identified as being a key translational finding (Hecht et al, NEJM 2008). Research is again progressing to a first in man regulatory Tcell trial by the end of 2011.
The section was also one of the first to describe human Th17 cells (PNAS 2007) and to demonstrate their validity as biomarkers in Rheumatoid Arthritis (PNAS 2009, Clin Exp Imm 2010). Further research has shown the relevance of these findings in conjunction with power Doppler ultrasound analysis (Gullick et al, PLoS One 2010). These discoveries are now being developed to validate a multiparameter flow based diagnostic in transplant rejection, psoriasis, RA, IBD and sepsis. Further work has identified a novel population of regulatory T cells in RA (Nature Immunology 2010)