Using cytokines to treat GvHD
Innate lymphoid cells or ILCs are a class of primitive lymphocytes that regulate immune responses in tissues by producing cytokines like IL-22. IL-22 is produced by lymphocytes in inflamed tissues and may help the tissues to resist and repair immune damage. In this project, a Clinical Research Training Fellow will perform experiments to determine if IL-22 production by ILCs can help to prevent or reduce the tissue damage caused by GVHD. In the first step, the Fellow will measure ILCs in donor stem cell grafts and in the blood and tissues of transplant recipients. In the second step they will explore the activity of the cytokine IL-22 and the ILCs that produce IL-22 in skin and gut affected by GVHD. Finally they will use a model that re-creates GVHD in vitro to ask if IL-22 or ILCs, can reduce the severity of GVHD. The ultimate aim of the project is to provide evidence that IL-22 or ILCs might be useful as a new form of therapy for treating patients with GVHD.