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Volume 9, Number 21Space holderMay 27, 2005

Josephson wins grant to study immune responses in hemophiliacs

Neil Josephson, assistant professor of hematology, has received a two-year grant to study the prevention and treatment of immune responses to certain blood clotting proteins in severe hemophiliacs.

The Hemophilia Association of New York awarded the $227,513 grant for the proposal, Induction of Immune Tolerance to Factor VIII by Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells. The proposal suggests that a class of immune cells may prevent or diminish immune reactions to Factor VIII concentrates, which control bleeding from severe hemophilia.

Patients with hemophilia A produce low levels of Factor VIII, a protein that helps clot formation. Individuals with the most severe form of the disease need frequent infusions of Factor VIII concentrates to control bleeding. Many of these patients become immune to the concentrates, making the immune response ineffective in controlling bleeding. Alternative clotting factors are less effective and more expensive than Factor VIII concentrates.

By isolating and treating the cells responsible for regulating the immune system's response to specific foreign proteins, Josephson is working on a faster, more effective, and less expensive method for inducing immune tolerance to Factor VIII in hemophiliac patients.

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