Research Group

  • Dr. Wei-Ping Min, Principal Investigator
  • Prof. David White, Co-Investigator
  • Prof. Robert Zhong, Co-Investigator
  • Prof. Anthony Jevnikar, Collaborator
  • Prof. Bertha Garcia, Collaborator


  • University of Western Ontario, London, Canada


  • Novel Strategy for Inducing Transplant Tolerance by Genetically Modifying Dendritic Cells with siRNA

Transplantation has saved the lives of many patients with end-stage organ failure. However, these patients have to take drugs that stop their immune system from attacking the graft. These drugs also stop the immune system from attacking other bacteria and viruses, and these medications must be taken for a lifetime. Therefore, transplant recipients are especially susceptible to developing many diseases, including cancers and infections. A safer and more natural way to block rejection of transplanted organs is to trick the immune system of the recipient into seeing the organ as part of the body and therefore not rejecting it. Playing this trick on the immune system is called "tolerance induction". A component of the immune system called the dendritic cell is essential for teaching the body what to attack and what not to attack. Dendritic cells that have low concentrations of immune-stimulating molecules usually instruct the body not to attack foreign tissue. It has long been believed that graft rejection can be prevented by decreasing the concentration of these immunestimulatory molecules on dendritic cells. Unfortunately, limited success was achieved in previous studies because of the lack of efficient tools to suppress immune stimulatory molecules on dendritic cells. We have recently discovered a new method of blocking immune-stimulatory molecules on dendritic cells, which is far more potent and safer than previously used techniques. This new method is called "RNA interference" and operates by specifically destroying the genetic information that instructs the cell to produce immunestimulatory molecules. We anticipate that our new method will successfully trick the immune system of the transplant recipient into accepting the foreign graft without the need to use immunosuppressive drugs.