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Project Leader: Dr David Fawkner-Corbett, Academic Clinical Fellow 

For his research project David is working within the Transplant Research Immunology Group (TRIG) in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences. The group has expertise in developing novel regulatory cellular therapies to reduce the immune response to transplantation. TRIG has been involved in an international study looking at the administration of ex-vivo expanded Regulatory T Cells (Treg) as an immunosuppressive therapy in renal transplantation.


Previous work has demonstrated a role for adult Treg in preventing islet transplantation rejection. The need for broad-spectrum immunosuppression currently limits the use of islet transplantation in paediatric patients. It is still not known whether there is a deficiency of Treg in children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) or the Treg of diabetic children function abnormally leading to auto-immunity. It is important to address this if future Treg immunosuppressive therapies are to be considered. 


Within his ACF period David will aim to undertake a study which will analyse the frequency and function of Treg in paediatric patients with T1DM compared to healthy children undergoing elective surgery. He will also expand Treg from children, adapting current GMP techniques to account for the smaller blood volume. This will help to characterise the role of future regulatory cellular therapies in paediatric patients.

It is envisioned these results will lead on to a DPhil project looking at future therapeutic application of Treg therapy in islet transplantation. These results may also be translatable to the treatment of other paediatric surgical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or necrotising enterocolitis. 

March 2016