Dr. Kai Rogers, a second-year pathology resident, has been awarded a grant entitled “Exploring functional changes in peripheral T-lymphocyte populations in patients undergoing extracorporeal photopheresis” from The Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS).
The work, performed under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Michael Knudson and Dr. Nitin Karandikar, aims to explore functional changes in T-lymphocyte populations in patients undergoing routine extracorporeal photopheresis.
An overview of the project is provided in the abstract that follows. Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) is a poorly understood immunomodulatory therapy currently used clinically for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), solid organ transplant rejection (non-antibody mediated), and treatment/prevention of graft vs. host disease (GVHD). ECP is hypothesized to work by increasing CD4+ T-regulatory cells (Tregs) thereby inducing tolerance to “self” antigens; however, this is mechanistically unproven and does not explain the benefit of ECP in all clinical contexts for which it is approved. This study proposes to comprehensively evaluate changes in T-lymphocyte populations, including the previously unexplored CD8+ Tregs, T-cell effector function, and cytokine production that occur in individual patients throughout the course of ECP treatment. In addition to addressing a critical gap in the literature, the results from this study will form the basis for future work aimed at unraveling the mechanism of ECP and exploring additional clinical applications for this immunotherapy.