Phone: (212) 570-3383
Patients with autoimmune disorders such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) and immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) make antibodies against their own cells and destroy them. As a result of having few blood cells, these patients can suffer from life-threatening anemia or bleeding episodes. In addition, patients who are chronically transfused such as those with sickle cell disease can make antibodies against the transfused cells and destroy them, causing these patients to become critically anemic, and making it difficult to find matched donor blood for future transfusions. Our laboratory is interested in understanding the immune regulatory cells that stop antibody production in these patients with the goal that the knowledge will lead to the development of new preventative and immunotherapeutic approaches for them. By studying patient samples and developing animal models, we have been able to identify a subset of cells knows as regulatory T cells as critical for modulating the pathogenic immune responses in these conditions. Our ongoing projects are to further characterize these cells for use as biomarkers for disease status as well as for therapeutic approaches.