Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Transforming Transplantation with Reprogramming Immune System Cells (RISC)

Can we "reprogram" the immune system to improve outcomes of heart, lung, and hematopoietic cell transplants?


While NIAID is a major funder of immunology research, we are a major contributor to stem cell research. Our resources could be combined, where NIAID would support this approach for autoimmune diseases, and we would support work in tolerance for transplants.


If the NCI also wants to collaborate on co-stimulatory blockade for enhancing tolerance, we would have the three largest ICs at NIH making a medical breakthrough!

Tags (Keywords associated with the idea)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)?: Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC:

This innovative and transformative proposal could improve tolerance to many different types of transplants.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC:

In 2002, Hochedlinger and Jaenisch (Nature 415:1035-1038) created a mouse by nuclear transplantation from a mature B-cell. This was proof of principle that the immune system can be reprogrammed entirely. Since then there has been little work in this area, but Reprogramming Immune System Cells (RISC) is risky but promising.

A second approach involves mechanisms that cancer cells use to evade immune detection. While most cancer research works to restore immune competence for therapy, the basic biology of evading immune detection could be exploited to improve tolerance. These approaches could be tested in an animal model in 5 years.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea: NHLBI Staff


15 net votes
27 up votes
12 down votes
Idea No. 14