Induction of Tolerance
by Genetically-Engineered
B Cells & Cytotoxic T Cells
in Allergic Diseases
Acta Biomedica Lovaniensia, No. 307

By Wim Janssens
April 2004
Leuven University Press
ISBN: 90-5867-366-9
103 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 9 "
$58.50 Paper Original

This is a Ph.D. dissertation. The prevalence of allergic diseases, and in particular bronchial asthma and atopic dermatitis, has steadily increased among the Western population over the last twenty years, nowadays reaching epidemic proportions. Although most allergic disorders are not life-threatening, they all cause substantial distress and complaints that interfere with sleep, professional or recreational activities, and quality of life.

Treatment costs are becoming a heavy burden for the patient and the society, not even referring to the impaired economical productivity related to the suffering patient. Allergic diseases are essentially based on an immune answer against allergens mediated by antibodies and lymphocytes leading to a pathological (and undesired) inflammation in different target organs. The role of environmental allergens as triggering and sustaining factors in such diseases is well established.

The immunological, molecular and genetic events that predispose, protect or regulate these processes are, however, poorly understood. The main purpose of this study is to identify pathways of tolerance induction. In the first major part of this thesis, the focus is on the development of a new cellular vaccine, which after genetic modification in vitro, can prevent or suppress an ongoing allergic immune response in vitro. The second additional part of this thesis describes the generation in vitro of a down-regulatory cell type that might be of physiological relevance in the induction or maintenance of immune tolerance.


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