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Klaus F. Ley, M.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2001
For outstanding contributions to the understanding of the mechanics of adhesion molecules and their role in inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Researchers are one step closer to an effective anti-atherosclerosis vaccine

Via Medical Xpress | April 12, 2018

In the disease atherosclerosis, cholesterol-containing plaques form in vessel walls, causing arteries to narrow and greatly increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Currently, atherosclerosis is the number 1 killer worldwide, just ahead of cancer. Recent use of statin anti-cholesterol drugs has reduced cardiovascular events caused by atherosclerosis by 35%, but millions of individuals remain at risk. Hence, a desirable addition or alternative would be intervention to prevent plaque formation altogether.

A new paper published in Circulation by researchers at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology supports this possibility. It reports successful vaccination of atherosclerotic mice with a small chunk of protein snipped out of “bad cholesterol.” Vaccination reduced plaque levels in test mice, and other experiments with human blood samples identified the class of T cells likely responsible for positive outcomes. The paper suggests that a comparable strategy could form the basis of a human vaccine.

“We knew atherosclerosis had an inflammatory component but until recently didn’t have a way to counteract that,” says senior author Klaus Ley, M.D., professor and head of LJI’s Division of Inflammation Biology. “We now find that our vaccination actually decreases plaque burden by expanding a class of protective T cells that curb inflammation… Continue reading.

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How T-cells navigate the rough-and-tumble environment of the bloodstream

Via Science Daily | December 26, 2017

To eradicate pathogens or counteract inflammation, cells of the immune system move through often rapid blood flow toward peripheral disease sites, such as skin, gut or lung. Thus a goal of immunologists has been to define the repertoire of molecules that not only keep fast-moving immune cells on course but allow them to access inflamed tissues.

Now, a team led by La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LJI) researcher Klaus Ley, M.D., reports that helper T cells move toward inflamed tissue using membrane protrusions that stabilize them and provide traction on the vasculature. Using high-resolution microscopy and global molecular analysis, the team shows that immature T cells lack these protrusions but that maturing T-cells switch on a gene expression program to create material to construct them… Continue reading.

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