Dendritic Cell Biology > About The Laboratory
The Dendritic Cell Research (DCR) group is directed by Professor Derek Hart. They discover key immune markers and biological processes which will provide new diagnostic and therapeutic products for improving patient care.
The immune system controls and regulates our internal and external environmental reactions. It responds by up-regulating or activating cellular and soluble components to fight infection and cancer. Dendritic cells (DC) are unique white blood cells that exist as different subsets throughout the body. They are responsible for initiating and directing immune responses. As one of the pioneering groups in this field, the DCR group is continuing to define human DC subsets and elaborate their function. The group studies DC surface molecules to determine how these molecules influence DC function and how antibodies targeting them might be used in clinical practice.
A major part of our work is aimed at using the patient’s immune responses to treat haematological cancers. We are testing our findings in preclinical models of stem cell transplantation, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer and other malignancies. We are striving to develop novel immunosuppressive strategies, including our previous anti-CD83 antibody as a novel therapeutic agent. We aim to use this antibody to improve transplant outcomes, whilst preserving the patient’s ability to fight infections and cancer. Negotiations to support a clinical trial of anti-CD83 in allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation are underway.