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Biography of Giovanna Lombardi

I am Professor of Human Transplant Immunology in the Department of Nephrology and Transplantation, DIIID, MRC Centre in Transplantation, at King’s College London (KCL), UK.

Before moving to KCL in 2005 I was Reader in Cellular Immunology (from 2002) in the Department of Immunology, Division of Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK. I joined the Department of Immunology at the Hammersmith Hospital in 1987 from the University of Rome, Italy as Senior Research Officier.

The research in my laboratory has focused on the mechanisms of transplant rejection and tolerance. In the last few years the research has concentrated particularly on the phenotype and function of naturally occurring regulatory CD4+CD25+ T cells (Tregs) in health and disease both in the murine system and in man. More recently we have analysed the possibility of manipulating this population of cells in vitro to use for immunotherapy in transplanted patients. The work has led to important publications that further support the idea that adoptive cell therapy using alloantigen-specific regulatory T cells can offer an advantage compared to polyclonal Tregs for preventing chronic allograft rejection. However in the last year we have established a protocol to expand polyclonal Tregs for clinical use. Our group is part of a large EU cell therapy consortium aiming at adoptive Treg therapy in renal transplant recipients. The prediction is that these treatments will start by the middle of 2012. In parallel dendritic cells have been considered as another source of cells that can induce tolerance. While in vitro we have demonstrated that drug-treated DCs can induce/expand regulatory T cells, in vivo we have shown that injected donor derived DCs can prime recipient T cells against the allograft.

Five selected recent publications:

Buckland M., C.B. Jago, H. Fazekasova, K. Scott, P.H. Tan, A. J.T. George2, R. Lechler, G. Lombardi. 2006. Aspirin-treated Human DCs upregulate ILT-3 and induce hyporesponsiveness and regulatory activity in responder T cells. American Journal of Transplantation. 6: 2046-2059.

Jiang S., J. Tsang, S. Stevenson, D. Game, G. Lombardi and R.I.Lechler. 2006. Generation and expansion of human CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells with indirect allospecificity: potential reagents to promote donotr-specific transplantation tolerance. Transplantation 82(12):1738-1743..

Tsang, J Y-S, Y. Tanriver, S. Jiang, S-A Xue, K. Ratnasothy, D. Chen, H. J. Stauss, R.P. Bucy, G. Lombardi* and R. Lechler*. 2008. Coferring indirect allospecificity on CD4+CD25+ Tregs by TCR gene transfer favors transplantation tolerance in mice. J. Clin. Invest. 118: 3619-3628.

Tsang J. Y-S, Y. Tanriver, S. Jiang, E. Leung, K. Ratnasothy, G. Lombardi* and R. Lechler*. 2009. Indefinite mouse heart allograft survival in recipient treated with CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells with indirect allospecificity and short term immunosuppression. Transplant Immunol. 21: 203-209.

Tanriver Y., K. Ratnasothy, R. P. Bucy, G. Lombardi* and R. Lechler*. 2010. Targeting MHC class I monomers to dendritic cells inhibits the indirect pathway of allorecognition and the production of IgG alloantibodies leading to longterm allograft survival. J. Immunol. 184: 1757-1764.

* equal contribution