Overcoming immunological barriers in regenerative medicine
Regenerative therapies that use allogeneic cells are likely to encounter immunological barriers similar to those that occur with transplantation of solid organs and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Decades of experience in clinical transplantation hold valuable lessons for regenerative medicine, offering approaches for developing tolerance-induction treatments relevant to cell therapies. Outside the field of solid-organ and allogeneic HSC transplantation, new strategies are emerging for controlling the immune response, such as methods based on biomaterials or mimicry of antigen-specific peripheral tolerance. Novel biomaterials can alter the behavior of cells in tissue-engineered constructs and can blunt host immune responses to cells and biomaterial scaffolds. Approaches to suppress autoreactive immune cells may also be useful in regenerative medicine. The most innovative solutions will be developed through closer collaboration among stem cell biologists, transplantation immunologists and materials scientists.