Chemokines constitute a super family of chemo tactic cytokines that play a role in directing the movements of leukocytes within the immune system. Exciting advances during the last year demonstrate a role for these molecules in the targeting of cells to inflammatory sites in a tissue specific manner, and also in tissue specific localisation of malignant cancer cells. So far investigations into chemokine pharmacology have almost exclusively been in vitro studies, and there is a definite need to acquire more biologically relevant information. The aim of this project is therefore to develop and characterise novel tools capable of interacting with the chemokine system, and to evaluate their utility in modulating chemokine signalling and subsequently the disease state.
There are two main project activities.
I. Protein engineering, expression and purification of specific chemokines and homologues.
II. Evaluation in relevant animal models of disease including arthritis, experimental autoimmune encephalitis, chemically induced delayed hypersensitivity and relevant gene knock out models. The chemokines offer a potential novel point of therapeutic intervention and the project will provide important understanding of the therapeutic value of chemokine related therapies in the clinical setting.