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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Immunology

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Research and development

Clinical lead - Prof B L Ferry

Research interests

In Immunodeficiency

She has been particularly interested in the role of B cells in Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID). Along with others, she showed that CVID patients have few peripheral blood memory B cells and has published translational methodology describing the phenotyping of memory B cells to be carried out in routine clinical immunology departments and the laboratory was one of the leading groups in a European effort to establish a validated classification system to phenotype peripheral blood cells in this disease. The research group continues to explore disease related gene expression in CVID that may contribute to disease phenotype/susceptibility; including examination of proteins such as Alpha-1 antitrypsin, Nod-2 and polymorphisms of CD45. In addition, they retain an interest in the wider diagnostic approach to patients with antibody immunodeficiency and an ELISA detecting IgG Antibodies to Salmonella as a means of replacing test immunisation in antibody deficiency patients has been developed by the Binding Site company and the laboratory are ollaborating in a Europe Wide trial to determine if Salmonella test immunisation can replace the current pneumococcal test immunisation in these patients. The department actively participates in the initial diagnosis and work up of some very rare immunodeficiencies, including Severe Combined Immunodeficiencies [SCID] and complement deficiencies.

In the wider diagnostics field

As an NHS translational immunology department we are committed to continually applying methods that we have developed or new assays that we have introduced to examine diseases such as mesothelioma, autoimmune pancreatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, and cardiovascular disease. Through NIHR grants we are exploring the optimization and implementation of microparticle detection assays and T cell functional assays into a routine laboratory with a view to using these assays to contribute significantly to the early diagnosis of different aspects of chronic diseases such as CVID, Rheumatoid arthritis and Cardiovascular disease.

Examples of research translational assays

Phenotyping panels for

  • Memory B cells
  • Transitional B cells
  • Plasmablasts/plasma cells
  • Naive B cells
  • B-1 B cells
  • T reg cells
  • T follicular helper cells
  • Effector memory T cells
  • Central Memory T cells
  • Differentiated T cells
  • CD4/CD8 T cells
  • Recent Thymic Emigrants

Biomarkers of inflammation

  • Microparticle measurement and phenotype
  • Platelet MP, Endothelial MP,Granulocyte MP,Leukocyte MP

Functional microparticle measurement

Functional T cell assays

More Developmental Assays that we are happy to discuss include

  • Functional B cell ELISpot: i.e to examine B cell memory responses in patients
  • Functional CD4 antigen- specific assay : i.e to analyse and profile cellular immune function in different patient groups

Funding sources