Institute of Cellular Medicine

Staff Profile

Dr Aisling Flinn

Clinical Research Associate

Background

Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is used to treat a variety of malignant and non-malignant disorders. The aim following HSCT to is to rebuild a complete and long-lasting immune system, with a diverse T-cell receptor repertoire. Reconstitution of the T-cell compartment is a complex process and requires an intact functioning thymus, which can be adversely affected by insults including acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) and corticosteroids.

My research is focused on children receiving extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) as second line treatment of aGVHD, investigating if by promoting immune tolerance and resolving aGVHD, and by reducing the burden of immunosuppressive medications such as corticosteroids, damage to the thymus is mitigated, potentially allowing regeneration of the thymic microenvironment and restoration of thymopoiesis, paving the way for robust adaptive immunity, improving the ability to fight infection and reduce the risk of secondary malignancy or relapse. In addition, my research is exploring the underlying immune-modulating mechanisms of action of ECP, including the effects on dendritic cells, regulatory T-cells and cytokines, and investigation into whether ECP improves the health-related quality of life for these vulnerable patients.

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Publications