A type of killer white blood cell, scientists reveal, could make organ rejection by the body history.
The cells suppress the immune response in the livers of mice, without affecting the rest of the immune system.
Marta Monteiro and colleagues at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, found that these cells could be used to create immune-tolerant organs for transplant.
According to New Scientist, the team studied mice protected from the animal equivalent of multiple sclerosis by natural killer T-cells (NKT), the class of white blood cell, which helps to control the immune system.
They found that NKT cells that have a gene that controls so-called regulatory T-cells, whose role is to suppress the immune response.
When injected into mice, the NKTreg cells headed straight for the liver, where they suppressed immune function.
"Using these new cells we might achieve organ acceptance in liver transplants, without touching the remaining immune system," said co-author Luis Graca.
The study is published in the Journal of Immunology.