Findings which may point to a radical new approach to immunosuppression were reported by a team of investigators at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Miami, Fla, at a meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.
Scientists there have isolated "in a reasonable state of chemical purity" six fractions from one of the four major components of complement, said Robert A. Nelson, Jr., MD, senior investigator at the institute and professor of medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine.
In addition, Nelson said, they have isolated a material from cobra venom which apparently blocks or inactivates only one of the newly isolated fractions in its reaction with antibody. This material is easily separated from the powerful neurotoxin of the venom.
He explained the significance of the twin findings this way:
"For an antibody to be cytotoxic, and therefore—in theory—for antibody to cause a homograft or heterograft to reject, we have