Role of apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain (ARC) in attenuation of chronic heart transplant rejection associated with transplant vascular disease

More than 2,500 heart transplants are performed worldwide every year. Chronic rejection of the transplanted heart due to transplant vascular disease (TVD) is the greatest obstacle to long-term survival after the operation. TVD causes structural changes in the arteries, leading to blockage that restricts and ultimately cuts blood flow. Despite improvements in anti-rejection drugs, about 40 percent of heart transplant recipients develop the disease within five years. The protein ARC has been shown to prevent death of cardiac cells. Arwen Hunter is investigating the ability of ARC to prevent cell death in blood vessel walls after transplantation. In particular, she is looking at the ways ARC inhibits cell death in blood vessels and ways of optimizing the delivery of ARC into heart tissue. The research could contribute to strategies for preventing organ rejection associated with transplant vascular disease.