Hebrew U. Article Voted Best Joint Paper on Reproduction Research

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[img_assist|nid=608|title=Hebrew U Researcher Ofer Mandelboim|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=159|height=226]Hebrew U. Article Voted Best Joint Paper on Reproduction Research

December 18, 2008 -  A team of Hebrew University-Hadassah medical scientists have been given top honors by the prestigious science journal Nature Medicine for their 2006 paper on a previously unknown role played by the immune system in the development of human pregnancies. The paper tied for first place in Nature Medicine’s survey of the most important and influential advances in reproductive science over the past several years. In the poll of the world’s top experts in reproductive biology and medicine, seventeen percent of almost 40 respondents chose the Hebrew University-Hadassah team’s work as one of the most important publications of the last several years.

The groundbreaking research, as described in the top-ranked paper ‘Decidual NK cells regulate key developmental processes at the human fetal-maternal interface’, revealed that the body’s defensive immune cells, known as decidual NKs (natural killers), also play an important regulatory function essential to the proper development of the placenta during pregnancy. Such cells, when migrating to the uterus, secrete proteins that trigger the formation of blood vessels that are essential for the shaping of the newly formed placenta. The research was conducted by Professor Ofer Mandelboim and Dr. Jacob Hanna of the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology in the University’s Faculty of Medicine in collaboration with Professor Simcha Yagel and Dr. Debra Goldman-Wohl of Hadassah’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The authors of the paper discovered the previously unknown feature using both cellular and molecular biology to advance their understanding of maternal-fetal interaction.

“This study provides a revolutionary ‘peaceful’ model for reproductive immunology, in which elements of the innate immune system are incorporated in a constructive manner to support proper development of the placenta” said Prof. Mandelboim. “Without this the placenta would not develop properly.”

The research team’s new insight into the immune system has far-reaching implications for the treatment and understanding of risky pregnancies, in-vitro fertilization and recurrent miscarriages.

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