Dr. James Springstead, assistant professor of chemical engineering, recently worked with Dr. Jon Kagan, an associate professor at Harvard, and several other worldwide collaborators to determine the mechanism by which oxidized phospholipids hyperactivate the immune response. Oxidized phospholipids are oxidation products of phospholipids that are found in all cell membranes and other lipids particles in the human body. Their findings have been published in the prominent journal Science.
Springstead’s main projects focus on developing novel treatments and determining new measures for determining the risk of heart disease. Through his studies, he and his collaborators have determined that oxidized phospholipids play a prominent role in the development of heart disease.
In their study published in Science, Kagan and Springstead report that oxidized phospholipids also have the ability to “hyperactivate” the immune system and may be useful in developing hyperactive vaccines. “These results are extremely important in the push to utilize the body’s own immune system in the fight to treat disease,” Springstead said. “We hope that this work will lead to novel vaccines and other treatments in the near future.”