Immune responses in the eye are absolutely critical to eliminate pathogens that could damage ocular tissues and cause blindness. For example, immune suppressed AIDS patients often develop blinding cytomegalovirus infections of the retina. However, ocular immune responses can also pose a threat to vision if pathogen elimination destroys ocular cells that do not regenerate. This occurs in Herpes Simplex virus infections of the cornea. As a result, immune responses in the eye are tightly regulated to minimize inflammation. This phenomenon, termed ocular immune privilege is explored in the McKenna Laboratory. Our goal is to identify mechanisms that maintain immune privilege and can be targeted therapeutically to activate ocular immune responses to eliminate intraocular tumors, or inactivate ocular immune responses to minimize immunopathology.
McKenna, K.C. 2015. Splenectomy Restores Tumoricidal Activity to Promote Elimination of Intraocular Tumors. Oncoimmunol. 4:7, e1011516 July 2015
Miller, M.R., Mandel, J. B., Beatty, K.M, Harvey S. A. K., Rizzo, M. J., Previte, D. M., Thorne, S. H., McKenna, K.C. 2014. Splenectomy promotes indirect elimination of intraocular tumors by CD8+ T cells that is associated with IFNg- and Fas/FasL-dependent activation of intratumoral macrophages. Cancer Immunol. Res. 2(12); 1175-1185.
McKenna KC. Use of Aborted Fetal Tissue in Vaccines and Medical Research Obscures the Value of All Human Life. Linacre Q. 2018 Feb;85(1):13-17. Pubmed PMID: 29970932