Growth factor and cytokine receptors on T lymphocytes
Dr. Helderman is the Medical Director of the multi-organ, multi-disciplinary Vanderbilt Transplant Center. He attends on the renal transplant service managing in-patients with fresh renal transplants and problems of previously placed organs. He maintains two out-patient transplant clinics per week at Vanderbilt and a transplant clinic once a month at St. Thomas. His clinical research interests have involved the development of new immunosuppressive strategies, the pathogenesis and treatment of chronic rejection, the pathogenesis and management of medical complications of transplantation including infection, neoplasia, metabolic disorders including diabetes and bone disease, and cardiac disease. Dr. Helderman is nationally recognized as a leader in transplantation. He serves as the President of the American Society of Transplant Physicians, is on a national board of the United Network of Organ Sharing, represents transplantation on the Council of the American Kidney Societies. He is the Associate Editor of the American Journal of Kidney Disease and on the Editorial Board of multiple kidney and transplantation journals.
Dr. Helderman has been very involved in the basic investigation into the regulation and description of lymphocyte activation pathways with particular reference to growth factor and cytokine receptors on T-lymphocytes. Using the model of the nonconstitutive activation marker, the insulin receptor, Dr. Helderman has developed an understanding of antigen-driven activation signals for the synthesis of new immunomodulatory molecules. His laboratory has discovered a monokine which regulates early lymphocyte activation cytokine and growth factor genes called Monocyte Receptor Regulatory Factor (MRRF) and has purified this substance to homogeneity and sequenced it. More recently the research interests of Dr. Helderman have been involved in the clinical research arena studying several new immunosuppressive drugs including Deoxyspergualin, Neoral Cyclosporine, Sirolimus (Rapamycin), and polyclonal rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin. A recent NIH trial of steroid withdrawal in Mycophenolate treated renal transplant patients has been initiated by Dr. Helderman. Chronic rejection its pathogenesis and management is a major research interest of Dr. Helderman. A 5-year NIH funded multicenter trial on this topic has begun this year.