Dr. Gayle Cocita Baldwin's research focuses on how specific immune cells fight infectious diseases and cancer.
Baldwin's initial research interest focused on how hematopoietic growth factors modify the body's immune cells and affect one's ability to fight diseases such as cancer and AIDS. She and her colleagues have published the results of seminal discoveries on the effects of hematopoietic growth factors on both hematopoietic lineage cells and non-hematopoietic tumor cells. They found that the effects of hematopoietic growth factors were not confined to blood cells and that these biological response modifiers could also play a role in the development and maintenance of the central nervous system.
During the past five years, research in Baldwin's laboratory has returned to basic questions pertaining to immune cell function. Her laboratory currently utilizes two distinct lines of inquiry: a murine bone marrow transplant (BMT) model which assesses immune cell function in graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD), a complication of BMT; and, both in vivo and in vitro studies on the impact of drugs of abuse, specifically cocaine and marijuana, on host defense. Although seemingly dissimilar, both of these lines of inquiry rely on a similar premise: to understand questions of immune reactivity and host defense, it is often necessary to perturb the system. Consequently, in the BMT model, Baldwin's laboratory is assessing the positive impact of an endogenous lectin, galectin-1 and how this contributes to modulation of the detrimental graft-versus-host (GvH) immune response. Additionally, in her studies on drugs of abuse, her laboratory is defining the negative impact of marijuana and cocaine on immune responsiveness and susceptibility to disease.
Selected Cancer-Related Publications:
Roth MD, Baldwin GC, Tashkin DP. Effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on human immune function and host defense. Chem Phys Lipids. 2002; 121(1-2): 229-39.
Roth MD, Tashkin DP, Choi R, Jamieson BD, Zack JA, Baldwin GC. Cocaine enhances human immunodeficiency virus replication in a model of severe combined immunodeficient mice implanted with human peripheral blood leukocytes. J Infect Dis. 2002; 185(5): 701-5.