Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UWE helps fight leukaemia with research into ‘natural killer’ cells

08.03.2006


Scientists at the University of the West of England and the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at the Bristol Children’s Hospital have just won funding for a two-year project aimed at improving the outcome of bone marrow stem-cell transplants in young leukaemia patients.



After a stem cell transplant there is a significant risk that grafted donor white blood cells, known as T-cells, will attack the recipient and may cause a fatal complication called graft versus host disease (GvHD). In Bristol a monoclonal antibody called Campath is used to kill donor T-cells, reducing the chance of GvHD. A side effect of Campath therapy is delayed recovery of the immune system after the transplant which may be associated with leukaemic relapse.

UWE vice-chancellor Sir Howard Newby commented:


“Medical research is important to us all and especially to children. Basic scientific research cannot guarantee cures but in the longer term this important study could help children unfortunate enough to have to undergo a transplant and their families and friends. This award is evidence of the excellence of scientific research in our city.”

The UWE project will monitor the patient’s immune system to see how quickly it recovers following transplantation. In particular, the researchers are focussing on the role played by ‘natural killer T-cells’ (NKT-cells), which form a tiny but important population of white cells present in the blood of normal individuals including stem cell donors. The UWE group hypothesise that NKT-cells play a vital role killing remaining leukaemic cells in the patient’s system after the transplant thus leading to a higher probability of cure.

After an initial year of successful investigations researchers at UWE have discovered that NKT-cells possess the target antigen for Campath, already known to be present on the surface of T-cells. This means that unfortunately NKT-cells are also likely to be removed by Campath treatment. To investigate this important observation further the UWE researchers have just been awarded £97,000 additional funding by the charity CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA.

Project leader Dr Craig Donaldson explains: “Initially, the treatment with Campath means the graft ‘takes’ better but unfortunately a significant proportion of transplant patients relapse over time and eventually die of leukemia. An important part of this project is to study the rate of repopulation of vital NKT-cells in patients who have received Campath treated grafts in comparison with patients who do not receive Campath treatment.”

“Patients who have consented to take part in this study will have a research blood sample taken at the same as their routine blood tests before transplant and at 3, 6 and 12 months after transplant. When the stem cell donor is a family member they will also be asked whether they wish to participate by consenting to having a research blood sample being taken when they attend the transplant unit for their routine pre-transplant blood check.”

The Bone Marrow Transplant unit based in the Paul O’Gorman wing of the new Bristol Children’s Hospital has an international reputation for developing novel methods of improving the results of stem cell transplants in young patients with leukaemia. Laboratory studies are being carried out at the Centre for Research in Biomedicine at the University of the West of England by Barbara Rees under the supervision of Dr Craig Donaldson and Professor Jill Hows.

Lesley Drake | alfa
Further information:
http://www.uwe.ac.uk
http://www.leukaemia.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Individual Receptors Caught at Work
19.10.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
19.10.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>