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 Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>