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 Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos
30.03.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA laser communications to provide Orion faster connections

30.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study

30.03.2017 | Studies and Analyses

Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos

30.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>