Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Penn researchers repair immune system in leukemia patients following chemotherapy

12.12.2011
Treatment with patients' own cells may prevent infections commonly seen following treatment and prolong remission

A new treatment using leukemia patients' own infection-fighting cells appears to protect them from infections and cancer recurrence following treatment with fludarabine-based chemotherapy, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The new process is a step toward eliminating the harsh side effects that result from the commonly prescribed drug, which improves progression-free survival in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) but destroys patients' healthy immune cells in the process, leaving them vulnerable to serious viral and bacterial infections. The drug's effects on the immune system tend to be so violent that it has been dubbed "AIDS in a bottle."

Today at the 53rd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting, the research team will present results showing how they use a patient's own T cells to repair his or her immune system after fludarabine treatment. With a restored immune system, patients can stop taking prophylactic antibiotics and may have prolonged progression-free survival.

"Fludarabine is a double-edged sword," says Stephen J. Schuster, MD, an associate professor in the division of Hematology-Oncology and director of the Lymphoma Program at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. "Although it is very active at killing CLL cells, it is also very active at killing normal cells in the immune system, particularly T lymphocytes, which are the master regulators of the immune system. So you rid the patient of their disease, but you also rid them of a normal immune system."

Thirty-four patients enrolled in the multicenter study. Prior to chemotherapy treatment, the researchers isolated healthy T lymphocytes from each patient's blood. When the patient finished chemotherapy, the team grew the T cells in Penn's Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility using a technique that induces them to proliferate rapidly. The researchers then infused the expanded T cells back into the patient. "What we showed was that by giving them back their own T cells after treatment, we can restore patients' immune systems," Schuster said.

"Within four weeks of the T cell infusion, their T cell counts were within the normal range."

After chemotherapy and prior to T cell infusion, the median CD4 T cell count for fludarabine-treated patients was 119 cells/ml blood and the median CD8 T cell count was 80 cells/ml. Thirty days after the patients received the infusion of their own T cells, the median cell counts were in the normal range, at 373 cells/ml and 208 cells/ml for CD4 and CD8 cells, respectively. The T cell numbers remained in the normal range beyond 90 days, leading Schuster and colleagues to conclude that the autologous T cell transfer repaired the immune system of patients.

Although all of the patients' T cell counts returned to the normal range after treatment, not all patients responded equally well to the T cell therapy. Patients who had a complete response to chemotherapy had a more robust T cell recovery than did patients who had only a partial response. "We believe that having a complete remission of CLL seems to create a larger space for the normal immune cells to expand into," Schuster says. "Somehow, the cancer seems to interfere with recovery of the immune system."

In addition to quashing the complications ordinarily associated with treatment, the team hopes that the restored immune system will help keep the cancer in check. At a median follow-up of 14 months after T cell infusion, two-thirds of the patients remain progression-free. Longer follow up will be needed to compare treatment results for patients receiving T cells with published results for patients receiving similar chemotherapy without T cell support.

What is clear from the small trial is that patients can safely stop prophylactic antibiotic therapy after their T cell numbers rebound. Physicians regularly keep CLL patients on extended prophylactic antibiotic therapy to help stave off infections. In this study, though, patients stopped taking antibiotics about a month after receiving T cells without developing significant infections.

In addition to the Penn researchers, investigators from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, and the Methodist Hospital in Houston also participated in the study.

The study was funded by the CLL Global Research Foundation.

This research will be presented Sunday, December 11, 2011 between 6 PM and 8 PM in Hall GH of the San Diego Convention Center.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4 billion enterprise.

Penn's Perelman School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools and among the top 10 schools for primary care. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $507.6 million awarded in the 2010 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top 10 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Penn Medicine also includes additional patient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2010, Penn Medicine provided $788 million to benefit our community.

Holly Auer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Research offers clues for improved influenza vaccine design
09.04.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Injecting gene cocktail into mouse pancreas leads to humanlike tumors
06.04.2018 | University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>