‘Killer’ cells used to combat rare cancer
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh are using immune cells harvested from blood donors to help fight an unusual cancer which can affect transplant patients. And their findings, published recently in The Lancet show that the therapy has proved effective in a number of cases. The treatment proved successful last year in saving the life of a four-year-old boy from Birmingham, who developed the cancer— post-transplant lympho-proliferative disease— following a liver and bowel transplant.
The technique, which involves boosting the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer without affecting the transplanted organ, can also be adapted to treat other virus infections, or AIDS patients who have developed lymphomas.
Clinical research scientist Dr Tanzina Haque explained: “The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a common virus best known for causing glandular fever, and is carried by about 90% of the population, without a problem. When a patient receives an organ transplant, he or she is given immuno-suppressive drugs to stop the body rejecting the organ, but this also lowers their immunity to infections by removing the body’s ’killer’ cells, the cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. If a transplant patient’s immunity is compromised, EBV can infect cells called B-lymphocytes, causing them to grow in an uncontrolled way and become malignant. The resulting cancer can be fatal in up to 70% of cases.”
Dr Haque said that to reduce doses of immuno-suppressive drugs could cause organ transplant rejection, so the Edinburgh team, headed by Professor Dorothy Crawford and backed by funding from Cancer Research UK, devised a method of removing ‘killer’ cells from screened blood donations and tissue-type matching them to transplant patients. Should any patients develop lymphoma, they can be infused with matched cells from the bank containing more than 100 blood donations.
The technique, known as Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte (CTL) Therapy, has shown to have no adverse side-effects for patients. Results published in The Lancet show of eight patients in the trial who were suitable for treatment, two died, five made a complete recovery, two did not respond and one showed a partial response. Two further patients died before their tumour response could be evaluated.
Dr Haque said this UK-wide multicentre clinical trial could not have been possible without the collaboration of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, different transplant centers, and the many blood donors who helped by allowing their blood to be used for generating the T-cells.
Linda Menzies | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
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...
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....
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...
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...
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...