Bone marrow transplantation can cure lymphomas and leukemia, but in about half of the cases transplanted immune cells wind up attacking the patients body, as well as the cancer.
In response to this problem, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a technique that can virtually eliminate this life-threatening complication, known as graft-versus-host disease, without compromising the transplanted cells effectiveness against cancer.
The therapy entails adjusting the patients level of a specific type of immune cell, the regulatory T cells, before the transplant is done. The method was first developed in mice by Samuel Strober, MD, professor of medicine (immunology and rheumatology), who has been studying these types of cells for more than 25 years. Robert Lowsky, MD, assistant professor of medicine (bone marrow transplantation), has adapted this strategy for humans along with Strober, and will present the results of tests Dec. 6 at the annual American Society of Hematology meeting in San Diego.
M.A. Malone | EurekAlert!
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