Overcoming Transplant Rejection

Blood cancers may be treated with new adult stem cell cocktail

(RxWiki News) Blood cancers - leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma - interfere with the body's ability to make healthy blood cells. Scientists may have discovered a new way to treat these diseases in ways that offer new hope.

Blood and bone marrow stem cell transplants are sometimes needed to help a patient's body produce the blood cells they need. Often, though, the body sees the new stem cells as invaders and the immune system kicks in to reject them. Researchers may have found a way to avoid this rejection.

"Adult blood stem cells can be modified to protect against transplant rejection."

Scientists at UT Southwestern developed what they call a culture "cocktail" that kept the immune system from attacking adult blood stem cells from humans and mice. This cocktail not only provided protection, but helped to grow healthy new blood cells in the mice who received the transplants.

Senior author of the study, Dr. Chengcheng "Alec" Zhang, assistant professor of physiology and developmental biology at UT Southwestern, says the culturing process helped to block the natural immune response so the new cells would be accepted by the body.

He adds this study opens doors for further research.

The study, published in Cell Stem Cell.

Almost one million people in the U.S. are living with some form of blood cancers, and more than 135,000 people will be diagnosed with a blood cancer this year.

Review Date: 
August 12, 2011