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Hematology - Immunology - Microbiology - Virology

Virotherapy Using Myxoma Virus Prevents Lethal Graft-versus-Host Disease following Xeno-Transplantation with Primary Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells
Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Author: Eric Bartee et al.

by Eric Bartee, Amy Meacham, Elizabeth Wise, Christopher R. Cogle, Grant McFadden

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a potentially lethal clinical complication arising from the transfer of alloreactive T lymphocytes into immunocompromised recipients. Despite conventional methods of T cell depletion, GVHD remains a major challenge in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant. Here, we demonstrate a novel method of preventing GVHD by ex vivo treatment of primary human hematopoietic cell sources with myxoma virus, a rabbit specific poxvirus currently under development for oncolytic virotherapy. This pretreatment dramatically increases post-transplant survival of immunocompromised mice injected with primary human bone marrow or peripheral blood cells and prevents the expansion of human CD3+ lymphocytes in major recipient organs. Similar viral treatment also prevents human-human mixed alloreactive T lymphocyte reactions in vitro. Our data suggest that ex vivo virotherapy with myxoma virus can be a simple and effective method for preventing GVHD following infusion of hematopoietic products containing alloreactive T lymphocytes such as: allogeneic hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, donor leukocyte infusions and blood transfusions.