Deadly Complication of Stem Cell Transplants Reduced in Mice, Washington University in St. Louis Study
Published: Sep 28, 2012
Studying leukemia in mice, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have reduced a life-threatening complication of stem cell transplants, the only curative treatment when leukemia returns. About 50 percent of leukemia patients who receive stem cells from another person develop graft-versus-host disease, a condition where donor immune cells attack the patient's own body. The main organs affected are the skin, liver and gut. Now, the scientists have shown they can redirect donor immune cells away from these vital organs. Steering immune cells away from healthy tissue also leaves more of them available for their intended purpose – killing cancer cells.