Purified Blood Stem Cells may be Better for Transplant

A bone marrow transplant is standard treatment for both lymphoma and leukemia following aggressive chemotherapy or radiation. Normally, the patient receives blood stem cells from the donor’s bone marrow and some mature of their immune cells—the latter added in order to help the recipient fight any potential infections arising from the procedure.

Unfortunately, these immune cells sometimes attack the recipient’s tissue in what’s known as "graft-versus-host" disease, or GVHD.

Consequently researchers are beginning to look at transplanting purified blood stem cells, and not the mixture that includes the immune cells. So far results have only been seen in lab mice, but according to a recent study led by Dr. Judith Shizuru, a hematologist at Stanford School of Medicine, published online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the lymph nodes of the mice that received purified blood stem cells were larger and healthier than those of mice that received the standard mixture.

In fact, the mixture seemed to be inhibiting recovery time in those mice.

Thus the researchers think that purified blood stem cells could be a better alternative for these transplant patients.

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