A new method created by scientists at the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building brings fresh hope for people fighting blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia.
Two researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine have found a way to mark bone marrow cells from donors. This allows immune cells to only target cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. Bone marrow transplants are often a last option for blood cancer patients because of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). This is when donor immune cells attack both cancer and healthy cells in the person receiving the transplant.
Esma S. Yolcu, PhD, and Haval Shirwan, PhD, have developed a technique called ProtEx™ that helps immune cells act the way they want them to. This technology makes donor cells show instructions on their surface, telling transplanted immune cells to only attack cancer cells and then stop before hurting healthy tissue. This helps prevent GVHD.
Shirwan said this method has great potential and could be combined with other treatments to make stem cell transplants more effective. The process of changing donor cells is simple and efficient, which means it could be used in clinical settings.
So far, the ProtEx™ method has been successful in preventing GVHD in mice and in a human-like mouse model. The next step is to test it in a larger animal model of GVHD before using it to treat blood cancers in people.
Yolcu and Shirwan’s research was published in Blood Advances, and they have a provisional patent for their technique. They also received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a treatment for type-1 diabetes that uses transplanted stem cells to make insulin-producing cells, which could replace the need for regular insulin injections.
Key Takeaways in a Nutshell – Health Newstrack
– A new method developed by researchers offers hope in the fight against blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia.
– The technique, called ProtEx™, marks donor bone marrow cells, allowing immune cells to target only cancer cells without harming healthy tissue.
– This approach helps prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a common issue in bone marrow transplants.
– The researchers have a provisional patent for their technique and have received a grant to study a treatment for type-1 diabetes using transplanted stem cells.