A virus that in nature infects only rabbits could become a cancer-fighting tool for humans. Myxoma virus kills cancerous blood-precursor cells in human bone marrow while sparing normal blood stem cells, a multidisciplinary team at the University of Florida College of Medicine has found. The findings are now online and will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Leukemia. The discovery could help make more cancer patients eligible for bone marrow self-transplant therapy and reduce disease relapse rates after transplantation. "This is a new strategy to remove cancer cells before the transplant, " said virologist Grant McFadden, Ph.D., senior author of the paper and a member of the UF Genetics Institute.
Results of a preliminary study by scientists at the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins show that "mini" stem cell transplantation may safely reverse severe sickle cell disease in adults. The phase I/II study to establish safety of the procedure, published December 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine, describes 10 patients with severe sickle cell disease who received intravenous transplants of blood-forming stem cells. The transplanted stem cells came from the peripheral blood of healthy related donors matched to the patients' tissue types. Using this procedure, nine of 10 patients treated have normal red blood cells and reversal of organ damage caused by the disease.
Kidney transplant consent forms are often written at a level that makes it difficult for many kidney patients to fully understand them, according to a paper presented at the American Society of Nephrology's annual meeting in San Diego, CA. The study findings indicate that consent forms are written on average at a 12th-grade reading level, but to ensure all patients fully comprehend treatment options should be prepared at a 5th - 8th grade reading level. Doing so would enable all patients - regardless of education, race, ethnicity or language background to provide informed consent, which is both legally and ethically required before transplantation.
Trophoblast stem cells (TSCs), cells found in the layer of peripheral embryonic stem cells from which the placenta is formed, are thought to exhibit "immune privilege" that aids cell survivability and is potentially beneficial for cell and gene therapies. Further, the survivability of TSCs has been thought to require the presence of ovarian hormones. However, none of these assumptions has ever been verified. This study, published in the current issue of the journal Cell Transplantation (18:7) - now freely available on-line here - has demonstrated that it is the absence of male hormones, rather than the presence of female hormones, that allows extended transplanted cell survivability.
Nerve cells transplanted into brain-damaged rats helped them to fully recover their ability to learn and remember, probably by promoting nurturing, protective growth factors, according to a new study. Building on previous investigation of transplants in the nervous system, this critical study confirms that cell transplants can help the brain to heal itself. Ultimately, it may lead to new therapies to help dementia patients. More generally, scientists can now develop and test new ways to help repair an injured nervous system -- whether through new drugs, genetically modified cells, transplanted neural (nerve) and non-neural brain cells, or other means.
A recent study by doctors at Shinshu University, School of Medicine, in Japan determined that left side grafting has lower risk to donors compared to grafts taken from the right lobe, and it appears to be the procedure of choice for adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation (LDLT). Researchers also found that graft size was not the only cause behind "small-for-size graft syndrome, " a severe complication resulting in organ malfunction and transplant failure. These findings appear in the November issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.