New method to replicate immunity-boosting cells to benefit transplant patients, according to Penn, Minnesota study

This is a dramatic increase over previous duplication methods and will give patients a better chance of having a successful bone marrow or organ transplant. “These highly expanded and functional suppressor T cells could be used to generate a master cell bank that could be used to treat a large number of patients, making this type of therapy much more feasible and cost-effective,” says James Riley, PhD, research associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. The discovery could also have profound implications for patients with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Recent work with these cells has already shown promising effects in the treatment of acute graft-versus-host disease, where immune cells in the donor’s bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cell or umbilical cord blood, try to reject the patient who is not a perfect tissue match. Between 30-40 percent of all related bone marrow transplant patients experience graft-versus-host disease with 10-30 percent of kidney transplants and 60-80 percent of liver transplant recipients experience acute rejection, according to the National Institutes of Health. In an upcoming clinical trial, the team plans to administer increasing doses of the regulatory T cells before bone marrow transplants using the new expansion method. To read more, please see the University of Minnesota news release.

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