12 January 2022

10 times less risk

New Blood Cancer Treatment Protocol Reduces Rejection Risks from 30-60% to 7%

Svetlana Maslova, Hi-tech+

The second phase of clinical trials It has shown that the removal of a certain type of T-cells from a donor biomaterial dramatically reduces the graft-versus-host response and at the same time does not increase the risk of cancer recurrence or infection. These are breakthrough results for children and adults with blood cancer, who very often face this severe and sometimes fatal complication.

Article by Bleakley et al. Naive T-Cell Depletion to Prevent Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology – VM.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from a healthy donor is the only way to defeat blood cancer. In addition to the extremely difficult and expensive search for a compatible donor, this life—saving treatment is also associated with high risks of immune rejection - a "graft versus host" reaction. In this case, the patient is prescribed long-term immunosuppression, which can further increase the risks of concomitant infections, reduce the quality of life and lead to death.

From previous studies, scientists knew that the removal of all T cells from the donor biomaterial increases the risk of cancer recurrence and death in patients. The reason is that these cells are important for destroying cancer and fighting infections, so the team from The University of Pittsburgh sought to find a more optimal solution.

In search of a golden mean, scientists decided to remove naive T cells, but at the same time preserve memory T cells that can protect against previously known pathogens. The method was tested on 138 patients with leukemia, including children.

The graft-versus-host reaction developed only in 7% of cases, compared with the previously recorded rates of 30-60%.

"It is also striking that they did not have drug resistance in the treatment of an acute immune reaction," said Warren Shlomchik, the head of the work.

Although it is necessary to confirm the results in randomized clinical trials in order to implement the results in medical practice, scientists are confident that their approach is effective. Meanwhile, all the necessary processes have already been launched, after which scientists will be able to provide recommendations for changing treatment protocols when using donor hematopoietic stem cells.

Meanwhile, another group of scientists presented the results of a unique heart transplant operation from a GM pig to a man. The operation was successful, but now doctors are continuously monitoring the patient's condition so as not to miss the immune reaction of organ rejection.

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