In a ray of hope for millions of leukaemia patients, American scientists have claimed to have developed a technique which multiplies the small number of stem cells in the donor blood, making it much more potent for the treatment of the fatal disease.
It also eliminates the need for a matching donor, whose bone marrow is usually transplanted to the patient, according to a study which appeared in the journal Nature Medicine. Traditionally, there was always a risk that the patient’s body may reject the new cells from a donor.
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Plerixafor has allowed doctors to collect stem cells from patients where there had been previous difficulties.
The drug, which has only recently been licensed, is being used at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.
Stem cells therapies are used to treat people with cancer of the blood. The cells are collected and reintroduced to a patient after chemotherapy.
Doctors often encounter problems collecting enough stem cells from about one in 10 cancer patients to undergo treatment.
Plerixafor has, so far, had a 100% success rate in allowing doctors at the cancer centre to collect enough cells from patients who fall
Leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer, affects the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow. It is often treated with stem cell transplants that replace the patient’s bone marrow cells with stem cells donated by a healthy individual. Successful transplant depends on finding a donor who is a close genetic match to the patient. That’s a particular challenge for patients from racial and ethnic minority groups, who may die while waiting for a matching donor.
But a mostly-untapped source of genetically diverse stem cells is right under our noses: Blood left in the umbilical cord after a baby is
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It’s a doctor’s dream — an unlimited supply of disease-free blood.
And it may not be the stuff of fiction for long, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.
Someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. In surgery, on cancer words, on the nation’s battlefields — blood transfusions save lives.
But in the U.S., demand often exceeds supply. And elsewhere, especially in the developing world, there’s a real chance the blood cud be contaminated with diseases such as AIDS or Hepatitis C.
Enter Dr. Marc Turner, a cell biologist from Scotland who received a multi-million dollar research grant to
When infections occur in the body, stem cells in the blood often jump into action by multiplying and differentiating into mature immune cells that can fight off illness. But repeated infections and inflammation can deplete these cell populations, potentially leading to the development of serious blood conditions such as cancer.
Now, a team of researchers led by biologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has found that, in mouse models, the molecule microRNA-146a (miR-146a) acts as a critical regulator and protector of blood-forming stem cells (called hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs) during chronic inflammation, suggesting that a deficiency of