Chemotherapy saves lives, but it also kills healthy tissue like bone marrow. According to a new study involving three patients with glioblastoma, a deadly cancer of the brain, stem cells from cancer patients’ own blood may protect their bone marrow from the toxic effects of treatment.
Glioblastomas often carry an active form of a gene called MGMT, which is a DNA repair enzyme that protects the cancer cells against chemotherapy. To overcome that protective effect, doctors use benzylguanine, a drug that blocks MGMT – but that drug also makes bone marrow and blood cells vulnerable. For this study, scientists at Fred Hutchinson
Washington State University researchers provided computer analyses for a new gene therapy study published in Science Translational Medicine.
The study – conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and published May 9 – found stem cell gene therapy could protect blood cells from damage by chemotherapy in patients suffering from glioblastoma (malignant brain tumors), thereby extending life expectancy.
The WSU laboratory of co-author Grant D. Trobridge, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, developed bioinformatics software that aided the Fred Hutchinson researchers in evaluating the safety of the procedure. The approach was to remove blood stem cells, add a gene
Study May be Key to Unlocking a Cure
An article published in the Summer 2009 edition of Multiple Sclerosis Quarterly Report, a joint publication of United Spinal Association (www.UnitedSpinal.org) and the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS), highlights the positive initial results of patients who have improving neurologic function after receiving a stem cell transplant, despite no longer taking any MS medications.
The results are reported in a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored study called HALT-MS to confirm whether high-dose immunosuppression followed by autologous stem cell transplantation will prevent MS attacks in patients who are not responding to available
Age alone no longer should be considered a defining factor when determining whether an older patient with blood cancer is a candidate for stem cell transplantation. That’s the conclusion of the first study summarizing long-term outcomes from a series of prospective clinical trials of patients age 60 and over who were treated with the mini-transplant, a “kinder, gentler” form of allogeneic (donor cell) stem cell transplantation developed at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The findings are published Nov. 2 in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.
“Age is no longer a barrier to allogeneic transplant,” said Mohamed Sorror,
Two scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have been awarded $16.7 million for stem cell research projects.
Dr. Irwin Bernstein and Beverly Torok-Storb received the federal funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Their award is part of a $170 million effort divided among 18 scientific teams.
Torok-Storb will work with Dr. Mortimer Poncz of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to develop molecular and cell-based therapies for a range of blood diseases, using an $8.2 million grant.
Bernstein will work with Edward Morrisey of the University of Pennsylvania to study how biochemical reactions inside cells affect cell