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.
Mesenchymal stem cells are present in placental blood and could represent the new frontier for tissue and organ regeneration. The cells were identified at the cell factory at Milan’s Policlinico Hospital and will be the subject of a meeting on mesenchymal stem cells organized by the Milan hospital.
Isolated and preserved in the Milan biobank for the first time for use in future treatments, the cells come from blood that is collected at birth. Plasma that has been used for transplants in patients with serious diseases like leukemia and lymphoma and represent a potential reserve of mesenchymal stem
Doctors hope a Nottinghamshire boy with leukaemia can undergo a stem cell transplant in May.
Roman Cusick, from Calverton, is currently recovering from chemotherapy.
If he is deemed to be well enough, he will receive cells from an umbilical cord from a German donor in a procedure at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
In February almost 200 people in Calverton helped took part in a saliva test to see if they were a suitable match.
Leukaemia occurs when large numbers of white blood cells take over the bone marrow, leaving the body unable to produce enough normal blood cells.
The extensive research on stem cells has revolutionised the way life-threatening diseases like leukaemia and aplastic anaemia can be treated.
But there are several steps before these diseases can be treated using stem cells.
To begin with, the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-typing of the patient is done. Doctors then get into the process of finding a matched donor from the computerised list made available to them by National Marrow Donor Programme (NMDP), U.S., and New York Cord Blood Bank.
If registration of potential bone marrow donors has been in place for a long time, the emergence of a number of cord blood