Improving The Success Of Bone Marrow Transplantation
The clinical outcome for leukemia patients has been transformed by the advent of bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Patients have their own cancerous bone marrow cells depleted by radiation and/or chemotherapy and receive a transfusion of bone marrow from a donor who has been matched for human leukocyte antigens (HLA). Whilst the incoming dose of lymphocytes in the bone marrow kills off remaining cancerous cells through a graft-versus-leukemia (GvL) effect, problems can occur with this therapy - namely rejection of the donor bone marrow cells by the host. However, a team of scientists at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Canada may have discovered a way to enhance the curative effects of BMT whilst removing the graft-versus-host rejection (Nature Medicine, Vol. 7, No. 7, 01 July 2001, page 789).
Using a mouse model of leukemia, Claude Perreault and colleagues discovered that injection of bone marrow containing only T lymphocytes targeted against a single antigen called B6dom1 caused a potent curative anti-leukemic response and had no graft-versus-host disease side-effect. In other words, rejection of donor bone marrow can be avoided if the BMT is devoid of other host-reactive T cells.
Francesco Dazzi and colleagues from Hammersmith Hospital, London, discuss the work in an accompanying News & Views article (page 769). They call for “further investigation into the identity and characteristics of other candidate molecules that could prove useful for immunotherapy.”
Dr. Claude Perreault
Guy-Bernier Research Center
5415 de l'Assomption blvd.
Montreal, Quebec, H1T 2M4
Tel: (+1) 514-252-3557
Fax: (+!) 514-252-3430
Dr. Francesco Dazzi
Department of Haematology
Imperial College School of Medicine
Tel (+44) 20-8383-2134
FAX (+44) 20-8740-9679
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza