Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells improve poor graft function

In a new study, conducted on humans, researchers from China show how mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be used to treat poor graft function in patients that had previously received an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

The researchers say that an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) graft may function poorly due to "slow or incomplete reconstitution of blood counts or decreasing blood counts", adding that poor graft function (PGF) is not well understood, difficult to treat, many times leading to graft vs. host disease which in turn can be fatal.

In this study a total of 20 male and female patients participated. The patients were between 14 and 60 years of age (mean age=26) and all presented with poor graft function (PGF). PGF is a very common symptom which, according to the study, occurs in about 5–27% of patients receiving an allogeneic HSC transplant.

"PGF remains an important complication that occurs in 5–27% of patients, and is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality related to infections or hemorrhagic complications", extract from the study

Eighteen patients had leukaemia (5 in complete remission before the transplantation) and 2 severe aplastic anaemia. Seven patients displayed primary PGF and the rest secondary PGF.

picture of a mesenchymal stem cell
A mesenchymal stem cell

All patients received mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that were extracted from bone marrow tissue and then cultured. Eleven patients received MSCs from related donors and 9 from unrelated donors.

According to the study, the participants experienced a great improvement in their PGF and a complete or improved GVHD response.

"Although 6 of 20 patients died from infections within the first 100 days we could not safely conclude that MSCs increased the incidence of infections other than other than Epstein-Barr virus", extract from the study

The researchers conclude that their findings strongly indicate that mesenchymal stem cells derived from third-party donors can be effectively used to treat patients with primary or secondary PGF following an allogeneic HSC transplant, adding that further clinical studies are needed to determine whether MSCs "increase the risk of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection and/or EBV associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders" or not.

Liu, X. (2013). Improvement in Poor Graft Function after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation upon Administration of Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Third-Party Donors: A Pilot Prospective Study Cell Transplantation DOI: 10.3727/096368912X661319

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