New technology to enhance therapeutic potential of cord blood stem cells

June 7th, 2008 - 5:31 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 7 (ANI): Researchers from Rush University Medical Centre have found a new method to enhance and expand homing and therapeutic potential of cord blood stem cells in bone marrow transplants.

The new technique, known as CD26 Inhibitor, can increase the efficiency and responsiveness of umbilical cord blood for bone marrow transplants and may improve care for blood cancer patients.

CD26 Inhibitor is a small molecule enzyme inhibitor that enhances directional homing of stem cells to the bone marrow by increasing the responsiveness of donor stem cells to a natural homing signal.

Homing is the process by which the donor stem cells find their way to the bone marrow. It is the first and essential step in stem cell transplantation.

The studies conducted on animal models by Kent W. Christopherson II, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and researcher in the Sections of Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation and Dr. Patrick Zweidler-McKay of the University if Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre showed that both Engraftin, a human recombinant enzyme technology that increases the efficiency of engraftment and reduces graft failure in transplantation of cord blood derived stem cells and CD26 Inhibitor can enhance homing and rate of engraftment, which will result in reduced patient morbidity and mortality in bone marrow transplants.

Cord blood is being increasingly used by transplant centres as an alternative source of stem cells for the treatment of blood cancers, including myeloma, lymphoma and leukemia.

The cells, which are collected from the umbilical cord after the baby is delivered and separated from the cord, are most commonly used for bone marrow transplantation when a donor from a patients family or an unrelated donor does not produce an appropriate bone marrow match.

The current drawback to the usage of cord blood cells is that due to the limited volume and cell number, there are generally only enough cells available from a single cord blood collection for children or very small adults.

Cord blood cells also usually take longer to engraft, leaving the patient at a high risk for infection longer than donor matched transplanted marrow or peripheral blood stem cells

Christopherson is researching a CD26 Inhibitor and aims to increase the transplant efficiency of umbilical cord blood and ultimately make transplant safer and available to all patients who require this treatment. (ANI)

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