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Aggressive Stem Cells Might Improve Transplant Outcome

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Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have demonstrated in mice a way that might reduce the time it takes for a bone marrow cell transplant to rebuild a child's immune system, and so reduce the risk of potentially fatal virus infections that can occur during this time.

A report on this work appears in the current online issue of the journal Stem Cell.

The St. Jude team showed that the current way of harvesting specific stem cells from donated bone marrow to capture many of the stem cells called CD34 cells fails to capture many of those that might be more vigorous in reproducing and rebuilding the immune system.

They demonstrated that the current method of using a class II antibody captures most of the less aggressive CD34 cells. But using both a class II and class III antibody against CD34 cells captures many of the more vigorous cells according to Raymond Barfield, M.D., Ph.D., assistant member of the St. Jude Bone Marrow Transplantation division and senior author of the report.

Other authors of this study include Mario Otto (now at Akron Children's Hospital, Ohio); Xiaohua Chen, William J. Martin, Wing Leung, James Knowles, Marti Holladay and Jim Houston (all of St. Jude); and Rupert Handgretinger (University of Tubingen, Germany). This work was supported in part by a Cancer Center Support grant, ALSAC and the Assisi Foundation of Memphis.