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Universal Stem Cell Product Could Overcome Key Challenges in Donor Organ Transplants
Date:7/9/2013

ted to the organ donor and recipient.”

Most other cell therapy trials have used cells collected from either the organ donor or recipient. The preparation of such customized cell therapies is costly and challenging. With this in mind, the Dahlke team decided to explore the potential of a third-party-derived MAPC to act as a universal donor, consistent with the approach being taken clinically in several other disease areas. They conducted their study on rats that received allogeneic heart grafts.

One group of animals was treated after the transplant with a combination of MAPCs and a low-dose of an immunosuppressive drug administered for a short term. Another group was administered immunosuppressive drugs only, while a third group received no extra treatment at all. Only grafts from those animals receiving MAPC and immunosuppressives survived long-term.

When long-term accepted heart grafts were then recovered from the MAPC-treated animals and re-transplanted into yet another group of untreated animals (genetically identical to the first group of recipients), they engrafted successfully without triggering rejection. This held true even when no immune suppressive drug was administered.

The finding demonstrates that an immunoprivileged state had been induced in the graft that can be carried into another untreated animal.

“In the group with no treatment, the grafts were rejected in less than two weeks; short term immunosuppressive drug treatments kept them intact just a few days longer. However, rats given a combination of short-term immunosuppressive treatment and MAPC exhibited a high percentage of prolonged survival, even after treatment with immunosuppressive drugs was stopped. This indicates a promising pathway for clinical immunotherapy,” Dr. Dahlke commented. “If transplantation procedures could be conducted with lower requirements for immunosuppressive drugs, this could provide a substantial benefit to patients and could
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