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Mother's Immune System May Block Fetal Treatments for Blood Diseases
Date:8/17/2009

te in pregnancy, and not through postnatal breastfeeding.

However, it remains an open question whether the mouse findings are applicable to larger mammals and especially to humans. Flake's study team is continuing their investigations in larger animal models.

Looking forward to techniques to avoid maternal immune reactions to prenatal cell transplants, Flake proposed two possibilities. One would be use the mother as a source of donor cells, which would not stimulate an unwanted immune response. Another strategy could involve inducing the generation of increased numbers of T regulatory cells; those cells normally act to prevent the fetus from inappropriately reacting against maternal cells.

The ultimate goal, said Flake, is to develop IUHCT as a prenatal treatment for any congenital blood disorder that may currently be treated with postnatal bone marrow transplants. That would include sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and some inherited immunodeficiency diseases. Currently such postnatal transplants are risky and relatively rare.

"Our current finding is not a clinical breakthrough," added Flake. "But it does offer new potential to the field of cellular transplantation."

Funds from the National Institutes of Health, the Ruth and Tristram C. Colket Jr. Chair of Pediatric Surgery at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation supported this study.

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the c
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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