Navigation Links
Researchers expand natural killer cells in cord blood to fight leukemia

CINCINNATI, OHIO - Researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found a therapy that effectively kills human leukemia cells in mice using natural killer (NK) cells from umbilical cord blood.

Patrick Zweidler-McKay, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics from the Children's Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson, has shown an effective method for expanding the number of NK cells from a single cord blood unit while retaining the cells' anti-leukemia effects, as presented at the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology annual conference on May 16.

Previous efforts to expand cord blood have resulted in ineffective NK cells. However, Zweidler-McKay and co-senior investigator Elizabeth Shpall, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, have found a novel process to increase NK cells in cord blood more than 30-fold, generating more than 150 million NK cells from one cord blood unit while maintaining their activation to find and kill acute leukemia cells.

When given to mice with aggressive human leukemias, these NK cells reduced the circulating human acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) cells by 60 to 85 percent.

"Cord blood is a promising source of natural killer cells because the NK cells have enhanced sensitivity to stimulation, decreased potential to cause graft-versus-host disease and are available from cord banks throughout the country and world," says Zweidler-McKay.

NK Cells Spare Normal Cells While Attacking ALL and AML

Graft-versus-host disease is a common side effect of patients receiving stem cell transplants, which results when the T cells in the transplanted blood react against the patient's own cells. This disease can become fatal if it's unable to be controlled. NK cells operate differently from T cells, leaving normal cells alone while targeting and killing the cancerous cells.

Historical transplants used a matched donor's peripheral blood or bone marrow to transplant to a patient. However, in 1988, researchers found cord blood to be another source for stem cell transplantation. These immature stem cells were easier to match to patients, especially those from non-Caucasian ethnicities, and could be stored for use as needed.

Zweidler-McKay's study involves selecting out NK cells from cord blood. As the cord blood is expanded to multiply in number, the NK cells are given a cytokine, interleukin-2, and a target cell, K562, which keep the NK cells active throughout the three week expansion.

Once the process is complete, the NK cells can be transplanted to patients without prior chemotherapy. Zweidler-McKay also predicts this type of transplant could be used for adults who have already had a transplant or for those adult and pediatric patients who aren't candidates for other stem cell transplants due to blood counts or illness.

"These NK cells demonstrate significant cytotoxic activity against human AML and ALL cell lines and patient leukemia blasts. Most importantly, mouse models of human AML and ALL were sensitive to NK cell infusions," says Zweidler-McKay. "These results support the evaluation of cord blood-derived NK cells as a potential immuno-therapeutic approach in acute leukemias."


Contact: Sara Farris
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Related medicine news :

1. Medical College of Wisconsin researchers identify proteins that help develop mammalian hearts
2. Mastectomies on the rise and MRI use may explain part of the trend, say Mayo researchers
3. UCSD researchers show link between vitamin D status, breast cancer
4. Researchers find first conclusive evidence of Alzheimers-like brain tangles in nonhuman primates
5. Vancouver researchers discover missing link between TB bacteria and humans
6. 1 of the best researchers in general practice
7. Researchers fine-tune clot-busting treatment for bleeding in brain
8. OHSU Cancer Institute researchers pinpoint how smoking causes cancer
9. Yerkes researchers find link between psychological stress and overeating
10. Researchers who helped millions with arthritis receive prestigious Janssen Award
11. Carnegie Mellon engineering researchers automate analysis of protein patterns
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Researchers expand natural killer cells in cord blood to fight leukemia
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... "My friend's son ... fists into his infected cheeks," said an inventor from Platteville, Colo. "I came up ... problems." , He developed the UNTOUCHABLE to prevent a child from rubbing or scratching ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ProText Kinetic Panel is ... With ProText Kinetic Panel, users can create energetic text animations in any layout without ... the Final Cut Pro X timeline and stylize the text. With intuitive on-screen controls, ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Relay (, a ... announced today a significant contract that will provide its award-winning private messaging solution ... on the growing success of its Relay program, IBX Wire™, which now has ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... of Anik Singal's newly launched "Publish Academy" training course . Singal's new ... opened for enrollment today, and marketers around the Internet are weighing in with ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... T-System and Centegra Health ... 59,000 emergency department visits per year, today announced the successful and rapid deployment ... clinical, operational and financial outcomes. , In less than four days, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... 2015 Families across the country have ... to the pharmaceutical company,s blockbuster anti-nausea drug Zofran ... caused by their fraudulent misrepresentations to prescribing physicians ... pregnant women.   Due to the large number of ... States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 13, 2015   Generational Equity , ... businesses, is pleased to announce the acquisition of its ... Largo, Florida , by Meridian Biomedical, ... September 11, 2015. Florida ... --> Florida . To learn more, ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... 13, 2015 According to the ... sponsored by Cardinal Health , achieving both ... diversified pharmacy revenue streams are vital to the ... NCPA Digest affirms that independent community ... in underserved inner city and rural areas," said ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: