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Studies Investigate New Methodologies to Improve Recovery and Survival Strategies for Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
Date:12/10/2011

ells taken from the bone marrow.

PBSCs are stem cells originally found in the bone marrow that have been moved, or mobilized, into the blood stream by a special drug regimen. Unlike bone marrow stem cells, which must be extracted from the bones in an operating room, PBSCs are more easily obtained through apheresis, a process similar to regular blood donation, which collects the PBSCs through a tube inserted in a vein. A critical step before the transplant is to find a donor that is tissue matched to the recipient.

About one-third of patients who need a PBSC or bone marrow transplant for treatment of a blood disease have a matched, related donor. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, of the 70 percent who cannot find a donor within their family, most will be able to find an unrelated donor. Since the majority of transplant patients ultimately receive cells from unrelated donors, there is a need to better understand the risks associated with transplants of unrelated donor cells.

Previous clinical trials on related donor transplants have demonstrated that PBSC transplants in patients with leukemia and other blood diseases result in better engraftment, lower relapse rates, and increased survival compared to transplants with bone marrow stem cells. However, those trials also found that PBSC transplants carry an increased risk of GVHD, a serious and often deadly post-transplant complication that occurs when the newly transplanted donor cells recognize the recipient's own cells as foreign and attack them. Patients who survive early post-transplant may develop chronic GVHD, a disabling condition managed with long-term immunosuppressant therapy.

Many transplant centers are increasingly using PBSCs as a source for adult stem cells because of their superiority in clinical trials that have directly compared outcomes between PBSCs and bone marrow stem cells from related donors. However, to date, there has not been a comparative study of the
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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