Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Circles Of DNA Might Help Predict Success Of Stem Cell Transplantation

Date:
February 13, 2005
Source:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Summary:
Measuring the quantity of a certain type of immune cell DNA in the blood could help physicians predict whether a bone marrow stem cell transplant will successfully restore a population of infection-fighting cells called T lymphocytes in a child.

Measuring the quantity of a certain type of immune cell DNA in the blood could help physicians predict whether a bone marrow stem cell transplant will successfully restore a population of infection-fighting cells called T lymphocytes in a child. This research, by investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, is published in the journal Blood.

This finding could help physicians predict whether children receiving such a transplant will experience either failure or significant delay in the reconstitution of the T cell population. Moreover, if the transplant is successful, T cells arising from donated stem cells will be available to launch attacks on the patient's cancer cells--the so-called "graft-versus-tumor" response. This will further improve the patient's outcome following initial therapy (chemotherapy, irradiation and surgery).

Physicians sometimes treat patients with stem cell transplants as part of therapy for a variety of diseases such as leukemia or sickle cell disease. In these cases physicians eliminate the patients' own stem cells that produce cancerous white cells or faulty red cells and replace them with healthy stem cells from donors. If the transplants succeed, the donated stem cells repopulate the blood with healthy red and white cells.

The St. Jude team showed that the more copies of tiny rings of DNA called signal-joint TRECs (sjTRECs) there are in a child's blood, the more likely it is that the patient's thymus gland can act as an efficient factory where stem cells become T cells. The thymus is an immune system organ behind the breastbone that processes immature "precursor" immune cells into specialized T cells.

T lymphocytes are specialized immune cells carrying proteins called receptors on their surface. The target that a T cell recognizes and attacks depends on the makeup of its receptor, which is constructed of protein building blocks. Each protein building block is coded by a specific gene. sjTRECs form during a "mix-and-match" rearrangement of these genes into any one of countless combinations. The rings represent sections of DNA cut out of chromosomes during the mixing and matching of genes that are chosen to build a particular receptor. Each T cell uses the resulting combination of genes to make a receptor that lets the cell recognize a specific target. When stimulated to multiply, each of those cells produce an army of immune cells against their designated target.

Specific infectious organisms or other foreign substances stimulate T cells to divide and multiply in order to form an attacking army. However, the sjTRECs don't multiply when the original T cells divide and multiply. Instead, the more T cells that are produced in the blood as the parent cells containing sjTRECs divide and produce daughter cells, the more the sjTRECs in those original T cells get "diluted" within the growing army of these immune cells. This proves that high levels of sjTREC in blood means that a large number of stem cells have been converted to parent T cells--each of which targets a specific foreign substance, according to Rupert Handgretinger, M.D., Ph.D., director of Stem Cell Transplantation at St. Jude and co-director of the Transplantation and Gene Therapy Program.

"sjTRECs appear only after the gene shuffling has successfully occurred in the parent cell," Handgretinger said. "So if we extract large numbers of sjTRECs from T cells in the blood of a patient about to undergo a stem cell transplant, that's a good sign. It means the patient's thymus is a good T-cell factory."

Handgretinger is the senior author of the Blood report.

The St. Jude team tested levels of sjTREC in the blood of 77 healthy donors who provided stem cells to their siblings. The researchers also tested 244 samples from 26 of the recipients themselves. The recipients had been treated for either white cell cancers (e.g., acute lymphoblastic leukemia) or red cell diseases (e.g., sickle cell disease).

Because blood from the normal, healthy donors contained 1,200 to 155,000 sjTREC copies per milliliter of blood, the investigators chose 1,200 as the lowest end of the normal range for sjTRECs.

The team found that transplant recipients who had more than 1,200 copies of sjTREC in each milliliter of their blood before transplantation were more likely than patients with fewer copies to experience successful reconstitutions of their T cell populations. In patients with fewer than 1,200 copies per milliliter, the transplantation was likely either to fail or be significantly slow in reconstructing the T cell population.

"This is the first demonstration that high levels of sjTREC in a potential stem cell recipient can predict that their thymus will successfully reconstitute their T cell population using donated stem cells," said Xiaohua Chen, Ph.D., first author of the Blood article. "This kind of information should help physicians improve their ability to manage individual patients by predicting how they will respond to stem cell transplants."

Other authors of this study are Raymond Barfield, Ely Benaim, Wing Leung, James Knowles, Dawn Lawrence, Mario Otto, Sheila A. Shurtleff, Geoffrey A. M. Neale, Frederick G. Behm and Victoria Turner.

###

This work was supported in part by the Assisi Foundation of Memphis and ALSAC.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit http://www.stjude.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Circles Of DNA Might Help Predict Success Of Stem Cell Transplantation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211094057.htm>.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. (2005, February 13). Circles Of DNA Might Help Predict Success Of Stem Cell Transplantation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211094057.htm
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Circles Of DNA Might Help Predict Success Of Stem Cell Transplantation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211094057.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins