Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Physicians Breathe Life Into Cutting-edge Stem Cell Procedure

Date:
October 11, 2007
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
Patients living with Myasthenia Gravis may breathe easier thanks to a rare bone marrow transplant procedure. Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is a rare neuromuscular autoimmune disease where the body's immune system, which normally protects the body, mistakenly attacks itself. The transmission of nerve impulses to muscles is interrupted, which ultimately prevents the muscles from contracting. Without the proper nerve impulses, muscles that control breathing can't function.

Patients living with Myasthenia Gravis (MG) may breathe easier thanks to a rare bone marrow transplant procedure performed at The Bone Marrow Transplant Program at University of California, San Diego Medical Center, the only program in the western United States that has attempted this procedure.

Related Articles


Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is a rare neuromuscular autoimmune disease where the body's immune system, which normally protects the body, mistakenly attacks itself. The transmission of nerve impulses to muscles is interrupted, which ultimately prevents the muscles from contracting. Without the proper nerve impulses, muscles that control breathing can't function.

"It's like dying in your own body," said Ewa Carrier, M.D., associate professor of medicine and pediatrics in the UCSD Blood and Marrow Transplant Division at UCSD's School of Medicine. "Eventually, MG patients can't walk, can't breathe, can't swallow. The signal just doesn't go to the muscles."

This new procedure reprograms the patient's stem cells, destroying them with chemotherapy, before re-introducing purified blood-forming stem cells. After the transplant, the modified stem cells build new bone marrow, renewing the immune system with correct signaling, renewing the immune system with cells that don't attack the body.

The Patient

The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America estimates only 20 out of 100,000 individuals in the country have been diagnosed with MG. However, MG is considered under-diagnosed and many more are likely affected but do not know it.

Martin Glasser, M.D., is one of the confirmed cases. Every other day for the past three years, he has visited the plasmapheresis clinic at UCSD Medical Center. Plasmapheresis is a procedure much like dialysis which is used to help MG patients feel better for short periods of time. Glasser's disease was progressing, causing weakness in the legs, arms and diaphragm. Plasmapheresis made breathing easier "but it's a very crude way of keeping you alive," said Glasser.

The Procedure

The procedure was conducted by a team consisting of Ewa Carrier, M.D., Arnold Gass, M.D., professor of medicine at Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, Geoffrey Sheehan, M.D., UCSD professor of neurosciences and myasthenia gravis specialist and David Ward, M.D., UCSD professor of medicine and Apheresis program founder.

According to the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry (IBMTR) this rare procedure has previously been performed only three times, all at Northwestern University Hospital in Chicago.

In preparing for the transplant, Glasser's native bone marrow was literally obliterated. Most of the T cells in the body were destroyed.

"The theory is that if the T cells are destroyed before introducing new stem cells, the new stem cells will not receive the old message to attack. After the transplant, the modified stem cells build new bone marrow, renewing the immune system," said Carrier.

Glasser's transplant involved harvesting 16 million of his stem cells. These cells were cleaned with a special device resulting in 8 million pure stem cells. Stem cells at this early stage of development have the greatest chance of producing a healthy line of blood cells.

After the transplant, patients must take antibiotics to protect them from infection. They cannot go to crowded places and must follow special diet requirements until the immune system is fully recovered, which takes about three months.

"There's a possibility that there's also some form of tissue repair going on," said Carrier. "For example, Dr. Glasser did not have feeling in his feet before the transplant and now he has feeling in his feet again, possibly indicating that his peripheral polyneuropathy is improving as well."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "Physicians Breathe Life Into Cutting-edge Stem Cell Procedure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071010111941.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2007, October 11). Physicians Breathe Life Into Cutting-edge Stem Cell Procedure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071010111941.htm
University of California - San Diego. "Physicians Breathe Life Into Cutting-edge Stem Cell Procedure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071010111941.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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