Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First successful use of expanded umbilical-cord blood units to treat leukemia

Date:
January 18, 2010
Source:
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Summary:
Scientists have cleared a major technical hurdle to making umbilical-cord-blood transplants a more widely-used method for treating leukemia and other blood cancers.

Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have cleared a major technical hurdle to making umbilical-cord-blood transplants a more widely-used method for treating leukemia and other blood cancers.

In a study published in the Jan.17 edition of Nature Medicine, Colleen Delaney, M.D., and colleagues describe the first use of a method to vastly expand the number of stem/progenitor cells from a unit of cord blood in the laboratory that were then infused into patients resulting in successful and rapid engraftment.

The relatively small number of stem cells in cord blood units (about one-10th the number a patient receives from a conventional transplant) has been a reason that cord blood transplants take much longer to engraft than standard stem cell transplants from donors. The longer the engraftment takes, the higher the risk is that immunocompromised patients will acquire life-threatening infections because they have essentially no white blood cells to fight them.

Despite the numbers disadvantage, cord blood is a promising source of stem cells to replace diseased blood and immune systems in stem cell transplantation because the donated cells don't need to be perfectly matched to the patient. The lack of a suitable match is why about 30 percent of patients overall who need a stem cell transplant to treat cancers such as leukemia can't find suitable donors. Among racial-minority patients the number who cannot find suitable donors is about 95 percent.

The use of expanded cord blood cells could decrease the risk of early death, which is higher in patients receiving a cord-blood transplant without expanded cells. Further clinical trials and technological improvements are needed to verify the efficacy of cord blood transplants that use expanded cells, the authors said.

"The real ground-breaking aspect of this research is that we have shown that you can manipulate stem/progenitor cells in the lab with the goal of increasing their numbers. When given to a person, these cells can rapidly give rise to white blood cells and other components of the blood system," said Delaney, an assistant member in the Hutchinson Center's Clinical Research Division and an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine

The stem cell expansion was possible by activating the Notch signaling pathway in the stem cells. This approach was developed by Irwin Bernstein, M.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center's Clinical Research Division, and was initially published in Nature Medicine in 2000. A decade of work ensued resulting in successful translation of the laboratory findings to patients in a clinical setting.

Delaney and colleagues built upon Bernstein's earlier work by engineering a protein that can be used in the lab to activate the Notch signaling pathway in stem cells and manipulate the cells in tissue culture to expand in quantity.

This successful laboratory method for expanding the number of stem/progenitor cells from a single unit of cord blood resulted in an average 164-fold increase in the number of CD34+ cells, a type of hematopoietic stem cell. Such cells are multipotent and give rise to all types of blood cells. Delaney said that a typical unit of cord blood usually contains less than 200,000 stem cells per kilogram of body weight of the recipient patient. In contrast, the expanded units contained on average 6 million CD34+ cells per kilogram of body weight, which is on par with conventional transplant sources.

The current study also describes the outcomes of 10 patients in an ongoing phase 1 clinical trial who received two units of cord blood to treat high-risk, acute leukemia. Each patient received one unit of non-manipulated cord blood and one in which the cells were expanded in the lab. Researchers evaluated the safety of infusing the expanded cells as well as how long it took to reconstitute the blood system, how durable the transplants were and which cord blood unit contributed the most to engraftment. The age range of the patients was 3 to 43.

The results to date show that on average it took 14 days for the transplanted cells to engraft, versus an average of four weeks when non-expanded units of cord blood were used. Seven of the 10 patients are still alive with no evidence of disease and with sustained, complete donor engraftment. Tests revealed that the recovery of white blood cells early post transplant were derived predominantly from the expanded cord blood unit.

Grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society and the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Colleen Delaney, Shelly Heimfeld, Carolyn Brashem-Stein, Howard Voorhies, Ronald L Manger, Irwin D Bernstein. Notch-mediated expansion of human cord blood progenitor cells capable of rapid myeloid reconstitution. Nature Medicine, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nm.2080

Cite This Page:

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "First successful use of expanded umbilical-cord blood units to treat leukemia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100117150820.htm>.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. (2010, January 18). First successful use of expanded umbilical-cord blood units to treat leukemia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100117150820.htm
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "First successful use of expanded umbilical-cord blood units to treat leukemia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100117150820.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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