Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Promising T cell therapy to protect from infections after transplant

Date:
June 17, 2014
Source:
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Summary:
When patients have to undergo a bone marrow transplant, the procedure weakens their immune system. Viruses that are usually kept in check in a healthy immune system may then cause potentially fatal infections. Scientists have now developed a method that could offer patients conservative protection against such infections after a transplant. The method has already been used to treat several patients successfully.

As work with cells requires highly-pure working conditions, the scientists wear sterile clothing in the clean rooms.
Credit: M. Neuenhahn / TUM

When patients have to undergo a bone marrow transplant, the procedure weakens their immune system. Viruses that are usually kept in check in a healthy immune system may then cause potentially fatal infections. Scientists at Technische Universität München (TUM), together with colleagues from Frankfurt, Würzburg and Göttingen, have now developed a method which could offer patients conservative protection against such infections after a transplant. The method has already been used to treat several patients successfully.

The cells of the human immune system are created from special stem cells in the bone marrow. In diseases affecting the bone marrow, such as leukemia, the degenerate cells must be destroyed using radiation or chemotherapy. Subsequently, the hematopoietic system has to be replaced with stem cells from the blood of a healthy donor. Because of the resulting temporary weakening of the immune system, patients are more exposed to viruses that would normally be warded off.

The cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can cause serious damage to lungs or liver in persons with a weakened defense, poses a major clinical problem. In healthy human beings, a CMV infection will usually not produce any symptoms, since the virus is kept at bay by specific immune cells. In their work, the scientists were able to demonstrate that the transfer of just a few specific immune cells is sufficient to protect the recipient with the weakened immune system against infections. To do this, they used T cells that can recognize and kill specific pathogens.

Tested in an animal model

Dr. Christian Stemberger, first author of the study, and his colleagues, first isolated T cells from the blood of healthy donor mice. These immune cells were directed against molecular elements of a bacterial species which normally causes severe infections in animals. The T cells were then transferred to recipient mice that, due to a genetic modification, could no longer produce immune cells of their own -- similarly to patients suffering from leukemia.

Following the T cell transfer, the researchers infected the treated recipient mice with the bacteria. The results showed that the animals now have effective immune protection against the pathogens, preventing them from becoming ill. "The most astonishing result was that the offspring cells of just one transferred donor cell were enough to completely protect the animals," Christian Stemberger explains.

Successfully used in patients

Finally, the scientists used virus-specific T cells to treat two critically ill patients. Due to a congenital immunodeficiency and leukemia, respectively, stem cell transplants had to be performed on the two patients. Weakened by the procedure, both patients developed CMV infections.

Using a new method, the scientists therefore isolated T cells specifically programmed to target the CMV virus from the blood of the donor and transferred small numbers of these cells to the patients. After only a few weeks, the virus-specific cells proliferated. At the same time, the number of viruses in the blood dropped. "It is a great advantage that even just a few cells can provide protection. This means that the cells can be used for preventive treatment in low doses that are gentler on the organism," Dr. Michael Neuenhahn, last author of the study, explains.

The potential of the identified T cells will now be examined in a clinical study. In addition to an innovative method for cell purification, scientists also have at their disposal a new TUM facility for the sterile manufacture of cell products. In TUMCells, cells can be produced in highly-pure conditions, in so-called clean rooms. In the future, the scientists want to use recent results and TUMCells to develop innovative cell therapies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Stemberger, P. Graef, M. Odendahl, J. Albrecht, G. Dossinger, F. Anderl, V. R. Buchholz, G. Gasteiger, M. Schiemann, G. U. Grigoleit, F. R. Schuster, A. Borkhardt, B. Versluys, T. Tonn, E. Seifried, H. Einsele, L. Germeroth, D. H. Busch, M. Neuenhahn. Lowest numbers of primary CD8 T cells can reconstitute protective immunity upon adoptive immunotherapy. Blood, 2014; DOI: 10.1182/blood-2013-12-547349

Cite This Page:

Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Promising T cell therapy to protect from infections after transplant." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102913.htm>.
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. (2014, June 17). Promising T cell therapy to protect from infections after transplant. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102913.htm
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Promising T cell therapy to protect from infections after transplant." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140617102913.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
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