News

AddToAny

Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

New biomarker to prevent graft-versus-host disease

A recent report sheds light on immune cell biomarkers that may reveal which patients are most at risk for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

This is a life-threatening condition that can arise after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for treatment of blood cancers, such as leukaemia.

Sophie Paczesny, lead author, said: “Allogeneic HSCT remains the only validated treatment to cure leukaemia. 

“In HSCT, donor-matched cells are infused into the bloodstream of sick patients and ultimately travel to the bone marrow. Some of these cells are immune cells, which help eliminate residual leukaemia cells not killed by chemotherapy. 

“Yet despite careful donor-recipient matching and use of immunosuppressive therapies following transplantation, some of the donor’s immune cells may begin to attack the patient’s tissues, which is called graft-versus-host disease.”

GVHD impacts up to 50% of patients receiving HSCT and can manifest in multiple organs. About a third of those with GVHD experience localised effects within the gastrointestinal tract (GI-GVHD), which carries the highest risk for fatality.

Paczesny’s group showed that levels of dendritic cells (specifically a population known as plasmacytoid dendritic cells) expressing the ICOS ligand were increased in patients with GI-GVHD compared with controls. Critically, patients with high levels of these cells had significantly lower three-year survival outcomes compared with those with low levels. 

bit.ly/33GQEkJ

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Related Articles

The vaccine race

With more than 150 COVID-19 vaccines in development, we put the three front-runners under the microscope and look at the incredible, unprecedented development work of the last year.

Smallpox, salmonella and sacrifice

Stephen Mortlock looks back at the history of the Aztec civilisation, the diseases that struck and the treatments that were created.

Urgent need for early COVID-19 treatments

COVID-19 treatments for people with early infection are needed urgently, according to Anthony S Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

What is long COVID?

Dr David Strain, a Senior Clinical Lecturer, is heading up the British Medical Association’s work on the long-term impact of COVID-19. Here he explains what we know so far about long COVID.

Top