Birmingham scientists given £1.6 million to research blood cancer cure

Birmingham scientists given £1.6 million to research blood cancer cure

There appears to be a delay in HU commencing the switch over, but are close to it's start.. We do not know exactly when we will be back, remember in the beginning admin will be setting categories and information defaults, please bear with us.

As the site is still up, this interesting research news item from Lymphoma & Lymphoma Research, may be of interest, See you on the other side :-)

Professor Paul Moss of Birmingham University and head of Cancer research UK discusses research to improve matching to donors in stem cell transplants and research to improve graft versus leukaemia at the same time reduce side effects and predict and intervene early in patients in whom graft versus host disease is expected to develop.

Thanks for your patience.


LLR article June 20th 2013

Birmingham scientists given £1.6 million to research blood cancer cure


Snippets from LLR article :

"University of Birmingham scientists have been awarded £1.6 million by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research to improve the effectiveness of stem cell transplants for patients with blood cancers such as leukaemia and lymphoma.

Interestingly a powerful ‘graft-versus-leukaemia’ effect develops after transplantation in which the donor immune system recognises remaining leukaemia cells as ‘foreign’ and kills them. This immune reaction is crucial to a transplant’s success. For the first time, the University of Birmingham researchers will examine these immune responses in the first few days after transplantation, leading to a better understanding of how they are generated.

In addition, the researchers have developed a way to vaccinate the healthy stem cell donor with proteins that can generate anti-leukaemia immune cells. If the donor’s immune system can be ‘primed’ to recognise cancer cells before transplantation, the graft-versus-leukaemia effect will be greatly improved. If preliminary trials are successful, the technique will become available to transplant patients in clinical trials

As well as boosting the graft versus leukaemia effect, the project will focus on reducing side-effects of transplants by improving donor-patient genetic matching. Currently a stem cell donor is chosen that has similar immune-related genes to the patient, but it is not possible to achieve a perfect pairing. This means that the new donor immune system has genes that are slightly different from the patient’s. This enhances the graft-versus-leukaemia response but can also lead to side-effects if the new immune system attacks the patient’s tissue.

Professor Paul Moss of the University of Birmingham said: “This project will enable us to select better donor and recipient combinations, and to predict and intervene early in patients in whom we expect graft versus host disease to develop.” ".

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3 Replies

  • I wonder

    1) Whether this post will make it to the other side?

    2) Whether this research will improve transplant success for older patients?


    PS No email notification received for this post, which is ominous given the expected lower site traffic today

  • Good thinking Neil, In case HU captured everything earlier, I will save it

    Transplants are currently a toxic high risk regime, suitable for the few with fitness and few options available.

    Perhaps when combined with the cell killing power of less toxic agents in trial in the future,? Yes I wonder if in the future more will be able to tolerate it and about cost?

    When you consider that novel pathway inhibitors are for life and in excess of 100k per year per patient. A one time treatment that provides a cure for a few looks more interesting if you can improve the chances of it working.

  • Just finished reading "The Emperor of all Maladies". Has a good read on why properly conducted trials are essential. Not too long ago, back in the '90's, medical scientists knew that when it came to chemo, the weakest part of the body was the bone marrow (the most rapidly developing cells in the body occurred there to supply replacement blood cells). They worked out that they might improve breast cancer survival if they took a bone marrow sample before absolutely nuking the body - killing the marrow. Then they did a trial with autologous stell cell transplants using a previously taken marrow sample. A Dr in South Africa was getting excellent survival results with this technique and the world followed blindly - not waiting to for trials to be completed. They had problems recruiting trial participants - everyone wanted their marrow nuked. Then no one else could replicate the Sth African Dr's results. Turns out he was faking them. Survival time was no better than standard protocol.

    There's a powerful lesson there for those calling for faster access to ibruntinib...

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