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Stem cell transplantation (cord blood transplants).

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  • 1Duke University, Durham, NC 27705-3976, USA.

Abstract

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is an accepted treatment modality for selected malignant and non-malignant diseases. However, the ability to identify suitably matched related or unrelated donors can be difficult in some patients. Alternative sources of stem cells such as cord blood provide a readily available graft for such patients. Data accumulated over the past several years have demonstrated that the use of cord blood is an accepted source of stem cells for pediatric patients. Since the cell numbers of hematopoietic progenitors in cord blood is limited and the collection can occur only in a single occasion, its use in adult patients can be more problematic. Here, new developments in the use of cord blood for adults and studies aimed at expansion of cord blood cells and immune reconstitution are described. In Section I, Dr. Nelson Chao describes the early data in cord blood transplantation in adult patients. The patient outcomes are reviewed and analyzed for various factors such as cell dose, HLA typing, and patient selection that could have contributed to the final outcome of these adult patients. Myeloablative as well as nonmyeloablative approaches are presented. Discussion of the various benefits and risks are presented. More recent data from multiple single institutions as well as larger registry data comparisons are also provided. Analyses of these studies suggest methods to improve on the outcome. These newer data should lead to a logical progression in the use of cord blood cells in adult patients. In Section II, Dr. Stephen Emerson describes the historical efforts associated with expansion of hematopoietic stem cells, specifically with cord blood cells. These efforts to expand cord blood cells continue with novel methods. Moreover, a better understanding of stem cell biology and signaling is critical if we are to be able to effectively expand these cells for clinical use. An alternative, more direct, approach to expanding stem cells could be achieved by specific genetic pathways known or believed to support primitive HSC proliferation such as Notch-1 receptor activation, Wnt/LEF-1 pathway induction, telomerase or the Homeobox (Hox) gene products. The clinical experience with the use of expanded cord blood cells is also discussed. In Section III, Dr. Kenneth Weinberg describes immune reconstitution or lack thereof following cord blood transplantation. One of the hallmarks of successful hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the ability to fully reconstitute the immune system of the recipient. Thus, the relationship between stem cell source and the development of T lymphocyte functions required for protection of the recipient from infection will be described, and cord blood recipients will be compared with those receiving other sources of stem cells. T cell development is described in detail, tracking from prethymic to postthymic lymphocytes with specific attention to umbilical cord blood as the source of stem cells. Moreover, a discussion of the placenta as a special microenvironment for umbilical cord blood is presented. Strategies to overcome the immunological defects are presented to improve the outcome of these recipients.

PMID:
15561692
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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