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Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2012 Jun;18(6):822-40. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Mesenchymal stromal cells: a new tool against graft-versus-host disease?

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Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, University and CHU of Liège, CHU Sart-Tilman, Liège, Belgium.


Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) represent a heterogeneous subset of multipotent cells that can be isolated from several tissues including bone marrow and fat. MSCs exhibit immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties that prompted their clinical use as prevention and/or treatment for severe graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Although a number of phase I-II studies have suggested that MSC infusion was safe and might be effective for preventing or treating acute GVHD, definitive proof of their efficacy remains lacking thus far. Multicenter randomized studies are ongoing to more precisely assess the impact of MSC infusion on GVHD prevention/treatment, whereas further research is performed in vitro and in animal models with the aims of determining the best way to expand MSCs ex vivo as well as the most efficient dose and schedule of MSCs administration. After introducing GVHD, MSC biology, and results of MSC infusion in animal models of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, this article reviews the results of the first clinical trials investigating the use of MSC infusion as prevention or treatment of GVHD.

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