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SICKLE CELL AND TRANSPLANT

ANCHOR LEAD:  A NEWER TYPE OF BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT MAY HELP PEOPLE WITH SICKLE CELL DISEASE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Bone marrow transplantation has always been a risky procedure, and therefore reserved for those who are at risk of dying of their disease.  But now a modified version of the procedure may help people with sickle cell disease, who may not be at immediate risk of dying but often suffer crippling pain.  Jonathan Powell, a blood disease expert at Johns Hopkins, led the study.

POWELL:  We’ve been performing a different type of transplant that’s called nonmyeloablative.  And what that means is that rather than wipe out the patient’s bone marrow, we just create a little bit of space and suppress their immune system and then give them the transplant in the hopes that they will accept the transplant , meaning their immune system won’t reject it, and in a sense they’ll be a chimera, meaning part of their bone marrow will be from their own bone marrow and then part will be from the donor.               :28

Results on a small series of people with sickle cell disease have shown very promising results, Powell says.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.



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