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.