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TRANSPLANT CHANGES

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

Bone marrow transplantation has the potential to treat many diseases that arise or reside in the blood, but has been a brutal undertaking, rendering patients severely at risk for overwhelming infections and death until the new bone marrow starts working.  But now Jonathan Powell and colleagues at Johns Hopkins have changed the process so it may help many more people, including those with sickle cell disease.

POWELL:  What we said is we’re not going to use any of these suppressive drugs but rather, we’re going to allow the immune system to in a sense ‘see’ the donor cells but rather than have those donor cells turn them on, we’re actually going to let that interaction or that recognition turn them off.   And a key to our strategy was employing in a kind of a strategic manner this drug called sirolimus, which blocks this enzyme called emtor.               :29

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.



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