Young Blood's Effect on Alzheimer’s Disease

In Alzheimer's disease, brain cells die, and their connections to one another degenerate leading to decline in mental function. The brain changes that occur in Alzheimer's disease are associated with the production and deposition of beta-amyloid plaques. Currently, treatment of Alzheimer's disease focuses on delaying or slowing mental decline and addressing behavioral complications. There are a few U.S. FDA−approved drugs used to treat Alzheimer's disease symptoms. These drugs regulate neurotransmitters, but have limited duration, only work in some patients, and do not address the underlying cause.

Advances in Immunotherapy May Change Glioblastoma Treatments

Glioblastomas are malignant tumors that affect the brain or spinal cord. These tumors arise from astrocytes, but after forming are usually composed of many different cell types. This mixed-cell feature of glioblastomas contributes to the difficulty in developing newer successful treatments. Radiation and chemotherapy remain as first-line treatments for glioblastomas. Targeted therapies (drugs designed to block molecules that promote tumor growth and progression) that have been developed thus far have not yet yielded very promising outcomes for patients with glioblastomas and are associated with a number of troublesome side effects.

Immune Research Innovations Support Multiple Sclerosis Arena

Recent advances in immunology research have uncovered extensive and amazing knowledge of how many cells and other factors of the immune system identify antigens and diseased cells. However, there remain many gaps in knowledge, and filling these will help achieve even more impactful breakthroughs in the immunotherapy and vaccine arena. The Human Vaccines Project is a nonprofit organization with the goal to contribute to the development of vaccines and immunotherapies by understanding the human immune system at a deeper level.

Gene Therapy Tackles Sickle-Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic disorder that affects red blood cells. This disease affects people of color more commonly and is due to the effect of abnormally shaped red blood cells (crescent or sickle-shaped instead of disc shaped). The misshapen red blood cells contain a form of hemoglobin, hemoglobin S, resulting from mutation of the beta-globin gene. Hemoglobin S does not hold oxygen efficiently, and the abnormal shape of the red blood cells prevents normal flow through the blood vessels, leading to vessel blockage. This leads to the pain and tissue damage seen in patients with SCD.

Cell Cryopreservation: Key to Optimal Cell Therapy Development and Application

Cryopreservation of therapeutic cells allows the long-term storage of functional cells and prevents degradative processes. Fresh cells are also used for cellular therapy approaches; however, there are many circumstances that make the availability of cryopreserved cells a must for repeated and on-hand use of cells. Cell cryopreservation provides a reliable stock of cells, which reduces the variability of cell therapy product. This translates to a more standardized product that can be used on a larger scale and without constraints on optimal availability for clinical use. 

HemaCare’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2017

As each year passes, we realize new accomplishments in medical science. These advances are being achieved at faster and more significant ways as technology allows breakthroughs previously unimaginable. HemaCare has shared and helped realize many of these breakthroughs throughout 2017. Let’s countdown the best blogs of 2017, reflect on this new and promising medical knowledge, and prepare for another year of uncovering new paths to cell and gene-based medical therapies.

Versatility and Specificity of CAR-T Cell Cytokines

In chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell immunotherapy, T cells are obtained from a patient and genetically modified to express specific receptors (CARs) against tumor antigens. The best studied and successful CAR-T cells target the CD19 antigen on neoplastic B cells. However, this targeted approach gives quite variable results. The secretion by CD19 CAR-T cells of various cell signaling molecules varies between patients and individual CAR-T cells. The question then is how to measure the ability of CD19 CAR-T cells to release signals, after a specific antigenic challenge and correlate that to patient responses.

CAR-T: The Designer Tumor Therapy Frontier

Personalized medicine is taking new and powerful forms in the field of immunotherapy. The technology behind making customized tumor-destroying cells, thought of not long ago as science-fiction, is now a reality. [1,2] Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells, or CAR-T cells, are designer, precision built personal immunotherapeutic agents that target an individual’s tumor. The use of CAR-T cells is a means of using the body’s own immune system arsenal to attack cancer cells.

Receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1-derived peptide as target for the design of cytotoxic T cell-based immunotherapy

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common form of leukemia in adults. It is due to the growth of neoplastic B cells in the bone marrow, blood, and lymphoid tissues. People with relapsed/refractory high-risk CLL do not respond to conventional treatments. A possible valuable strategy to design T-cell−based treatment involves the receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1). ROR1 mRNA is found to be highly expressed in CLL cells; however, it is not found to be expressed in other bone marrow–derived cells, including blood cells, or normal adult non-hematopoietic cells. Higher expression of ROR1 in CLL cells was correlated with lower CLL survival. Therefore, ROR1 may play a key role in the progression of CLL.

Characterization of T Cell Subsets in Adult Minimal Change Disease

Minimal change disease (MCD) is a kidney disease characterized by pathology in the glomeruli. The disease has its name because changes associated with it can only be seen via electron microscopy. The effects on the glomeruli lead to its increase in permeability and subsequent severe loss of proteins in the urine. Immunological changes in the kidney tissue are thought to promote the development of MCD. Research studies have suggested that abnormalities in Foxp3 T regulatory (Treg) cells, which control immune homeostasis, are involved in MCD pathogenesis.