Blog | HemaCare

HemaCare Bone Marrow Tissue Boosts Development of Cell Therapy for Sickle Cell Disease

Dec 12, 2018 10:10:00 AM / by Nancy Andon, MSc posted in bone marrow-derived stem cells, bone marrow, sickle cell disease

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An independent study cites the use of HemaCare-sourced human bone marrow-derived CD34+ stem cells for research into a potential new therapy for sickle cell disease. [1]

Sickle cell is a serious disease that affects millions of people throughout the world. People affected by sickle cell anemia have rigid, sickle-shaped red blood cells that can’t adequately carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. As a result, sickle cell patients suffer from a variety of medical complications, which can shorten their life span. Contemporary cell therapy treatments have focused on a gene therapy approach that uses lentiviral vectors to supply CD34+ bone marrow-derived stem cells with an unimpaired version of the hemoglobin gene. While this tactic has met with some promise, finding healthy, matched bone marrow donors is difficult. Researchers at Biogen, a well-known biotech firm headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are trying to discover cell and gene therapy methods that they hope will provide an alternative solution, and thereby improve treatment success rates.

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How Dendritic Cells May Shed Light on Organ Rejection

Oct 29, 2018 10:02:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Dendritic cells, immune system

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Skin transplants often face rejection by the immune system, but research shows skin grafts may be pre-treated with dendritic cells before the transplant to prevent organ rejection.

In 2016, more than 33,000 organ transplants occurred in the U.S. After a person receives a transplant, the immune system may attack the organ as foreign. This can occur rapidly, within the first year, in about 15% of people who receive kidney transplants, for example. However, skin transplants are rejected at a much higher rate for reasons that are not fully understood. Researchers of Brigham and Women's Hospital embarked on research studies to determine the cause of skin transplant rejection by the immune system and how this can be prevented.

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Cells May Cooperate to Treat Cancers

Oct 22, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in T cells, NK Cells, Natural Killer Cells, immunotherapy, cancer treatment

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Recent research reveals T cells and Natural Killer (NK) cells may respond to cancer cells differently and could ultimately provide more cancer treatment options.

A leading immunotherapeutic approach to treating cancer involves the use of checkpoint inhibitors. Immune checkpoints are proteins expressed on T cells and are essential for the self-tolerance needed to prevent autoimmunity. When T-cell checkpoint molecules bind to its ligand on cells, the targeted cell is not harmed. These checkpoints are often exploited by tumor cells by possessing checkpoint molecules such as PD-L1 and impeding the immune system’s ability to initiate and carry out an immune attack on the tumor.

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Chronic Stress May Increase Cellular Aging in Women

Oct 16, 2018 8:30:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in PBMCs

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A study using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) demonstrates the link between women’s stress levels and shortened telomere length.

Stress is one of the body’s major means of reacting to life challenges, dangers, and difficulties. Various chemicals are released in the body that promote cellular and organ-level changes needed to cope with, adjust, and respond to stressors. The effects that are felt with chronic stress range anywhere from pain, digestive problems, and fatigue to sexual, cognitive, immunological, and emotional effects. Women are particularly vulnerable to the effects of stress due to unique challenges they face, including gender and race-based discrimination and forms of victimization.

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HIV Cell Therapy in Development

Oct 8, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in HIV, leukopaks, leukopak, T cells

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Combining various treatment approaches is seen as a viable, more powerful means to achieve HIV cure states.

From the time that HIV-related illness and death was first realized in the 1980s until now, efforts to fully understand HIV infection and pathogenesis have been ongoing along with massive research efforts to discover a cure or means to control the spread of the virus. The newest antiviral therapies have made an extraordinary impact on the control of disease progression; however, these do not cure HIV infection and the viral activity returns shortly after antiviral dosing stops. Approaches to achieve HIV immunity are heavily studied, including developing means to provide HIV immunity in T cells and conferring HIV-resistance via gene editing. However, combining various approaches is seen as a viable, more powerful means to achieve HIV control or even a cure.

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