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Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD


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Extracellular Vesicles Boost Grafting Ability in Cells

Aug 20, 2019 10:11:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Bone Marrow, Stem Cells, Blood Disorders

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A new study shows that we may be able to boost the grafting ability in cells for people receiving a bone marrow transplant.

Allogenic stem cell transplantation is a treatment approach in people with diseases that are destructive to the bone marrow, such as multiple myeloma, leukemia, and Hodgkin´s lymphoma. The goal is to restore bone marrow after total-body chemotherapy and irradiation. The transplantation procedure involves transferring hematopoietic stem cells from compatible, healthy donors to a patient. An important complication of this procedure is rejection and destruction of the donated stem cells by the recipient’s immune system before engraftment can occur.

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NK Cell Clinical Trial Begins for Incurable Cancer

Jul 16, 2019 10:12:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Immunotherapy, NK Cells

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New tests begin in the United States using stem cell-derived natural killer cells to help patients suffering from incurable cancer.

Curing the incurable is an ongoing and top endeavor in medical research. This is particularly true for the various forms of cancer that are difficult to treat. The investigation and use of immunotherapy as an option for the treatment of different forms of cancer continues to increase. The main immunotherapeutic approach to cancer involves harvesting stem cells from the patient or a donor. Given the logistics, cost, and time this approach takes, the development of a strategy or cell products that can be used on demand is much desired.

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How Transplanted Human Bone Marrow Cells May Improve ALS Therapy

Jul 9, 2019 10:07:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Bone Marrow, CNS/Neurodegeneration

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While no cure exists for ALS, researchers are finding ways to use unmodified human bone marrow CD34+ cells for spinal restoration.

The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking influenced how countless scientists worldwide view the universe. He also demonstrated his remarkable ability to survive amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for 55 years. He is thought to be the longest survivor of ALS. According to the ALS Association, 50% of those with ALS survive for about 3 years after diagnosis, 20% survive for 5 or more years, and 10% survive for 10 years or more. There is no cure for ALS, and therapies that can slow or delay progression, decrease symptoms, and repair damaged spinal-cord tissue are continuously sought.

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Better Immunotherapy Research Needed for Elderly Lung Cancer Patients

Jun 25, 2019 10:03:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cancer, Immunotherapy

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Varied responses to immunotherapy among elderly lung cancer patients reveal the need for more age-inclusive research and clinical trials.

The proportion of the U.S. population that is over 65 years of age has risen. Almost 50 million people are in this age range, a result of medical advancements which improve survival. However, cancer incidence has increased in this same age-group. More specifically, the 75 to 84-year-old age group has the highest percentage of cancer deaths. This increased incidence of cancer in the elderly may be associated with changes that occur in the immune system with advancing age.

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Improving Immune Checkpoint Therapy for Melanoma

Apr 23, 2019 10:07:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Cytotoxic T Cells, Immunotherapy, T Cells

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Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and more likely to grow and metastasize. It has a high response rate to checkpoint inhibitor therapy compared to other cancers; however, about 60% of patients treated do not respond well or relapse. Immune checkpoints are proteins expressed on T cells and function to ensure self-tolerance, but they are also used by tumor cells to limit anti-tumor immune function.

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