Saturday, 23 May 2015

The troubles with transplants

For many years the limit of transplants of blood stem cells is that they can be used as donors only brothers and sisters, the only family members who may have a profile with high rates of immunogenetic compatibility. It is, however, a possibility that only occurs in 25% of cases. In addition, the percentage is expected to drop further, unfortunately, due to the decline of births in our country. To address this problem, over the years, we have created centers of collection and storage of cord blood and Registers of volunteers who collect more than 20 million bone marrow donors. Nevertheless, there is still a 30-40% of people who remain without a compatible donor.

To use the father or mother for transplantation is an important solution to this problem. The technique developed by the Child Jesus can resolve the fact that part of the parents (usually in fact the parents are immunologically compatible with the children only 50%).

In detail, the method requires that donors undergo a drug treatment that stimulates the bone marrow to "liberate" the bloodstream hematopoietic stem cells so they can be collected from the veins of your arms with a simple drawing. This technique avoids collect cells directly from the bone marrow donor to save a much more invasive procedure.

Subsequently the blood is filtered through a machine that exploits the magnetic properties of the white blood cells from the blood to remove a particular type of white blood cells known as T lymphocytes alpha-beta positive. These are responsible for a complication, known as "graft versus host disease," in which the transplanted cells attack the recipient's tissues. In the compound you get - and this is the main difference compared to normal bone marrow transplants - in addition to hematopoietic stem cells, are also natural killer cells and "gamma-delta T cells positive". "In this way - explained during the presentation of Professor Franco Locatelli - at the time of the transplant, the patient, in addition to receiving treatment for the disease that affects, is also protected from infections that can occur within four months operation, thanks to the white blood cells in the blood of the donor. We can therefore say that we managed to transplant with a donor to 50% with the same results as those completed with subjects totally compatible. "
As for the fields of application, the technique developed by the Child Jesus can be a solution for blood cancers and other diseases, including: severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), the Fanconi anemia, the Thalassemia major and severe aplastic anemia. The results obtained in the testing phase, in fact, show that the ability to care for children with these diseases are the 90%.

"Another source of pride for their achievements - said Professor Giuseppe Profiti, president of the Child Jesus (see interview below) - it is that this method also has the advantage of being easily replicable. This means being able to significantly expand the pool of people who will have access to treatment options that this new technology offers. "

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