A mother of two beautiful children, Lucie Clark was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while she was slowing losing her eyesight and ability to walk.
Clinical Trial: Personalized cellular therapy after bone marrow transplant to treat Graft Vs Host Disease
For many years, conditions such as cancer, thalassemia, sickle cell disease and aplastic anaemia have been treated using bone marrow transplants in which the patient receives stem cells from a donor. The biggest disadvantage of bone marrow transplant is the high risk of Graft Vs Host Disease (GVHD) in which the lymphocytes of the donor’s stem cells start attacking the organs of the patient.
Now researchers from Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have come together to begin a clinical trial in which adult and children bone marrow transplant patients with GVHD will be treated using an innovative personalized cell therapy. The bone marrow cells of these patients will be harvested to manufacture large volumes of autologous mesenchymal stromal cells. These personalized bone marrow cells will be used to target sites of inflammation especially the liver, intestine and skin thereby limiting long term organ damage.
"The beginning of this clinical trial is the culmination of two years' of collaborative effort by a terrific multidisciplinary team at Emory Healthcare, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Aflac Cancer Center," says Edmund Waller, MD, director of Winship's Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program and investigator on this trial.
Symptoms of GVHD disease include severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, weight loss, skin rash and liver damage. Additionally, chronic GVHD can affect the joints and lungs, among other organs. Available therapies designed to suppress the inflammation of GVHD do not work in everyone and can be life-threatening for patients. The occurrence of GVHD after bone marrow transplantation is high, highlighting the need for new therapies.
As the cells used for treatment are derived from the patient own bone marrow, the treatment would be more effective. This is an FDA monitored clinical trial and the patients will undergo close medical follow up.
This clinical trial is a triumphant breakthrough that is set to complete the success of bone marrow transplantations.