2 April 2012
A new discovery could lead to the effective prevention and treatment of graft-versus-host disease in bone marrow transplants.
Brazilian scientists believe they may have found a way to stop the immune system attacking transplant graft and subsequently damaging the patient's own cells, according to research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.
It was found that a receptor for a mediator of the inflammatory process known as platelet activating factor plays an instrumental role in the development of graft-versus-host disease.
When scientists blocked platelet activating factor in mice, reduced tissue damage and mortality was observed.
This finding is particularly significant given that immune rejection is one of the biggest risks of any transplant procedure.
Researcher Vanessa Pinho commented that using platelet activating factor receptor antagonists could mediate the inflammatory process, thereby decreasing the suffering of the patient.
"As graft-versus-host disease also may decrease quality of life, patients treated with platelet activating factor receptor antagonists may live longer and with better quality of life," she added.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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