Computer models could improve stem cell transplantation

9 December 2014

A team at Virginia Commonwealth University's (VCU) Massey Cancer Center's Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program has published several studies that support the possibility of using computer models to improve stem cell transplantation.

According to their work, this could make transplantation a possibility for more patients who do not have a related donor.

Despite much effort, it is still almost impossible to determine whether or not a stem cell transplant recipient will develop potentially fatal graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which sees the immune system attack the recipient's body. 

Published in the online journal Frontiers in Immunology, the study analysed data obtained from the whole exome sequencing of nine donor-recipient pairs (DRPs). It revealed that it could be possible to identify those who were at the highest risk of developing GVHD and better personalise immunosuppressive therapies to improve clinical outcomes. 

The study suggests that the way a patient's immune system rebuilds itself following stem cell transplantation is representative of a dynamical system, which determines what future state will follow.

Dr Amir Toor, associate professor at the VCU School of Medicine, said: "Using next-generation DNA sequencing technology, it may be possible to account for many of the molecular variables that eventually determine how well a donor's immune system will graft to a patient."

Posted by Phillip Briggs


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