Researchers from multiple institutions, including Drs. Stefan Ciurea and Dean Lee, published data last month showing the feasibility and safety for preventing relapse of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by treating with ex vivo expanded NK cells in combination with haploindentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
Relapse of the cancer has emerged as the most important cause of treatment failure after allogeneic HSCT. NK cells have a notable potential to help with cancer treatments. They have a unique ability to act like border patrol agents and select potentially dangerous cells without knowing their specific identity and without causing damage to normal tissue.
NK cells have been difficult to grow in vitro, but new technologies can support proliferation of NK cells, without plateau or senescence, to produce therapeutically relevant doses.
From the publication abstract, the clinical trial demonstrated, “production feasibility and safety of infusing high doses of ex vivo expanded NK cells after haploidentical HSCT without adverse effects, increased GVHD or higher mortality, and was associated with significantly improved NK cell number and function, lower viral infections, and low relapse rate post-transplant.”
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