Areas of interest
Solid-organ transplantation is a lifesaving procedure in which a failing or damaged organ in the human body is removed and replaced with a functioning one taken from another human body. One of the major problems faced by all transplanted patients is a rejection of the transplanted organ which is recognized as foreign by their immune system. An untreated rejection can result in complete destruction of the transplanted organ.
Stem cell transplantation is a procedure that is mainly used to treat cancers of the blood, such as leukemia. One serious and often fatal complication of stem cell transplantation is graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), during which immune cells contained in and developed from the transplanted stem cells (the graft) attack tissues and organs of the recipient (the host).
Stem Cell Transplantation
Stem cell transplantation is a potentially curative procedure and an established therapeutic option for a number of diseases, primarily malignant diseases of the blood. In recent years, stem cell transplantation has also become an alternative therapeutic option for the treatment of other serious diseases, such as some autoimmune diseases.
During allogeneic stem cell transplantation, the hematopoietic system, including the immune system of the patient is replaced with that of a healthy donor. This procedure involves giving patients high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation to destroy the cancer cells and suppress/eradicate the patient’s immune system in order to receive stem cells. Donated stem cells from a related or unrelated individual are then administered to the patient where they migrate to the bone marrow, expand and reconstitute the hematopoietic/immune system.
However, the long-term success of this treatment is still often limited by the development of life-threatening complications, such as acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease.
Solid Organ Transplantation
Organ transplantation is a lifesaving procedure for end-stage organ failure. Solid-organ transplantation involves replacing the diseased or failing organ with a new, healthy one. Commonly transplanted organs are the kidney, liver, heart, and lung.
Successful solid organ transplantation requires suppression of the recipient’s immune system to ensure the transplanted organ is accepted and rejection is prevented. Patients usually require multi-drug immunosuppressive therapy, which is often initiated by an antibody medication.
Aplastic anemia is a rare, but serious hematological disease caused by a failure or deficiency of the bone marrow to produce blood cells (erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets). Patients with aplastic anemia are at risk of life-threatening infections or fatal bleeding. Curative treatments for aplastic anemia include immunosuppressive therapy, and/or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Autoimmune diseases are characterized by a dysregulation of the immune system. The result is an immunologic attack against the own body and/or body tissues leading to organ and tissue damage. A large number of different autoimmune diseases have been recognized.