T-cell therapy could prevent transplant patients developing a form of cancer as a consequence of immunosuppression, researchers have found.
Around one in 10 patients who receive a transplanted organ can go on to develop post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD).
Scientists believe it may be caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, which is carried by more than 90% of the population and causes glandular fever.
Most people do not suffer any effects from the virus, but it can cause PTLD in transplant patients whose immune systems are suppressed by anti-rejection drugs.
Now, researchers have found that injecting people with T-cells from healthy donors can cause tumours to diminish or disappear completely.
Investigators at Edinburgh University, UK, generated killer T-cells and gave them to 33 patients with PTLD, including 10 children.
The study, published in the journal Blood, found patients who receive the treatment show “encouraging” responses.
Some 64% of patients responded well to the treatment after five weeks, and after six months 52% saw signs of success.
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