08 Aug WisBusiness: Researchers testing new personalized cell therapy for transplant recipients
Researchers with the UW Program for Advanced Cell Therapy are testing a personalized therapy for a viral infection that affects up to 40 percent of kidney and pancreas transplant recipients.
The study is being performed at the UW Program for Advanced Cell Therapy. Scientists will use specialized white blood cells to treat severe cytomegalovirus after kidney procedures. About one-third of children are infected with this virus by age 5, according to the CDC, though it usually doesn’t cause symptoms in those with healthy immune systems.
But in patients who’ve recently had a transplant procedure, the immune system is suppressed, giving the CMV virus a chance to advance through the body. In those cases, infections can be deadly, and some existing treatments have serious negative side effects.
Dr. Jacques Galipeau, director of PACT, says the new approach provides a safer alternative for patients. The study team is taking white blood cells from a healthy relative of the patient, and changing them so they attack and kill the CMV virus when introduced to the patient’s system.
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