Treating Disease With Stem Cells Essay Research — страница 2

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15.4 kilograms. Seven patients received HLA-matched blood and 11 received varying degrees of HLA-mismatched grafts. Six months after transplantation, 65 percent of the patients were alive and only two developed severe graft-versus-host disease. The authors stated that the benefits of cord blood transplantation included the ?low rate of graft-versus-host disease, rapid availability of blood, lessened donor risk, and a low risk of transmissible infections such as cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr virus.? Even with these and other successful transplantations, there are still questions to be answered. For example, what is the minimal cell dose? Can an adult recipient be effectively transplanted? Because the volume of umbilical blood collected at birth is between 80 and 100

milliliters, the majority of transplants have been pediatric cases. Bone marrow, on the other hand, gives the doctor a large supply of stem cells. Researchers are now seeking methods to increase the number of cord blood cells for use in larger adult patients. Further basic science and clinical research will answer these and other dilemmas such as the graft versus leukemia effect, how long cord blood can be preserved and utilized, and the degree of graft-versus-host disease. There is additional research going on now to investigate the feasibility of inserting genes into cord blood stems cells and using them for gene therapy. The possibilities have sparked increased interest into doctors and scientists worldwide. With this interest comes the need for both private family and public

cord blood banks. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded the first donor cord blood band and is also funding two more in California. Fortunately, the number of insurance companies who will pay for cord blood storage is increasing. The $1,500 for the initial service and $95 per year storage fee saves the insurer thousands of dollars compared to a bone marrow harvest, which costs between $5,000 and $10,000, or an unrelated donor?s bone marrow which can cost up to $30,000. According to Dr. Hale, the future holds great promise for the use of cord blood stem cells. The results of these studies must be compared with the anticipated high mortality rate without transplantation. The number of cord blood transplants is expected to increase significantly in the near future and

further research will continue to improve knowledge and increase survival rates. Diseases that are currently treatable with Stem Cells*: Malignant Diseases ? Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia ? Acute myeloblastic leukemia ? Chronic myelogenous leukemia ? Hodgkin?s disease ? Multiple myeloma ? Non-Hodgkin?s lymphoma Nonmalignant Diseases ? Aplastic anemia ? Sickle cell anemia ? Osteopertrosis ? Globoid cell leukodystrophy ? Severe combined immunodeficiency ? Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome ? X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome ? Hunter?s syndrome ? Hurler?s syndrome ? Lesch Nyhan syndrome ? Beta thalassemia *Scientific American, January 1998 Bibliography Gregory Hale, Ph.D. Scientific American Magazine Online January 1998