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Prototype Drug Targets Metabolism, Halts Disease That Limits Bone Marrow Transplantation

Posted Jan 27 2011 6:56pm

A prototype drug already shown to hold promise for treating autoimmune disorders like lupus, arthritis and psoriasis halts established graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in mouse models of bone marrow transplantation, research at the University of Michigan and the University of Florida shows.

The research, published in the Jan. 26 issue of Science Translational Medicine, also offers new insights into how the cells that cause GVHD and other immune disorders make adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP), the fuel cells use to survive and carry out their prescribed functions. These findings challenge a long-standing model of how activated cells of the immune system make ATP, opening the door for fundamentally new approaches to combat immune diseases.

Bone marrow is the soft tissue that helps form blood cells, including the white cells that fight disease and infection. Bone marrow transplantation is a life-saving procedure used to treat diseases once thought incurable, including leukemia, aplastic anemia, Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, immune deficiency disorders, and some solid tumors. During what’s known as allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, healthy bone marrow stem cells from a donor are transfused into a patient, replacing marrow that is either not working properly or has been destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation.

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