In a nutshell
This study looked at the safety and effectiveness of using stem cells from the umbilical cord to reduce the return of disease in acute leukemia. Researchers found that stem cells from the umbilical cord were more effective than stem cells from other areas in the treatment of acute leukemia.
Refractory acute leukemia (rAL) is a cancer of the bone marrow that stops responding to treatment. This can make it difficult to improve and cure disease. Stem cell transplantation can be used to replace the abnormal cells in rAL. These stem cells may be taken from donor bone marrow (haplo-HSCT) or can be taken from the umbilical cord (cord-haplo). It is important to research this to find the best method to treat rAL.
Methods & findings
97 patients with rAL were treated with the haplo-cord stem cell treatment plan and 42 patients were treated with haplo-HSCT.
Fewer patients (25.9%) who underwent cord-haplo treatment experienced relapse (return of symptoms of cancer) after 2 years compared to 53.2% of patients who underwent haplo-HSCT. 35.5% of the cord-haplo group survived without progression of disease compared to 17.9% of the patients who received haplo-HCST.
There were less side effects linked with the cord-haplo group than the haplo-HSCT group. This included transplant rejection, allergic reactions (7.1%), fever (4.8%) and viral infections.
The bottom line
The study concluded that stem cell treatment taken from the umbilical cord was more effective than other methods in the treatment of unresponsive acute leukemia.
The fine print
A small sample size and looking at old data are limitations of this study that require further research.
Talk to your doctor about using umbilical cord stem cell treatment for AL.
Published By :
Biology of blood and marrow transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Sep 08, 2018