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Umbilical cord stem cell transplantation for primary immunodeficiencies

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mary Slatter, Professor Andrew GenneryORCiD


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Primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs) are a rare but important cause of mortality and morbidity in childhood: the most severe - known as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) - are fatal within the first year of life; other PIDs are less immediately life-threatening, but have a poor long-term outlook. Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the best treatment for SCID and is increasingly offered for other PIDs. The best results are achieved with an HLA-matched family donor. Umbilical cord stem cells (UCSCs) are an alternative stem cell source. Results using UCSCs in the treatment of haematological disorders and malignancy are as good as those for which marrow is the stem cell source. Although PIDs make up a small proportion of disorders amenable to treatment by HSCT, UCSCs are an ideal source of haematopoietic stem cells for many of these patients. Of the 52 patients with SCID or other PIDs for whom detailed information on outcome is available, results of engraftment, immune reconstitution, incidence of graft-versus-host disease and survival are comparable with other stem cell sources. Small stem cell dose and prolonged time to viral immunity limit the patients for whom UCSCs can be used. Newer methods of achieving better engraftment, ex vivo expansion of stem cells and generation of antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells are being developed at present, and will widen the application of UCSCs as a viable source for more patients.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Slatter MA, Gennery AR

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy

Year: 2006

Volume: 6

Issue: 6

Pages: 555-565

ISSN (print): 1471-2598

ISSN (electronic): 1744-7682


DOI: 10.1517/14712598.6.6.555