Autologous CD117+ progenitor cell therapy for allograft prolongation
A research group led by Dr. Todd Grazia, Dr. Martin Zamora and Mr. Robert Plenter developed a method for preventing acute transplant rejection and increasing graft survival. In this method, isolated autologous bone marrow stem cells that express the protein CD117 on their surface are systemically administered at the time of organ transplant. The method allows for potential cytoprotection of the graft parenchyma without attenuation of systemic T-cell populations thus potentially allowing for significant dose reduction of classical immunosuppressives, such as calcineurin inhibitors, to avoid off-target toxicity and global systemic immune suppression. Studies utilizing these stem cells in a mouse heart transplant model demonstrated significantly improved survival of transplanted hearts – as much as five times that of untreated transplants.