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More Curative Bone Marrow Transplants are Successful When Patients Given Double the Radiation Beforehand, Study Says


The success rate of bone marrow transplants for patients with sickle cell disease or beta thalassemia, from only “half-matched” donors, increased by doubling the radiation delivered to patients’ bodies before the transplants, a John Hopkins University study shows.

The study, “Effect of increased dose of total body irradiation on graft failure associated with HLA-haploidentical transplantation in patients with severe haemoglobinopathies: a prospective clinical trial,” was published in the journal The Lancet Haematology.

Sickle cell disease can potentially be cured with bone marrow transplants, but the strategy has been of limited use due to some constraints, namely the need to match the donor and the recipient for protein markers called human leukocyte antigens (HLA), a set of proteins that can trigger an immune system response. Each person carries a unique set of these proteins, which means that matching potential organ donors and recipients requires thorough testing to check that their HLAs are compatible.

 

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