Specialized cells collected from the placenta after a normal birth may one day help patients suffering from acute graft-versus-host disease.
Up to 70 percent of people who receive a stem cell transplant as part of treatment for conditions like leukemia develop GvHD, a painful and life-threatening condition that is the result of the donor’s immune cells attacking the patient’s normal cells.
Steroids typically are used to prevent or reduce the effects of GvHD, but some patients do not respond to the therapy. Researchers also have been looking at mesenchymal stromal cells, which are derived from the bone marrow, for a possible treatment.
The results with MSCs alone were not promising, so a team at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden looked to see if decidua stromal cells, which are collected from the placenta, might produce better results.