Optimizing the applicability of stem cell therapy. Improving cord blood stem cell homing and engraftment by liposome-complexed Wnt and molecular imaging
A stem cell transplant may be the indicated treatment for acute leukemia (blood cancer). In that case, a leukemia patient then receives blood-forming stem cells from a donor. These stem cells must start producing new blood cells and blood platelets. Umbilical cord blood is being used even more frequently as a source, but this source contains very few blood-forming stem cells. As a result, a relatively large number of patients will experience complications after the transplant, which can even lead to unnecessary deaths.

Within this project, the partners are working on a new culture method to increase the number of stem cells available for transplant in the laboratory. The cultured stem cells are tested in a unique model system, and fifteen patients will receive a transplant with these stem cells. A second part of the study focuses on the visualization of the efficacy of the treatment. The stem cells are labeled with metal spheres, so that they can be seen on an MRI scan. Although the technique already exists, it will be applied in this manner for the first time during the ProGraft study.

Fast facts
Full project title: Optimizing the applicability of stem cell therapy. Improving cord blood stem cell homing and engraftment by liposome-complexed Wnt and molecular imaging
Start date: January 2011
End date: January 2015
Goal: Increase the success rate of stem cell transplantation using umbilical cord blood
Principal Investigator: Jan J. Cornelissen, Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam
Project size: 4,2 FTE 's
Partners: Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, Utrecht University, Glycostem Therapeutics, GE Healthcare

“The experience that TI Pharma has from putting together partnerships to research neglected diseases is really valuable, because it applies across other therapeutic diseases.”

Tim Wells
Chief Scientific Officer
Medicines for Malaria Venture

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