Professor John Rasko AO, Head of the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Centenary Institute and Head of the Department of Cell and Molecular Therapies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital has led a world-first clinical trial into engineered stem cell treatment use.
Published in the prestigious science journal Nature Medicine, Professor Rasko and a team of international collaborators used human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived mesenchymal stromal cells to treat 15 patients with steroid-resistant acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD).
“Graft-versus-host disease is a serious complication of bone-marrow transplantation. This is where donated bone marrow derived T-cells attack the body’s immune system following transplantation,” said Professor Rasko.
“Our study used these engineered iPSC derived mesenchymal stromal cells to treat the 15 patients who were suffering from GvHD. The cells were extremely promising in helping suppress the immune attack taking place. Critically, our results provide solid preliminary support for the key principle that these cells can be used safely and effectively in human beings.”
Professor Rasko says that the successful therapeutic application of these stem cells for GvHD also opens the door to their potential use for other diverse inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases.
To hear more from Professor Rasko about this research, you can listen to his interview on Radio National with Fran Kelly (click to the 1 hr: 41 min: 30 sec mark).
Further information on Professor Rasko and his research can be found here.