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Safer and more effective transplants

University of Sydney

  • Early-Mid Career Fellowship
Date Funded:
  • 17 May, 2021
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Associate Professor Emily Blyth

Research intent

Using advanced cell therapy technologies to harness the immune system to reduce complications and increase cancer cure rates in patients with blood cancers.

What is the issue?

Survival after blood stem cell transplant for blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma remains low despite many advances in recent years. Transplant recipients may develop life threatening complications such as graft versus host disease or infection and the original cancer may recur. Once this happens there are very few options for patients. There is a need to make the transplant process safer from treatment related toxicities and more effective at controlling the cancer.

What does the research aim to do and how?

The immune system can be harnessed by advanced cell therapies techniques in several ways to improve blood stem cell transplant outcomes:

  1. Immune cells can be redirected to attack the cancer.
  2. Immune cells responsible for controlling infections can be isolated and given to patients to improve their immunity.
  3. Immune cells that react to the recipient’s cells to cause illness (graft versus host disease) can be removed.