“It was difficult,” said Dr. Hisham Hameed, a retired surgeon at the Mayo Clinic who specializes in endovascular treatment. Still, he’s optimistic.
Hameed and his colleagues conducted their own randomized trial on the effects of the therapy, and in a study published earlier this year, the results appeared to support the idea. Of the 665 patients who were randomized, nearly half improved.
But the team isn’t entirely sure of their findings, says Dr. Thomas L. Paine III, an endovascular surgeon at the Mayo Clinic. That’s because they followed only a small number of patients across the study, and so weren’t able to establish causality.
Hameed plans to do the same with his study, which is due to be published as early as this fall in The Journal of the American Medical Association. If the results of that trial, also carried out by the Mayo Clinic, hold merit, he predicts he’ll have thousands of potential patients in the pipeline.
“I’d be lying if I said this isn’t the most exciting clinical trial I’ve ever seen,” Hameed says.
For years, the conventional wisdom about the effectiveness of stem cell transplants has been that the only way to get stem cells into the bloodstream is with surgery. But that may not be the case for everyone with a specific blood type.
That’s because different types of blood are able to draw out different kinds of stem cells — depending on where they come from.
For example, if a person’s blood comes from a type of red blood cell called red T cells, the T cells are better at getting them into the bloodstream.
But if the T cells come from a type called T cells of type CD4, which is the type that helps fight infection, then the T cells are much better at transporting the cells into the bloodstream.
That’s why a person’s blood may be more likely to get a transplanted stem cell from their bone marrow if he has a type of bone marrow that naturally supports it. This is the case for people whose type of bone marrow is called an interferon-alpha-deficient (IFN-α) marrow.
In other words, the more red T cells, T cells of type CD4, your liver or bone marrow, are, the less likely your body is to get the transplant tissue.
The same is true for people with a blood type that doesn’t
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