The evolution of T-cell depletion in haploidentical stem-cell transplantation

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T-cell depletion (TCD) can prevent the onset of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in animal models of bone marrow transplantation; this manipulation enabled the successful application in the 1980s of T-cell depleted bone marrow (BM) for the treatment of babies with severe combined immune deficiency (SCID). However, in leukaemia patients, implementation of T-cell depletion has been more difficult, especially due to high rate of graft-rejection, leukaemia relapse and delayed immune reconstitution. These hurdles were gradually overcome by modifying the cell composition of the graft, and by reducing the toxicities associated with conditioning protocols. Although no ‘gold standard’ TCD method exists, T-cell depletion in its modern forms could offer clinical benefit, even for patients with a matched sibling donor.

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