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<p>INDIANAPOLIS — Researchers with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center want to find a way to speed up the growth of new cells following umbilical cord blood transplants in adult patients with blood cancers.</p>

Clinical Trial May Lead To More Effective Treatment For Blood Cancers

The researchers seek adult patients who have had an umbilical cord blood transplant to enroll in a phase II clinical trial to determine ways to make the treatment more effective.

Umbilical cord blood transplantation is an alternative source of stem cells for patients who lack an available matching donor for a bone marrow stem cell transplant. For adults, who need more stem cells than children, the umbilical cord transplant poses a problem because of the number of cells available from umbilical cord donations. The smaller number of cells affects the speed of the engraftment, the process in which the donated cells from a transplant start to grow and make new blood cells. This limits the effectiveness of umbilical cord transplants in adults.

Sherif Farag, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and director of the Hematological Malignancies Program, who leads the study, hope that by blocking a stem cell protein, known as CD26, engraftment will take place faster.

Results from this trial may offer patients with blood cancers safer and more readily available treatments.

This clinical trial builds on previous groundbreaking studies by Hal Broxmeyer, Ph.D., chair and the Mary Margaret Walther Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the IU School of Medicine and a researcher at the IU Simon Cancer Center. Dr. Broxmeyer found in the laboratory that inhibiting the protein CD26 enhances engraftment of low numbers of stem cells in animals.

The study is funded by the V Foundation for Cancer Research and the Signature Center Initiative at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis.

If interested in participating, contact Dr. Farag at (317) 278-0460 or Lisa Wood, coordinating research nurse, at (317) 274-1781.