Indexed on: 29 May '10Published on: 29 May '10Published in: Gene Therapy
Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is one of the major complications of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, an otherwise highly effective therapeutic modality for patients affected by hematological diseases. The main inducers of GvHD are alloreactive donor T cells, which recognize host antigens presented by recipient cells. The critical role of lymphocytes in GvHD is well documented by the observation that T-cell depletion from the graft prevents GvHD. Unfortunately, the removal of donor lymphocytes from the graft increases the incidence of disease relapse and life-threatening infectious complications. Gene transfer technologies are promising tools to manipulate donor T-cell immunity to enforce graft-versus-tumor/graft-versus-infection while preventing or controlling GvHD. For this purpose, several cell and gene transfer approaches have been investigated at the preclinical level and implemented in clinical trials.