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Device may hasten stem cell harvesting.

BOSTON -- Two physicians and a mechanical engineer are developing an experimental device that could transform the harvesting of stem cells from bone marrow into a 20-minute outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia.

Dr. Daniel Kraft introduced a prototype, called the MarrowMiner, in a poster at a meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. "What we hope it will do is to revolutionize how we get stem cells out--and also have applications in the growing field of stem cell therapy," said Dr. Kraft, a specialist in bone marrow transplantation at the Stanford (Calif.) University Medical Center.

The MarrowMiner has a trocar that enters the pelvic cavity through a single point in one or both hips. A lone clinician then aspirates marrow by manipulating a flexible catheter. The device can collect 80%-100% of bone marrow in the ileac in less than 20 minutes, he said. The poster displayed photographs from proof-of-concept testing in swine and a cadaver.

Dr. Kraft said the Stanford-based inventors--Dr. Robert Negrin, engineer Craig Milroy, and himself--have formed a company, StemCore Systems, to develop the MarrowMiner. They hope to start human clinical trials in about a year.

Bone marrow harvesting is currently an arduous and expensive operative procedure requiring hospitalization, general anesthesia, and a team of physicians. Dr. Kraft said between 200 and 300 needle thrusts are required to collect about a liter of marrow.

An alternative technique, peripheral blood stem cell apheresis, uses a catheter or central lines to remove stem cells in a series of 4-hour sessions that take place over 1-3 days, according to the poster. Before-hand, patients receive 7-10 days of injections with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) to stimulate production and mobilization of stem cells in the bone marrow.

The inventors claim that the MarrowMiner would be safer, more efficient, and more convenient than these techniques. They propose that allogeneic bone marrow recipients would be less likely to develop graft-versus-host disease because the extracted material would contain less blood and, therefore, fewer contaminating T cells.

Better access to patients of all sizes, from thin to obese, may be another advantage, as the device uses the easy-to-find anterior ileac crest as its access site.

BY JANE SALODOF MACNEIL

Contributing Writer
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Title Annotation:MarrowMiner
Author:MacNeil, Jane Salodof
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Aug 1, 2004
Words:367
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