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UK scientists treating transplant patients with lymphatic cancer by injecting donor blood cells.

British scientists are working on a new treatment for transplant patients who develop lymphatic cancer that involves injecting them with donor blood cells to help them battle Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a common infection linked to the malignancy.

EBV is a common virus, carried by nearly 90% of people. In healthy persons, the infection almost always is kept in check by the immune system. But in transplant recipients, whose natural immunity is weakened by anti- rejection drugs, the illness can have serious, even deadly consequences.

"Because so many people carry the virus, most blood donors will have the EBV killer cells which keep the virus under control," said Professor Dorothy Crawford, of the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) Medical School. "We hope that by screening donated blood, we will be able to find EBV killer cells to match up with the tissue types of 95% of the population. We can then grow these [cells] in the lab to give to cancer patients when our trial starts."

Trials of the new treatment, called cytotoxic T-Iymphocyte (CTL) therapy, are expected to begin in about 2 years. In the meantime, Crawford and her team are working to develop the best way to match EBV killer cells to patients, in order to avoid adverse transfusion reactions.
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Publication:Transplant News
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 13, 1998
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