HLA and Marrow Transplantation

  • John A. Hansen


The transplantation of bone marrow containing pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells can correct acquired and inherited diseases of the blood and immune systems and, together with otherwise lethal doses of cytotoxic chemotherapy or irradiation marrow transplants, can cure patients with leukemia or other malignancies (1, 2). If the cells used for marrow transplantation are obtained from the patient, the procedure is referred to as “autologous;” if obtained from an identical twin, it is referred to as “syngeneic;” and if obtained from another individual, it is referred to as “allogeneic.” An autologous transplant may be advantageous in certain situations, and feasible if it is possible to collect and cryopreserve normal bone marrow cells before the patient undergoes cytotoxic therapy, which can potentially damage marrow stem cells. Syngeneic marrow cells provide the potential advantage of transplantation without the immunological complications associated with grafting cells from a different person. Immune responses induced by transplanted bone marrow cells are caused by genetic differences between the donor and recipient. Although there are several genes that can cause transplant reactions, one genetic system, known as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), has the predominant effect on transplant immune responses.


Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Aplastic Anemia Acute GVHD Unrelated Donor Marrow Donor 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

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  • John A. Hansen

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