T regulatory cells and stem cell transplantation

The role of T regulatory cells in haematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Chief investigator: Professor David Roberts
Location/InstitutionUniversity of Oxford
Funder: NHSBT Research and Development Committee
NHSBT Research Theme: Advanced Blood Components


Haematopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCTs) are used to successfully treat blood cancers (leukaemia). Unfortunately, up to 40% of patients who undergo HSCTs may die because the transferred cells attack the patient’s healthy tissues as well as the cancerous cells.

Prof Roberts is studying a subset of cells called T regulatory cells which are associated with improved survival in stem cell transplantation. Patients who receive above average levels of T regulatory cells have the best outcome. By increasing the proportion of these cells in the HSCTs used to treat leukaemia, it may be possible to improve patient survival.

The data collected from this work will therefore help us to know if selecting donor who have high T regulatory cells can improve patient outcome.