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 This week we profile a recent publication in Haematologica from the laboratory of
Dr. Kirk Schultz¬†(third from left) at BC Children’s Hospital.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

We are working on identifying and applying biomarkers to guide treatment of chronic graft-versus-host disease, a devastating complication of blood and marrow transplantation in over 50% of adults and 25% of children.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

This is a major Canadian study performed by the Canadian BMT Group and including centres from Canada, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and Australia. We found that two donor immune cells suppress chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGvHD) and will be used to guide interventions to minimize development of the disease. It also has resulted in a new focus on NKregs, an immune regulatory population, that may be grown in the test tube to help suppress cGvHD, or treat rejection after solid organ transplantation and potentially autoimmune diseases.

What are the next steps for this research?

We are validating the biomarker test to make a prognostic test for the clinic in BMT patients. We are also working toward approaches to grow NKreg cells to treat patients.

This research was funded by:

Funded by the NIH/NCI and CIHR.

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