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IMAGE: These images from scientists at Cincinnati Children’s show hematopoietic stem cells (blood stem cells) from donor laboratory mice. The donor stem cell harvested from a mouse treated with the preclinical… view more 

Credit: Cincinnati Children’s

CINCINNATI – Two recent studies in the journal Leukemia present a new approach for bone marrow donation and transplant that preclinical laboratory tests suggest could make the life-saving procedure safer and more effective for patients.

Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute say their studies demonstrate that use of an experimental drug called CASIN in laboratory mice results in higher efficiency when harvesting blood stem cells from donors and less toxicity in transplant recipients.

Designed to repair the body’s blood-making machinery inside the bone marrow, a stem cell transplant can be life-saving for people with cancers like leukemia or those battling immune deficiency diseases. But prepping patients for transplant involves using toxic chemotherapy to kill off a person’s existing and malfunctioning blood-making system. This allows it to be replaced with healthy blood stem cells called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).

In addition to toxicity for patients, the procedure doesn’t always work. Harvesting effective donor HSCs can be a challenge. And once

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