Several methods for purging tumor cells from the marrow of leukemic patients continue to make autologous bone marrow transplants a viable treatment alternative to the more common allogeneic transplants for such patients (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 1982; 248:2213-2215). The transplants are carried out with curative intent in patients in second remission who have undergone chemotherapy and total body irradiation.
In fact, according to George W. Santos, MD, professor of oncology and medicine and director of the bone marrow transplantation program at the Johns Hopkins University Oncology Center, Baltimore, autologous transplants may be possible in patients as old as 55 years. Santos presented his group's work at the recent International Symposium of the International Association for Comparative Research on Leukemia and Related Diseases in Cambridge, England.
In many ways the problem of getting tumor cells out of autologous marrow resembles the problem of getting T cells that cause graft-v-host disease