If you didn’t already love rabbits for their soft fur and cute twitching noses, you may come to love them for their super cancer-fighting antibodies.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Massey Cancer Center’s Bone Marrow Transplant Program recently demonstrated that rabbit antibodies can help leukemia and myelodysplasia patients who have received a stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.
They looked at two groups receiving stem cell transplants:
- The first group received stem cells from an unrelated donor. They also got rabbit antibodies before their transplant.
- The second group received stem cells from a related donor. They did not get rabbit antibodies.
Typically unrelated stem cell transplants have poorer outcomes than related stem cell transplants. But in this case, the patients who got a dose of rabbit antibodies and then underwent a transplant from a non-family member, had simliar outcomes (relapse, development of graft-vs-host disease and mortality) to patients who received a stem cells from a family member.
Improved odds for transplant patients? We will take ’em!