Cancer-fighting rabbits

An unusual (but great) research update for an unusual day – the second Friday the 13th of the year.

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!


About Megan Kilkenny

LLS Sr. Director, Marketing Communication Team In Training Alum Three-time Nike Women's Half Marathon finisher
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