We Can Transplant Cells, But What Happnes Next?

Assessing the success of a stem cell or bone marrow transplant depends on testing the recipient's blood to determine the ratio between blood cells from the donor and those remaining in circulation from the patient. The responsibility for this task of "chimerism" testing lies with Rabin Medical Center's Laboratory of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. A new computer program has been developed by Prof. Don Kristt to provide this service in a unique way.

The program not only automatically provides the chimerism results on the current sample, but also is capable of thirteen other automatic functions enabling rapid production of a final report. First, it represents the first computer tool that enables tracking of all sequential results on a patient within the practical time constraints of the laboratory. This approach, called longitudinal monitoring, affords the clinicians an opportunity for the first time to view the progressive changes in a patient's cumulative chimerism course for each new sample. This provides them with the earliest and most sensitive indication of changes in graft status. Such changes may necessitate additional treatment, or represent critical feedback on the effect of a previous treatment.

The second major capability of ChimerTrack is the ability to determine whether the numeric results are reliable and can be used as a basis for clinical decision-making. No other means for determining chimerism reliability currently exist anywhere in the world; unreliable results could lead to either under- or over-treatment in certain situations. Descriptions of the program have been published in many professional journals, including the prestigious journal Leukemia, and laboratories all over the world have requested copies of the program. Currently, Prof. Kristt is aiding laboratories at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Northwestern Medical Center, and Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Rep to establish a program of longitudinal chimerism testing based on ChimerTrack.

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