A team at La Jolla Institute for Immunology, California, US, has found a new way to improve survival of mice with cystic fibrosis (CF), a condition which leaves patients struggling to breathe.
Although treatments for CF are improving, there is currently no cure, and many patients must undergo daily physical therapies and take a number of medications.
Previous research had shown that a type of immune cell, the monocyte, appeared faulty in many CF patients, and did not perform its normal function of triggering an immune response in the lungs and the gut to protect against infections.
By replacing around 60-70% of the bone marrow in mice, with symptoms of CF, with healthy bone marrow which produced normal monocytes, they found that mice had a much better immune response.
The researchers believe that partial bone marrow transplants are a promising route for giving patients long-lasting relief from cystic fibrosis symptoms.
“The transplant is enough for a better life—at least in mice,” said lead author Professor Klaus Ley.