Compound Used in Bone Marrow Raises Risk

PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 22 (UPI) — U.S. researchers suggest a compound used in some bone marrow transplants may increase risk to the patient.

Jay Nelson led a team of researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland that found a compound sometimes used to stimulate stem cell growth before transplantation — granulocyte-colony stimulating factor — may also activate a virus and increase infection risk.

The findings, published in Cell Host and Microbe, warns the virus — the human cytomegalovirus, which may have infected up to 80 percent of the American population and usually causes minor symptoms or no symptoms at all in most people — can pose a significant risk in people whose immune systems have been compromised.

“Because bone marrow recipients’ immune systems are so significantly compromised, this risk is very significant,” Nelson said in a statement. “We believe this research will generate discussion about the proper applications for G-CSF — which continues to provide benefits — but the risk associated must also be factored into patient care.”

Nelson, M. Shane Smith, a postdoctoral fellow in Nelson’s lab, and colleagues used a mouse model to conduct their study.

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