Allogenic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) is one of the most common, curative forms of cancer immunotherapy. It has been a treatment option for patients with blood cancers (including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma) for over 60 years.
In this type of transplant, a patient receives blood stem and immune cells from another healthy person (a donor). Although the initial aim of allo-SCT was to replenish the blood cell producing capacity that patients lose during harsh chemo- and radio-therapy treatment regimes, clinicians and researchers soon realised that donor immune cells specifically destroy the remaining cancer cells through an effect called “graft-vs-tumour”.
This remarkable curative treatment option is a standard treatment, which is routinely used in younger patients with otherwise incurable blood cancers. However, the treatment is associated with significant side effects and can result in 5-25% mortality within the first 100 days of receiving treatment. This toxicity limits wider use of the treatment.