For patients with leukemia and other hematological malignancies, transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCT) can be a powerfully effective therapy. In addition to the desirable anti-tumor effect, transplanted cells can also attack the host tissue, resulting in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Arnab Ghosh and colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center found that expression of a protein that causes cell death, TRAIL, in transplanted cells was critical for an effective anti-tumor response. Immune cells engineered to express higher levels of TRAIL killed the cells that cause GVHD and increased anti-tumor activity. In an accompanying commentary, Nelson Chao suggests that new therapeutics may take advantage of TRAIL-expressing cells to promote an anti-tumor response without putting patients at risk for GVHD.
TITLE: Fratricidal TRAIL+T cells suppress GVHD and augment anti-tumor activity after bone marrow transplantation
ACCOMPANYING COMMENTARY TITLE: Blazing a new TRAIL in hematopoietic cell transplantation
Journal of Clinical Investigation