MadSci Network: Science History

Re: Where was the first bone marrow stem cell transplant done?

Date: Thu May 8 11:33:25 2003
Posted By: Lynn Nielsen-Bohlman, Senior Program Officer
Area of science: Science History
ID: 1045666586.Sh

Early work in stem cell research appears to have been done primarily in rodents (Smith WW. Wilson SM. Fred SS. Kinetics of stem cell depletion and proliferation: effects of vinblastine and vincristine in normal and irradiated mice. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 40(4):847-54, 1968 Apr.; Ebbe S. Phalen E. Overcash J. Howard D. Stohlman F Jr. Stem cell response to thrombocytopenia. J Lab Clin Med. 78(6):872-81, 1971 Dec.) Chickens were also used (Toivanen P. Toivanen A. Good RA. Ontogeny of bursal function in chicken. I. Embryonic stem cell for humoral immunity. J Immunol. 109(5):1058-70, 1972 Nov.)

Initial work with humans in stem cells from bone marrow appear to have been reponses to the events following early (1970's) bone marrow transplants (Park BY. Biggar WD. Good RA. Transplantation of incompatible bone marrow in infants with severe combined immunodeficiency disease. Birth Defects Orig Artic Ser. 11(1):380-4, 1975.; Dicke KA. van der Waaij D. van Bekkum DW. The use of stem-cell grafts in combined immune deficiencies. Birth Defects Orig Artic Ser. 11(1):391-6, 1975.)

Stem cell research made bone marrow transplantation a viable treatment for many more people, through the use of purified stem-cell concentrates (van Bekkum DW. Bone marrow transplantation. Transplant Proc. 9(1):147-54, 1977 Mar.) This was further refined with autologous (or coming from the transplant receipient) stem cell transplantation, as treatment for both specific types of cancer and autoimmune diseases (Ventura GJ. Barlogie B. Hester JP. Yau JC. LeMaistre CF. Wallerstein RO. Spinolo JA. Dicke KA. Horwitz LH. Alexanian R. High dose cyclophosphamide, BCNU and VP-16 with autologous blood stem cell support for refractory multiple myeloma. Bone Marrow Transplantation. 5(4):265-8, 1990 Apr.; Brodsky RA. Smith BD. Bone marrow transplantation for autoimmune diseases. Current Opinion in Oncology. 11(2):83-6, 1999 Mar)

Recent animal work showed that a rodent bone marrow cell similar to one found in people acts as a multipurpose stem cell, much as embryonic stem cells do. (Seppa N, Science News; Washington; Jun 22, 2002).

More information about the history of this research can be found in Buckner's review "Autologous bone marrow transplants to hematopoietic stem cell support with peripheral blood stem cells: a historical perspective.", published in the Journal of Hematotherapy (8(3):233-6, 1999 Jun.), Harada's Japanese language review "Progress in the field of hematology in the last 100 years: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation." (Nippon Naika Gakkai Zasshi. 91(7):2019-23, 2002 Jul 10.), and Henon's editorial "1985-2000: fifteen years of peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplantation achievement." (Journal of Hematotherapy & Stem Cell Research. 9(6):933-4, 2000 Dec.)

While I have heard stories like that of a scientist testing a defibrillator on himself, fatally, and have heard Valbo talking about measuring nerve conduction by sticking wires into his own arms, I have not heard any stories about do-it-yourself stem-cell grafts. Maybe this is because I am in the wrong field, or because a scientist can't do this without a lot of medical people about.

You may also be interested in the web site of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and these informational sites, ood.html

I wish you the best on your journey

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