Scientists who investigated a case of stem cell therapy to treat kidney disease are warning of a new type of complication not seen before, the development of blood vessel and bone marrow masses, the long term effects of which are unknown.
The case involved a woman with severe kidney disease called lupus nephritis who was treated in a private clinic by having stem cells harvested from her own blood injected directly into her kidneys, but then had to have one removed after it developed bleeding. Later analysis revealed a mass of blood vessel and bone marrow cells had developed at the site of injection. The woman died of an infection after her remaining kidney failed.
The scientists who were involved in the removal and analysis of the kidney, were Drs Duangpen Thirabanjasak and Kavirach Tantiwongse from the Departments of Pathology and Surgery at Chulalongkorn University, in Bangkok, Thailand, in consultation with Dr Paul Scott Thorner from the Department of Pathology at The Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Toronto, in Canada and also at Chulalongkorn University. They wrote a paper on their investigation and findings that was published online on 17 June in the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).
Thirabanjasak, Tantiwongse and Thorner said the treatment the woman received had not worked: instead she developed masses at the sites of injection and hematuria. At first they suspected cancer, but when they removed and examined the kidney they found the masses were angiomyeloproliferative lesions comprising a mixture of blood vessels and bone marrow cells.
(Medical News Today)