T cells that accompany allogeneic hematopoietic grafts for treating leukemia enhance engraftment and mediate the graft-versus-leukemia effect. Unfortunately, alloreactive T cells also cause graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). T cell depletion prevents GVHD but increases the risk of graft rejection and leukemic relapse. In human transplants, we show that donor-versus-recipient natural killer (NK)-cell alloreactivity could eliminate leukemia relapse and graft rejection and protect patients against GVHD. In mice, the pretransplant infusion of alloreactive NK cells obviated the need for high-intensity conditioning and reduced GVHD. NK cell alloreactivity may thus provide a powerful tool for enhancing the efficacy and safety of allogeneic hematopoietic transplantation.
Effectiveness of donor natural killer cell alloreactivity in mismatched hematopoietic transplants / L. Ruggeri ; M. Capanni; E. Urbani;K. Perruccio; WD. Shlomchik; A. Tosti; S. Posati; D. Rogaia; F. Frassoni; F. Aversa; MF. Martelli; A. Velardi. - In: SCIENCE. - ISSN 0036-8075. - 295(2002), pp. 2097-2100.