Researchers in Madison plan to test a personalized cell therapy for viral infections in bone marrow transplant patients — a first for Wisconsin.


An upcoming clinical trial in Madison, approved by the FDA, will include both adults and children. About 20 participants are expected.


Dr. Inga Hofmann is principal investigator for the trial and medical director for the UW Program for Advanced Cell Therapy. She says the trial is set to enroll patients immediately through a partnership with UW Health.


“While some European countries might offer this type of treatment as standard care, it is considered experimental in the United States,” Hofmann said.


The study will rely on white blood cells collected from living relatives with stronger immune systems. Those cells will target cytomegalovirus, a viral infection that hits as many as 50 percent of all bone marrow transplant recipients.


According to a release from PACT, this will be the first time such a therapy will be performed in the state.


While the virus can be deadly to recent recipients of donor bone marrow, it affects nearly a third of all children by age 5. Since most people have stable immune systems, it normally presents symptoms like fever, fatigue and swollen glands. But for those with weakened immune systems, the infection can kill. Read the full story here.