Making strides in combating Graft-Versus-Host-Disease (GVHD), caused by a patient’s body rejecting a transplant, the Hadassah Medical Center is testing a unique treatment based on inducing immune tolerance with injections of the patients’ own cells.

Israel’s Ministry of Health recently approved a Phase I/IIa clinical trial for this innovative technology, which was developed by Tolarex, a company of Hadasit, Hadassah’s technology transfer arm. Tolarex is also developing additional medications based on the concept of getting the body to tolerate foreign implantations, rather than the traditional approach of suppressing the immune system to prevent rejection of the implant.

GVHD frequently occurs after bone marrow transplantation, a standard treatment for various types of blood cancer. Depending on the disease and type of transplantation, between 30 and 80 percent of bone marrow transplant patients die from GVHD.

If the results of the clinical trial are positive, Tolarex plans to explore other potential applications for its treatment—for example, with solid organ transplantation and stent implantations.