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Previously unseen mutations in stem cells of young donors can be passed to recipients, study finds

A pilot study released raises the possibility that some young stem cell donors are passing along mutations that could lead to health problems for recipients.
Source: David J. Phillip/AP

Doctors use stem cell transplants to treat patients with certain cancers or blood disorders. And donors, whose blood or bone marrow is used for the procedures, are typically young, for a variety of reasons.

But a pilot study released Wednesday raised the possibility that such donors are also passing along mutations in stem cells that could lead to health problems for some recipients.

The study found that nearly 45% of younger donors had mutations in the transplanted stem cells that could raise the risk of conditions that are sometimes seen in recipients, a higher rate than presumed. Researchers also reported that some of these mutations persisted and proliferated in the recipients’ bone marrow for at least a year.

What remains unknown is

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