Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (or CTLs) are specialized immune T cells with the ability to protect you from infections and cancer. After a hematopoietic stem cell transplant, a donor’s T cells must grow and expand in your body before they become CTLs that can provide suitable protection. This may take many months to occur.
BMT researchers and clinicians have developed manufacturing platforms that train CTLs in a laboratory facility to attack certain viruses before they can cause damage. Before the transplant process begins, blood can be collected from your donor and this manufacturing process can be started so that CTLs are ready. These can then be provided to you in the first weeks after receiving the stem cell transplant.