Michael P. Rettig, PhD

Professor of Medicine

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

One focus of my research is to test whether our chimeric suicide gene (CD34-TK) can be used to separate the life-threatening development of graft-versus-host disease from the beneficial graft-versus-leukemia effect after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The CD34-TK gene consists of a HSV thymidine kinase fused to the extracellular and transmembrane domains of CD34. A second focus of my research is to characterize the quantity, phenotype and function of human T lymphocytes, CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and acute myeloid leukemia stem cells (LSCs) in the peripheral blood before and after treatment of normal donors or leukemic patients with granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) or the CXCR4 antagonist, AMD3100. Egress (mobilization) of HSCs and LSCs from the bone marrow to the peripheral blood can be induced by cytokines like G-CSF or by small molecule inhibitors of CXCR4 like AMD3100. AMD3100 is the most promising mobilizing agent currently in clinical development.