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Clutch of Cells Strong Indicator of Chronic Graft vs Host Disease
Finally - a potentially very reliable biomarker could help doctors determine which bone marrow transplantation patients are at highest risk of developing one of the deadliest diseases associated with that procedure.
According to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, if a so-called clutch of cells can be found in the blood of a male patient after he has received cells from a female donor, that patient is almost certain to develop chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), a disease in which the newly grafted cells attack body tissue in the recipient.
Says senior study author David Miklos, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine:
"The overwhelming majority of patients who have these cells in their blood either have or will develop cGVHD within one to three months."
The study has appeared online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings represent the first predictive indicator for the onset of cGVHD.
Female-to-male transplants: Higher risk of cGVHD, lower risk of relapse
While sex-matched transplants are generally preferred, they are not always possible. In the case of female-to-male bone marrow transplants, the recipients are at a 40 percent higher risk of developing cGVHD than sex-matched transplants. These patients are also at a reduced risk of cancer relapse by 35 percent.
These findings should help to lead to more effective methods of treating cGVHD as well as therapies that could help lessen the severity of the disease or head it off altogether.