GVHD higher in peripheral stem cell transplant patients

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According to an abstract presented at this year's ASH meeting in San Diego, rates of relapse and survival following hematopoietic stem cell transplantations from unrelated donors in patients with various subtypes of leukemia and lymphoma were no better with cells sourced from peripheral blood instead of bone marrow.

The three-year randomized study involved 551 patients, and the protocol involved complete myeloablative conditioning prior to the procedure.

Researchers from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida also said that in their study they found that the burden of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was greater in patients receiving peripheral blood stem cells.

This trial was originally proposed after several studies had reported that the source of the stem cells was immaterial in terms of outcome, yet transplant centers began reporting higher rates of GVHD in patients getting peripheral blood stem cells.

Unfortunately no standard of care exists in the transplant field, meaning the debate over which source of stem cells offers the better outcome will continue.

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