HIV Drug Appears Effective In Preventing GVHD in Transplant Patients

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A drug typically used in HIV treatment appears to help stem-cell transplant patients who are at high risk for developing the dangerous and sometimes fatal problem of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) to stave off the disease, when it is added to the standard GVHD regimen.

The drug, maraviroc (marketed as Selzentry) has been associated with lower cumulative incidence of GVHD when it has been added to the ordinary prophylactic regimen, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Their findings have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

As many as 50 percent of patients who are given an allogenic stem cell transplantation develop GVHD when the donor is HLA matched, and as many as 70 percent develop GVHD when the donor is not related.

The study involved 38 patients whose average age was 62. The patients enrolled in the study had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, acute myeloid leukemia, or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

During the critical first 100 days following the transplant, none of the patients had developed GVHD. After six months, about 3 percent of patients had developed chronic GVHD, which jumped to 23.6 percent after one year--both numbers significantly lower than historically seen in these transplant patients.

The researchers called for more studies, including a prospective randomized trial of the drug maraviroc to back up these findings.

Source: Medpage Today

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