Editor’s Choice Academic Journal Main Category: Lymphoma / Leukemia / Myeloma Also Included In: Transplants / Organ Donations Article Date: 11 Jul 2012 – 0:00 PDT
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During the study, led by Amir Toor, M.D., hematologist-oncologist in the Bone Marrow Transplant Program and member of the Developmental Therapeutics program at VCU Massey Cancer Center, researchers viewed the outcomes of 48 patients who received a transplant of stem cells from a related donor to the outcomes of 50 patients who alternatively received rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) before being given a transplant of stem cells from an unrelated donor.
This study has been published in Bone Marrow Transplantation
The results showed similar outcomes for both groups in terms of relapse, mortality, and development of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a common occurrence that can happen when a transplant is inserted and the new material clashes with the recipient’s body.
When the patients were followed up at 35 months, 50% of the ATG group and 63% of the no ATG group were still alive. Generally, unrelated stem cell transplants typically have significantly poorer outcomes.
Thus, being able to provide improved outcomes using stem cell transplants from unrelated donors offers many blood cancer patients the chance of longer survival.
The results of this particular study showed no survival differences between the two groups, regardless of diagnosis or age.
Incidences of GVHD and relapse rates were also seen to be similar. Transplants using unrelated stem cell donors are generally considered high-risk treatments because of previous reports of disease relapse and GVHD. Also noticed were the higher rate of infections in patients who received the highest rate of ATG, but that risk disappeared in patients with a lower level of ATG.