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Using chemotherapy after sibling bone marrow transplants to reduce complications

By Travis Perera

Acute leukemia and myelodysplasia are the most common indications for bone marrow transplants (BMT) worldwide. This research aims to use a standard chemotherapy drug called cyclophosphamide in a new way.

The trial includes using cyclophosphamide after transplant to see if it is better in preventing graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) than the current standard of care.

Currently, 40% of BMT patients develop GVHD and 5-10% die within a year of transplant. While their initial disease may be cured, many surviving patients suffer from the terrible effects of this potentially debilitating complication.

Previous trials have demonstrated that cyclophosphamide has been useful in preventing GVHD when used post-transplant with unrelated and half-matched donors, but this is one of the first trials to examine its use in sibling transplants.

It has the potential to improve the quality of life for post-transplant patients significantly and positive results will have a major impact on the way these patients are managed in the future.

The trial is to be opened in Wellington and Auckland.

Funding: $79,500