A common genetic variation has been linked to reduced risk of complications from a bone marrow transplant, according to a study published in the Dec. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the UW, and two institutes in Taiwan studied 933 bone marrow transplant recipients in Seattle. They found that patients with a certain type of interleukin-10 gene, which is found in one in four North Americans, had a much lower risk of contracting severe acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and dying from it.
GVHD occurs when donor cells attack those of the recipients body, and the disease can be fatal. Patients with the genetic variation had a three-year death rate from GVHD of 13 percent, compared to 26 percent in patients without the gene. Only nine percent of those with the variation developed GVHD within three months of their transplants, while 21 percent of other patients contracted the disease in that period.
The study results could lead to genetic testing of potential bone marrow recipients to determine whether they should receive a transplant.
Two of the studys authors are John Hansen, professor of medicine and head of the Human Immunogenetics Program at FHCRC, and Paul Martin, professor of medicine and investigator in the FHCRCs Clinical Research Division.
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