Researchers have found that forms of certain genes can influence how successful a blood and marrow transplant is, reports Roswell Park. This has important implications for understanding patient outcomes and choosing donor matches.
A blood and marrow transplant (BMT) is a treatment usually used for patients with blood cancers or another condition that reduces the number of healthy blood cells in the body, but it can also be used to treat some other diseases. There are two forms of BMT: one in which the healthy stem cells comes from the patient themselves, and one involving stem cells taken from a donor. This second form of BMT works by transferring a donor’s healthy stem cells into the patient, usually using an intravenous needle (IV). The newly introduced healthy stem cells should then begin to grow and produce healthy red and white blood cells, and platelets. Donors are usually selected based on how good of a biological match they are to the patient, although recent improvements to the technology mean that perfect donors are no longer required.
In the recent study, researchers from Ohio State University and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Centre studied the genes involved in producing proteins in approximately 2,500 acute leukaemia patients and their unrelated marrow or blood donors. From this they found two areas of the genome that can influence the success of BMT.