Ohio State Researchers Working to Prevent Graft vs. Host Disease

By improving their understanding of graft vs. host disease, Ohio State researchers are working toward better treatment for the transplant complication.

Graft vs. host disease (GvHD) is an often-fatal issue that sometimes arises in patients who receive allogenic stem cell or bone marrow transplants. The complication occurs when T-cells recognize the new tissues as foreign and then attack them.

To better protect patients, OSUCCC – James researchers are currently studying graft vs. host disease in leukemia and lymphoma patients, along with a therapy that could address not only the complication but the underlying cancers as well.

“We found out that an enzyme was unregulated both in leukemias and lymphomas – the conditions for which a patient receives a bone marrow transplant – and there was also emerging research that showed that this enzyme was unregulated in T-cells,” Parvathi Ranganathan, PhD, says. “It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try and see if we could inhibit the activity of this enzyme – a double-edged-sword strategy that could effectively eliminate the cancer cells and prevent graft versus host disease at the same time.”