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Gut bacteria predict survival after stem cell transplant, study shows
Date:6/17/2014

Dr. Taur and a team of researchers collected fecal specimens from 80 patients undergoing allogeneic SCT and sequenced each sample's bacterial DNA. Specimens were collected within seven days of engraftment, the point at which transplanted blood-forming cells start to grow and make healthy cells in the recipient and the point at which researchers speculated that microbiota diversity would be greatest following pre-transplant conditioning.

Researchers compared patient outcomes based on diversity of microbiota in their specimens, grouping subjects into high, intermediate, and low microbiota diversity categories. At time of stem cell engraftment, 34 patients (42.5%) were observed to have low gut microbiota diversity, 20 (25%) of patients had intermediate diversity, and 26 (32.5%) patients had high diversity. The analysis continued for up to three years or until death or last follow-up.

Following their analyses, researchers found a strong connection between post-transplant gut microbiota diversity and outcomes, observing overall survival rates of 36 percent, 60 percent, and 67 percent among the low, intermediate, and high diversity groups, respectively. Furthermore, researchers observed that diversity was particularly associated with transplant-related outcomes, concluding that patients with low microbiota diversity were approximately five times more likely to die of transplant-related causes within the follow-up period than those with more diverse gut bacteria.

"These results further underscore the significance of the gut microbiota in allogeneic stem cell transplant. A major question is whether we can improve outcomes by preserving diversity within the gut microbiota," said Dr. Taur. "One possible strategy is to find ways to perform transplants in a manner that minimizes damage to the gut microbiota. Another approach would be to replenish the gut with beneficial microbes that are lost after this procedure is performed. We hope that this stud
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Contact: Amanda Szabo
aszabo@hematology.org
202-552-4914
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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