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Loyola fellow receives Amgen grant to study treatments for older leukemia patients

MAYWOOD, Il. -- Dr. Aileen Go of Loyola University Health System, who is studying treatment options for older leukemia and lymphoma patients, has won a prestigious Amgen Foundation Fellowship grant.

Go, a second-year fellow in hematology/oncology, will work with Dr. Patrick Stiff, director of Loyola's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. Stiff and Go are studying the use of umbilical cord blood transplants grown from cord blood cells outside the body. The transplants are intended for patients ages 55 to 75, who previously have been excluded from such treatments.

Patients will receive high-dose chemotherapy, which, in addition to killing cancer cells also destroys the patients' immune system cells. To build a new immune system, patients receive transplanted stem cells, which develop into new immune system cells.

Older patients generally cannot tolerate high-dose chemotherapy. Go and Stiff will study a reduced-intensity chemotherapy regimen, as well as a method for boosting the number of stem cells.

The stem cells will come from donated umbilical cord blood. A newborn's cord blood does not contain enough stem cells for most adult patients. So the cord blood will be sent to a lab that will grow more stem cells prior to the transplant.

The Amgen Foundation provides grants for such purposes as advancing science education and improving the quality of care and access for patients. The one-year award that Go received is given to medical researchers who are beginning to pursue academic careers.

"These are very competitive, with the majority of the awards going to MDs and PhDs who submit truly amazing projects for funding," Stiff said.

Dr. Paul Whelton, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System, added that Loyola is "a home for the next generation of leaders -- those who will make a difference in reducing the burden of illness in society."


Contact: Jim Ritter
Loyola University Health System

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