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M. D. Anderson develops tool to measure severity of chronic graft-vs.-host disease symptoms
Date:3/1/2010

ORLANDO, FL - Researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have developed a new assessment tool to measure the severity of symptoms that can complicate stem cell transplantation. The tool assesses symptoms resulting from chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), and was presented with supporting research at the 2010 Bone and Marrow Transplant Tandem Meeting.

cGVHD - a chronic disease that requires the close management of symptoms for an indefinite period of time - usually develops more than three months after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT). cGVHD occurs when transplanted donor cells recognize the recipient as foreign and begin to attack the patient's organs and tissue.

The disease causes physically debilitating symptoms in 40 to 80 percent of transplant patients. Inadequate diagnosis and assessment is a major barrier to successful treatment of symptoms. According to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, approximately 19,000 allogeneic stem cell transplants were performed worldwide in 2006.

Using the existing M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory, or core MDASI, a systematic, patient-reported outcome measure for clinical and research use, researchers developed a reliable and sensitive measuring system for cGVHD. On a scale of zero to 10, the new tool rates the severity of symptoms common to patients with the disease and to what extent those symptoms interfere with their daily life. The MDASI-cGVHD is one of 11 MDASI tools for symptom management used by clinicians at M. D. Anderson.

"There was a real need to develop this tool because chronic graft-versus-host disease is a vexing side effect that can become a serious condition in a very short period of time, threatening the success of the transplant and creating a dilemma for many patients who do not live near where they received their transplant or do not have access to a transplant specialist
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Contact: Lindsay Anderson
lindsay.anderson@gabbe.com
212-220-4444
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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