NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center plans to use a $4.3 million grant from the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute to study whether or not genetic variations could be used to predict patient outcomes and complications of patients undergoing stem-cell transplantation to treat blood cancers.
The Hutch said yesterday that its scientists will use the four-year grant to support genome-wide association studies of patients who have been treated with an allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (HCTs) at the center over the past 18 years.
Allogeneic stem-cell transplants involve infusing healthy donor stem cells into the blood of patients whose bone marrow is diseased by leukemia, lymphoma, or other illnesses.
The study will expand earlier research that began in 2006 and will increase the sample size three-fold to 5,000 transplants in order to identify genetic variants that are associated with HCT outcomes.
The specific goals of the study are to identify genetic variations among patients that could account for the risk and severity of acute chronic graft-versus-host disease, organ toxicity, opportunistic infection, relapse, and overall survival. Genetic variants found in the study will be validated for use as markers for assessing risk before patients receive transplants and for counseling and treatment planning.
The Hutch researchers also will try to use the genomic data to understand the disease processes that are responsible for treatment complications and to potentially develop novel targeted therapies for preventing and controlling those complications.
Around 60,000 people around the world had bone-or-stem-cell transplants in 2010, the Hutch center said.