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New combo of medicines helps transplants succeed

Results of clinical trial will change treatments for leukemia and lymphoma

Number of Participants214
Research GoalImprove Survival
Blood and marrow transplant (BMT) can cure blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. But many people have a serious side effect called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Now, researchers have found a new combination of medicines that helps fight both cancer and GVHD

About 420 adults who got BMT for leukemia or lymphoma participated in a clinical trial. The trial compared 2 combinations of medicines: 
  • New combination: cyclophosphamide, tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil 
  • Standard combination: tacrolimus and methotrexate 

A year after BMT, people who got the new medicines were more likely to be free of both cancer and GVHD compared to people who got the standard medicines: 
  • 53% of people who got the new medicines were free of cancer and GVHD 
  • 35% of people who got standard medicines were free of cancer and GVHD 

Researchers said the new medicines should replace the standard medicines. 

Keep in mind 

This applies only to adults who are getting matched BMT with reduced-intensity preparation. 

About GVHD 

GVHD occurs when the donated BMT cells attack a person’s organs. There are 2 types of GVHD: acute and chronic. Acute GVHD can affect the skin, stomach, intestines and liver. Chronic GVHD can affect those organs as well as joints, muscles, eyes, mouth, lungs and genitals. The new medicines reduced both acute and chronic GVHD.