The National Institutes of Health has awarded the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center $4.8 million in new stem cell research funding. The four-year grant will go to research the effect of a patient's DNA on the outcome and success of a stem cell transplant.
Stem cell transplantation was pioneered at the Hutchinson Center by E. Donnall Thomas, M.D., who received a Nobel Prize for his work in successful bone-marrow transplantation in 1990. In 2010, 60,000 people received stem cell transplants to help combat auto-immune diseases and blood cancers worldwide, and this number is expected to jump to 1 million in 2011. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has performed more life-saving stem cell transplants than any other institution in the world.
The new NIH grant funds a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center study on a specific kind of stem cell transplant called a hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT). This kind of transplant entails introducing healthy stem cells from an unrelated or related donor into a patient's blood stream to combat diseases such as lymphoma or leukemia.
The new genome-wide study is being led by John Hansen, M.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Center’s Clinical Research Division, and will focus on genetic variations among patients who were treated with HCT at the Center from 1992 to 2010. The study will build on data collected during earlier research in 2006 to identify genetic variations in patients that effect or cause organ toxicity, graft-versus-host disease, opportunistic infection, or relapse.
(Image courtesy of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance)
The results from this new study will help patients and doctors decide which treatment is best for a given condition and assess the risks involved with stem cell transplants. Additionally, the new research at the Fred Hutchinson Center could lead to new therapies to combat post-transplant complications.
If you are interested in meeting researchers, purchasers, and other industry reps in the Seattle life science community, plan on registering to attend or to exhibit at Biotechnology Calendar's BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center on October 26, 2011.