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Tool Measures Severity of Transplant-Related Symptoms

Conquest - Summer 2010

A new assessment tool helps clinicians measure the severity of symptoms that can complicate allogeneic (unrelated donor) stem cell transplantation.

Called chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), these symptoms require close management for an indefinite period of time and cause physically debilitating side effects in 40% to 80% of allogeneic transplant patients. Inadequate diagnosis and assessment has long been a major barrier to successful treatment.

Loretta Williams, Ph.D.

“There was a real need to develop this tool because cGVHD is a vexing side effect that can become a serious condition in a very short period of time. It threatens the success of the transplant and creates a dilemma for many patients who do not live near where they received their transplant or do not have access to a transplant specialist,” says Loretta Williams, Ph.D., instructor in MD Anderson’s Department of Symptom Research and lead author on the study.

“Now we can assess quickly in person or over the phone whether a patient has developed symptoms of cGVHD and make arrangements for the patient to receive further assessment and treatment if necessary.”

Reported in February at the 2010 Bone and Marrow Transplant Tandem Meeting.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center