Lymphatic Stem Cell Treatments Equally Effective
(Ivanhoe Broadcast)—Lymphatic system cancers like leukemia and myeloma are life-threatening diseases estimated to have accounted for nine percent of total cancer diagnoses in 2011. Unfortunately for patients, much about the illnesses including causation remains a mystery. While researchers continue on the search for biological triggers, adults and children around the globe are receiving stem cell treatment in hopes of remission.
Leukemia and lymphoma patients are subjected to high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy to destroy abnormal white blood cells and make room for a bone marrow or peripheral-blood stem cell transplant. Researchers recently conducted a study to evaluate if one type of treatment was superior to another in a multicenter, randomized trial.
Bone marrow transplants (BMTs) contain blood-forming cells extracted from the soft core of donor bones whereas peripheral-blood stem cells (PBSC) involve the collection of cells directly through the donor blood stream. Researchers assigned each method in a one-to-one ratio during a phase 3 trial encompassing over 550 patients across 48 centers. None of the donors were related to the patients.
The study showed that BMTs and PBSCs did not have significant performance differences in terms of overall mortality. Within two years the PBSC group had a 51 percent survival rate while the BMT group had a 46 percent survival rate.
The PBSC group however, was six percent less likely to experience graft failure and the BMT group was 12 percent less likely develop chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Grafting is a term describing the ability of the recipient’s body to accept the foreign transplant. GVHD is a process in which the donated blood cells attack the recipient’s cells. More research must be done to further elucidate the best treatment options for patients on a case-by-case basis.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine, National Cancer Institute, http://www.lls.org/diseaseinformation/getinformationsupport/factsstatistics/
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