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Graft Failure: Graft-Versus-Host Disease

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a condition that affects transplant patients when immune cells from a donor graft or transplant attack the transplant recipient’s body, which is regarded as “foreign.” While it is seen mostly in bone marrow or hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cell transplants, it can occur in any type of tissue transplant. GVHD is usually treated using high-dosage immunosuppressants, including steroids such as prednisone, in order to curb the donor immune cells’ attack on the recipient’s body. In many cases, however, steroids do not effectively prevent GVHD. In addition, high doses of steroids increase the risk of infection and cancer relapse. There are many ongoing clinical trials in the investigation of GVHD treatment and prevention. Recently, an infusion of mesenchymal stem cells has been shown ...

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