Improve prevention and treatment of graft versus host disease (GVHD)

Institute: Centre for Blood Transplant and Cell Therapy

The CBTCT is a Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) funded by NHMRC to develop a world-class, multi- centre approach to design and deliver improved therapies for people with blood cancer.

The project aims to better prevent and treat graft versus host disease, plus maintain and/or augment immunity to leukaemia. A bone marrow (or peripheral blood stem cell) transplant (BMT or SCT) is a possible treatment for several blood cancers and disorders, where defective cells are replaced with healthy cells. The CRE aims to identify improved outcomes for GVHD to reduce relapse and improved patient survival. 

This will be achieved by:

  • Studying new therapies for GVHD and relapse such as CAR T-cell therapy, immunomodulatory and immunotherapy agents and genetically modified T-cells;
  • Generating a national study-based GVHD database with parallel sample collection, storage and biomarker analysis;
  • Discovery of biomarkers with diagnostic, prognostic and predictive power, to prevent GVHD;

Changing clinical practices for transplant recipients who have GVHD.

The Leukaemia Foundation has committed funding over five years to support this research.

This project aims to generate new knowledge in the field of transplant immunology and cell therapy that will translate into improved patient outcomes within five years.


Each year, the Leukaemia Foundation helps more than 750 families from
regional and rural Australia by providing free accommodation in capital cities so they can access life-saving treatment at major hospitals. Life Ride funds will be used to support the 700+ families needing accommodation.

People in regional and remote areas with a blood cancer diagnosis have poorer outcomes due to less availability of treatment and later diagnosis and the Leukaemia Foundation aims to change the outcomes for these people.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s accommodation service offers a stand-alone, self-contained facility for people of all ages – both children and adults - diagnosed with a blood cancer, and their families.

The Leukaemia Foundation’s accommodation ensures families can stay for any required period (on average 8 weeks, but some up to 12 months) in their own ‘home away from home’ whilst they undertake treatment.

Thank you for supporting the Leukaemia Foundation and the thousands of Australians affected by blood cancer.

The Leukaemia Foundation is the only national charity dedicated to helping those with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related blood disorders survive and then live a better quality of life.

Blood cancer is not one, but 140 different cancers affecting the blood, bone and lymphatic system, in three main categories; leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, affecting 110,000 people each year.

Blood cancer treatments are often significantly longer than those with a solid tumour type cancer or a different disease.