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.