publication date: Jan. 15, 2021

Clinical Roundup

IU cancer center findings could reduce treatment-related complication for blood cancer patients

Researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine on preventing a common complication to lifesaving blood stem cell transplantation in leukemia.

Sherif Farag found that using a drug approved for Type 2 diabetes reduces the risk of acute graft-versus-host disease. Farag is the Lawrence H. Einhorn Professor of Oncology and professor of medicine at IU School of Medicine, a member of the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center and program and medical director of the hematological malignancies and bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation at IU Health.

In the IU clinical study, blood stem cell transplant patients received the oral drug sitagliptin. Acute GVHD occurred in only two of 36 patients within 100 days of their transplant. The 5% occurrence represents a drastic reduction of GVHD, which studies have found can affect 34% to 51% of patients in the first three months after transplant.

“The rate looks very encouraging and it’s achieved with a very simple and relatively inexpensive intervention of sitagliptin,” Farag said in a statement. “This result is significant and offers a new approach and a new target for inhibition of graft-versus-host disease. We achieved a much lower rate than we could have hoped.”

Sitagliptin targets the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4), which is involved in a variety of processes in the body. It is used for Type 2 diabetes to improve insulin secretion and glucose control.

Hal Broxmeyer, an expert in the field of umbilical cord blood stem cell transplantation and distinguished professor at … Continue reading IU cancer center findings could reduce treatment-related complication for blood cancer patients

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