Using light to fight GVHD

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Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) is used to treat chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) — a complication of bone marrow or stem cell transplant that occurs when donor cells attack the recipient. How ECP works is unclear, and standardized treatment guidelines have not been established.

Vanderbilt medical student Jocelyn Gandelman, Madan Jagasia, MBBS, and colleagues conducted a prospective, multicenter clinical trial of ECP for cGVHD. They found that in a highly pretreated group of patients, 62.3 percent had a provider-assessed response to ECP and 43.5 percent had a response according to National Institutes of Health consensus criteria.