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Graft versus host disease

Related Terms

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Background

  • Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is a rare disorder that occurs when the immune cells from donated bone marrow stem cells or a blood transfusion attack the recipient. The only transplanted tissues that contain enough immune cells (specifically T-lymphocytes) to cause GVHD are the blood and the bone marrow. This condition typically occurs in patients who have extremely weakened immune systems.
  • Researchers estimate that about 90% of bone marrow recipients develop GVHD. This is because before the transplant is performed, the recipient's bone marrow, which produces immune cells, is destroyed with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
  • Bone marrow transplantation, also called hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT), is a curative treatment for bone marrow cancer and inherited blood disorders like sickle-cell anemia.
  • Blood transfusions, which are used to replace blood-forming cells and immune cells, rarely cause GVHD. This condition is most likely to occur in individuals who have weakened immune systems (like chemotherapy or HIV patients).
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Matching Donors To Recipients

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Causes

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Symptoms

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Complications

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.