Researchers led by John F. DiPersio, MD, PhD, at the School of Medicine have designed a way to mitigate graft-versus-host disease, a common and often life-threatening complication of bone marrow transplants that are used to treat leukemia and other blood cancers. The method also employs a molecular imaging tool to help doctors identify patients most likely to develop this dangerous condition.
Every year, Siteman Cancer Center hosts a gathering for former bone marrow transplant patients, their families and the staff who helped care for them. It’s a celebration of survival. And every year, John F. DiPersio, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Oncology, looks out over the audience and marvels. From the lab to the clinic, DiPersio’s work is guided by his commitment to his patients.
Batten disease is a rare but fatal neurological disorder that typically strikes young children. Working in mice with the infantile form of the disease, scientists have discovered dramatic improvements in life span and motor function by treating the animals with gene therapy and bone marrow transplantation.