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U cancer study finds bone marrow transplant success defies age

A large-scale study from the University’s Medical School and Masonic Cancer Center demonstrated that older patients who receive a blood and marrow stem cell transplant fare just as well as younger patients—eliminating age as a factor for determining whether a patient receives this type of transplant.

The findings are the result of the largest retrospective analysis of its kind, including information from more than 1,000 patients who received donor blood and marrow stem cell transplants to treat acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. The study found that patients older than 65 did just as well as patients in their 40s and 50s following transplantation.

University researchers in hematology and blood and marrow stem cell transplantation, Brian McClune, D.O., and Daniel Weisdorf, M.D., led the study in collaboration with researchers from the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The results were presented in December at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Francisco.

“We think this study goes a long way in addressing the safety of donor blood or marrow stem cell transplantation for older patients. It shows that while careful assessment of patients for transplantation is essential, age by itself does not predict differences in outcomes,” Weisdorf says.

An international leader in blood and marrow stem cell transplantation, the University of Minnesota conducts more than 275 blood and marrow stem cell transplants annually.

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