Giving Compass' Take:

• Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center shares essential facts about graft-vs.-host disease, a dangerous immune response to a bone marrow or blood cell transplant. 

• How can funders work to advance research around graft-vs.-host disease?

• Learn how to find and fund scientific research.

Q: What is graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD)?

A: GVHD results from an immune reaction after a marrow or blood cell transplant. Immune cells in the graft from the donor recognize body tissues in the patient or host as “foreign.” The resulting immune response is similar to the reaction against an infection.

Q: What is the difference between acute and chronic GVHD?

A: Acute and chronic GVHD are caused by different mechanisms within the immune system. For this reason, the two forms of GVHD respond differently to treatment. Acute GVHD usually begins during the first 100 days after a transplant, although it can begin later.

Q: Does GVHD cause permanent damage?

A: Chronic GVHD can cause permanent damage to tissues in the skin, connective tissue, glands and organs. When glands are damaged, production of saliva or tears can be seriously impaired, resulting in damage in the mouth and eyes. In addition, the changes of chronic GVHD can increase the risk cancer of the skin and mouth.

Read the full article on graft-vs.-host disease at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.