Groundbreaking Cancer Research - Stem Cell Transplant Patients
THE GATEWAY FOR CANCER RESEARCH FUNDS CUTTING EDGE RESEARCH BY DR. COREY CUTLER
The Gateway for Cancer Researchsm is proud to support Dr. Corey Cutler in his groundbreaking work on a new approach for preventing and treating graft versus host disease, a potentially deadly complication faced by patients receiving stem cell transplants as treatment for certain types of cancer.
Corey Cutler, M.D., M.P.H., F.R.C.P.(C)
Corey Cutler, MD, MPH, FRCP(C) is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and practices within the Division of Hematologic Malignancy, Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA.
Dr. Cutler graduated from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine, completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the McGill University Health Science Center, and completed fellowship training in hematology, medical oncology, and stem cell transplantation at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Cutler earned an MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Currently, Dr. Cutler is Co-Chair of the CIBMTR GVHD Working Committee, is a member of the NIH Consensus Group on Chronic GVHD and is on the editorial boards for the journals of Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the American Journal of Hematology. He has been a contributing author on more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, 60 abstracts and 15 reviews and book chapters.
Dr. Cutler’s innovative research is focused on development of novel methods of disease prevention and therapy for chronic graft-vs.-host disease in allogenic (donor) stem cell transplantation. Stem cell transplantation can be very effective for the treatment of certain types of cancer, such as leukemia. Some patients, however, experience graft-vs.-host disease, in which the newly transplanted immune system rejects the recipient, causing serious complications and even death. Dr. Cutler’s research aims are to prevent and effectively treat patients with the disease. To date, the study results are very promising.
Title: A Novel Approach for Prevention of Chronic Graft-vs.-Host Disease in Allogenic Stem Cell Transplantation
Primary Investigator: Corey Cutler, MD, MPH, FRCP(C) of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
The Issue: Malignancies that attack blood or bone marrow are called hematologic cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 113,000 people were diagnosed with hematologic cancers in 2006 (the most recent year for which data is available). Stem cell transplants are common in the treatment of hematologic cancers. The risk associated with transplantation is development of graft vs. host disease in the recipient, which causes mild to severe complications and can be life-threatening.
Chronic graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD) is a debilitating autoimmune condition similar to lupus. Chronic GVHD can result in skin disease, severe eye dryness, mouth ulcers and muscle and joint pain. Patients who develop GVHD must be treated with immunosuppressive medications to reduce the severity of GVHD. As a result, they become vulnerable to infections. GVHD is another assault on their quality of life, and GVHD can be life-threatening.
Potential Impact: This study hopes to demonstrate that a novel use of monoclonal antibody therapy may lead to the prevention of steroid-refractory chronic GVHD and increase a patient’s chance of survival.
Dr. Cutler’s Gateway-funded Phase II clinical trial is testing a medication to prevent the occurrence of chronic GVHD. It is a unique study involving safe, non-toxic therapy that targets B cells, a subset of white blood cells. His team has treated 65 adult patients with hematologic cancer, administering the drug at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months, with very promising results. His analysis will be completed in 2011; if positive, then a randomized Phase III study will be pursued with the goal of bringing successful GVHD prevention to more people.
“My colleagues are looking forward to the results. Right now, there is no standard to prevent chronic GVHD, so these results are very promising. This could be a true game changer and I’m thankful to The Gateway for their support.” --Corey Cutler, MD, MPH, FRCP(C)
The Gateway Impact: Preliminary results from Dr. Cutler’s Gateway-funded study – a clinical trial that most likely would not have been funded through traditional avenues – were shared with colleagues at the 2010 meeting of the American Society of Hematology. His team’s “outside the box” thinking is delivering tangible results for people living with hematologic cancers. The Gateway for Cancer Researchsm is thrilled to be a part of this exciting breakthrough.
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