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Study Characterizes Oral Complications of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Children

September 30, 2005

Each year, thousands of children with benign or malignant blood diseases undergo hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, or HSCT. The treatment involves the transplantation of blood or bone marrow-derived stem cells from a donor to replace the child’s own cells. As life saving as this treatment can be - and even when the donor of the stem cells is a near perfect match - the children can develop a condition called chronic graft-versus-host disease, or cGVHD. That is, their transplanted immune cells may persistently recognize certain "host" tissues as foreign, attack them, and cause a range of unwanted side effects throughout the body. Common among them are oral complications, including painful redness and ulcerations, dry mouth, increased risk of tooth decay and other soft tissue infections, and difficulties eating, speaking, and swallowing. Although these oral complications are well recognized among clinicians, their prevalence is poorly characterized in the medical literature. In the September issue of the journal Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, NIDCR grantees describe their oral findings in 49 consecutive patients examined at the pediatric cGVHD clinic of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This marks the largest report to date from a single center on the prevalence of oral complications in children following HSCT.

 

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This page last updated: February 26, 2014