Graft versus Host Disease is a long term complication that can sometimes follow cord blood transplantation. When you look at cord blood transplantation, many factors must be considered in pursuing the cord blood transplant such as the type of disease being treated, the condition of the patient, and the availability of cord blood storage. Depending on these factors and the system in which these procedures can be performed, many of these factors will determine whether a patient will get graft versus host disease.
There is one major factor which can increase the likelihood of an individual getting graft versus host disease. This would be in parallel to the fact that there is also an increased need for cord blood stem cell as a good treatment option. There are about 80 diseases which cord blood stem cells can treat ranging from leukemia, anemia, sickle cell, lymphoma, heart diseases, cancer, and many more. The first major factor here is the choice of donor. There are three types of donors- Autologous, Syngeneic and Allogeneic. Autologous is the patient’s stored cells; Syngeneic comes from an identical twin, and Allogenic from another person.
Autologous and Syngeneic donors cannot cause graft versus host disease. Allogenic donors can cause graft versus host disease but only in mildly. The more highly matched the patient is to a donor, the lesser is his risk of getting the disease. A mismatch though will likely cause the disease. An identical match from a sibling or relative will have the least risk under such circumstances. The risk increases with a donor who is not a match even if that donor is a relative or a sibling. A donor who is a match but is not a relative will exhibit the same amount or risk as a relative who is not a match.
While Graft versus Host Disease is something which shouldn’t be taken for granted by patients and medical professionals alike, a number of counter measures can be used to prevent individuals from getting the disease. It would also be best for individuals to be aware of these counter measures before as they opt for cord blood stem cells.