Grants - Translational (Robin Roberts Thrivership) - California - 2019

Saro Armenian, DO, MPH

Funded by the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund

Stem cell transplantation is an effective way to treat patients with blood cancers. However, this treatment can cause short- and long-term side effects. These side effects may affect quality of life and increase risks for other diseases. Doctors must balance these risks with the potential for stem cell transplant to cure patients. A risk-prediction model can help with such decisions, but current models are inadequate. Risk-prediction models are often based on a patient’s age, but people of the same age in years may not be alike in terms of underlying health. Underlying health can be estimated with various “biomarkers.” Our proposal is designed to identify a new biomarker that shows whether a patient is fit for stem cell transplant. We are studying clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP), a group of genes that indicate the health of a patient’s blood cells. Our hypothesis is that patients with CHIP in the blood before stem cell transplant will have poor outcomes after transplant. To test this, we will use a large collection of blood samples taken from blood cancer patients before stem cell transplant. We also have information about each patient’s health after transplant. We will use DNA sequencing to measure CHIP genes in the blood samples. We will use statistics to compare CHIP in the samples with patient health after stem cell transplant. If these correlate, it will show that CHIP is a good biomarker for use in a risk-prediction model. This will help doctors make personalized decisions that improve the lives of blood cancer patients.