Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD)

Nasty little bugger

Definition of GvHD

GvHd is when the new cells from a piece of transplanted bone marrow start to attack the native blood cells that can lead to a whole slew of other complications.

What does this mean for my body?

The immune system usually works through a plethora of organs, cells, and tissues that work together to defend your body from foreign organisms. When GvHD is contracted the cells from the transplanted section of bone marrow start attacking the hosts body and cells.

The signs and symptoms of GvHD (plus some facts)

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Can I treat/prevent this disease?

To prevent this disease there are some precautions you can take, all of which are prescriptions that you must take before your transplant, if you contract GvHD there are other medications to treat this condition.


  • cyclosporine and methotrexate
  • tacrolimus (Prograf®) and methotrexate
  • tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept®)
  • Prograf and sirolimus (Rapamune®)


  • antithymocyte globulin (rabbit ATG; Thymoglobulin®)
  • denileukin diftitox (Ontak®)
  • monoclonal antibodies such as daclizumab (Zenapax®); infliximab (Remicade®); or, more rarely, alemtuzumab (Campath®)
  • mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept®)
  • sirolimus (Rapamune®)
  • tacrolimus (Prograf®)

How do I know if I have it?

A doctor can diagnose GvHD through physical exams and biopsies.

Who is most likely to get it?

GvHD is not a gender specific disease, so if you get a transplant you whether or not you are male or female you have a chance to get it. The older you are the more likely you are to get GvHD so if you plan on having a bone marrow transplant get it now.
Bone Marrow Transplant