Jenny Wayne’s introduction to blood cancer came about 15 years ago when her friend informed her that her 10 year-old daughter, Kenna, had been diagnosed with leukemia. Shortly following that she became a staff member at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's North Carolina chapter. But she could never have predicted that she would one day become a bone marrow donor, and ultimately save a blood cancer patient’s life.
Wayne’s experience with blood cancer didn’t end with Kenna. In her 12 years with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), she’s had countless personal connections; including losing an uncle to myeloma and learning her father-in-law had lymphoma (he is winning his battle). When a bone marrow donor center representative came to her office to speak to the team about organ donors, she jumped at the opportunity to get a swab done.
Last February, Wayne got the call that she was the perfect match for an older gentleman (who she now considers a kin brother) who was in need of a bone marrow transplant. Knowing she would be saving her recipient’s life, she decided to go through with it.
Wayne provided some insight on the ups and downs of her remarkable journey.
Staying on track while you train for a walk or run event can be challenging at times. This is especially true for busy moms who barely have enough time to work out, let alone track their fitness progress.
For the second time this year, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Moms In Training program has teamed up with Fitbit to help Moms In Training participants track their progress and achieve their goals. Fitbit activity trackers automatically track daily steps, calories burned, distance traveled and active minutes. Most also track floors climbed, sleep duration and quality, and the more advanced products track heart rate and GPS-based information, and incorporate smartphone integration like text and call notifications.
Smita Bhatia is a pediatric oncologist with a strong interest in cancer outcomes at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has received several grant awards from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) during her career. Recently it was announced that her Translational Research Program funding would be renewed for a study about preventing long-term health complications in bone marrow transplant survivors.
In the simplest of terms, what is your research project about?
Hematopoietic cell transplantation (formerly known as bone marrow transplantation or BMT) is now routinely used as a treatment strategy for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The number of HCTs performed in the U.S. is growing at the rate of about 5 percent per year. Over 70 percent of patients who survive the first two years after HCT become long-term survivors.
However, cure of the underlying disease is not accompanied by full restoration of health. Transplant survivors are at a high risk of developing chronic health conditions after HCT (e.g., second cancers, heart failure and pulmonary toxicity). In fact, the incidence of life-threatening or fatal long-term complications increases from 9 percent at two years post-HCT to 41 percent at 15 years, necessitating close follow-up across the lifespan of HCT recipients.
The substantial burden of treatment-related morbidity developing several years after HCT presents a critical need to: i) accurately characterize the long-term and late effects of HCT; ii) advance knowledge about the influence of genetic factors on post-HCT morbidity and mortality; iii) determine if treatment-related complications are exacerbated when more than one is present at once; iv) refine health screening and standardize recommendations for long-term follow-up of HCT survivors; and v) guide the development of health-preserving interventions.
We propose to follow about 8,000 survivors, transplanted between 1974 and 2012, at one of three participating institutions (University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), City of Hope, and University of Minnesota) to address these issues. We will also enroll 3,000 siblings to serve as a comparison group. We propose to describe the burden of morbidity carried by the transplant survivors. We also propose to collect DNA from patients so that we can determine the genetic basis for some of these complications.