Supporting children facing the challenges of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)

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(BPT) - Fighting blood cancers at any age is a battle, but for children diagnosed with these cancers, the challenge is likely the greatest they have faced in their young lives. While battling their blood cancers, some may get a stem cell transplant, as it offers the hope of a potential “cure” for their disease. While survival rates for transplant recipients have improved over the years, challenges remain for those who develop a post-transplant complication called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD is a life-threatening condition that can occur after donor immune cells (the graft) begin to see the recipient (the host) as unfamiliar and foreign. As a result, the donor cells may launch an attack on the recipient’s organs and tissues, causing GVHD.

Children are the most vulnerable people within the GVHD community, as they are navigating their world with this chronic condition and facing unique issues. From the physical impact a chronic condition has on a young and growing body, to the stress put on academic performance due to physical limitations, lost school time, and psychosocial factors, children with GVHD require specialized support systems to help them succeed.

Incyte recognizes the unique challenges the GVHD community faces and has set out to make changes. In 2020, Incyte established the Incyte Ingenuity Awards in GVHD to provide direct support to innovative initiatives that address specific needs for people impacted by GVHD, including patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers.

For the 2022 award program, the Incyte Ingenuity Awards in GVHD’s independent judging panel selected Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as this year’s recipients. Both proposals showed creative, collaborative, and novel solutions that have high potential to benefit the GVHD community, especially in the lives of the children living with this condition.

The judges have granted Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center the $100,000 award for its project, Addressing the Gaps in Education for Children and Young Adults with Chronic GVHD, which, in partnership with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital School Services and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital MediaLab for Advanced Improvement Methods, aims to evaluate the academic performance of children and young adults with chronic GVHD and generate targeted interventions to address gaps in educational resources.

Additionally, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was awarded $35,000 for its project, Children with Chronic GVHD Virtual Rehabilitation Program. This project, was created in partnership with the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, aims to provide virtual physical rehabilitation to children with chronic GVHD and develop a standard of care approach to rehabilitation.

Incyte is proud to continue to offer support to the GVHD community through this award program and its dynamic and creative solutions. To learn more about the 2022 recipients and their novel initiatives, visit: https://www.incyteingenuityawards.com/gvhd/recipients.

©2022, Incyte. MAT-INC-01887 10/22

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