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Founded in 1987, The Auxiliary Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital is a group of young professionals and community leaders who raise funds to support research programs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The Auxiliary Board has committed more than $2 million to enhance treatment for Northwestern Memorial’s patients and their families through a host of patient care initiatives, including: the Ambulatory Spine Program, Bone Marrow Transplant, Comprehensive Heart Failure Prevention and Treatment, Functional Neurosurgery, Prostate Cancer Gene Therapy, Women’s Health, and the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute. Historically, the board has focused on providing “seed money” to programs and research initiatives.

The Auxiliary Board recently pledged its support to an innovative research study in bone marrow transplant, led by John Galvin, MD, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Fellow in Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Division of Hematology/Oncology. Bone marrow transplant (also called hematopoietic stem cell transplant or HSCT) is the only chance for a cure in many types of blood cancers. However, its success is limited by a common and sometimes fatal complication in which the donor cells begin to attack the host. The current method used to prevent the complication is long-term immunosuppressive therapy, which carries an additional risk of infection for the patient.

Dr. Galvin and his research team will attempt to prevent the potential for complication by inducing tolerance within the donor cells—instead of inhibiting the patient’s whole immune system. If this novel approach proves successful, it could lead to therapies that would make bone marrow transplants safer and available to greater numbers of patients with blood cancers.

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