Tocilizumab protects against bone graft response

Leukaemia patients undergoing bone marrow transplants can be protected from acute graft- versus -host disease (GVHD) if treated with the rheumatoid arthritis drug tocilizumab in addition to standard care, according to the results of Australian-led trials.

The phase I/II trials resulted in a significant drop in cases of acute graft versus host disease (GVHD), a potentially fatal complication from stem cell transplants, says Professor Geoff Hill of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

The incidence of acute GVHD was reduced from the usual 50% to 12% of