Gut microorganisms could influence outcomes of bone marrow transplants

April 25, 2015 | by City of Hope


van den Brink Marcel R.M. van den Brink will deliver the annual Karl G. Blume-Gerhard Schmidt Memorial Lecture, titled “Intestinal Microbiota and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.”


Some of City of Hope's most high-impact achievements have arisen from City of Hope's globally recognized bone marrow transplant (BMT) program. The annual Karl G. Blume – Gerhard Schmidt Memorial Lecture in Transplantation Biology & Medicine — commemorating two of the most influential and revered figures in the program and in the field as a whole — highlights current topics in transplantation research and treatment.

This year’s much-anticipated lecture takes place April 29 at 4 p.m. in Argyros Auditorium on the Duarte, California, campus. As always, the event precedes the annual Bone Marrow Transplantation Reunion, which this year occurs on May 1.

Marcel R.M. van den Brink, M.D., Ph.D., Alan Houghton Professor in Immunology and head of the Division of Hematologic Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will deliver the talk, titled “Intestinal Microbiota and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.”

“Research into the role of microorganisms in our health is rapidly expanding, and Dr. van den Brink’s work is some of the most innovative in the country,” said Stephen J. Forman, M.D., Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. “I’m very happy to have him present his work as our honoree for this year’s lecture.”

An expert in allogeneic blood stem cell transplantation, van den Brink, who also is a professor of medicine and immunology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, focuses on ways to boost the immune system’s recovering following transplant and the role of T cells in graft-versus-host disease, a potentially lethal transplant complication. In addition, he studies graft-versus-tumor activity, where donor immune cells attack a patient’s cancerous cells. His presentation will explore the connection between microorganisms in the intestine and outcomes for transplant patients.

About the lecture

Karl G. Blume, M.D., was a pioneer in BMT. Arriving at City of Hope in 1975, he helped establish City of Hope's program and raised it to international status in the ensuing years. Blume died in January 2013 at age 75.

Gerhard Schmidt, M.D., was a recognized leader in transplantation, instituting City of Hope's Autologous Stem Cell Transplant and Histocompatibility Laboratory programs. Before his death in 1993, he expanded the use of allogeneic transplant, which uses marrow from an unrelated donor.

Through their dedicated research and care, Blume and Schmidt have saved thousands of lives. The lecture honoring their memories aims ultimately to extend their legacy of hope to more patients who may benefit from transplantation.


Learn more about the Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute at City of Hope and more about joining the bone marrow registry through Be the Match.


Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

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