Justin T. – BASIS Scottsdale

BASIS Scottsdale Senior Justin T.

Scaling It Down: The Influence of Weight Loss on Stem Cell Transplant Patients

Project/blog link: Scaling It Down: The Influence of Weight Loss on Stem Cell Transplant Patients
BASIS Advisor: Mr. Alex Covalciuc
Internship location: Mayo Clinic, Bone Marrow Transplant Program
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Lisa Sproat, Oncologist

Project Abstract

Stem cell transplants are necessary for patients with leukemia. Because leukemia is cancer of the blood, chemotherapy given to treat leukemia targets the bone marrow, the main production site for many components of the blood. Chemotherapy wipes out both healthy and cancerous stem cells, requiring the patient to replenish these stem cells by getting a transplant. The body, already weakened by intense chemotherapy and the operation itself, makes post-transplant complications potentially as lethal as those prior to and during the transplant. In an effort to more accurately predict post-transplant complications, my project examines weight loss as a possibly reliable prognostic factor. In order to do so, I will review Mayo Clinic’s patient records from 2008 to present and collect patient weight data at various stages of the stem cell transplant procedure (before, one hundred days after, and one year after). Following data collection, patient weight loss will be compared against a variety of factors (transplant-related mortality rates, cancer relapse rates, and graft versus host disease) that are indicative of the success of the transplant. Finding a statistically significant correlation would allow physicians to predict and prevent certain post-transplant complications by monitoring patient weight loss.

Scaling It Down: The Influence of Weight Loss on Stem Cell Transplant Patients