Touching Lives - October 2009
Award for charity Research Training Fellow
Congratulations to Dr Muzlifah “Muzz” Haniffa, one of the charity’s Research Training Fellows, who won the runner-up prize in the Medical Research Society’s Young Investigator Award in February this year.
Dr Haniffa’s research, which began in 2005, and was completed in 2008, focused on improving the success of bone marrow transplants. When bone marrow transplants are carried out, a condition, graft versus host disease (GVHD), where the patients’ cells are destroyed by the donor’s bone marrow cells, often develops.
GVHD occurs in up to 60 per cent of transplant patients and can be fatal in up to half of them. It also causes long-term effects like peeling and scarring of the skin, diarrhoea and liver failure. Dr Haniffa’s research looked at the way in which the cells in the person receiving the transplant can be changed so that they don’t see the transplanted cells as foreign.
Her research also identified types of cells that might be responsible for the development of GVHD. Her research has led to greater understanding of the factors that cause GVHD and in the future it is hoped that new treatments could be developed to prevent it.
The exciting findings from the research have encouraged Dr Haniffa to continue her work in this area.