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New "Amy Scholar" announced

Dr. Vu H. Nguyen

Dr. Vu H. Nguyen (far left) is presented the 2010 award by Amy's family, (from left) Margo, Lauren and Bruce Manasevit.

The Amy Strelzer Manasevit Research Program named its 19th scholar: Vu H. Nguyen, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center. This prestigious award in the field of marrow transplantation research was founded by Martin Strelzer, who lost his daughter Amy Strelzer Manasevit to post-transplant complications in 1997. Before she died, Amy asked her father to make a difference and help other patients avoid her difficult journey. From her request, the Strelzer and Manasevit families formed a partnership with Be The Match Foundation®. Although Amy and Martin are no longer with us, their names and legacies live on through the "Amy Scholars."

The impact of the Amy Award

Amy Scholars receive a $240,000 grant to transition basic research into translational research. The amount and structure of this bridge funding is critical as it allows the researchers to continue with their projects consistently for three years without having to stop and apply for further financial support. To date, the Amy Scholars have received a combined $5 million in research dollars and, in turn, leveraged their awards to secure an additional $34.7 million in post-transplant research funding. Quite simply, Amy Scholars have created systemic change for patients suffering from post-transplant complications.

Dr. Vu H. Nguyen: Making strides to save lives

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a well-known complication associated with marrow transplants. GVHD is essentially a form of rejection affecting the body, most notably the areas of the abdomen, liver and skin. Dr. Nguyen believes that microflora, the bacteria in the gut, plays a key role in promoting GVHD in transplant patients.

So why not destroy this microflora to prevent GVHD from happening? Unfortunately, our bodies need some of these bacteria for digestive and anti-inflammatory elements. Dr. Nguyen will use DNA sequencing to try and differentiate which specific microflora are important for normal health and should remain in the patients' bodies apart from the microflora that should be eliminated. Dr. Nguyen will also look to identify certain signaling pathways used by the microflora as a means to remove the unhealthy bacteria.

Looking to the future-how you can help

If you're interested in the opportunities created by the Amy Strelzer Manasevit Research Program, you can help support this particular program today or with a gift made through your estate, such as a gift in your will. You can also create your own named research fund. This is a great way to:

  • Honor a loved one.
  • Leave a lasting legacy that represents your values.
  • Ensure that life-saving research continues beyond your lifetime
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