Sung Won Choi, M.D.

ESPhoto-ChoiSung Won Choi, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases

Edith Briskin/SKS Foundation Emerging Scholar


Improving the Success of Bone Marrow Transplants

During the past 40 years, bone marrow transplantation has been used with increasing frequency to treat numerous malignant and nonmalignant diseases. The procedure replaces damaged or destroyed bone marrow — soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells, including white cells, that are responsible for the immune response — with healthy bone marrow stem cells.

As with any transplant into the human body, the procedure’s success is threatened by graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) — the major complication of bone marrow transplantation in which the newly transplanted material attacks the transplant recipient’s body.

Dr. Sung Won Choi is studying how to better prevent and treat acute GVHD, and currently is investigating the role of histone deacetylase inhibition in GVHD prevention and translating exciting laboratory insights into a novel, proof-in-principal clinical trial.

A member of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at the U-M, she is working to lower rates of GVHD, which can vary from 30-40 percent among related donors, to 60-80 percent between unrelated donors and recipients. If GVHD progresses in a patient, the transplant can fail.

Dr. Sung Choi received a B.S. from the University of Michigan and her M.D. from Wayne State University. She completed her pediatric residency at New York University and fellowship training in pediatric hematology-oncology at Michigan. She then joined the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases in 2006.


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