Any new health condition or diagnosis requires a wealth of information and support to guide people to the care they need. For those living with graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a life-threatening condition that can occur following allogenic stem cell transplantations, they face a unique challenge, as they are facing an entirely new disease at such an unexpected time.
Allogenic stem cell transplants play an important role for the treatment of certain cancers, most commonly those that affect the blood or immune system. While the procedure has the potential to cure disease and transform cancer patients’ lives, it also carries the risk of GVHD. This disease can occur following the transplantation, where the new and donated cells initiate an immune response and attack the recipient’s organs, leading to significant morbidity and mortality.
The shock and wave of emotions that often arrive with a GVHD diagnosis can make the next steps in a someone’s journey even more difficult to take. For those living with GVHD, it’s important to find resources, caregivers, and emotional support early on.
Understanding the importance behind supporting the GVHD community, Incyte created the Incyte Ingenuity Awards in 2020 to offer an opportunity for the GVHD community to collaborate and create innovative solutions that support those living with GVHD and their caregivers. For the 2022 program, Incyte will have two awards, one offering funding up to $35,000 and another up to $100,000.
Meredith Cowden, first time judge for the Incyte Ingenuity Awards, and patient advocate of the Meredith A. Cowden Foundation, commented on her hopes for the award program, stating, “As a cancer survivor who now lives with this condition, I know that the GVHD community will be able to rise to the occasion to develop innovative solutions for the problems we face. Those living with and caring for patients with GVHD have a strong sense of resiliency, which goes hand-in-hand with ingenuity.” She added, “I am excited to review the submitted proposals for the 2022 Incyte Ingenuity Awards and help ensure that the GVHD community receives the support it needs to address the issues we experience.”
Since 2020, the program has funded three creative projects from research institutions and patient advocacy organizations. These award-winning projects tackled some of the most pressing challenges faced by those living with GVHD. The Horizon Mobile App, which was the first award-winning project for the Incyte Ingenuity Awards from Mass General Cancer Center, has been able to connect patients to resources and activities designed to soften the toll their condition can take. From educational resources, to guided meditations, this app provides patients with broad medical support, and includes at-home activities that may help alleviate the nuanced symptoms of GVHD.
Then in 2021, projects from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation received an Incyte Ingenuity Award for proposing a GVHD telehealth clinic and an interactive GVHD provider network, respectively. While each of these projects have had a unique mission and approach, they all held the same central goal: establishing a stronger, better-supported GVHD community.
The 2022 application period is now open for the Incyte Ingenuity Awards. To learn more about eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit https://www.incyteingenuityawards.com.
© 2022, Incyte Corporation. MAT-INC-01624 01/22