Acute Graft versus Host Disease occurs within the first 100 days after transplant, but most often between 25 and 60 days after stem cell infusion.
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When acute Graft versus Host Disease ("GvHD") develops, white cells ("lymphocytes") from the stem cell graft move towards target tissues. Through direct contact or through proteins produced by these cells ("lymphokines"), the target tissues get damaged. The major targets are the skin, bowel, and liver.
Acute Graft versus Host Disease can be very dangerous, and is the single most important transplant-related cause of death after allogeneic stem cell transplant.