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Innovative Approach to Improve Quality of Life Post-Stem Cell Transplantation

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A recent study published in the June 2024 issue of JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network highlights a promising new approach for alleviating anxiety and enhancing the quality of life in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).

This pilot study, conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, explored the efficacy of a phone-based intervention known as Positive Affect for the Transplantation of Hematopoietic stem cells (PATH).

The PATH Intervention: A Positive Psychology Program

The PATH intervention is a nine-week, phone-delivered program designed specifically for blood cancer patients who have undergone stem cell transplantation. The study found that the intervention was well-received, with 91% of participants completing all sessions and reporting them as helpful and easy to follow.

Key Benefits and Findings

  1. Feasibility and Accessibility: The PATH program is highly accessible as it can be conducted over the phone, eliminating the need for patients to travel to medical centers. The intervention includes weekly positive psychology exercises focused on gratitude, personal strengths, and meaning, which patients can complete at their convenience.
  2. High Participation Rates: The study reported impressive participation rates, with 94% of patients completing at least six of the nine sessions. The brief nature of the sessions (15-20 minutes) compared to other therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (60-90 minutes) contributed to its feasibility.
  3. Psychological Well-being: The PATH intervention demonstrated promising effects on improving patients’ psychological well-being, reducing distress, and enhancing overall quality of life. The positive psychology exercises helped foster positive emotions, which are crucial during the recovery period post-transplantation.

Expert Insights

Dr. Hermioni L. Amonoo, the lead researcher, emphasized the significance of the intervention: “We designed PATH with the needs of HSCT survivors in mind. It allows patients to engage in beneficial exercises safely during their recovery. This approach is not only feasible but also greatly appreciated by patients.”

Jessica Vanderlan, PhD, who was not involved in the research, commented on the importance of such interventions: “Creating brief, phone-delivered interventions like PATH can significantly improve patient access to care, especially during acute recovery periods when patients face numerous demands and physical symptoms.”


The PATH intervention represents a significant advancement in the supportive care of stem cell transplantation patients. By focusing on positive psychological exercises, this program offers a scalable and effective means to improve the psychological well-being and quality of life for patients recovering from hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

For more detailed insights, the full study is available at with complimentary access until September 10, 2024.

*** All content on is for informational purposes only. All medical questions and concerns should always be consulted with your licensed healthcare provider.

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