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Concept: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation


Background In X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy, mutations in ABCD1 lead to loss of function of the ALD protein. Cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy is characterized by demyelination and neurodegeneration. Disease progression, which leads to loss of neurologic function and death, can be halted only with allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. Methods We enrolled boys with cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy in a single-group, open-label, phase 2-3 safety and efficacy study. Patients were required to have early-stage disease and gadolinium enhancement on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at screening. The investigational therapy involved infusion of autologous CD34+ cells transduced with the elivaldogene tavalentivec (Lenti-D) lentiviral vector. In this interim analysis, patients were assessed for the occurrence of graft-versus-host disease, death, and major functional disabilities, as well as changes in neurologic function and in the extent of lesions on MRI. The primary end point was being alive and having no major functional disability at 24 months after infusion. Results A total of 17 boys received Lenti-D gene therapy. At the time of the interim analysis, the median follow-up was 29.4 months (range, 21.6 to 42.0). All the patients had gene-marked cells after engraftment, with no evidence of preferential integration near known oncogenes or clonal outgrowth. Measurable ALD protein was observed in all the patients. No treatment-related death or graft-versus-host disease had been reported; 15 of the 17 patients (88%) were alive and free of major functional disability, with minimal clinical symptoms. One patient, who had had rapid neurologic deterioration, had died from disease progression. Another patient, who had had evidence of disease progression on MRI, had withdrawn from the study to undergo allogeneic stem-cell transplantation and later died from transplantation-related complications. Conclusions Early results of this study suggest that Lenti-D gene therapy may be a safe and effective alternative to allogeneic stem-cell transplantation in boys with early-stage cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy. Additional follow-up is needed to fully assess the duration of response and long-term safety. (Funded by Bluebird Bio and others; STARBEAM number, NCT01896102 ; number, 2011-001953-10 .).

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Death, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Gene therapy, Adrenoleukodystrophy


Graft-versus-host disease is one of the major transplant-related complications in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Continued efforts have been made to prevent the occurrence of severe graft-versus-host disease by eliminating or suppressing donor-derived effector T cells. Conventional immunosuppression does not adequately prevent graft-versus-host disease, especially in mismatched transplants. Unfortunately, elimination of donor-derived T cells impairs stem cell engraftment, and delays immunologic reconstitution, rendering the recipient susceptible to post-transplant infections and disease relapse, with potentially lethal consequences. In this review, we discuss the role of dynamic immune regulation in controlling graft-versus-host disease, and how cell-based therapies are being developed using regulatory T cells and other tolerogenic cells for the prevention and treatment of graft-versus-host disease. In addition, advances in the design of cytoreductive conditioning regimens to selectively target graft-versus-host disease-inducing donor-derived T cells that have improved the safety of allogeneic stem cell transplantation are reviewed. Finally, we discuss advances in our understanding of the tolerogenic facilitating cell population, a phenotypically and functionally distinct population of bone marrow-derived cells which promote hematopoietic stem cell engraftment while reducing the risk of graft-versus-host disease.

Concepts: Immune system, Immunology, Graft-versus-host disease, T helper cell, T cells, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Hematopoietic stem cell


BACKGROUND: Inducing donor-specific tolerance in renal transplant patients could potentially prevent allograft rejection and calcineurin inhibitor nephrotoxicity. Combined kidney and hematopoietic stem cell transplant from an HLA-matched donor is an exploratory and promising therapy to induce immune tolerance. Investigtion of molecular mechanisms involved in the disease is needed to understand the potential process of cell therapy and develop strategies to prevent this immunologic rejection. METHODS: We enrolled nine patients in a clinical study in which cryopreserved donor hematopoietic stem cells were infused on days 2, 4, and 6 after kidney transplantation. One month post-transplant, 4 plasma samples were collected from combined transplants (C + Tx), and 8 plasma samples from patients with kidney transplantation alone (Tx). High abundance proteins in plasma were depleted and the two-dimensional liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry coupled with iTRAQ labeling was utilized to identify the protein profiling between the two groups. Clusters of up- and down-regulated protein profiles were submitted to MetaCore for the construction of transcriptional factors and regulation networks. Results and Discussion Among the 179 identified proteins, 65 proteins were found in C + Tx with at least a 2-fold change as compared with Tx. A subset of proteins related to the complement and coagulation cascade, including complement C3a,complement C5a, precrusors to fibrinogen alpha and beta chains,was significantly downregulated in C + Tx. Meanwhile, Apolipoprotein-A1(ApoA1), ApoC1, ApoA2, ApoE, and ApoB were significantly lower in Tx compared to C + Tx. Gene ontology analysis showed that the dominant processes of differentially expressed proteins were associated with the inflammatory response and positive regulation of plasma lipoprotein particle remodeling. CONCLUSIONS: Thus, our study provides new insight into the molecular events in the hematopoietic stem cell-induced immunologic tolerance.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Gene expression, Stem cell, Immunology, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Hematopoietic stem cell


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) constitutes a collection of lymphoproliferative disorders with widely varying biologic, histologic and clinical features. For the B-cell NHLs, great progress has been made due to the addition of monoclonal antibodies and, more recently, other novel agents such as B-cell receptor signaling inhibitors, immunomodulatory agents, and proteasome inhibitors. Autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (auto-HCT) offers the promise of cure or prolonged remission in some NHL patients. For some patients, however, auto-HCT may never be a viable option, while in others their disease may progress despite auto-HCT. In those settings, allogeneic HCT (allo-HCT) offers the potential for cure. Over the past 10-15 years, considerable progress has been made in the implementation of allo-HCT, such that this approach now is a highly effective therapy for patients up to (and even beyond) age 75. Recent advances in conventional lymphoma therapy, peri-transplant supportive care, patient selection, and donor selection (including the use of alternative hematopoietic cell donors), has allowed broader application of allo-HCT to NHL patients. As a result, an ever-increasing number of NHL patients over age 60-65 years stand to benefit from allo-HCT. In this review, we present data in support of the use of allo-HCT for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma. These histologies account for a large majority of allo-HCT performed for patients over 60 in the U.S. Where possible, we highlight available data in older patients. This body of literature strongly supports the concept that allo-HCT should be offered to fit patients well beyond age 65 and, accordingly, that this treatment should therefore be covered by their insurance carriers.

Concepts: Lymphocyte, Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Follicular lymphoma, Lymphoproliferative disorders, Mantle cell lymphoma, T-cell lymphoma


We previously reported that bone marrow grafts from matched sibling donors resulted in best graft-versus-host disease-free, relapse-free survival at 1-year post allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. However, pediatric patients comprised the majority of bone marrow graft recipients in that study. To better define this outcome in adults and pediatric patients at 1- and 2-years post- allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, we pooled data from University of Minnesota and Hopital Saint-Louis in Paris, France (n=1901). Graft-versus-host disease-free, relapse-free survival was defined as absence of grade III-IV acute graft-versus-host disease, chronic graft-versus-host disease (requiring systemic therapy or extensive stage), relapse and death. In adults, bone marrow from matched sibling donors (n=123) had best graft-versus-host disease-free, relapse-free survival at 1- and 2-years, compared with peripheral blood stem cell from matched sibling donors (n=540) or other graft/donor types. In multivariate analysis, peripheral blood stem cell from matched sibling donors resulted in a 50% increased risk of events contributing to graft-versus-host disease-free, relapse-free survival at 1- and 2-years than bone marrow from matched sibling donors. With limited numbers of peripheral blood stem cell grafts in pediatric patients (n=12), graft-versus-host disease-free, relapse-free survival did not differ between bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell graft from any donor. While not all patients have a matched sibling donor, graft-versus-host disease-free, relapse-free survival may be improved by preferential use of bone marrow for adults with malignant diseases. Alternatively, novel graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis regimens are needed to substantially impact graft-versus-host disease-free, relapse-free survival with the use of peripheral blood stem cell.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Stem cell, Bone marrow, Graft-versus-host disease, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Hematopoietic stem cell


41st Annual Meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT 2015), Istanbul, Turkey, 22-25 March 2015 The European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) is the leading scientific society for professionals involved in hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) and represents 563 transplant centers from 57 countries within and outside Europe. Each year, the EBMT Annual Meeting brings together over 4,500 scientists, physicians, nurses, biologists, technicians and patients to discuss scientific data that build on past achievements in the field of HSCT. The procedure offers the chance of long-term remission of hematological and lymphoid cancers, but patients are at increased risk of serious infections, especially after allogeneic HSCT. These infections include the invasive fungal infections that were among the important topics discussed during EBMT 2015.

Concepts: Immune system, Bone marrow, Chemotherapy, Hematology, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Turkey, Scientist


Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) may be effective in aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) that fail to respond to standard therapies.

Concepts: Bone marrow, Multiple sclerosis, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Hematopoietic stem cell


Background Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is the leading cause of later illness and death after allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. We hypothesized that the inclusion of antihuman T-lymphocyte immune globulin (ATG) in a myeloablative conditioning regimen for patients with acute leukemia would result in a significant reduction in chronic GVHD 2 years after allogeneic peripheral-blood stem-cell transplantation from an HLA-identical sibling. Methods We conducted a prospective, multicenter, open-label, randomized phase 3 study of ATG as part of a conditioning regimen. A total of 168 patients were enrolled at 27 centers. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive ATG or not receive ATG, with stratification according to center and risk of disease. Results After a median follow-up of 24 months, the cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD was 32.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 22.1 to 46.7) in the ATG group and 68.7% (95% CI, 58.4 to 80.7) in the non-ATG group (P<0.001). The rate of 2-year relapse-free survival was similar in the ATG group and the non-ATG group (59.4% [95% CI, 47.8 to 69.2] and 64.6% [95% CI, 50.9 to 75.3], respectively; P=0.21), as was the rate of overall survival (74.1% [95% CI, 62.7 to 82.5] and 77.9% [95% CI, 66.1 to 86.1], respectively; P=0.46). There were no significant between-group differences in the rates of relapse, infectious complications, acute GVHD, or adverse events. The rate of a composite end point of chronic GVHD-free and relapse-free survival at 2 years was significantly higher in the ATG group than in the non-ATG group (36.6% vs. 16.8%, P=0.005). Conclusions The inclusion of ATG resulted in a significantly lower rate of chronic GVHD after allogeneic transplantation than the rate without ATG. The survival rate was similar in the two groups, but the rate of a composite end point of chronic GVHD-free survival and relapse-free survival was higher with ATG. (Funded by the Neovii Biotech and the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation; number, NCT00678275 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Graft-versus-host disease, Hematology, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Transplantation medicine


Background Genetic mutations drive the pathogenesis of the myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and are closely associated with clinical phenotype. Therefore, genetic mutations may predict clinical outcomes after allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. Methods We performed targeted mutational analysis on samples obtained before transplantation from 1514 patients with MDS who were enrolled in the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research Repository between 2005 and 2014. We evaluated the association of mutations with transplantation outcomes, including overall survival, relapse, and death without relapse. Results TP53 mutations were present in 19% of the patients and were associated with shorter survival and a shorter time to relapse than was the absence of TP53 mutations, after adjustment for significant clinical variables (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Among patients 40 years of age or older who did not have TP53 mutations, the presence of RAS pathway mutations was associated with shorter survival than was the absence of RAS pathway mutations (P=0.004), owing to a high risk of relapse, and the presence of JAK2 mutations was associated with shorter survival than was the absence of JAK2 mutations (P=0.001), owing to a high risk of death without relapse. The adverse prognostic effect of TP53 mutations was similar in patients who received reduced-intensity conditioning regimens and those who received myeloablative conditioning regimens. By contrast, the adverse effect of RAS pathway mutations on the risk of relapse, as compared with the absence of RAS pathway mutations, was evident only with reduced-intensity conditioning (P<0.001). In young adults, 4% of the patients had compound heterozygous mutations in the Shwachman-Diamond syndrome-associated SBDS gene with concurrent TP53 mutations and a poor prognosis. Mutations in the p53 regulator PPM1D were more common among patients with therapy-related MDS than those with primary MDS (15% vs. 3%, P<0.001). Conclusions Genetic profiling revealed that molecular subgroups of patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation for MDS may inform prognostic stratification and the selection of conditioning regimen. (Funded by the Edward P. Evans Foundation and others.).

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Genetics, Mutation, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Compound heterozygosity, Myelodysplastic syndrome


The European Conference on Infections in Leukemia (ECIL) provides recommendations for diagnostic strategies and prophylactic, pre-emptive or targeted therapy strategies for various types of infection in patients with hematological malignancies or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients. Meetings are held every two years since 2005 and evidence-based recommendations are elaborated after evaluation of the literature and discussion among specialists of nearly all European countries. In this manuscript, the ECIL group presents the 2015-update of the recommendations for the targeted treatment of invasive candidiasis, aspergillosis and mucormycosis. Current data now allow a very strong recommendation in favor of echinocandins for first line therapy of candidemia irrespective of the underlying predisposing factors. Anidulafungin has been given the same grading as the other echinocandins for hemato-oncological patients. The beneficial role of catheter removal in candidemia is strengthened. Aspergillus guidelines now recommend the use of either voriconazole or isavuconazole for first line treatment of invasive aspergillosis, while first line combination antifungal therapy is not routinely recommended. As only few new data were published since the last ECIL guidelines, no major changes were brought to mucormycosis recommendations.

Concepts: Cancer, Bone marrow, Chemotherapy, Hematology, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Aspergillosis, Antifungals, Candidiasis