Adolescent and young adult patient presentations of aplastic anemia require a particular perspective on both diagnosis and treatment. This unique age group necessitates a thorough diagnostic evaluation to ensure the etiology, acquired or inherited, is sufficiently determined. The treatment options include human leukocyte antigen-identical sibling hematopoietic cell transplantation or immunosuppressive therapy, and both require attention to the specific medical and social needs of these adolescents and young adults. Longitudinal surveillance throughout life for the development of late complications of the disease and treatment is mandatory.
We sought to determine whether serum citrulline (CIT), an amino acid produced by small bowel enterocytes, was associated with clinical and biochemical markers of gastrointestinal function in children undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT).
The Epidemiologic Study of Xolair (omalizumab): Evaluating Clinical Effectiveness and Long-term Safety in Patients with Moderate-to-Severe Asthma (EXCELS) assessed the long-term safety of omalizumab in a clinical practice setting as part of a phase IV US Food and Drug Administration postmarketing commitment.
Hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) is a life-saving therapy for many malignant and non-malignant bone marrow diseases. Associated morbidities are often due to transplant-related toxicities and infections, exacerbated by regimen-induced immune suppression and systemic incursion of bacterial products. Patients undergoing myeloablative conditioning for HCT become endotoxemic and display blood/plasma changes consistent with lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced systemic innate immune activation. Herein, we addressed whether patients scheduled for HCT display differences in recognition/response to LPS ex vivo traceable to specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Two SNPs of LPS binding protein (LBP) were associated with changes in plasma LBP levels, with one LBP SNP also associating with differences in efficiency of extraction and transfer of endotoxin to myeloid differentiation factor-2 (MD-2), a step needed for activation of TLR4. None of the examined SNPs of CD14, bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI), TLR4 or MD-2 were associated with corresponding protein plasma levels or endotoxin delivery to MD-2, but CD14 and BPI SNPs significantly associated with differences in LPS-induced TNF-? release ex vivo and infection frequency, respectively. These findings suggest that specific LBP, CD14 and BPI SNPs might be contributory assessments in studies where clinical outcome may be affected by host response to endotoxin and bacterial infection.
Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) can cure bone marrow failure in patients with Fanconi anemia (FA). Data on outcomes in patients with pretransplantation cytogenetic abnormalities, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), or acute leukemia have not been separately analyzed.
Children undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) often require parenteral nutrition (PN) to optimize caloric intake. Standard approaches to nutritional supplementation provide 130-150% of estimated energy expenditure, but resting energy expenditure (REE) may be lower than expected after HSCT. Provision of PN exceeding energy needs may lead to overfeeding and associated complications.
Patient activation, the extension of self-efficacy into self-management, is an essential component of effective chronic care. In pediatric populations, caregiver activation is also needed for proper disease management. This study investigates the relationships between parental activation and other characteristics of parent-child dyads (N = 198) presenting for pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Parental activation concerning their childs health was assessed using the Parent Patient Activation Measure (Parent-PAM), a modified version of the well-validated Patient Activation Measure (PAM). Using hierarchical linear regression and following the Belsky process model for determining parenting behaviors, a multivariate model was created for parental activation on behalf of their child that showed that the parents age, rating of their own general health, self-activation, and duration of the childs illness were significantly related to Parent-PAM score. Our findings characterize a potentially distinct form of activation in a parent-child cohort preparing for a demanding clinical course.
A 24-year-old man from Ecuador presents to your clinic with dyspnea on exertion, bruising, and petechiae. He is noted to be pancytopenic with ANC 430, hemoglobin 7.4 g/dL (reticulocyte count 0.9%), and platelets 18 000. His BM biopsy is hypocellular for age. Ultimately, he is diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia. He is the only child of 2 South American parents without any matches in the unrelated donor registry, including cord blood. He is red cell- and platelet transfusion-dependent. He has been recommended therapy with antithymocyte globulin and cyclosporine but declined it. He seeks recommendations about new alternatives to this regimen to improve his chance of response.
Aplastic anemia remains a diagnosis of exclusion. Our ability to reliably diagnose, and therefore exclude, a variety of inherited or acquired diseases with similar phenotypes has improved markedly. An efficient diagnostic plan is important because time from diagnosis to treatment is related to outcome regardless of the therapeutic option chosen. HSCT remains the mainstay of therapy for those with matched sibling donors, and results have improved even further in recent years. For those without a sibling donor, the high response and overall survival rates of combined immunosuppressive therapy (IST) have proven robust. Nonetheless, incomplete response, relapse, and progression to myelodysplasia/leukemia have more clearly emerged as significant long-term issues. Improvements in outcome of alternative donor transplantation and the use of established and novel immunosuppressive agents provide multiple alternatives for treating refractory or relapsed patients. Best practices in this regard are not yet clearly established and may vary by a variety of demographic and treatment-specific factors. Regardless of the type of therapeutic approach, patients require ongoing monitoring for occurrence of disease and/or therapy-related side effects.
Identification of safe, effective treatments to mitigate toxicity after extensive radiation exposure has proven challenging. Only a limited number of candidate approaches have emerged, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any agent for a mass-casualty radiation disaster. Because patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation undergo radiation treatment that produces toxicities similar to radiation-disaster exposure, we studied patients early after such treatment to identify new approaches to this problem. Patients rapidly developed endotoxemia and reduced plasma bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI), a potent endotoxin-neutralizing protein, in association with neutropenia. We hypothesized that a treatment supplying similar endotoxin-neutralizing activity might replace the BPI deficit and mitigate radiation toxicity and tested this idea in mice. A single 7-Gy radiation dose, which killed 95% of the mice by 30 days, was followed 24 hours later by twice-daily, subcutaneous injections of the recombinant BPI fragment rBPI21 or vehicle alone for 14 or 30 days, with or without an oral fluoroquinolone antibiotic with broad-spectrum antibacterial activity, including that against endotoxin-bearing Gram-negative bacteria. Compared to either fluoroquinolone alone or vehicle plus fluoroquinolone, the combined rBPI21 plus fluoroquinolone treatment improved survival, accelerated hematopoietic recovery, and promoted expansion of stem and progenitor cells. The observed efficacy of rBPI21 plus fluoroquinolone initiated 24 hours after lethal irradiation, combined with their established favorable bioactivity and safety profiles in critically ill humans, suggests the potential clinical use of this radiation mitigation strategy and supports its further evaluation.
BPI (bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein) is a 55 kDa anti-infective molecule expressed in neutrophil and eosinophil granules and on some epithelial cells. BPIs high affinity for the lipid A region of endotoxin targets its opsonizing, microbicidal and endotoxin-neutralizing activities towards Gram-negative bacteria. Several immunocompromised patient populations demonstrate BPI deficiency, including newborns, those with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (as in cystic fibrosis and HIV infection) and those exposed to radiochemotherapy. BPI may be replenished by administering agents that induce its expression or by administration of recombinant BPI congeners, potentially shielding BPI-deficient individuals against Gram-negative bacterial infection, endotoxemia and its toxic sequelae.
Detection and clearance of bacterial infection require balanced effector and resolution signals to avoid chronic inflammation. Detection of GNB LPS by TLR4 on m induces inflammatory responses, contributing to chronic inflammation and tissue injury. LXs and Rvs are endogenous lipid mediators that enhance resolution of inflammation, and their actions on primary human m responses toward GNB are largely uncharacterized. Here, we report that LXA(4), LXB(4), and RvD1, tested at 0.1-1 ?M, inhibited LPS-induced TNF production from primary human m, with ATL and 17(R)-RvD1, demonstrating potent inhibition at 0.1 ?M. In addition, 17(R)-RvD1 inhibited LPS-induced primary human m production of IL-7, IL-12p70, GM-CSF, IL-8, CCL2, and MIP-1? without reducing that of IL-6 or IL-10. Remarkably, when stimulated with live Escherichia coli, m treated with 17(R)-RvD1 demonstrated increased TNF production and enhanced internalization and killing of the bacteria. 17(R)-RvD1-enhanced TNF, internalization, and killing were not evident for an lpxM mutant of E. coli expressing hypoacylated LPS with reduced inflammatory activity. Furthermore, 17(R)-RvD1-enhanced, E. coli-induced TNF production was evident in WT but not TLR4-deficient murine m. Thus, Rvs differentially modulate primary human m responses to E. coli in an LPS- and TLR4-dependent manner, such that this Rv could promote resolution of GNB/LPS-driven inflammation by reducing m proinflammatory responses to isolated LPS and increasing m responses important for clearance of infection.
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) offers the best chance of cure for many patients with congenital and acquired hematologic diseases. Unfortunately, transplantation of alloreactive donor T cells which recognize and damage healthy patient tissues can result in Graft-versus-Host Disease (GvHD). One challenge to successful AHSCT is the prevention of GvHD without associated impairment of the beneficial effects of donor T cells, particularly immune reconstitution and prevention of relapse. GvHD can be prevented by non-specific depletion of donor T cells from stem cell grafts or by administration of pharmacological immunosuppression. Unfortunately these approaches increase infection and disease relapse. An alternative strategy is to selectively deplete alloreactive donor T cells after allostimulation by recipient antigen presenting cells (APC) before transplant. Early clinical trials of these allodepletion strategies improved immune reconstitution after HLA-mismatched HSCT without excess GvHD. However, some allodepletion techniques require specialized recipient APC production and some approaches may have off-target effects including depletion of donor pathogen-specific T cells and CD4 T regulatory cells .One alternative approach is the inactivation of alloreactive donor T cells via induction of alloantigen-specific hyporesponsiveness. This is achieved by stimulating donor cells with recipient APC while providing blockade of CD28-mediated co-stimulation signals.This "alloanergization" approach reduces alloreactivity by 1-2 logs while preserving pathogen- and tumor-associated antigen T cell responses in vitro. The strategy has been successfully employed in 2 completed and 1 ongoing clinical pilot studies in which alloanergized donor T cells were infused during or after HLA-mismatched HSCT resulting in rapid immune reconstitution, few infections and less severe acute and chronic GvHD than historical control recipients of unmanipulated HLA-mismatched transplantation. Here we describe our current protocol for the generation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) which have been alloanergized to HLA-mismatched unrelated stimulator PBMC. Alloanergization is achieved by allostimulation in the presence of monoclonal antibodies to the ligands B7.1 and B7.1 to block CD28-mediated costimulation. This technique does not require the production of specialized stimulator APC and is simple to perform, requiring only a single and relatively brief ex vivo incubation step. As such, the approach can be easily standardized for clinical use to generate donor T cells with reduced alloreactivity but retaining pathogen-specific immunity for adoptive transfer in the setting of AHSCT to improve immune reconstitution without excessive GvHD.
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation can cure some patients with high-risk B-cell malignancies, but disease relapse following transplantation remains a significant problem. One approach that could be used to augment the donor T-cell-mediated antitumor effect is the infusion of allogeneic donor-derived T cells expressing a chimeric antibody receptor (CAR) specific to the B-cell antigen CD19. However, the use of such cells might result in toxicity in the form of graft-versus-host disease mediated by CD19-specific (CD19-CAR) T cells possessing alloreactive endogenous T-cell receptors. We therefore investigated whether nonalloreactive tumor-specific human T cells could be generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of healthy donors by the combination of CD19 redirection via CAR expression and subsequent alloanergization by allostimulation and concomitant blockade of CD28-mediated costimulation. Alloanergization of CD19-CAR T cells resulted in efficient and selective reduction of alloresponses in both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, including allospecific proliferation and cytokine secretion. Importantly, T-cell effector functions including CAR-dependent proliferation and specific target cytolysis and cytokine production were retained after alloanergization. Our data support the application of CD19 redirection and subsequent alloanergization to generate allogeneic donor T cells for clinical use possessing increased antitumor activity but limited capacity to mediate graft-versus-host disease. Immunotherapy with such cells could potentially reduce disease relapse after allogeneic transplantation without increasing toxicity, thereby improving the outcome of patients undergoing allogeneic transplantation for high-risk B-cell malignancies.
Therapeutic options for severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) are limited and outcomes are dismal, but early phase I/II studies have suggested promising activity and acceptable toxicity using the novel polydisperse oligonucleotide defibrotide. This randomized phase II dose-finding trial determined the efficacy of defibrotide in patients with severe VOD following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and identified an appropriate dose for future trials. Adult and pediatric patients received either lower-dose (arm A: 25 mg/kg/day; n = 75) or higher-dose (arm B: 40 mg/kg/day; n = 74) i.v. defibrotide administered in divided doses every 6 hours for > or =14 days or until complete response, VOD progression, or any unacceptable toxicity occurred. Overall complete response and day +100 post-HSCT survival rates were 46% and 42%, respectively, with no significant difference between treatment arms. The incidence of treatment-related adverse events was low (8% overall; 7% in arm A, 10% in arm B); there was no significant difference in the overall rate of adverse events between treatment arms. Early stabilization or decreased bilirubin was associated with better response and day +100 survival, and decreased plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) during treatment was associated with better outcome; changes were similar in both treatment arms. Defibrotide 25 or 40 mg/kg/day also appears effective in treating severe VOD following HSCT. In the absence of any differences in activity, toxicity or changes in PAI-1 level, defibrotide 25 mg/kg/day was selected for ongoing phase III trials in VOD.
An important barrier to the success of transplanting haploidentical hematopoietic stem cells is delayed reconstitution of immune cells that provide protection from opportunistic infections and recurrent malignancy. In recent years a large research effort has been directed toward improving immune reconstitution through methods that potentially spare these cells while simultaneously reducing the alloreactive lymphocytes that cause graft-vs.-host disease. The basic concepts that support three very different approaches to selective depletion of haploidentical grafts are described in this section. Two methods take advantage of the proliferation of donor T cells after encountering alloantigen, and the third method exploits newer technology to engineer a graft that excludes alloreactive T cells while preserving other immunomodulatory cells.
Transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells from healthy donors can cure patients with many diseases. Donor T cells can protect against recurrence of infection and disease, but some of these (alloreactive) T cells recognize patient tissues as foreign, causing graft-versus-host disease. Removing T cells from donor grafts before transplantation reduces graft-versus-host disease but increases infection and disease recurrence. Inactivation of alloreactive T cells by inducing tolerance to patient cells (anergization) before transplantation preserves beneficial donor T cell effects while reducing graft-versus-host disease. We show that this approach also results in expansion of regulatory T cells that specifically suppress alloreactive donor T cell responses in the recipient. In addition to reducing graft-versus-host disease, antigen-specific regulatory T cells generated with this strategy could suppress unwanted T cell responses that cause rejection of solid organ transplants and tissue damage in autoimmune disorders.
In comparison to past decades, children who have acquired aplastic anemia (AA) enjoy excellent overall survival that reflects improvements in supportive care, more accurate exclusion of children who have alternate diagnoses, and advances in transplantation and immunosuppressive therapy (IST). Matched sibling-donor hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) routinely provide long-term survival in the range of 90%, and 75% of patients respond to IST. In this latter group, the barriers to overall and complication-free survival include recurrence of AA, clonal evolution with transformation to myelodysplasia/acute myelogenous leukemia, and therapy-related toxicities. Improvements in predicting responses to IST, in alternative-donor HSCT, and in rationalizing therapy by understanding the pathophysiology in individual patients are likely to improve short- and long-term outcomes for these children.
The occurrence of hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) has been reported in up to 60% of patients following stem cell transplantation (SCT), with incidence varying widely between studies depending on the type of transplant, conditioning regimen, and criteria used to make the diagnosis. Severe VOD is characterized by high mortality and progression to multiorgan failure (MOF); however, there is no consensus on how to evaluate severity. This review and analysis of published reports attempts to clarify these issues by calculating the overall mean incidence of VOD and mortality from severe VOD, examining the effect of changes in SCT practice on the incidence of VOD over time, and discussing the methods used to evaluate severity. Across 135 studies performed between 1979 and October 2007, the overall mean incidence of VOD was 13.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]=13.3%-14.1%). The mean incidence of VOD was significantly lower between 1979-1994 than between 1994-2007 (11.5% [95% CI, 10.9%-12.1%] vs 14.6% [95% CI, 14.0%-15.2%]; P <.05). The mortality rate from severe VOD was 84.3% (95% CI, 79.6%-88.9%); most of these patients had MOF, which also was the most frequent cause of death. Thus, VOD is less common than early reports suggested, but the current incidence appears to be relatively stable despite recent advances in SCT, including the advent of reduced-intensity conditioning. The evolution of MOF in the setting of VOD after SCT can be considered a reliable indication of severity and a predictor of poor outcome.
Invasive aspergillosis (IA) can cause significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised children. The galactomannan (GM) enzyme immunoassay (EIA) has been shown in adult studies to be a useful adjunct in diagnosing IA. Data on this assay in children are limited by small sample sizes and conflicting results; false-positive assays were a concern in historical studies. We sought to evaluate the GM EIA in a large cohort of children who received intensive chemotherapy and/or hematopoietic stem cell transplant. A focus was placed on evaluating the assay specificity, and the potential of measuring GM antigen in urine.
Chemotherapy dosing in hematopoietic cell therapy (HCT) conditioning regimens is based on patient weight. We hypothesized that potential underdosing or overdosing of patients with significant deviation of weight from normal might alter HCT outcomes, such as early mortality, overall or organ-specific toxicity, and/or relapse. We therefore conducted a retrospective analysis of 400 children between the ages of 2 and 18 years who underwent HCT for malignant or nonmalignant disease at Boston Childrens Hospital over a 10-year period. Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standard weight classification schema, we found no evidence to suggest a difference in survival or in time to engraftment or in relapse in patients with malignant disease. In the subgroups of patients either receiving autologous HCT or with underlying malignancy, combined overweight and obese patients had a higher rate of any organ, but not organ-specific, Grade 3-5 toxicity compared with the normal weight group. The study was not powered to detect a difference between underweight and normal weight patients. These data suggest that multiple outcome measures over the first year after HCT are unaffected by weight.
Ex vivo alloanergization of human immune cells, via allostimulation in the presence of costimulatory blockade with either a combination of anti-B7.1 and anti-B7.2 antibodies or first-generation cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4-immunoglobulin (CTLA4-Ig), induces alloantigen-specific hyporesponsiveness and expands alloantigen-specific regulatory T cells (Treg). We have successfully used this approach in the clinical setting of haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Recently, the in vivo use of a new second-generation CTLA4-Ig, belatacept, has shown promise in controlling alloresponses after transplantation of both human kidneys and islet cells. We therefore compared the efficiency of first- and second-generation CTLA4-Ig in alloanergizing human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and investigated whether ex vivo alloanergization with belatacept could be used to engineer an alloantigen-specific immunoregulatory population of autologous cells suitable for administration to recipients of cellular or solid organ transplant recipients. Alloanergization of HLA-mismatched human PBMCs with belatacept resulted in a greater reduction in subsequent alloresponses than alloanergization with first generation CTLA4-Ig. Moreover, subsequent ex vivo re-exposure of alloanergized cells to alloantigen in the absence of belatacept resulted in a significant expansion of Tregs with enhanced alloantigen-specific suppressive function. Alloanergized PBMCs retained functional Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific T-cell responses, and expanded Tregs did not suppress EBV-specific proliferation of autologous cells. These results suggest that ex vivo alloanergization with belatacept provides a platform to engineer populations of recipient Treg with specificity for donor alloantigens but without nonspecific suppressive capacity. The potential advantages of such cells for solid organ transplantation include (1) reduction of the need for nonspecific immunosuppression, (2) retention of pathogen-specific immunity, and (3) control of graft rejection, if used as an intervention.
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