Bone Marrow Transplant Studies for Safe and Effective Treatment of Leukemia

2014-08-27 03:59:32 | BioPortfolio


Bone marrow transplants (BMT) are one of the accepted therapies used to treat leukemia. However, BMT have risks of complications. One potentially life-threatening complication is known as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

The GVHD is a reaction caused by an incompatibility between donor cells and recipient cells. Antigens found on the recipient's cells are recognized by the donor's transplanted white blood cell lymphocytes. These lymphocytes begin attacking the recipient's cells and tissues and may lead to death.

One of the most effective ways to prevent this reaction is to remove the lymphocytes from the transplanted marrow. Unfortunately, without lymphocytes the recipient's immune system will be lowered and may result in a relapse of leukemia or an infection.

Researchers have shown they can perform effective BMT by removing the lymphocytes prior to the transplant and then later adding the lymphocytes back. This technique can reduce the potential for GVHD and preserve the graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effect of the transplant.

In this study researchers plan to use peripheral blood with lymphocytes removed rather than bone marrow. In order to increase the number of progenitor cells, the cells responsible for correcting the leukemia, donors will receive doses of G-CSF prior to the transplant. G-CSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor) is a growth factor that increases the production of progenitor cells in the donor's blood stream.

The study will be broken into two parts. The first part of the study will attempt to determine if peripheral blood with lymphocytes removed can prevent GVHD while preserving the GVL effect of the transplant.

In the second part of the study, patients that received the transplant will have the lymphocytes added-back on two separate occasions in order reduce the chances of relapse and infection.

The study is designed to treat up to 55 patients ages 10 to 60 years and follow their progress for 5 years.


One of the most effective ways of preventing lethal graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) for leukemia is to remove T-lymphocytes from the transplanted marrow. The reduced early mortality from T cell depletion is however offset by an increased risk of leukemic relapse and infection. We have shown that bone marrow transplants for leukemia depleted of T cells by elutriation and followed by delayed add-back of donor T cells reduces GVHD while preserving an immune response to the hematologic malignancy (the so-called graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) or graft-versus-myeloma effect). The study highlighted a possible benefit of large doses of marrow progenitor cells on transplant outcome. GVHD was reduced but not prevented by T cell depletion of the marrow. The first objective of our BMT studies is to prevent GVHD from the transplant while conserving GVL reactivity. This is a prerequisite to our second objective of determining the risk of GVHD and the benefit from GVL from add-back of donor lymphocytes. These studies will provide the basis for a planned trial adding back donor lymphocytes selected in vitro to confer immunity against infectious agents and residual leukemia without causing GVHD.

In this study we will evaluate the use of T cell depleted peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC) (instead of bone marrow) to optimize the stem cell and lymphocyte dose. Donors will be given G-CSF and their mobilized PBPC harvested by leukapheresis. To minimize acute GVHD, the transplant will be T cell depleted, using a new technique developed in normal volunteers which improves T cell depletion and reduces stem cell loss (protocol 96-H-0049). The study has two phases: The first phase evaluates engraftment and GVHD following T cell depleted PBPC transplants. Stopping rules will be used to make modifications to the protocol in the event of graft failure. Cyclosporine will be withdrawn from the protocol if the incidence of acute GVHD is low or absent. In the second phase patients will receive add-back of donor lymphocytes on day 45 and day 100 post transplant to prevent relapse and confer donor-immune function. The risk of acute GVHD following this procedure will be determined. It is planned to treat up to 55 patients aged between 10 and 60 years. The end points of the study are graft take; acute and chronic GVHD, leukemic relapse, transplant-related and all causes of mortality, cytomegalovirus reactivation and leukemia-free survival. Patients will be followed for 5 years.

Study Design

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Control: Uncontrolled, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Graft vs Host Disease


Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant


National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
United States




National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:59:32-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

An immunological attack mounted by a graft against the host because of tissue incompatibility when immunologically competent cells are transplanted to an immunologically incompetent host; the resulting clinical picture is that of GRAFT VS HOST DISEASE.

Techniques for the removal of subpopulations of cells (usually residual tumor cells) from the bone marrow ex vivo before it is infused. The purging is achieved by a variety of agents including pharmacologic agents, biophysical agents (laser photoirradiation or radioisotopes) and immunologic agents. Bone marrow purging is used in both autologous and allogeneic BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION.

An immune response with both cellular and humoral components, directed against an allogeneic transplant, whose tissue antigens are not compatible with those of the recipient.

The clinical entity characterized by anorexia, diarrhea, loss of hair, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, growth retardation, and eventual death brought about by the GRAFT VS HOST REACTION.

The immune responses of a host to a graft. A specific response is GRAFT REJECTION.

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