Publications by authors named "Marco Zecca"

206 Publications

Response to upfront azacitidine in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia in the AZA-JMML-001 trial.

Blood Adv 2021 07;5(14):2901-2908

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, IRCCS Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, Rome, Italy; and.

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only curative therapy for most children with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). Novel therapies controlling the disorder prior to HSCT are needed. We conducted a phase 2, multicenter, open-label study to evaluate the safety and antileukemic activity of azacitidine monotherapy prior to HSCT in newly diagnosed JMML patients. Eighteen patients enrolled from September 2015 to November 2017 were treated with azacitidine (75 mg/m2) administered IV once daily on days 1 to 7 of a 28-day cycle. The primary end point was the number of patients with clinical complete remission (cCR) or clinical partial remission (cPR) after 3 cycles of therapy. Pharmacokinetics, genome-wide DNA-methylation levels, and variant allele frequencies of leukemia-specific index mutations were also analyzed. Sixteen patients completed 3 cycles and 5 patients completed 6 cycles. After 3 cycles, 11 patients (61%) were in cPR and 7 (39%) had progressive disease. Six of 16 patients (38%) who needed platelet transfusions were transfusion-free after 3 cycles. All 7 patients with intermediate- or low-methylation signatures in genome-wide DNA-methylation studies achieved cPR. Seventeen patients received HSCT; 14 (82%) were leukemia-free at a median follow-up of 23.8 months (range, 7.0-39.3 months) after HSCT. Azacitidine was well tolerated and plasma concentration--time profiles were similar to observed profiles in adults. In conclusion, azacitidine monotherapy is a suitable option for children with newly diagnosed JMML. Although long-term safety and efficacy remain to be fully elucidated in this population, these data demonstrate that azacitidine provides valuable clinical benefit to JMML patients prior to HSCT. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02447666.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020004144DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8341358PMC
July 2021

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children and adolescents with GATA2-related myelodysplastic syndrome.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 Jul 9. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.

GATA2 deficiency is a heterogeneous multi-system disorder characterized by a high risk of developing myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and myeloid leukemia. We analyzed the outcome of 65 patients reported to the registry of the European Working Group (EWOG) of MDS in childhood carrying a germline GATA2 mutation (GATA2) who had undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). At 5 years the probability of overall survival and disease-free survival (DFS) was 75% and 70%, respectively. Non-relapse mortality and relapse equally contributed to treatment failure. There was no evidence of increased incidence of graft-versus-host-disease or excessive rates of infections or organ toxicities. Advanced disease and monosomy 7 (-7) were associated with worse outcome. Patients with refractory cytopenia of childhood (RCC) and normal karyotype showed an excellent outcome (DFS 90%) compared to RCC and -7 (DFS 67%). Comparing outcome of GATA2 with GATA2 patients, there was no difference in DFS in patients with RCC and normal karyotype. The same was true for patients with -7 across morphological subtypes. We demonstrate that HSCT outcome is independent of GATA2 germline mutations in pediatric MDS suggesting the application of standard MDS algorithms and protocols. Our data support considering HSCT early in the course of GATA2 deficiency in young individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01374-yDOI Listing
July 2021

A multicentre, multinational, prospective, observational registry study of defibrotide in patients diagnosed with veno-occlusive disease/sinusoidal obstruction syndrome after haematopoietic cell transplantation: an EBMT study.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 May 31. Epub 2021 May 31.

Department of Hematology, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.

Severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease/sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (VOD/SOS) is a potentially life-threatening complication of haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). This multinational, prospective, observational study (NCT03032016), performed by the EBMT, enrolled patients treated with defibrotide from April 2015 to July 2018. This analysis focused on defibrotide-treated patients with VOD/SOS post-HCT. The primary endpoint was incidence of serious adverse events (SAEs) of interest up to 12 months post-HCT in patients with severe VOD/SOS. Overall, 104 defibrotide-treated patients with VOD/SOS post-HCT were enrolled: 62 had severe VOD/SOS and comprised the primary study population, including 36 with multi-organ dysfunction/failure (MOD/MOF). SAEs of interest occurred in 20 of 62 (32%) severe VOD/SOS patients; the most common by category were infection (24%) and bleeding (13%). In patients with severe VOD/SOS, the Kaplan-Meier-estimated Day 100 survival rate was 73% (95% CI: 60%, 82%) with VOD/SOS resolution by Day 100 in 45 of 62 (73%) patients. MOD/MOF resolved in 19 of 36 (53%) patients with MOD/MOF at VOD/SOS diagnosis. Results from this multicentre registry study build on prior defibrotide studies supporting the utility of defibrotide for the treatment of VOD/SOS post-HCT. These results provide additional real-world evidence of the effectiveness and safety of defibrotide in patients with VOD/SOS post-HCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01265-2DOI Listing
May 2021

Association of Immune Thrombocytopenia and Celiac Disease in Children: A Retrospective Case Control Study

Turk J Haematol 2021 08 18;38(3):175-180. Epub 2021 May 18.

U.O.C. Oncoematologia Pediatrica, ARNAS Civico, Di Cristina, Benfratelli, Palermo, Italy

Objective: The association between celiac disease (CD) and immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is still uncertain. The aim of this study was to characterize the coexistence of these two diseases in Italian children.

Materials And Methods: This is a retrospective multicenter study investigating the occurrence of CD in 28 children with ITP diagnosed from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2019.

Results: The first diagnosis was ITP in 57.1% and CD in 32.1% of patients. In 3 patients (10.7%), the two diagnoses were simultaneous. All the potential and silent cases of CD in our cohort were diagnosed in the groups of “ITP first” and “simultaneous diagnosis”. In all children ITP was mild, and in 2 out of 8 not recovered from ITP at the time of CD diagnosis a normalization of platelet counts (>100,000/μL) occurred 3 and 5 months after starting a gluten-free diet, respectively.

Conclusion: We think that screening for CD should be considered in children with ITP regardless of the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms. Furthermore, some patients may recover from ITP after starting a gluten-free diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4274/tjh.galenos.2021.2021.0128DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8386315PMC
August 2021

Childhood cancer in Italy: background, goals, and achievements of the Italian Paediatric Hematology Oncology Association (AIEOP).

Tumori 2021 Apr 20:3008916211007934. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Pediatric Onco-Hematology, Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Division, Regina Margherita Children's Hospital, Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria Città della Salute e della Scienza, University of Torino, Piemonte, Italy.

This article reviews the primary goals and achievements of the Italian Association for Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (Associazione Italiana Ematologia Oncologia Pediatrica [AIEOP]), a national cooperative group that has been working for children and adolescents with cancer in Italy since 1975.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/03008916211007934DOI Listing
April 2021

Cytokine-Induced Memory-Like NK Cells with High Reactivity against Acute Leukemia Blasts and Solid Tumor Cells Suitable for Adoptive Immunotherapy Approaches.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Mar 30;13(7). Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Cell Factory, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

The limited efficacy of Natural Killer (NK) cell-based immunotherapy results in part from the suboptimal expansion and persistence of the infused cells. Recent reports suggest that the generation of NK cells with memory-like properties upon in vitro activation with defined cytokines might be an effective way of ensuring long-lasting NK cell function in vivo. Here, we demonstrate that activation with IL-12, IL-15 and IL-18 followed by a one-week culture with optimal doses of Interleukin (IL-2) and IL-15 generates substantial numbers of memory-like NK cells able to persist for at least three weeks when injected into NOD scid gamma (NSG) mice. This approach induces haploidentical donor-derived memory-like NK cells that are highly lytic against patients' myeloid or lymphoid leukemia blasts, independent of the presence of alloreactive cell populations in the donor and with negligible reactivity against patients' non-malignant cells. Memory-like NK cells able to lyse autologous tumor cells can also be generated from patients with solid malignancies. The anti-tumor activity of allogenic and autologous memory-like NK cells is significantly greater than that displayed by NK cells stimulated overnight with IL-2, supporting their potential therapeutic value both in patients affected by high-risk acute leukemia after haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and in patients with advanced solid malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13071577DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8036252PMC
March 2021

Literature Review and an Italian Hospital Experience about Post-Natal CMV Infection Acquired by Breast-Feeding in Very Low and/or Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants.

Nutrients 2021 Feb 18;13(2). Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Neonatal and Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Italy.

Breastfeeding is recommended for all neonates due to a known variety of beneficial effects, but infants can be infected by cell-associated bacteria and viruses from breast milk, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV). The majority of CMV-seropositive breastfeeding women have a viral, self-restricted reactivation, can shed the virus in the milk for about 12 weeks after delivery, and can transmit the infection to their offspring. Post-natal CMV-infected term infants are mainly asymptomatic, while very low birth weight (VLBW, <1500 g) and extremely low birth weight (ELBW, <1000 g) infants may present with severe disease, short-term sequelae ranging from abnormalities in laboratory indexes to sepsis-like syndrome, and long-term sequelae such as developmental problems. Thus, the use of thermally treated maternal milk for VLBW/ELBW infants may be indicated to prevent/reduce the risk of CMV transmission. Different techniques, with varying efficacy in eradicating CMV and maintaining the activity of biological compounds in milk are available: long/short pasteurization, freeze-thawing, the use of microwaves, and ultraviolet-C irradiation. In our NICU, the use of maternal raw milk is always strongly recommended for term/preterm infants, but to reduce risk of CMV transmission, freeze-thawing mother's own milk is used in neonates with GA ≤ 30 weeks or/and weight ≤ 1000 g, usually regardless of serological maternal condition, as CMV screening is not routinely offered to pregnant women and the milk of seroimmune mothers is not evaluated for CMV reactivation, as its rate is similar to seroprevalence. Over the last 4 years, we had 10 VLBW/ELBW newborns in our NICU with late-onset sepsis and negative cultures. In these cases, the research of CMV DNA in neonatal urine or saliva, for the diagnosis of post-natal symptomatic infection (once congenital transmission has been excluded) may be useful and not invasive. The take-home message we would like to share is that acquired CMV infection should be considered in VLBW/ELBW infants breastfed by seropositive mothers and presenting severe symptoms-particularly sepsis with negative cultures. This could allow pediatricians to make better-quality diagnoses, perform supportive therapy, provide antiviral treatment if needed, or establish a "pre-emptive" therapy for these high-risk neonates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13020660DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7921952PMC
February 2021

Haplo-identical or mismatched unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplantation for Fanconi anemia: Results from the Severe Aplastic Anemia Working Party of the EBMT.

Am J Hematol 2021 05 4;96(5):571-579. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

French Reference Center for Aplastic Anemia and Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria, Saint Louis Hospital and University Paris Diderot, Paris, France.

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is the only curative option for bone marrow failure or hematopoietic malignant diseases for Fanconi anemia (FA) patients. Although results have improved over the last decades, reaching more than 90% survival when a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-identical donor is available, alternative HCT donors are still less reported. We compared HCT outcomes using HLA-mismatched unrelated donors (MMUD; n = 123) or haplo-identical donors (HDs), either using only in vivo T cell depletion (n = 33) or T cells depleted in vivo with some type of graft manipulation ex vivo (n = 59) performed for FA between 2000 and 2018. Overall survival (OS) by 24 months was 62% (53-71%) for MMUD, versus 80% (66-95%) for HDs with only in vivo T cell depletion and 60% (47-73%) for HDs with in vivo and ex vivo T cell depletion (p = .22). Event-free survival (EFS) was better for HD-transplanted FA patients with only in vivo T cell depletion 86% (73-99%) than for those transplanted from a MMUD 58% (48-68%) or those with graft manipulation 56% (42-69%) (p = .046). Grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was 41% (MMUD) versus 40% (HDs with no graft manipulation) versus 17% (HDs with T cell depleted graft), (p = .005). No differences were found for the other transplant related outcomes. These data suggest that HDs might be considered as an alternative option for FA patients with better EFS using unmanipulated grafts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.26135DOI Listing
May 2021

Human Herpesvirus 6 Encephalitis in Immunocompetent and Immunocompromised Hosts.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 03 12;8(2). Epub 2021 Jan 12.

From the Neuroncology Unit (G.B., E.V., E.M.), and Neuroradiology Unit (M.P., A.P.), IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia; Molecular Virology Unit (G.C., F.B.), Microbiology and Virology Department, Diagnostic Radiology, Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology Unit (A.M.S.), Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit (A.A.C., P.B., O.B.), Infectious and Tropical Diseases Unit (A.D.M.), Pediatric Clinic (V.R., T.F., S.S.), and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (F.C., M.Z.), Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia; and Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences (A.P.), Department of Molecular Medicine (P.B., O.B.), and Department of Clinical, Surgical, Diagnostic and Paediatric Sciences (F.B.), University of Pavia, Italy.

Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the clinical, radiologic, and biological features associated with human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) encephalitis in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts to establish which clinical settings should prompt HHV-6 testing.

Methods: We performed a retrospective research in the virology database of Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo (Pavia, Italy) for all patients who tested positive for HHV-6 DNA in the CSF and/or in blood from January 2008 to September 2018 and separately assessed the number of patients meeting the criteria for HHV-6 encephalitis in the group of immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts.

Results: Of the 926 patients tested for HHV-6 during the period of interest, 45 met the study criteria. Among immunocompetent hosts (n = 17), HHV-6 encephalitis was diagnosed to 4 infants or children presenting with seizures or mild encephalopathy during primary HHV-6 infection (CSF/blood replication ratio <<1 in all cases). Among immunocompromised hosts (n = 28), HHV-6 encephalitis was diagnosed to 7 adolescents/adults with hematologic conditions presenting with altered mental status (7/7), seizures (3/7), vigilance impairment (3/7), behavioral changes (2/7), hyponatremia (2/7), and anterograde amnesia (1/7). Initial brain MRI was altered only in 2 patients, but 6 of the 7 had a CSF/blood replication ratio >1.

Conclusions: The detection of a CSF/blood replication ratio >1 represented a specific feature of immunocompromised patients with HHV-6 encephalitis and could be of special help to establish a diagnosis of HHV-6 encephalitis in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients lacking radiologic evidence of limbic involvement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000942DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7963435PMC
March 2021

Oral melatonin as a new tool for neuroprotection in preterm newborns: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Trials 2021 Jan 22;22(1):82. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Child Neurology and Psychiatry Unit, Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, 27100, Pavia, Italy.

Background: Prevention of neurodevelopmental impairment due to preterm birth is a major health challenge. Despite advanced obstetric and neonatal care, to date there are few neuroprotective molecules available. Melatonin has been shown to have anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory effects and to reduce brain damage, mainly after hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The planned study will be the first aiming to evaluate the capacity of melatonin to mitigate brain impairment due to premature birth.

Method: In our planned prospective, multicenter, double-blind, randomized vs placebo study, we will recruit, within 96 h of birth, 60 preterm newborns with a gestational age ≤ 29 weeks + 6 days; these infants will be randomly allocated to oral melatonin, 3 mg/kg/day, or placebo for 15 days. After the administration period, we will measure plasma levels of malondialdehyde, a lipid peroxidation product considered an early biological marker of melatonin treatment efficacy (primary outcome). At term-equivalent age, we will evaluate neurological status (through cerebral ultrasound, cerebral magnetic resonance imaging, vision and hearing evaluations, clinical neurological assessment, and screening for retinopathy of prematurity) as well as the incidence of bronchodysplasia and sepsis. We will also monitor neurodevelopmental outcome during the first 24 months of corrected age (using the modified Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence at 4-6 months and standardized neurological and developmental assessments at 24 months).

Discussion: Preterm birth survivors often present long-term neurodevelopmental sequelae, such as motor, learning, social-behavioral, and communication problems. We aim to assess the role of melatonin as a neuroprotectant during the first weeks of extrauterine life, when preterm infants are unable to produce it spontaneously. This approach is based on the supposition that its anti-oxidant mechanism could be useful in preventing neurodevelopmental impairment. Considering the short- and long-term morbidities related to preterm birth, and the financial and social costs of the care of preterm infants, both at birth and over time, we suggest that melatonin administration could lead to considerable saving of resources. This would be the first study addressing the role of melatonin in very low birth weight preterm newborns, and it could provide a basis for further studies on melatonin as a neuroprotection strategy in this vulnerable population.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04235673 . Prospectively registered on 22 January 2020.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05034-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820522PMC
January 2021

Adoptive Transfer of JC Virus-Specific T Lymphocytes for the Treatment of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy.

Ann Neurol 2021 04 10;89(4):769-779. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

Cell Factory, IRCCS Fondazione Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.

Objective: Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is still burdened by high mortality in a subset of patients, such as those affected by hematological malignancies. The aim of this study was to analyze the safety and carry out preliminary evaluation of the efficacy of polyomavirus JC (JCPyV)-specific T cell therapy in a cohort of hematological patients with PML.

Methods: Between 2014 and 2019, 9 patients with a diagnosis of "definite PML" according to the 2013 consensus who were showing progressive clinical deterioration received JCPyV-specific T cells. Cell lines were expanded from autologous or allogenic peripheral blood mononuclear cells by stimulation with JCPyV antigen-derived peptides.

Results: None of the patients experienced treatment-related adverse events. In the evaluable patients, an increase in the frequency of circulating JCPyV-specific lymphocytes was observed, with a decrease or clearance of JCPyV viral load in cerebrospinal fluid. In responsive patients, transient appearance of punctate areas of contrast enhancement within, or close to, PML lesions was observed, which was interpreted as a sign of immune control and which regressed spontaneously without the need for steroid treatment. Six of 9 patients achieved PML control, with 5 alive and in good clinical condition at their last follow-up.

Interpretation: Among other novel treatments, T cell therapy is emerging as a viable treatment option in patients with PML, particularly for those not amenable to restoration of specific immunity. Neurologists should be encouraged to refer PML patients to specialized centers to allow access to this treatment strategy. ANN NEUROL 2021;89:769-779.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.26020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8248385PMC
April 2021

Veno-occlusive Disease in HSCT Patients: Consensus-based Recommendations for Risk Assessment, Diagnosis, and Management by the GITMO Group.

Transplantation 2021 04;105(4):686-694

Clinica Medica, Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona, Ancona, Italy.

Variation in clinical practice affects veno-occlusive disease management, mainly in patients who undergo allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Disputes about diagnostic criteria, treatment, and prophylaxis, due to the lack of high-quality data, are at the base of this variability. With the aim of limiting inconsistency in clinical care, thus improving both patient outcomes and data collection reliability, the Italian Society of Stem cell transplant (Gruppo Italiano Trapianto Midollo Osseo e Terapia Cellulare) launched a collaborative effort to formulate recommendations based on integration of available evidence and expert's consensus. A systematic method, according to US National Institute of Health guidelines and Italian National System for Guidelines, was used. Twenty-nine recommendations were approved with a strong (20) or weak (9) level of agreement, while 26 were rejected. In particular, the panel pointed out the need to achieve an early diagnosis, encouraging the adoption of European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation criteria and the prompt use of ultrasonography. Moreover, our experts strongly recommended in favor of prophylactic use of ursodeoxycholic acid. As soon as a veno-occlusive disease diagnosis is established, treatment with defibrotide should be started for at least 21 days. A number of areas of uncertainty, particularly concerning risk stratification and use of diagnostic tools such as elastography has been identified and discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/TP.0000000000003569DOI Listing
April 2021

Human mesenchymal stromal cells do not express ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and are not permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Stem Cells Transl Med 2021 04 26;10(4):636-642. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Intensive Cardiac Care Unit and Laboratory of Experimental Cardiology for Cell and Molecular Therapy, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.

Anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory therapies have been proposed for the treatment of COVID-19 and its most serious complications. Among others, the use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) is under investigation given their well-documented anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. However, some critical issues regarding the possibility that MSCs could be infected by the virus have been raised. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and type II transmembrane serine protease (TMPRSS2) are the main host cell factors for the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), entry, but so far it is unclear if human MSCs do or do not express these two proteins. To elucidate these important aspects, we evaluated if human MSCs from both fetal and adult tissues constitutively express ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and, most importantly, if they can be infected by SARS-CoV-2. We evaluated human MSCs derived from amnios, cord blood, cord tissue, adipose tissue, and bone marrow. ACE2 and TMPRSS2 were expressed by the SARS-CoV-2-permissive human pulmonary Calu-3 cell line but not by all the MSCs tested. MSCs were then exposed to SARS-CoV-2 wild strain without evidence of cytopathic effect. Moreover, we also excluded that the MSCs could be infected without showing lytic effects since their conditioned medium after SARS-CoV-2 exposure did not contain viral particles. Our data, demonstrating that MSCs derived from different human tissues are not permissive to SARS-CoV-2 infection, support the safety of MSCs as potential therapy for COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sctm.20-0385DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7753681PMC
April 2021

FANCA, TP53, and del(5q)/RPS14 alterations in a patient with T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma and concomitant Fanconi anemia and Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

Cancer Genet 2021 Aug 31;256-257:179-183. Epub 2020 Oct 31.

Medical Genetics Unit, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia, Via Forlanini 14, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

We traced the neoplastic history (from 5 to 11 years of age) of a child with concomitant Fanconi anemia and Li-Fraumeni syndrome. Interestingly, the patient developed a highly malignant T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), which does not represent the typical tumor type in the two aforementioned syndromes, presumably due to the underlying genomic instability. By using a combination of molecular and immunohistochemical approaches, we characterized the accumulation of multiple genetic alterations in a single patient, with both germline (parentally inherited biallelic FANCA variants and a likely de novo nonsense variant in TP53) and somatic (TP53 loss of heterozygosity and 5q interstitial deletion) contributions. Our findings support the interplay of TP53 and FANC genes in DNA damage response pathways and further highlight the genetic heterogeneity of lymphomas as well as the contribution of genomic instability to lymphomagenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cancergen.2020.10.003DOI Listing
August 2021

Harnessing T Cells to Control Infections After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

Front Immunol 2020 15;11:567531. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Fondazione Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.

Dramatic progress in the outcome of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) from alternative sources in pediatric patients has been registered over the past decade, providing a chance to cure children and adolescents in need of a transplant. Despite these advances, transplant-related mortality due to infectious complications remains a major problem, principally reflecting the inability of the depressed host immune system to limit infection replication and dissemination. In addition, development of multiple infections, a common occurrence after high-risk allo-HSCT, has important implications for overall survival. Prophylactic and preemptive pharmacotherapy is limited by toxicity and, to some extent, by lack of efficacy in breakthrough infections. T-cell reconstitution is a key requirement for effective infection control after HSCT. Consequently, T-cell immunotherapeutic strategies to boost pathogen-specific immunity may complement or represent an alternative to drug treatments. Pioneering proof of principle studies demonstrated that the administration of donor-derived T cells directed to human herpesviruses, on the basis of viral DNA monitoring, could effectively restore specific immunity and confer protection against viral infections. Since then, the field has evolved with implementation of techniques able to hasten production, allow for selection of specific cell subsets, and target multiple pathogens. This review provides a brief overview of current cellular therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat pathogen-related complications after HSCT, research carried out to increase efficacy and safety, including T-cell production for treatment of infections in patients with virus-naïve donors, results from clinical trials, and future developments to widen adoptive T-cell therapy access in the HSCT setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.567531DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7593558PMC
May 2021

Management of PTLD After Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: Immunological Perspectives.

Front Immunol 2020 16;11:567020. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Fondazione Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.

Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLDs) are life-threatening complications of iatrogenic immune impairment after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). In the pediatric setting, the majority of PTLDs are related to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, and present as B-cell lymphoproliferations. Although considered rare events, PTLDs have been increasingly observed with the widening application of HSCT from alternative sources, including cord blood and HLA-haploidentical stem cell grafts, and the use of novel agents for the prevention and treatment of rejection and graft-vs.-host disease. The higher frequency initially paralleled a poor outcome, due to limited therapeutic options, and scarcity of controlled trials in a rare disease context. In the last 2 decades, insight into the relationship between EBV and the immune system, and advances in early diagnosis, monitoring and treatment have changed the approach to the management of PTLDs after HSCT, and significantly ameliorated the prognosis. In this review, we summarize literature on the impact of combined viro-immunologic assessment on PTLD management, describe the various strategies for PTLD prevention and preemptive/curative treatment, and discuss the potential of novel immune-based therapies in the containment of this malignant complication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.567020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7526064PMC
May 2021

Point of view of the Italians pediatric scientific societies about the pediatric care during the COVID-19 lockdown: what has changed and future prospects for restarting.

Ital J Pediatr 2020 Oct 2;46(1):142. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Federazione Italiana delle Associazioni e Società Scientifiche dell'Area Pediatrica e Società Italiana di Emergenza Urgenza Pediatrica, Rome, Italy.

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is currently rare in children and they seem to have a milder disease course and better prognosis than adults. However, SARS-Cov-2 pandemic has indirectly caused problems in pediatric medical assistance. In view of this we wanted to draw a picture of what happened during health emergency and analyze future prospects for restarting.

Methods: We involved the Italian pediatric scientific societies institutionally collected in the Italian Federation of Associations and Scientific Societies of the Pediatric Area (FIARPED); We sent a questionnaire to all scientific societies about the pediatric care activity during the COVID-19 emergency and future perspectives for the phase of post-containment.

Results: The analysis of the questionnaires showed significant decrease of:admission, outpatient visits and specialist consultancy activities during the COVID-19 emergency, primarily linked to the fear of infection. Instead it was increased the serious degree of diseases admitted. Most of scientific societies maintained the relationship with chronic patients through some form of telemedicine, reporting a strong positive opinion about this modality. Finally showed the need to give life a new approach for hospitalizations and outpatient visits through a greater use of telemedicine, educational programs on families and a more decisive role of family pediatricians.

Conclusions: Our study highlighted many aspects that can be improved in pediatric care. We think that It will be necessary a new shared strategy to improve the management and continuity of care for pediatric patients, primarily developing a network of collaboration between families, family pediatrician and hospitals and by enhancing the use of new methods of telecommunications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-020-00907-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7531060PMC
October 2020

VIVA (vinorelbine, ifosfamide, vincristine, actinomycin-D): A new regimen in the armamentarium of systemic therapy for high-risk rhabdomyosarcoma.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 11 7;67(11):e28649. Epub 2020 Sep 7.

Pediatric Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy.

The study reports the treatment feasibility, and secondly efficacy, of a novel chemotherapy regimen, which adds vinorelbine to the ifosfamide-vincristine-actinomycin-D combination (VIVA regimen), used in four patients with high-risk rhabdomyosarcoma. All patients received nine cycles of the VIVA regimen followed by maintenance chemotherapy with vinorelbine and cyclophosphamide. All patients experienced significant hematological toxicity, but no other major complications (in particular neurotoxicity) or required treatment dose modifications. We observed a major response after three cycles in all patients, and they remained alive after a median follow up of 11 months from diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28649DOI Listing
November 2020

The Italian Registry for Primary Immunodeficiencies (Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network; IPINet): Twenty Years of Experience (1999-2019).

J Clin Immunol 2020 10 15;40(7):1026-1037. Epub 2020 Aug 15.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs) are heterogeneous disorders, characterized by variable clinical and immunological features. National PID registries offer useful insights on the epidemiology, diagnosis, and natural history of these disorders. In 1999, the Italian network for primary immunodeficiencies (IPINet) was established. We report on data collected from the IPINet registry after 20 years of activity. A total of 3352 pediatric and adult patients affected with PIDs are registered in the database. In Italy, a regional distribution trend of PID diagnosis was observed. Based on the updated IUIS classification of 2019, PID distribution in Italy showed that predominantly antibody deficiencies account for the majority of cases (63%), followed by combined immunodeficiencies with associated or syndromic features (22.5%). The overall age at diagnosis was younger for male patients. The minimal prevalence of PIDs in Italy resulted in 5.1 per 100.000 habitants. Mortality was similar to other European registries (4.2%). Immunoglobulin replacement treatment was prescribed to less than one third of the patient cohort. Collectively, this is the first comprehensive description of the PID epidemiology in Italy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-020-00844-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7505879PMC
October 2020

Disseminated Infection in a Child with Complete Interferon-γ Receptor 1 Deficiency due to Compound Heterozygosis of for a Subpolymorphic Copy Number Variation and a Novel Splice-Site Variant.

J Pediatr Genet 2020 Sep 4;9(3):186-192. Epub 2019 Nov 4.

Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Fondazione Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS) Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.

Complete interferon-γ receptor 1 deficiency is a monogenic primary immunodeficiency caused by germline defects, with autosomal dominant or recessive inheritance, which results in invasive mycobacterial diseases with varying degrees of severity. Most of the autosomal recessive mutations are homozygous loss-of-function single-nucleotide variants, whereas large genomic deletions and compound heterozygosity have been very rarely reported. Herein we describe the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and successful treatment with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation of a child with disseminated infection due to compound heterozygosity for a subpolymorphic copy number variation and a novel splice-site variant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0039-1700803DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7375849PMC
September 2020

Hematopoietic cell transplantation in chronic granulomatous disease: a study of 712 children and adults.

Blood 2020 09;136(10):1201-1211

División of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey.

Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is a primary immunodeficiency resulting in life-threatening infections and inflammatory complications. Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) can cure the disease, but the indication to transplant remains controversial. We performed a retrospective multicenter study of 712 patients with CGD who underwent allo-HCT transplantation from March 1993 through December 2018. We studied 635 children (aged <18 years) and 77 adults. Median follow-up was 45 months. Median age at transplantation was 7 years (range, 0.1-48.6). Kaplan-Meier estimates of overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) at 3 years were 85.7% and 75.8%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, older age was associated with reduced survival and increased chronic graft-versus-host disease. Nevertheless, OS and EFS at 3 years for patients ≥18 years were 76% and 69%, respectively. Use of 1-antigen-mismatched donors was associated with reduced OS and EFS . No significant difference was found in OS, but a significantly reduced EFS was noted in the small group of patients who received a transplant from a donor with a >1 antigen mismatch. Choice of conditioning regimen did not influence OS or EFS. In summary, we report an excellent outcome after allo-HCT in CGD, with low incidence of graft failure and mortality in all ages. Older patients and recipients of 1-antigen-mismatched grafts had a less favorable outcome. Transplantation should be strongly considered at a younger age and particularly in the presence of a well-matched donor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020005590DOI Listing
September 2020

Comparison of Hodgkin's Lymphoma in Children and Adolescents. A Twenty Year Experience with MH'96 and LH2004 AIEOP (Italian Association of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology) Protocols.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Jun 18;12(6). Epub 2020 Jun 18.

Pediatric Hematology Oncology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria of Parma, 43126 Parma, Italy.

Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) represent a distinct group of patients. The objectives of this study were: To compare adolescent prognosis to that of younger children; to compare the results achieved with the two consecutive protocols in both age groups; to analyze clinical characteristics of children and adolescents. Between 1996 and 2017, 1759 patients aged <18 years were evaluable for the study. Five hundred and sixty patients were treated with the MH'96 protocol and 1199 with the LH2004 protocol. Four hundred and eighty-two were adolescents aged ≥15 years. Patients in both age groups showed very favorable prognoses. In particular, OS improved with the LH2004 protocol, especially in the adolescent group and in the low risk group, where radiation therapy was spared. Adolescent characteristics differed significantly from the children's according to sex, histology, and the presence of symptoms. Remarkable is the decrease both in mixed cellularity in the children and in low stages in both age groups in the LH2004 protocol with respect to MH'96 protocol. Based on our experience, adopting pediatric protocols for AYA does not compromise patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7352443PMC
June 2020

Cross-Linked Polymers as Scaffolds for the Low-Temperature Preparation of Nanostructured Metal Oxides.

Chemistry 2020 Jul 9;26(42):9243-9260. Epub 2020 Jul 9.

Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Padova, via Marzolo 1, 35131, Padova, Italy.

The current state of the art of the use of cross-linked organic polymers, both insoluble (resins or gels) and soluble (micro- and nanogels), as aids for the low-temperature preparation of stable metal oxide nanoparticles or nanostructured metal oxides is reviewed herein. Synthetic strategies for inorganic oxide nanomaterials of this kind can greatly benefit from the use of cross-linked polymers, which may act as scaffolds/exotemplates during inorganic nanoparticle synthesis, or as stabilizers following post-synthetic modification of the nanoparticles. Furthermore, the peculiar properties of the organic cross-linked polymers add to those of the inorganic oxide nanoparticles, producing materials with combined properties. The potential applications of such highly promising composite nanomaterials will be also briefly sketched.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/chem.202000815DOI Listing
July 2020

Outcome of patients with Fanconi anemia developing myelodysplasia and acute leukemia who received allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: A retrospective analysis on behalf of EBMT group.

Am J Hematol 2020 07 21;95(7):809-816. Epub 2020 Apr 21.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation Unit, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy.

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is curative for bone marrow failure in patients with Fanconi anemia (FA), but the presence of a malignant transformation is associated with a poor prognosis and the management of these patients is still challenging. We analyzed outcome of 74 FA patients with a diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome (n = 35), acute leukemia (n = 35) or with cytogenetic abnormalities (n = 4), who underwent allo-HSCT from 1999 to 2016 in EBMT network. Type of diagnosis, pre-HSCT cytoreductive therapies and related toxicities, disease status pre-HSCT, donor type, and conditioning regimen were considered as main variables potentially influencing outcome. The 5-year OS and EFS were 42% (30-53%) and 39% (27-51%), respectively. Patients transplanted in CR showed better OS compared with those transplanted in presence of an active malignant disease (OS:71%[48-95] vs 37% [24-50],P = .04), while none of the other variables considered had an impact. Twenty-two patients received pre-HSCT cytoreduction and 9/22 showed a grade 3-4 toxicity, without any lethal event or negative influence on survival after HSCT(OS:toxicity pre-HSCT 48% [20-75%] vs no-toxicity 51% [25-78%],P = .98). The cumulative incidence of day-100 grade II-IV a-GvHD and of 5-year c-GvHD were 38% (26-50%) and 40% (28-52%). Non-relapse-related mortality and incidence of relapse at 5-years were 40% (29-52%) and 21% (11-30%) respectively, without any significant impact of the tested variables. Causes of death were transplant-related events in most patients (34 out of the 42 deaths, 81%). This analysis confirms the poor outcome of transformed FA patients and identifies the importance of achieving CR pre-HSCT, suggesting that, in a newly diagnosed transformed FA patient, a cytoreductive approach pre-HSCT should be considered if a donor have been secured.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.25810DOI Listing
July 2020

Long-term follow-up of 168 patients with X-linked agammaglobulinemia reveals increased morbidity and mortality.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2020 08 10;146(2):429-437. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

University Department of Pediatrics, Unit of Immune and Infectious Diseases, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, University of Rome Tor Vergata, and the Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

Background: X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) is the prototype of primary humoral immunodeficiencies. Long-term follow-up studies regarding disease-related complications and outcome are scarce.

Objective: Our aim was to describe the natural history of XLA.

Methods: A nationwide multicenter study based on the Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network registry was established in 2000 in Italy. Affected patients were enrolled by documenting centers, and the patients' laboratory, clinical, and imaging data were recorded on an annual base.

Results: Data on the patients (N = 168) were derived from a cumulative follow-up of 1370 patient-years, with a mean follow-up of 8.35 years per patient. The mean age at diagnosis decreased after establishment of the Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network registry (84 months before vs 23 months after). Respiratory, skin, and gastrointestinal manifestations were the most frequent clinical symptoms at diagnosis and during long-term follow-up. Regular immunoglobulin replacement treatment reduced the incidence of invasive infections. Affected patients developed chronic lung disease over time (47% after 40 years of follow-up) in the presence of chronic sinusitis (84%). Malignancies were documented in a minority of cases (3.7%). Overall survival for affected patients was significantly reduced when compared with that for the healthy male Italian population, and it further deteriorated in the presence of chronic lung disease.

Conclusions: This is the first detailed long-term follow-up study for patients with XLA, revealing that although immunoglobulin replacement treatment reduces the incidence of invasive infections, it does not appear to influence the development of chronic lung disease. The overall survival of affected patients is reduced. Further studies are warranted to improve patients' clinical management and increase awareness among physicians.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.03.001DOI Listing
August 2020

The role of HLA matching in unrelated donor hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for sickle cell disease in Europe.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2020 10 10;55(10):1946-1954. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

Department of Pediatric Hematology Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.

We report the results of an analysis of unrelated allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCT) in 71 patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) transplanted in EBMT centers between 2005 and 2017. Median age was 9.3 years; graft type was bone marrow in 79% and peripheral blood in 21%. Recipient-donor HLA match at high resolution typing was 10/10 in 31, 9/10 in 20, and 8/10 in 4 patients; the other patients had intermediate resolution typing. The most frequent conditioning regimens were fludarabine-thiotepa-treosulfan (64%) or busulfan-cyclophosphamide (12%). Cumulative incidence of neutrophil engraftment was 92%; platelet engraftment was 90%. Eleven patients (15%) experienced graft failure. Grade II-IV acute graft-vs.-host disease (GvHD) was 23%; 3-year chronic GvHD was 23%. Three-year overall survival (OS) was 88 ± 4%. GRFS was 62 ± 6%. HLA matching was the most significant risk factor for OS: 3-year OS was 96 ± 4% in 10/10 group vs. 75 ± 10% in 9-8/10 (p = 0.042); GRFS was 69 ± 9% vs. 50 ± 12% (p = 0.114), respectively. In conclusion, unrelated donor HSCT is a valid option for SCD patients who lack an HLA-identical sibling donor, preferably in the context of clinical trials. Using a 10/10 HLA-matched unrelated donor yields better survival indicating that HLA matching is an important donor selection factor in this nonmalignant disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-020-0847-zDOI Listing
October 2020
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