Publications by authors named "Richard J Jones"

202 Publications

Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network State of the Science Symposium 2021: Looking Forward as the Network Celebrates its 20th Year.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Aug 27. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In 2021 the BMT CTN held the 4th State of the Science Symposium where the deliberations of 11 committees concerning major topics pertinent to a particular disease, modality, or complication of transplant, as well as two committees to consider clinical trial design and inclusion, diversity, and access as cross-cutting themes were reviewed. This article summarizes the individual committee reports and their recommendations on the highest priority questions in hematopoietic stem cell transplant and cell therapy to address in multicenter trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.08.016DOI Listing
August 2021

Nonmyeloablative, HLA-Mismatched Unrelated Peripheral Blood Transplantation with High-Dose Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Aug 20. Epub 2021 Aug 20.

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

High-dose post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) is an effective platform for prevention of severe graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic bone marrow (BM) transplantation with mismatched unrelated donors (mMUDs). Previous studies evaluating PTCy with mMUDs favored BM allografts over peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) due to concerns that PBSCT may be associated with an increased risk of acute and chronic GVHD. In addition, haploidentical PBSCT is associated with high rates of cytokine release syndrome (CRS), which is another concern with mMUD PBSCT. This study was conducted to determine the feasibility and safety of using mMUD PBSCT with PTCy as GVHD prophylaxis. Patients who received mMUD PBSCT using a PTCy-based GVHD prophylaxis at Johns Hopkins Hospital as part of a prospective clinical trial of mMUD and non-first-degree relative haploidentical transplantation with PTCy (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT01203722) were included. All patients underwent T cell-replete PBSCT between November 2012 and August 2020. Statistical analyses were performed using the Kaplan-Meier method and proportional subdistribution hazard regression model for competing risks. The 29 patients in the study had a median age of 54 years, with 10 patients (34%) age ≥60 years. Nineteen grafts (66%) were matched for 9/10 HLA loci, 6 (21%) were match for 8/10, and 4 (14%) were matched for 7/10. No primary or secondary graft failure occurred. The median time to neutrophil recovery (≥500/µL) was 17 days, and that to platelet recovery (≥20,000/µL) was 28 days. Full donor chimerism was achieved in all patients by day +60. The cumulative incidence (CuI) of grade II-IV acute GVHD at 180 days was 15% (90% confidence interval [CI], 3% to 26%). There were no cases of severe chronic GVHD, 3 cases of mild chronic GVHD, and 1 case of moderate chronic GVHD. The CuI of nonrelapse mortality (NRM) was 7% (90% CI, NA to 18%) at 1 year. Eighteen patients (62%) experienced mild CRS (grade 1-2), and 1 patient (3%) experienced severe CRS (grade 3-5). At 1 year, the CuI of relapse was 29% (90% CI, 8% to 50%), overall survival was 93% (90% CI, 85% to 100%), progression-free survival was 64% (90% CI, 46% to 88%), GVHD-free relapse-free survival was 41% (90% CI, 23% to 73%), and chronic GVHD-free relapse-free survival was 64% (90% CI, 46% to 88%). Our data indicate that mMUD PBSCT using PTCy-based GVHD prophylaxis is safe and feasible. All patients engrafted, and rates of NRM (7%) and acute GVHD (15%) at 1 year were low. There was only 1 case (3%) of severe CRS. Compared with previously published outcomes, mMUD PBSCT using PTCy-based GVHD prophylaxis has a safety and efficacy profile that may not be different from that of PBSCT from matched donors. These results further solidify that all patients who require blood or BM transplantation should be able to find an acceptable donor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.08.013DOI Listing
August 2021

Allogeneic Blood or Marrow Transplantation with Nonmyeloablative Conditioning and High-Dose Cyclophosphamide-Based Graft-versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis for Secondary Central Nervous System Lymphoma.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Oct 20;27(10):863.e1-863.e5. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Secondary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma is a rare and often fatal complication of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Treatment options include radiation therapy, high-dose systemic chemotherapy, intrathecal chemotherapy, and high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue, but outcomes remain poor. Allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT) is widely used in patients with relapsed/refractory systemic NHL. We sought to understand whether a graft-versus-lymphoma effect could maintain remission in CNS disease. We reviewed outcomes in 20 consecutive patients with secondary CNS lymphoma who underwent alloBMT with nonmyeloablative conditioning using fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and 200 cGy total body irradiation. For graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis, all patients received post-transplantation cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate mofetil, and a calcineurin inhibitor. With a median follow up of 4.1 years, the median overall survival for the entire cohort was not reached. Median progression-free survival was 3.8 years (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.3 months to not reached). The cumulative incidence of relapse was 25% (95% CI, 5% to 45%), and nonrelapse mortality was 30% (95% CI, 5% to 54%) at 4 years. Of the 5 patients who relapsed, 2 were CNS only, 1 was systemic only, and 2 were combined CNS/systemic. The use of alloBMT in CNS lymphoma merits further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.07.015DOI Listing
October 2021

A phase II study of azacitidine in combination with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor as maintenance treatment, after allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation in patients with poor-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Leuk Lymphoma 2021 Jul 21:1-11. Epub 2021 Jul 21.

Hematologic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, Department of Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Relapse is the most common cause of treatment failure following allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT) for AML or MDS. Post-transplant maintenance therapies may prevent relapse. We conducted a phase II trial combining azacitidine (AZA) with GM-CSF in non-relapsed, post-transplant patients with AML or MDS. Patients received escalating doses of AZA to a maximum of 75 mg/m for 5 days per cycle for up to 12 cycles. GM-CSF was given on days 1-10 of each cycle. Eighteen patients were treated following non-myeloablative (17) and myeloablative (1) alloBMT for AML (61.1%), MDS (27.7%), or therapy-related myeloid neoplasm (11.1%). The majority of patients (72%) received their graft from an HLA-haploidentical donor. The treatment was well-tolerated with rare grade 3-4 hematologic toxicities. One patient suffered an exacerbation of GVHD. The 24-month relapse-free and overall survivals were 47 and 57%, respectively, with a median of 18.6 and 29 months.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2021.1948029DOI Listing
July 2021

Leukemia after gene therapy for sickle cell disease: insertional mutagenesis, busulfan, both, or neither.

Blood 2021 Sep;138(11):942-947

Vanderbilt-Meharry Sickle Cell Disease Center of Excellence, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN.

Recently, encouraging data provided long-awaited hope for gene therapy as a cure for sickle cell disease (SCD). Nevertheless, the transient suspension of the bluebird bio gene therapy trial (clinicaltrials.gov: NCT02140554) after participants developed acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome (AML/MDS) raised concerns. Potential possibilities for these cases include busulfan, insertional mutagenesis, both, or neither. Busulfan was considered the cause in the first reported case because the transgene was not present in the AML/MDS. However, busulfan is unlikely to have contributed to the most recent case. The transgene was present in the patient's malignant cells, indicating they were infused after busulfan treatment. Several lines of evidence suggest an alternative explanation for events in the bluebird bio trial, including that SCD population studies show an increased relative, but a low absolute, risk of AML/MDS. We propose a new hypothesis: after gene therapy for SCD, the stress of switching from homeostatic to regenerative hematopoiesis by transplanted cells drives clonal expansion and leukemogenic transformation of preexisting premalignant clones, eventually resulting in AML/MDS. Evidence validating our hypothesis will support prescreening individuals with SCD for preleukemic progenitors before gene therapy. While presumed viable, safe strategy has been implemented to resume gene therapy in adults with severe SCD, reasonable alternative curative therapy should be considered for children and adults with severe SCD. Currently, open multicenter clinical trials are incorporating nonmyeloablative conditioning, related haploidentical donors, and posttransplantation cyclophosphamide. Preliminary results from these trials appear promising, and National Institutes of Health-sponsored trials are ongoing in individuals with SCD using this platform.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2021011488DOI Listing
September 2021

Gender-related differences in the outcomes and genomic landscape of patients with myelodysplastic syndrome/myeloproliferative neoplasm overlap syndromes.

Br J Haematol 2021 06 24;193(6):1142-1150. Epub 2021 May 24.

Division of Hematological Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Myelodysplastic syndrome/myeloproliferative neoplasm (MDS/MPN) overlap syndromes show a male predominance and men with MDS/MPN have worse outcomes, but it is unknown if the mutational burden differs between genders. We reviewed 167 patients with MDS/MPN and found that men had worse overall survival [hazard ratio (HR) 2·09, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·16-3·75; P = 0·013] independent of subtype, Revised International Prognostic Scoring System score and age at diagnosis. We analysed the genomic data of a subset of 100 patients. Men had 0·88 more somatic mutations on average (95% CI 0·20-1·56, P = 0·011) independent of subtype, sample source and blast percentage. More somatic mutations was associated with a higher incidence of transformation to acute myeloid leukaemia (subdistribution HR 1·30, 95% CI 1·01-1·70; P = 0·046). Men had 0·70 more mutations in high-risk genes [additional sex combs like-1 (ASXL1), enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), Runt-related transcription factor 1 (RUNX1), SET binding protein 1 (SETBP1), NRAS proto-oncogene, GTPase (NRAS), stromal antigen 2 (STAG2)] on average (95% CI 0·11-1·29, P = 0·021), and 13-times higher odds of harbouring an EZH2 mutation (95% CI 1·64-102·94, P = 0·015). The presence of an EZH2 mutation was associated with worse survival among men (HR 2·98, 95% CI 1·1-8·0; P = 0·031). Our present findings suggest that the worse outcomes in men with MDS/MPN are associated with a higher number of somatic mutations, especially in high-risk genes. These results warrant validation in larger cohorts and investigation of the underlying mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17534DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8217263PMC
June 2021

Sex-Related Differences in Chronic Myeloid Neoplasms: From the Clinical Observation to the Underlying Biology.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Mar 5;22(5). Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Division of Hematological Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.

Chronic myeloid neoplasms are clonal diseases with variable clinical course and outcomes and despite the introduction of novel therapies, patients with high-risk disease continue to have overall poor outcomes. Different groups have highlighted that men have overall worse survival and higher incidence of transformation to acute leukemia compared to women across neoplasms such as myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), MDS/MPN overlap neoplasms, and CML. More recent studies evaluating the genomic profile of patients with these neoplasms demonstrated a male predominance for mutations in high-risk genes including , , and . The understanding of the underlying biology is limited but a number of hypotheses have been developed and are currently being investigated. This review summarizes the current knowledge about sex-related differences in the clinical outcomes and genomic profile of patients with chronic myeloid neoplasms and discusses the hypothesized biologic mechanisms as an attempt to explain these observations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22052595DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7961949PMC
March 2021

Large Granular Lymphocytosis With Cytopenias After Allogeneic Blood or Marrow Transplantation: Clinical Characteristics and Response to Immunosuppressive Therapy.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 03 16;27(3):260.e1-260.e6. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Large granular lymphocytosis (LGL)-or LGL leukemia-is a T- or NK-cell lymphoproliferative disorder that often results in cytopenias and autoimmune phenomena. Several studies have described LGL in a subset of patients after allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT), almost exclusively in the setting of asymptomatic lymphocytosis. Some have suggested an association with improved transplant-related outcomes. In contrast, clinically significant LGL after alloBMT is only described in small case reports. This study sought to assess the characteristics, significance, and response to treatment of LGL associated with unexplained anemia, thrombocytopenia, or neutropenia after alloBMT. We performed a retrospective analysis of 150 patients who were evaluated for LGL by peripheral blood flow cytometry (LGL flow) for unexplained cytopenias following initial engraftment after alloBMT from January 1 2012 to July 1, 2019. We identified patients with abnormally increased populations of LGL cells (LGL+) as assessed by Johns Hopkins Hematopathology. We collected demographic, transplantation, and LGL treatment information from electronic medical records. We compared LGL+ patients to patients with unexplained cytopenias with negative flow cytometry for LGL (LGL-) in this cohort. We also assessed change in blood counts after 4 weeks of immunosuppressive therapy in LGL+ patients. Cytopenias occurred at a median of 5.7 months (range 1-81) after alloBMT. The majority of the transplants were nonmyeloablative from haploidentical donors, and all patients received post-transplantation cyclophosphamide for graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis, consistent with the overall alloBMT characteristics at our center. We identified 70 patients with LGL and cytopenias, representing 47% of those evaluated by flow cytometry. There were no significant demographic or transplant-related differences between LGL+ patients and LGL- patients. The median age was 59, and 63% were male. LGL+ patients were more likely to have had cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia (73% versus 28%, P < .0001), but not acute or chronic graft-versus-host disease. LGL+ patients had higher absolute lymphocyte counts (1500 versus 485/ mm, P < .0001), a trend toward lower absolute neutrophil count (660 versus 965/mm, P = .17), and lower neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (0.39 versus 1.71, P < .001). There were no differences in overall survival or relapse-free survival. Of those with T-cell LGL, 45 were assessed for T-cell receptor clonality. In all, 22% were clonal, 53% oligoclonal, 4% polyclonal, and 20% indeterminate. Thirty (43%) LGL+ patients received immunosuppressive therapy (IST) for cytopenias. First-line treatment was corticosteroids for 25 (83%). Among those treated, there was an increase in median absolute neutrophil count from 720 before treatment to 1990/mm after 4 weeks (P = .0017). Thrombocytopenia and anemia showed at most a mild improvement with IST. LGL was a common association with otherwise unexplained cytopenias after alloBMT, almost always after prior CMV infection. LGL in the setting of cytopenias did not predict improved transplantation outcomes compared to those with cytopenias without presence of LGL. IST was effective at improving neutropenia associated with LGL after alloBMT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2020.12.008DOI Listing
March 2021

Pain Experiences of Adults With Sickle Cell Disease and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: A Qualitative Study.

Pain Med 2021 08;22(8):1753-1759

Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Objective: Despite increasing use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for adults with sickle cell disease (SCD), little is known about pain management experiences throughout this process. The objective of this study was to explore patients' experiences with pain and pain management during and after HSCT for SCD.

Methods: We conducted a qualitative interview study with 10 patients who underwent HSCT for SCD. We transcribed interviews verbatim and inductively identified codes. We used thematic analysis alongside a constant comparative method to develop and refine a codebook that aided in the identification of themes.

Results: Four key themes emerged. (1) The pain trajectory: patients described a fluctuating course of pain during HSCT, which often extended long afterwards and impacted all aspects of life, particularly affected by pre-HSCT experiences; (2) The role of opioids-a double-edged sword: patients described opioids as reducing pain but insufficiently to balance significant adverse effects and burden; (3) Patient-centered decision making in pain management: patients described insufficient agency in decisions about opioid use and weaning; and (4) Consequences of health-related stigma: patients described experiences with stigma, mainly related to opioid use and weaning, as similar to pre-HSCT.

Conclusions: From the perspective of patients who have undergone HSCT for SCD, clinicians should use a patient-centered approach, integrating non-opioid approaches into pain management, particularly psychosocial support. As transplant for SCD becomes increasingly available, incorporating patient perspectives may improve health care delivery and overall patient experiences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnaa464DOI Listing
August 2021

Relationship of donor age and relationship to outcomes of haploidentical transplantation with posttransplant cyclophosphamide.

Blood Adv 2021 03;5(5):1360-1368

Department of Oncology and.

Allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (BMT) physicians seek to optimize all possible variables to improve outcomes. Selectable factors include conditioning, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis, graft source, and donor. Many patients, especially those with eligible haploidentical (haplo) donors, will have multiple donor options. We seek to identify factors to optimize the choice of haplo donors when using posttransplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) GVHD prophylaxis. We evaluated the effect of modifiable donor characteristics (donor age and relationship) on outcomes following haplo BMT with a uniform nonmyeloablative conditioning and PTCy. From 2002 to 2017, 889 consecutive adult patients underwent nonmyeloablative haplo BMT with PTCy. Median follow-up among survivors was 2.5 years after BMT. Median recipient age was 59 (range: 18 to 76) years and median donor age was 40 (range: 13 to 79) years. Multivariable analyses demonstrated that increasing donor age by decade was associated with poorer overall survival (hazard ratio [HR], 1.13 [1.05, 1.22; P = .0015]), worse progression-free survival (HR, 1.09 [1.02, 1.16; P = .015]), and a higher risk for grade 2 to 4 and grade 3 to 4 GVHD (1.3 [1.06, 1.61; P = .013]), but not for chronic GVHD (HR, 1.06 [0.94, 1.2]; P = .37). These less-favorable results with older donors were attributable to worse nonrelapse mortality (HR, 1.19 [1.05, 1.34]; P = .006), not relapse. Parents were associated with inferior outcomes compared with sibling donors, whereas no significant differences were observed between parental donors. These data suggest that the youngest, adult-sized donors should be preferred when multiple haplo donors are available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003922DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7948266PMC
March 2021

Double unrelated umbilical cord blood vs HLA-haploidentical bone marrow transplantation: the BMT CTN 1101 trial.

Blood 2021 01;137(3):420-428

Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Results of 2 parallel phase 2 trials of transplantation of unrelated umbilical cord blood (UCB) or bone marrow (BM) from HLA-haploidentical relatives provided equipoise for direct comparison of these donor sources. Between June 2012 and June 2018, 368 patients aged 18 to 70 years with chemotherapy-sensitive lymphoma or acute leukemia in remission were randomly assigned to undergo UCB (n = 186) or haploidentical (n = 182) transplant. Reduced-intensity conditioning comprised total-body irradiation with cyclophosphamide and fludarabine for both donor types. Graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis for UCB transplantation was cyclosporine and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and for haploidentical transplantation, posttransplant cyclophosphamide, tacrolimus, and MMF. The primary end point was 2-year progression-free survival (PFS). Treatment groups had similar age, sex, self-reported ethnic origin, performance status, disease, and disease status at randomization. Two-year PFS was 35% (95% confidence interval [CI], 28% to 42%) compared with 41% (95% CI, 34% to 48%) after UCB and haploidentical transplants, respectively (P = .41). Prespecified analysis of secondary end points recorded higher 2-year nonrelapse mortality after UCB, 18% (95% CI, 13% to 24%), compared with haploidentical transplantation, 11% (95% CI, 6% to 16%), P = .04. This led to lower 2-year overall survival (OS) after UCB compared with haploidentical transplantation, 46% (95% CI, 38-53) and 57% (95% CI 49% to 64%), respectively (P = .04). The trial did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference in the primary end point, 2-year PFS, between the donor sources. Although both donor sources extend access to reduced-intensity transplantation, analyses of secondary end points, including OS, favor haploidentical BM donors. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01597778.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020007535DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7819761PMC
January 2021

Expression of putative leukemia stem cell targets in genetically-defined acute myeloid leukemia subtypes.

Leuk Res 2020 12 10;99:106477. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:

Although most acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients achieve complete remissions, the majority still eventually relapse and die of their disease. Rare primitive leukemia cells, so-called leukemia stem cells (LSCs), represent one potential type of resistant cell subpopulation responsible for this dissociation between response and cure. Several LSC targets have been described, but there is limited evidence about their relative utility or that targeting any can prevent relapse. LSCs not only appear to be biologically heterogeneous, but the classic immunocompromised mouse transplantation model also has serious shortcomings as an LSC assay. Out data suggest that the most immature cell phenotype that can be identified within a patient's leukemia may be clinically relevant and represent the de facto LSC. Moreover, although phenotypically heterogeneous, these putative LSCs show consistent phenotypes within individual genetically defined groups. Using this LSC definition, we studied several previously described putative LSC targets, CD25, CD26, CD47, CD96, CD123, and CLL-1, and all were expressed across heterogeneous LSC phenotypes. In addition, with the exception of CD47, there was at most low expression of these targets on normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). CD123 and CLL-1 demonstrated the greatest expression differences between putative LSCs and normal HSCs. Importantly, CD123 monoclonal antibodies were cytotoxic in vitro to putative LSCs from all AML subtypes, while showing limited to no toxicity against normal HSCs and hematopoietic progenitors. Since minimal residual disease appears to be a more homogeneous population of cells responsible for relapse, targeting CD123 in this setting may be most effective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2020.106477DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7969493PMC
December 2020

A Phase 1 Study of IRX195183, a RARα-Selective CYP26 Resistant Retinoid, in Patients With Relapsed or Refractory AML.

Front Oncol 2020 23;10:587062. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States.

Subsets of non-acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) exhibit aberrant retinoid signaling and demonstrate sensitivity to retinoids . We present the results of a phase 1 dose-escalation study that evaluated the safety, pharmacodynamics, and efficacy of IRX195183, a novel retinoic acid receptor α agonist, in patients with relapsed or refractory myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or AML. In this single center, single arm study, eleven patients with relapsed or refractory MDS/AML were enrolled and treated. Oral IRX195183 was administered at two dose levels: 50 mg daily or 75 mg daily for a total of two 28-day cycles. Patients with stable disease or better were allowed to continue on the drug for four additional 28-day cycles. Common adverse events included hypertriglyceridemia, fatigue, dyspnea, and edema. Three patients at the first dose level developed asymptomatic Grade 3 hypertriglyceridemia. The maximally tolerated dose was not reached. Four of the eleven patients had (36%) stable disease or better. One had a morphological complete remission with incomplete hematologic recovery while on the study drug. Two patients had evidence of leukemic blast maturation, as reflected by increased CD38 expression. In a pharmacodynamics study, plasma samples from four patients treated at the lowest dose level demonstrated the capacity to differentiate leukemic cells from the NB4 cell line . These results suggest that IRX195183 is safe, achieves biologically meaningful plasma concentrations and may be efficacious in a subset of patients with MDS/AML. clinicaltrials.gov, identifier NCT02749708.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.587062DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7645224PMC
October 2020

Reduced Intensity Bone Marrow Transplantation with Post-Transplant Cyclophosphamide for Pediatric Inherited Immune Deficiencies and Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes.

J Clin Immunol 2021 02 6;41(2):414-426. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Hematologic Malignancies and Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Purpose: Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (alloBMT) is the only cure for many primary immune deficiency disorders (PIDD), primary immune regulatory disorders (PIRD), and inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFS).

Methods: We report the results of 25 patients who underwent alloBMT using reduced intensity conditioning (RIC), alternative donors, and post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy). In an attempt to reduce regimen-related toxicities, we removed low-dose TBI from the prep and added mycophenolate mofetil and tacrolimus for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis for all donor types in the latter 14 patients. Donors were haploidentical related (n = 14), matched unrelated (n = 9), or mismatched unrelated (n = 2). The median age was 9 years (range 5 months-21 years).

Results: With a median follow-up of 26 months (range 7 months-9 years), the 2-year overall survival is 92%. There were two deaths, one from infection, and one from complications after a second myeloablative BMT. Three patients developed secondary graft failure, one at 2 years and two at >3 years, successfully treated with CD34 cell boost in one or second BMT in two. The remaining 20 patients have full or stable mixed donor chimerism and are disease-free. The incidence of mixed chimerism is increased since removing TBI from the prep. The 6-month cumulative incidence of grade II acute GVHD is 17%, with no grade III-IV. The 1-year cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD is 14%, with severe of 5%.

Conclusion: This alloBMT platform using alternative donors, RIC, and PTCy is associated with excellent rates of engraftment and low rates of GVHD and non-relapse mortality, and offers a curative option for patients with PIDD, PIRD, and IBMFS.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04232085.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-020-00898-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7647188PMC
February 2021

Allogeneic transplantation for Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia with posttransplantation cyclophosphamide.

Blood Adv 2020 10;4(20):5078-5088

Division of Hematologic Malignancy and.

Allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT) is standard of care for adults with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) in first complete remission (CR1). The routine pretransplant and posttransplant use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has dramatically improved outcomes, but the optimal conditioning regimen, donor type, and TKI remain undefined. The bone marrow transplant database at Johns Hopkins was queried for adult patients with de novo Ph+ ALL who received alloBMT using posttransplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) as a component of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis from 2008 to 2018. Among transplants for Ph+ ALL, 69 (85%) were performed in CR1, and 12 (15%) were performed in second or greater remission (CR2+). The majority of transplants (58%) were HLA haploidentical. Nearly all patients (91.4%) initiated TKI posttransplant. For patients in CR1, the 5-year relapse-free survival (RFS) was 66%. The use of nonmyeloablative conditioning, absence of measurable residual disease (MRD) according to flow cytometry at transplant, and the use of dasatinib vs imatinib at diagnosis were associated with improved overall survival (OS) and RFS. Neither donor type nor recipient age ≥60 years affected RFS. When analyzing all transplants, alloBMT in CR1 (vs CR2+) and the absence of pretransplant MRD were associated with improved RFS. Most relapses were associated with the emergence of kinase domain mutations. The cumulative incidence of grade 3 to 4 acute GVHD at 1 year was 9%, and moderate to severe chronic GVHD at 2 years was 8%. Nonmyeloablative alloBMT with PTCy for Ph+ ALL in an MRD-negative CR1 after initial treatment with dasatinib yields favorable outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002945DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7594402PMC
October 2020

Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: Practice Predictions for the Year 2023.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 02 9;27(2):183.e1-183.e7. Epub 2020 Oct 9.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

Research priorities are best determined by the most pressing scientific questions, in the context of current knowledge. However, definitive research studies take time, while real-world experience accumulates. Adoption of new practices before adequate comparison with current treatments threatens successful study conduct and may expose patients to what ultimately turns out to be inferior treatment. We conducted a survey to understand the hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) community's predictions about future practice trends in the HCT field and results of ongoing Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) trials to gauge how the HCT community views the treatments being studied. The survey was distributed between February and March 2019 to an electronic mailing list of HCT clinicians practicing in the United States maintained by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR). Of 986 clinicians surveyed, 315 responded (32%). They predicted an increase in the number of HCTs performed for malignant hematologic diseases and benign diseases such as sickle cell, autoimmune, and genetic disorders. The majority (63%) predicted that matched related donors will remain the preferred donor source for adult HCT recipients in 2023, but 21% predicted haploidentical (haplo) donors and 17% predicted matched unrelated donors would be the preferred source. Most respondents (65%) predicted a decrease in the use of umbilical cord blood (UCB) as a graft source for HCT. Most respondents also predicted that calcineurin-based graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis would be replaced by post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) (55%), biomarker use would become standard practice to guide GVHD therapy (73%), and steroids would be combined with other agents as first-line therapy for newly diagnosed acute (53%) and chronic GVHD (54%). In ongoing BMT CTN trials in which outcomes are not yet known, 60% to 92% of respondents had an opinion about which arm they thought would be superior. However, not all respondents predicted the same outcome, with 44% to 88% choosing the same arm. There was no clear relationship between the proportion predicting the same arm would win and accrual to the trial. Survey respondents were optimistic about an increasing volume of transplantation procedures, and they also expected significant changes in HCT practice over the next few years, including wider adoption of PTCy GVHD prophylaxis, increased use of biomarkers to guide GVHD therapy, and decreased use of UCB HCT. The degree of equipoise in the community about the relative efficacy of therapies being studied did not seem to affect accrual to current BMT CTN trials, but this is an area that needs further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.10.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7546661PMC
February 2021

Thrombotic Microangiopathy after Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide-Based Graft-versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 12 19;26(12):2306-2310. Epub 2020 Sep 19.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland.

Transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy (taTMA) is a systemic vascular illness associated with significant morbidity and mortality, resulting from a convergence of risk factors after allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT). The diagnosis of taTMA has been a challenge, but most criteria include an elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), low haptoglobin, and schistocytes on peripheral blood smear. We performed a retrospective review of the 678 consecutive adults who received high-dose post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy)-based graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis between January 1, 2015, and August 31, 2018. In April 2016, we initiated a monitoring program of weekly LDH and haptoglobin measurements and blood smears when those 2 parameters were both abnormal on all of our adult patients undergoing alloBMT for hematologic malignancies. During the entire period, the 1-year cumulative incidence of taTMA was 1.4% (95% confidence interval, 0.5% to 2.3%). Eight patients were taking tacrolimus at the time of diagnosis, and 1 was not on any immunosuppression. Eight of 9 patients (89%) were hypertensive. Four patients had invasive infections at the time of diagnosis, 4 patients required renal replacement therapy, and 5 of 9 patients were neurologically impaired. Eculizumab was given to 6 patients (0.9%), of whom 2 died and 4 recovered with resolution of end-organ dysfunction. The paucity of events made the determination of risk factors difficult; however, the low incidence of taTMA in this cohort may be related to the limited use of myeloablative conditioning regimens, low incidence of severe GVHD, and use of PTCy. PTCy-based GVHD prophylaxis appears to be associated with a low incidence of severe taTMA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.09.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686062PMC
December 2020

Intravenous Immunoglobulin G Suppresses Heat Shock Protein (HSP)-70 Expression and Enhances the Activity of HSP90 and Proteasome Inhibitors.

Front Immunol 2020 13;11:1816. Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, United States.

Intravenous immunoglobulin G (IVIgG) is approved for primary immunodeficiency syndromes but may induce anti-cancer effects, and while this has been attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties, IgG against specific tumor targets may play a role. We evaluated IVIgG alone, and with a Heat shock protein (HSP)-90 or proteasome inhibitor, using multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) cells , and with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib . IVIgG inhibited the growth of all cell lines tested, induced G cell cycle arrest, and suppressed pro-tumor cytokines including Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and IL-10. Genomic and proteomic studies showed that IVIgG reduced tumor cell HSP70-1 levels by suppressing the ability of extracellular HSP70-1 to stimulate endogenous promoter activity, and reduced extracellular vesicle uptake. Preparations of IVIgG were found to contain high titers of anti-HSP70-1 IgG, and recombinant HSP70-1 reduced the efficacy of IVIgG to suppress HSP70-1 levels. Combining IVIgG with the HSP90 inhibitor AUY922 produced superior cell growth inhibition and correlated with HSP70-1 suppression. Also, IVIgG with bortezomib or carfilzomib was superior to each single agent, and enhanced bortezomib's activity in bortezomib-resistant myeloma cells. Moreover, IVIgG reduced transfer of extracellular vesicles (EVs) to cells, and blocked transfer of bortezomib resistance through EVs. Finally, IVIgG with bortezomib were superior to the single agents in an myeloma model. These studies support the possibility that anti-HSP70-1 IgG contained in IVIgG can inhibit myeloma and MCL growth by interfering with a novel mechanism involving uptake of exogenous HSP70-1 which then induces its own promoter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01816DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7438474PMC
April 2021

Shortened-Duration Immunosuppressive Therapy after Nonmyeloablative, Related HLA-Haploidentical or Unrelated Peripheral Blood Grafts and Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 11 18;26(11):2075-2081. Epub 2020 Aug 18.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland; Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; Division of Pediatric Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland.

With post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis, nonmyeloablative (NMA) HLA-haploidentical (haplo) and HLA-matched blood or marrow transplantation (BMT) have comparable outcomes. Previous reports have shown that discontinuation of immunosuppression (IS) as early as day 60 after infusion of a bone marrow (BM) haplo allograft with PTCy is feasible. There are certain diseases in which peripheral blood (PB) may be favored over BM, but given the higher rates of GVHD with PB, excessive GVHD is of increased concern. We report a completed, prospective single-center trial of stopping IS at days 90 and 60 after NMA PB stem cell transplantation (PBSCT). Between 12/2015-7/2018, 117 consecutive patients with hematologic malignancies associated with higher rates of graft failure after NMA conditioned BMT and PTCy, received NMA PB allografts on trial. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and feasibility of reduced-duration IS (from day 5 through day 90 in the D90 cohort and through day 60 in the D60 cohort). Of the 117 patients (median age, 64 years; range, 22 to 78 years), the most common diagnoses were myelodysplastic syndrome (33%), acute myelogenous leukemia (with minimal residual disease or arising from an antecedent disorder) (32%), myeloproliferative neoplasms (19%), myeloma (9%), and chronic lymphoblastic leukemia (7%). Shortened IS was feasible in 75 patients (64%) overall. Ineligibility for shortened IS resulted most commonly from GVHD (17 patients), followed by early relapse (11 patients), nonrelapse mortality (NRM) (7 patients), patient/ physician preference (4 patients) or graft failure (3 patients). Of the 57 patients in the D90 cohort, 33 (58%) stopped IS early as planned, and among the 60 patients in the D60 cohort, 42 (70%) stopped IS early as planned. The graft failure rate was 2.6%. After IS cessation, the median time to diagnosis of grade II-IV acute GVHD was 21 days in the D90 cohort and 32 days in the D60 cohort, with almost all cases developing within 40 days. Approximately one-third of these patients resumed IS. All outcome measures were similar in the 2 cohorts and our historical outcomes with 180 days of IS. The cumulative incidence of grade III-IV acute GVHD was low, 2% in the D90 cohort and 7% in the D60 cohort. The incidence of severe chronic GVHD at 2 years was 9% in the D90 cohort and 5% in the D60 cohort. The 2-year overall survival was 67% for both the D90 and D60 cohorts. The 2-year progression-free survival was 47% for the D90 cohort and 52% for the D60 cohort, and the GVHD-free, relapse-free survival was <35% for both cohorts. These data suggest that reduced-duration IS in patients undergoing NMA PBSCT with PTCy is feasible and has an acceptable safety profile. © 2020 American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.07.037DOI Listing
November 2020

Myeloablative haploidentical BMT with posttransplant cyclophosphamide for hematologic malignancies in children and adults.

Blood Adv 2020 08;4(16):3913-3925

Hematologic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and.

Promising results have been reported for patients with high-risk hematologic malignancies undergoing HLA-haploidentical bone marrow transplantation (haploBMT) with posttransplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy), but there are few data on outcomes with myeloablative conditioning in this context. We report the results of a single-institution, prospective phase 2 trial of myeloablative haploBMT using busulfan-based or total body irradiation-based conditioning in 96 children or adults (median age, 42 years; range, 1-65 years) with high-risk hematologic malignancies. Recovery of neutrophils and platelets occurred at a median of 24 and 29 days. Engraftment of donor cells with chimerism >95% was achieved in 91%. The cumulative incidence of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) grades II to IV and grades III to IV at day 100 was 11% and 4%, and of chronic GVHD at 6 and 12 months was 4% and 15%, with 6% moderate to severe. The cumulative incidence of nonrelapse mortality was 6% at 100 days and 11% at 1 year (19% in those aged >55 years). The cumulative incidence of relapse at 1 year was 35%; at 3 years, it was 43%. In multivariable analysis, relapse was associated with increased age (P = .02 for age 20-55 years and P = .02 for age >55 years) and with minimal residual disease before transplantation (P = .05). The overall survival at 1 and 3 years is 73% and 54%, and event-free survival at 1 and 3 years is 57% and 49%. We show that haploBMT with PTCy after myeloablative conditioning is safe and efficacious for adult and pediatric patients with hematologic malignancies. Careful consideration must be given to using myeloablative conditioning in patients age >55 years. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00796562.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001648DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7448587PMC
August 2020

Assessing Early Supportive Care Needs among Son or Daughter Haploidentical Transplantation Donors.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 11 8;26(11):2121-2126. Epub 2020 Aug 8.

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland; Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland.

Increasingly, adolescent, young adult, and adult children are relied upon as donors for their parents undergoing blood and marrow stem cell transplant. How family functioning impacts donors' decision making and whether haploidentical donor children have unique supportive care needs is unknown. In this qualitative research study, we conducted 15 semistructured telephone interviews among individuals who underwent blood or marrow stem cell donation for their parent. Interviews explored donors' perspectives of the transplant experience across the trajectory from screening through early post-transplant follow-up and elicited unmet needs. Major themes included: (1) perception of choice, (2) act of giving back, (3) burdens of donation, (4) anticipated health benefit to parent, and (5) impact of donation on parent/child relationship. The majority of participants described high family functioning, but strain was also evident. Family functioning rarely was reported as affecting the decision to donate, with all donors expressing a sense of obligation. Participants were overwhelmingly satisfied with their decision and the ability to give back to their parent. Suggestions for the health care team to improve the donation experience focused on increased education about potential delays in screening, better description of possible complications for recipients, and provision of emotional support following donation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.08.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7609517PMC
November 2020

Activating , , and mutants enhance proteasome capacity and reduce endoplasmic reticulum stress in multiple myeloma.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 08 3;117(33):20004-20014. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030;

, , and mutations which activate p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling are found in half of myeloma patients and contribute to proteasome inhibitor (PI) resistance, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. We established myeloma cell lines expressing wild-type (WT), constitutively active (CA) (G12V/G13D/Q61H), or dominant-negative (DN) (S17N)- and -, or -V600E. Cells expressing CA mutants showed increased proteasome maturation protein (POMP) and nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF2) expression. This correlated with an increase in catalytically active proteasome subunit β (PSMB)-8, PSMB9, and PSMB10, which occurred in an ETS transcription factor-dependent manner. Proteasome chymotrypsin-like, trypsin-like, and caspase-like activities were increased, and this enhanced capacity reduced PI sensitivity, while DN- and DN- did the opposite. Pharmacologic RAF or MAPK kinase (MEK) inhibitors decreased proteasome activity, and sensitized myeloma cells to PIs. CA-, CA-, and CA- down-regulated expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress proteins, and reduced unfolded protein response activation, while DN mutations increased both. Finally, a bortezomib (BTZ)/MEK inhibitor combination showed enhanced activity in vivo specifically in CA- models. Taken together, the data support the hypothesis that activating pathway mutations enhance PI resistance by increasing proteasome capacity, and provide a rationale for targeting such patients with PI/RAF or PI/MEK inhibitor combinations. Moreover, they argue these mutations promote myeloma survival by reducing cellular stress, thereby distancing plasma cells from the apoptotic threshold, potentially explaining their high frequency in myeloma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2005052117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7443929PMC
August 2020

Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation with post-transplant cyclophosphamide for patients with HIV and haematological malignancies: a feasibility study.

Lancet HIV 2020 09 7;7(9):e602-e610. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT) is a potentially life-saving treatment for individuals with HIV and haematological malignancies; challenges include identifying donors and maintaining antiretroviral therapy (ART). The objectives of our study were to investigate interventions to expand donor options and to prevent ART interruptions for patients with HIV in need of alloBMT.

Methods: This single-arm, interventional trial took place at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (Baltimore, MD, USA). Individuals with HIV who were at least 18 years of age and referred for alloBMT for a standard clinical indication were eligible. The only exclusion criterion was a history of documented resistance to enfuvirtide. We used post-transplant cyclophosphamide as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis to expand donor options and an optimised ART strategy of avoiding pharmacoenhancers and adding subcutaneous enfuvirtide during post-transplant cyclophosphamide and during oral medication intolerance. Our primary outcome was the proportion of participants who maintained ART through day 60 after alloBMT. We measured the HIV latent reservoir using a quantitative viral outgrowth assay. This study is registered on ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01836068.

Findings: Between June 1, 2013, and August 27, 2015, nine patients who were referred for transplant provided consent. Two patients had relapsed malignancy before donor searches were initiated. Seven patients had suitable donors identified (two matched sibling, two matched unrelated, two haploidentical, and one single-antigen mismatched unrelated) and proceeded to alloBMT. All patients maintained ART through day 60 and required ART changes (median 1, range 1-3) in the first 90 days. One patient stopped ART and developed HIV rebound with grade 4 meningoencephalitis at day 146. Among six patients who underwent alloBMT and had longitudinal measurements available, the HIV latent reservoir was not detected post-alloBMT in four patients with more than 95% donor chimerism, consistent with a 2·06-2·54 log reduction in the HIV latent reservoir. In the two patients with less than 95% donor chimerism, the HIV latent reservoir remained stable.

Interpretation: By using post-transplant cyclophosphamide as GVHD prophylaxis, we successfully expanded alloBMT donor options for patients with HIV. Continuing ART with a regimen that includes enfuvirtide post-alloBMT was safe, but life-threatening viral rebound can occur with ART interruption.

Funding: amfAR (the Foundation for AIDS Research), Johns Hopkins University Center for AIDS Research, and National Cancer Institute.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(20)30073-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7484204PMC
September 2020

The novel protein homeostatic modulator BTX306 is active in myeloma and overcomes bortezomib and lenalidomide resistance.

J Mol Med (Berl) 2020 08 6;98(8):1161-1173. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Unit 429, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.

Small molecules targeting the cereblon-containing E3 ubiquitin ligase including thalidomide, lenalidomide, and pomalidomide modulate turnover of downstream client proteins and demonstrate pre-clinical and clinical anti-myeloma activity. Different drugs that engage with cereblon hold the potential of unique phenotypic effects, and we therefore studied the novel protein homeostatic modulator (PHM™) BTX306 with a unique thiophene-fused scaffold bearing a substituted phenylurea and glutarimide. This agent much more potently reduced human-derived myeloma cell line viability, with median inhibitory concentrations in the single nanomolar range versus micromolar values for lenalidomide or pomalidomide, and more potently activated caspases 3/8/9. While lenalidomide and pomalidomide induced greater degradation of Ikaros and Aiolos in myeloma cells, BTX306 more potently reduced levels of GSPT1, eRF1, CK1α, MCL-1, and c-MYC. Suppression of cereblon or overexpression of Aiolos or Ikaros induced relative resistance to BTX306, and this agent did not impact viability of murine hematopoietic cells in an in vivo model, demonstrating its specificity for human cereblon. Interestingly, BTX306 did show some reduced activity in lenalidomide-resistant cell line models but nonetheless retained its nanomolar potency in vitro, overcame bortezomib resistance, and was equipotent against otherwise isogenic cell line models with either wild-type or knockout TP53. Finally, BTX306 demonstrated strong activity against primary CD138-positive plasma cells, showed enhanced anti-proliferative activity in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone, and was effective in an in vivo systemic model of multiple myeloma. Taken together, the data support further translational studies of BTX306 and its derivatives to the clinic for patients with relapsed and/or refractory myeloma. KEY MESSAGES: BTX306 has a unique thiophene-fused scaffold bearing phenylurea and glutarimide. BTX306 is more potent against myeloma cells than lenalidomide or pomalidomide. BTX306 overcomes myeloma cell resistance to lenalidomide or bortezomib in vitro. BTX306 is active against primary myeloma cells, and shows efficacy in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00109-020-01943-6DOI Listing
August 2020

Non-Myeloablative Allogeneic Transplantation with Post-Transplant Cyclophosphamide after Immune Checkpoint Inhibition for Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 09 24;26(9):1679-1688. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.. Electronic address:

: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are approved in relapsed classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). The safety and effectiveness of allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT) in ICI-pretreated patients with cHL remain unclear. The aim of this study is to assess outcomes of patients with cHL receiving ICIs before alloBMT using post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) prophylaxis.  : We performed a retrospective study of relapsed/refractory patients with cHL undergoing alloBMT with PTCy at Johns Hopkins between November 2004 and September 2019. Engraftment, GVHD incidence, nonrelapse mortality, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were compared between patients receiving pre-alloBMT ICI or standard salvage chemotherapy.  : We identified 105 consecutive relapsed/refractory patients with cHL, of whom 37 (35.2%) received ICIs and 68 (64.7%) received chemotherapy without ICIs (no-ICI) before alloBMT. ICI and no-ICI patients experienced a 3-year estimated OS of 94% versus 78% (hazard ratio [HR], 0.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.08 to 1.56; P = .17) and a 3-year estimated PFS of 90% and 65% (HR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.09 to 1; P = .05), respectively. We observed no statically significant difference in the 12-month cumulative incidence of acute grade II to IV GVHD or in the 24-month incidence of chronic GVHD.  : ICIs do not increase acute or chronic GVHD incidence compared with salvage chemotherapy. Patients with cHL receiving ICIs prior to alloBMT experienced outstanding PFS and OS. Thus, ICI therapy is safe in patients with cHL when undergoing alloBMT with PTCy and may improve post-alloBMT disease progression and survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.06.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7486273PMC
September 2020

Haploidentical BMT for severe aplastic anemia with intensive GVHD prophylaxis including posttransplant cyclophosphamide.

Blood Adv 2020 04;4(8):1770-1779

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD.

Severe aplastic anemia (SAA) is a stem cell disorder often treated with bone marrow transplantation (BMT) to reconstitute hematopoiesis. Outcomes of related HLA-haploidentical (haplo) donors after reduced-intensity conditioning with intensive graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis including posttransplantation cyclophosphamide are presented here from 37 SAA, 20 relapsed/refractory (R/R), and 17 treatment-naïve (TN) SAA patients. Median follow-up is 32 months (90% confidence interval [CI], 29-44). The median age was 25 (range, 4-69) years. The median time to neutrophil recovery was 17 days (range, 15-88). Four of 37 patients (11%) experienced graft failure (GF). There was 1 primary GF of 20 patients in the R/R group and 3 of 17 in the TN group at 200 cGy (1 primary, 2 secondary), but none in the 10 patients who received 400 cGy total body irradiation. Two patients with GF succumbed to infection and 2 were rescued with second haplo BMT. The overall survival for all patients is 94% (90% CI, 88-100) at 1 and 2 years. The cumulative incidence of grade II-IV acute GVHD at day 100 is 11%. The cumulative index of chronic GVHD at 2 years is 8%. Similar results were seen in 10 SAA patients who received the identical nonmyeloablative regimen with posttransplant cyclophosphamide but matched donor transplants. Haplo BMT with posttransplant cyclophosphamide represents a potential cure in SAA, with all 20 R/R currently alive, disease-free, and with no evidence of active GVHD. Extending this approach to TN patients was associated with higher GF rates, but an increase in total body irradiation dose to 400 cGy was associated with durable engraftment without greater early toxicity. Nonmyeloablative haplo BMT in TN SAA could lead to a paradigm shift, such that essentially all patients can proceed quickly to safe, curative BMT. These trials were registered at www.cincialtrials.gov as #NCT02224872) and #NCT02833805.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001729DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7189283PMC
April 2020

Overcoming microenvironment-mediated protection from ATRA using CYP26-resistant retinoids.

Leukemia 2020 11 9;34(11):3077-3081. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Oncology, Johns Hopkins University, 1650 Orleans St. Room 243, Baltimore, MD, 21231, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-020-0790-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7483812PMC
November 2020

Is post-transplant cyclophosphamide a true game-changer in allogeneic transplantation: The struggle to unlearn.

Authors:
Richard J Jones

Best Pract Res Clin Haematol 2019 12 20;32(4):101112. Epub 2019 Oct 20.

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, United States. Electronic address:

Close HLA matching of donors and recipients has been the dogma for successful allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (BMT), to limit the complications of graft rejection and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). However, many patients in need, especially those in certain racial and ethnic groups such as African-Americans and Hispanics, are unable to find matches despite increased availability of unrelated donors. Unfortunately, despite many early attempts to develop safe, related haploidentical allogenic BMT, mortality rates exceeding 50% from severe GVHD led most centers to steer away from such transplants by the mid-1990s. However, recent advances based largely on the development of high-dose post-transplant cyclophosphamide GVHD prophylaxis, now yield results with haploidentical related donors that approach those with matched donors. With emerging data that younger donor age may be the most important donor selection criterion, HLA-mismatched donors may even have advantages over matched donors in certain situations. Although the exact role that haploidentical donors should play in donor selection strategies is still being defined, the lack of an HLA-matched donor should no longer ever be an exclusion for allogeneic BMT. Unfortunately, this progress in donor availability has not yet been fully recognized by the medical community. Such a discordance between new advances and their clinical translation highlights that changing standard practice is difficult and takes longer than it should, at least in part because it requires "unlearning" long-standing behaviors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beha.2019.101112DOI Listing
December 2019

Allogeneic Haploidentical Blood or Marrow Transplantation with Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 03 12;26(3):502-508. Epub 2019 Nov 12.

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (allo-BMT) remains the only treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with curative potential. Although post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) reduces allo-BMT toxicity by decreasing the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), its effect on CLL allo-BMT outcomes is unknown. We studied 64 consecutive patients with CLL who underwent nonmyeloablative (NMA) haploidentical allo-BMT at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. In this cohort, the 4-year overall survival was 52% (95% confidence interval [CI], 40% to 68%), and progression-free survival was 37% (95% CI, 26% to 54%). Six patients experienced engraftment failure. PTCy prophylaxis was associated with a modest cumulative incidence of 1-year grade II-IV acute GVHD (27%; %95% CI, 15% to 38%) and %%%2-year chronic GVHD (17%; 95% CI, 7% to 26%). We demonstrate that NMA haploidentical allo-BMT with PTCy is a safe and effective treatment option.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2019.11.008DOI Listing
March 2020

Environmental pollutant induced cellular injury is reflected in exosomes from placental explants.

Placenta 2020 01 17;89:42-49. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UTMB-Galveston, Galveston, TX, USA. Electronic address:

Introduction: Exosomes are intercellular signaling vesicles whose cargo reflects the physiological status of the cell of their origin and can regulate gene expression in other tissues. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and bisphenols (A [BPA], Tetrabromobisphenol A [TBBPA], and 2,4,6-Tribromophenol [TBP]) are common environmental pollutants known to increase the risk for spontaneous preterm birth (PTB). We hypothesized that placental exposure to these environmental pollutants causes exosome cargo changes that reflect exposure associated placental response.

Methods: Full-term, C-section placenta explants were treated with PBDE congeners (47, 100, 153, 209), TBBPA, TBP or BPA for 24 h. Exosomes were isolated from media by sequential ultracentrifugation and purified by size exclusion chromatography. Exosomes were characterized by electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis and Western blot. Proteomics identified differentially expressed exosomal proteins and Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) determined biological functions and pathways represented by identified proteins.

Results: Regardless of treatment, placental expressed exosomes markers (PLAP, CD9, CD63, 81 and ALIX), had a size distribution between 50 and 175 nm and were present in the conditioned medium at 5-8 x 10 exosomes/mL. Proteomic analysis identified 2598 proteins which demonstrated that specific pollutants caused differential expression of specific proteins, including alarmin, High Mobility Group Box 1 (HMGB1), MAPK14 (p38 MAPK) and GSK3β. IPA revealed an inhibition of pathways associated with cell survival, tissue repair and proliferation, as well as activation of cell death pathways (e.g. necrosis).

Conclusion: Environmental exposure of placental explants did not change the quantity of exosomes or their characteristics. However, exosome cargo composition exposed to some environment pollutants may be involved in placental nuclear and cellular injury and inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.placenta.2019.10.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7024050PMC
January 2020
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