Prof Jurgen Kuball recently received a grant of 540.000 euros from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF)

Background: Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) is a very powerful treatment modality for patients with multiple hematological disorders. However, the widespread use of allo-SCT is currently hampered by the occurrence of severe graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). Once severe acute GVHD occurs, transplantation-related mortality (TRM) immediately increases from ~20% to 75%. Data from our institution and others indicate that we are able to rescue ~50% of patients suffering from acute GVHD with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC), a cellular product exclusively provided by a limited number of expertise centers worldwide, including our institution. Analysis of a first cohort of 50 patients treated at our institution suggests that defined soluble and cellular markers can predict resolution of GVHD before and after initiation of therapy (Te Boome et al., 2015).

Purpose of the project: (1) For patients suffering from severe GVHD and receiving MSC we aim to confirm the predictive value of our recently identified distinct soluble and cellular biomarkers in an already recruited validation cohort. (2) We will hunt for novel biomarkers and targets by studying the local microenvironment of GVHD in the skin and gut. In order to minimize the bias of the analyses and to address the effect of a defined treatment, all analyses will be performed in a unique and very homogenous cohort treated selectively with prednisone and MSC.

 Te Boome, L.C., Mansilla, C., van der Wagen, L.E., Lindemans, C.A., Petersen, E.J., Spierings, E., Thus, K.A., Westinga, K., Plantinga, M., Bierings, M., et al. (2015). Biomarker profiling of steroid-resistant acute GVHD in patients after infusion of mesenchymal stromal cells. Leukemia.