Biomarkers for Graft-Versus-Host Disease | Part 3

Biomarkers may help identify acute graft-versus-host disease patients who could be treated with alternatives to corticosteroids.


Third of four parts

Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a side effect of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation used in the treatment of many types of blood cancers (leukemia, multiple myeloma) and other conditions related to the blood and the blood marrow. GvHD occurs when the immune cells in the transplant (“the graft”) turn on and attack the cells of the recipient (“the host.”)

Researchers are working to identify biomarkers that patients and clinicians could use to navigate GvHD treatment decisions. In a review article published in Transplantation and Cellular Therapy in July, corresponding author Sophie Paczesny, M.D., Ph.D., and her colleagues gave an overview of biomarkers and their application to GvHD. Paczesny, a professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical of University of South Carolina, is an expert on hematopoietic cell transplantation, GvHD and its biomarkers. Managed Healthcare Executive® recently interviewed Paczesny.

In this segment of that interview, Paczesny discusses how a biomarker might be helpful in the treatment of acute GvHD. More specifically, she discusses how a biomarker, along with clinical evidence, might help identify lower-risk GvHD patients who could be treated with alternatives to corticosteroids. Results reported in the journal Blood showed positive results for sirolimus as a treatment for acute GVHD in a trial that compared it to prednisone as a treatment for acute GVHD.