Biomarkers for Graft-Versus-Host Disease | Part 4

In this concluding segment of a four-part series, Sophie Paczesny, M.D., Ph.D., of the Hollings Cancer Center of the Medical University of South Carolina and an expert on graft-versus-host disease biomarkers, discusses the future of biomarkers as companion diagnostics.

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 complicated GvHD treatment decisions.

Managed Healthcare Executive® recently interviewed Sophie Paczesny, M.D., Ph.D., a professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical of University of South Carolina and an internationally recognized expert on hematopoietic cell transplantation, GvHD and its biomarkers. In a review article published in Transplantation and Cellular Therapy in July, Paczesny, the corresponding author, and her colleagues provided an authoritative overview of biomarkers and their application to both acute and chronic GvHD.

In this segment, the fourth in a four-part series, Paczesny discusses how biomarkers might be integrated into clinical practice and become part of treatment guidelines. It won’t happen, she says, if biomarkers remain an academic endeavor. It will take interest and investment from pharmaceutical companies. Paczesny says biomarkers can be used as companion diagnostics for GvHD treatment. She says Incyte and Sanofi have clinical trials underway that might yield evidence for biomarkers that could be used as companion diagnostics.