Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a major contributor to mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Researchers evaluated if leukapheresis, the process of separating out white blood cells from circulating blood, could store immune cells for research on cGVHD. They concluded that leukapheresis was safe, feasible, and effective for collecting research samples, even in a frail patient population.
The study, published in the Journal of Translational Medicine, enrolled 132 consecutive patients who completed optional research leukapheresis and a 1-week outpatient evaluation.
The primary end points were a collection of peripheral blood mononucleated cells, baseline clinical and laboratory data, and efficacy of the leukapheresis procedure.
Leukapheresis Successfully Archies Cells for GVHD Research
According to the report, 94 (71%) of 132 patients achieved the 2 × 109 cell collection target with a mean blood volume processed of 4.6 L. Participants had only mild decreases in hemoglobin, platelets, lymphocytes, and monocytes, the authors noted. They also observed only adverse events of grade 1 that resolved by the time of discharge.
The researchers noted samples from their study were used in gene expression studies on cGVHD, and 1 study identified a link between NOTCH2 and B cell activation in sorted B-cell cultures from participants.
“Leukapheresis should become a tool to achieve more robust research and long-awaited breakthroughs in chronic GVHD,” the researchers concluded, noting that “wider utilization of this approach in chronic GVHD clinical protocols should accelerate immunology research into the pathogenesis of the disease.”