A Phase I Study to Evaluate Two Doses of Wharton's Jelly-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for the Treatment of De Novo High-Risk or Steroid-Refractory Acute Graft Versus Host Disease

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Stem Cell Reviews and Reports

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Background: Because of their well-described immunosuppressive properties, allogeneic adult human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) derived from bone marrow have demonstrated safety and efficacy in steroid refractory acute graft versus host disease (SR aGVHD). Clinical trials have resulted in variable success and an optimal source of MSC has yet to be defined. Based on the importance of maternal-fetal interface immune tolerance, extraembryonic fetal tissues, such as the umbilical cord, may provide an superior tissue source of MSC to mediate immunomodulation in aGVHD. Methods: A two-dose cohort trial allogeneic Wharton’s Jelly-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (WJMSC, referred to as MSCTC0010, here) were tested in 10 patients with de novo high risk (HR) or SR aGVHD post allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HCT). Following Good Manufacturing Practices isolation, expansion and cryostorage, WJMSC were thawed and administered via intravenous infusions on days 0 and 7 at one of two doses (low dose cohort, 2 × 106/kg, n = 5; high dose cohort, 10 × 106/kg, n = 5). To evaluate safety, patients were monitored for infusion related toxicity, Treatment Related Adverse Events (TRAE) til day 42, or ectopic tissue formation at day 90. Clinical responses were monitored at time points up to 180 days post infusion. Serum biomarkers ST2 and REG3α were acquired 1 day prior to first MSCTC-0010 infusion and on day 14. Results: Safety was indicated, e.g., no infusion-related toxicity, no development of TRAE, nor ectopic tissue formation in either low or high dose cohort was observed. Clinical response was suggested at day 28: the overall response rate (ORR) was 70%, 4 of 10 patients had a complete response (CR) and 3 had a partial response (PR). By study day 90, the addition of escalated immunosuppressive therapy was necessary in 2 of 9 surviving patients. Day 100 and 180 post infusion survival was 90% and 60%, respectively. Serum biomarker REG3α decreased, particularly in the high dose cohort, and with REG3α decrease correlated with clinical response. Conclusions: Treatment of patients with de novo HR or SR aGVHD with low or high dose MSCTC-0010 was safe: the infusion was well-tolerated, and no TRAEs or ectopic tissue formation was observed. A clinical improvement was seen in about 70% patients, with 4 of 10 showing a complete response that may have been attributable to MSCTC-0010 infusions. These observations indicate safety of two different doses of MSCTC-0010, and suggest that the 10 × 106 cells/ kg dose be tested in an expanded randomized, controlled Phase 2 trial.


AGVHD; Wharton’s Jelly Mesenchymal Stromal Cells; Umbilical Cord; Steroid Refractory; Ruxolitinib; Allo-HCT


Internal Medicine | Medical Specialties | Medicine and Health Sciences



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