Clinical outcomes in children with steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease (SR-aGVHD) are generally poor, with a high mortality rate and limited therapeutic options. Here we report our updated investigational experience with mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) therapy with remestemcel-L in a multicenter expanded access protocol (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00759018) in 241 children with aGVHD who failed to respond to steroids with or without other secondary and tertiary immunosuppressive therapies. A total of 241 children with grade B-D SR-aGVHD were enrolled at 50 sites in 8 countries and received 8 biweekly i.v. infusions of human MSCs, 2 × 106 per kg for 4 weeks, with an option for an additional 4 weekly infusions after day +28 for subjects who achieved either a partial response (PR) or mixed response. The mean age of the subjects was 9.6 years; 39% were female, and 60% were white. Most of the subjects had grade C (30%) or grade D (50%) disease, and in most cases, the subjects had failed to respond to other immunosuppressive agents after failing steroids. The primary endpoint was overall response (OR; the sum of complete response [CR] and PR) at day +28. Across all subjects, a 28-day OR was observed in 157 patients (65.1%), with 34 (14.1%) achieving CR and 123 (51.3%) achieving PR. Stratified by aGVHD grade at baseline, the OR rate at day +28 was 72.9% for patients with aGVHD grade B, 67.1% for those with aGVHD grade C, and 60.8% for those with aGVHD grade D. Survival through day +100, a secondary endpoint of the study, was 66.9% (n = 160 of 239). Importantly, survival through day +100 was significantly greater in subjects who achieved a day +28 OR compared with nonresponders (82.1% versus 38.6%; P < .001, log-rank test). Remestemcel-L safety was generally well tolerated, with no infusional toxicity and no identified safety concerns. In summary, this update to the remestemcel-L expanded access program confirms the reported clinical and survival benefits of remestemcel-L therapy in children with aGVHD who have exhausted all conventional therapeutic options.
- Acute graft-versus-host disease
- Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation
- Compassionate use
- Mesenchymal stromal cell
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