February 28: Dispatches from the 2014 BMT Tandem Meetings

Friday, February 28, 2014

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s achievements in blood and marrow stem cell transplantation are center stage at the 2014 BMT Tandem Meeting, a joint conference of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, taking place in the Dallas area through March 2. To help us understand how the meeting is unfolding, we asked several of our doctors to provide us with daily highlights.

Miguel-Angel Perales, MD Miguel-Angel Perales, MD Deputy Chief, Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Service

Earlier today at the BMT Tandem Meetings, Memorial Sloan Kettering medical oncologist David Chung presented his prospective analysis of immune reconstitution in patients with multiple myeloma who have undergone autologous stem cell transplant.

A favorable shift in immunosuppressive regulatory T cell to effector T cell ratio was identified in the early post-transplant period. Potentially targetable immune-inhibitory markers associated with disease relapse were also identified.  

These findings provide rationale for the introduction of early post-transplant immunotherapy, including anti-myeloma vaccines, and the incorporation checkpoint blockade agents to augment antitumor immunity and/or prevent relapse. 

Also, Guenther Koehne, Medical Director of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Cytotherapy Laboratory, presented results of his study of T-cell-depleted allogeneic stem cell transplant in patients with relapsed high-risk multiple myeloma. This approach was associated with low rates of transplant related mortality and graft-versus-host disease.

He showed that long-lasting disease control can be achieved in this patient population, including those with high-risk cytogenetics. Furthermore T-cell-depleted transplants can serve as a platform for cell therapy to further decrease the risk of relapse. 

Medical oncologist Robert Jenq presented during the “best abstract” session. His work has identified types of intestinal bacteria that may protect against graft-versus-host disease and improve survival in patients under going allogeneic BMT. His lab is now developing strategies to support these beneficial bacteria. You can read more about his work in a story that will run on Memorial Sloan Kettering’s blog next week.

Later in the evening I am looking forward to the E. Donnall Thomas lecture. The lecture recognizes an eminent physician or scientist, either a clinician or investigator, who has contributed meritoriously to the advancement of knowledge in blood and marrow transplantation. This year, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Richard O’Reilly [Chair of the Department of Pediatrics] is receiving the honor.

Stay tuned for more blog posts. To get live updates, you can follow Drs. Giralt, Perales, and van den Brink on Twitter at @sgiraltbmtdoc, @DrMvandenBrink, and @DrMiguelPerales, respectively.