Mesenchymal stromal cells for acute graft versus host disease

Haema 2016; 7(1): 6-17

by Anastasia Papadopoulou, Ioannis Batsis

Haematology Department – Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, Gene and Cell Therapy Center, “G. Papanikolaou” General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Severe acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) exhibit strong immunomodulatory properties that prompted their clinical use in severe aGvHD. A num- ber of pre-clinical and clinical phase I-II studies have suggested that infusion of MSCs is safe and potentially effective in preventing or treating aGVHD. However, MSCs still present limitations and definitive proof of their efficacy is lacking thus far. This article reviews the literature on the administration of MSCs in animal models of allogeneic HSCT and the results of clinical trials investigating the use of MSCs to prevent or treat aGVHD. The data emphasize the significance of this therapeutic approach and indicate that large, multicenter, randomized clinical trials are needed to more precisely assess the impact of MSCs infusion on the control of aGVHD.