Prophylaxis and treatment for viral infections – pharmacological and cellular therapies

Haema 2016; 7(2): 191-202

by Ifigenia A. Tzannou

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA

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Viral infections remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Due to profound immunosuppression, transplant patients are susceptible to both latent and community acquired viruses. Over the past 20 years great progress has been made to rapidly detect viral infections, while new antiviral pharmacological agents have been investigated. Effective prophylaxis and treatment is currently available for most herpesviruses and influenza viruses. However, antiviral agents are not effective for many other viruses. Even when pharmacological therapies are available, they may cause significant toxicity or lead to resistant mutants. Adoptive immunotherapy with antigen-specific T cells is an effective alternative providing protection against viruses, without causing alloreactivity.