Tuberculous infections in patients with hematological disorders and hematopoietic stem cell transplant vary in incidence, complications and response to treatment.
Methods and materials
A retrospective study of patients with various benign and malignant hematological disorders and recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplant who were treated at Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital, Saudi Arabia between January 1991 and December 2002 and who developed tuberculous infections was conducted.
Tuberculous infections occurred in eighteen patients with hematological disorders and hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The main associated factors were: reduced immunity due to the primary hematological disorder, age more than 50 years and the administration of cytotoxic chemotherapy, steroids or radiotherapy. These infections frequently involved the lungs and predominantly occurred in males and in patients with chronic myeloproliferative disorders, myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. In patients treated with intravenous cytotoxic chemotherapy, tuberculous infections tended to occur earlier and also tended to be more disseminated compared to infections occurring in patients treated with oral chemotherapy. Anti-tuberculous treatment was given to 16 patients and it was successful in 15 of these patients.
Tuberculous infections cause significant morbidity and mortality in patients with various hematological disorders and in recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The early administration of anti-tuberculous therapy and compliance with drug treatment are associated with successful outcomes while delayed management, drug resistance and the presence of miliary infections are associated with poor prognosis and high mortality rates.
Background to the debate: Umbilical cord blood—the blood that remains in the placenta after birth—can be collected and stored frozen for years. A well-accepted use of cord blood is as an alternative to bone marrow as a source of hematopoietic stem cells for allogeneic transplantation to siblings or to unrelated recipients; women can donate cord blood for unrelated recipients to public banks. However, private banks are now open that offer expectant parents the option to pay a fee for the chance to store cord blood for possible future use by that same child (autologous transplantation.)
Private banks offer expectant parents the option to pay a fee for the chance to store cord blood for possible future use by the child. The practice is controversial, for scientific and ethical reasons
There is a high prevalence of consanguinity and bronchial asthma in Saudi Arabia. The objective of this study is to explore the effect of parental consanguinity on the occurrence of bronchial asthma in children. The study sample was determined by multistage random probability sampling of Saudi households. The families with at least one child with asthma were matched with an equal number of families randomly selected from a list of families with healthy children, the latter families being designated as controls. There were 103 families with children having physician-diagnosed bronchial asthma, matched with an equal number of families with no children with asthma. This resulted in 140 children with bronchial asthma and 295 children from controls. The age and gender distribution of the children with bronchial asthma and children from controls were similar. There were 54/103 (52.4%) and 61/103 (59.2%) cases of positive parental consanguinity in asthmatic children and children from controls respectively (P = 0.40). Analysis of consanguinity status of the parents of children with asthma and parents among controls indicates that 71/140 (51%) of the children with asthma and 163/295 (55.3%) of the children from controls had positive parental overall consanguinity (P = 0.43). The results of this study suggest that parental consanguinity does not increase the risk of bronchial asthma in children.
Bronchial asthma; consanguinity; Saudi Arabia
The finding of human umbilical cord blood as one of the most likely sources of hematopoietic stem cells offers a less invasive alternative for the need of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Due to the once-in-a-life time chance of collecting it, an optimum cryopreservation method that can preserve the life and function of the cells contained is critically needed.
Until now, slow-cooling has been the routine method of cryopreservation; however, rapid-cooling offers a simple, efficient, and harmless method for preserving the life and function of the desired cells. Therefore, this study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of slow- and rapid-cooling to preserve umbilical cord blood of mononucleated cells suspected of containing hematopoietic stem cells. The parameters used in this study were differences in cell viability, malondialdehyde content, and apoptosis level. The identification of hematopoietic stem cells themselves was carried out by enumerating CD34+ in a flow cytometer.
Our results showed that mononucleated cell viability after rapid-cooling (91.9%) was significantly higher than that after slow-cooling (75.5%), with a p value = 0.003. Interestingly, the malondialdehyde level in the mononucleated cell population after rapid-cooling (56.45 μM) was also significantly higher than that after slow-cooling (33.25 μM), with a p value < 0.001. The apoptosis level in rapid-cooling population (5.18%) was not significantly different from that of the mononucleated cell population that underwent slow-cooling (3.81%), with a p value = 0.138. However, CD34+ enumeration was much higher in the population that underwent slow-cooling (23.32 cell/μl) than in the one that underwent rapid-cooling (2.47 cell/μl), with a p value = 0.001.
Rapid-cooling is a potential cryopreservation method to be used to preserve the umbilical cord blood of mononucleated cells, although further optimization of the number of CD34+ cells after rapid-cooling is critically needed.
Human umbilical cord blood; hematopoietic stem cell; cryopreservation; slow-cooling; rapid-cooling; cell viability; malondialdehyde; apoptosis; CD34+
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is used to eradicate disease and restore normal hematopoietic, immunologic, and/or metabolic functioning. HSCT is a complex treatment that is physiologically and psychologically demanding on the recipient, caregiver, and family. The purpose of this study was to identify needs and resources of family caregivers of pediatric HSCT recipients during the first year after transplant. Parental caregivers (n = 161) completed an online survey. The most cited sources of information were the HSCT team (87.7%), books and other print materials (83.1%), and the Internet (81.5%). However, more than half of the respondents reported that finding resources and services was a problem. More than half identified managing the emotional and social impact of the transplant on their child, posttransplant and follow-up care, practical strategies for caregiving, maintaining the family, and taking care of themselves during this first year as important topics to address. Adequately and regularly assessing caregiver and family needs and providing resources to meet those needs, especially during transitions in care, are important components of transplant care.
needs assessment; caregiving; bone marrow transplantation; adaptation; Internet; online survey
A close match of the HLA alleles between donor and recipient is an important prerequisite for successful unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. To increase the chances of finding an unrelated donor, registries recruit many hundred thousands of volunteers each year. Many registries with limited resources have had to find a trade-off between cost and resolution and extent of typing for newly recruited donors in the past. Therefore, we have taken advantage of recent improvements in NGS to develop a workflow for low-cost, high-resolution HLA typing.
We have established a straightforward three-step workflow for high-throughput HLA typing: Exons 2 and 3 of HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, -DQB1 and -DPB1 are amplified by PCR on Fluidigm Access Array microfluidic chips. Illumina sequencing adapters and sample specific tags are directly incorporated during PCR. Upon pooling and cleanup, 384 samples are sequenced in a single Illumina MiSeq run. We developed “neXtype” for streamlined data analysis and HLA allele assignment. The workflow was validated with 1140 samples typed at 6 loci. All neXtype results were concordant with the Sanger sequences, demonstrating error-free typing of more than 6000 HLA loci. Current capacity in routine operation is 12,000 samples per week.
The workflow presented proved to be a cost-efficient alternative to Sanger sequencing for high-throughput HLA typing. Despite the focus on cost efficiency, resolution exceeds the current standards of Sanger typing for donor registration.
Human leukocyte antigen; HLA typing; NGS; Dual indexing; 4-primer approach; Amplicon-based sequencing; Fluidigm Access Array; Illumina MiSeq
To provide a snapshot of the dermatology work force in Saudi Arabia.
We collected data on the supply and distribution of dermatologists in Saudi Arabia. We discussed the current status of dermatology manpower issues in Saudi Arabia.
We found that between 1987 and 2007, the availability of dermatologists to population in Saudi Arabia rose by 60 %, from 2.35 to 3.76 dermatologists per 100,000 Saudi Arabian individuals. However, the current workforce is already out of balance in several ways. We have an excess of non-Saudi citizen dermatologists and a barely adequate supply of Saudi dermatologists. The dermatologist population is unbalanced with regard to gender and uneven in terms of geographic distribution.
The dermatology workforce does not match well with the nation’s health care goals. We should create a more successful and stable match between the talent supply and health care system requirements.
Dermatology; Manpower; Saudi Arabia
Parents of pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) play a pivotal role in the care of their child during and after transplant. In addition to the child’s comforter, parents also serve as care coordinators and conduits of communication between various health care providers, family and community members. The stress on the parent and family is enormous during this process, which for many is compounded by geographic dislocation to accompany their child during the rigorous treatment and recovery process. For many parents, their own recovery spans months to years.
Parental activation, a process of becoming informed to participate in decisions, collaborate with health care providers, and manage care provided the conceptual framework to develop an eHealth approach for this population. HSCT-CHESS was developed, based on previous success with an existing eHealth system of integrated services, the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS™). CHESS™ is designed to help individuals and families cope with a health crisis or medical concern. The iterative user-centered development process for HSCT-CHESS included parents of HSCT recipients, representatives from an HSCT Advocacy Group, and members of the clinical, research, development and design teams. This rigorous process, including online focus groups and surveys, utilization of a parental user group, and an editorial and development process are described.
As the population of cancer survivors and caregivers increase and as the oncology workforce becomes more stretched; developing eHealth applications may be an approach to address many of caregivers unmet needs. The purpose in describing this process is to help others when considering such an endeavor. HSCT-CHESS is now being tested in a randomized controlled trial versus standard care to evaluate its impact on the quality of life of both the parent and child HSCT recipient.
Internet; Patient education; Caregivers; Parents; Information services; Self-efficacy
This paper addresses an important pre-requisite for promoting child health; namely the promotion of sound child development.
The study aimed at identifying factors affecting child development in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
A cross-sectional study with a multi-stage stratified random sample of children.
Well-baby clinics of the primary health care centers in urban and rural areas of the Madinah region, North-western Saudi Arabia.
A sample of 1219 “normal” children below the age of six.
Tools used for the study were the modified and translated Denver Revised-Pre-screening Developmental Questionnaire (R-PDQ), and the Denver Developmental Screening Test (DDST) kit together with a social questionnaire. Logistic Regression analysis was used to show any significant association(s) between the study variables and the 104 developmental items in the R-PDQ.
Eight variables were found to be strongly associated with each of the developmental items. Mothers’ education was found to be significantly associated with 21 developmental items. Number of children in the household was next to mothers’ education in its association with child development. Place of residence and gender were found to be significantly associated with seven and one abilities respectively.
Findings emphasized the importance of girls and mothers’ education as an aid in stimulating the development of their children and enabling mothers to prepare children for school. Adequate birth interval, and prolonged breastfeeding are recommended to enable mothers to care for their children, communicate with them and foster sound development. Scrutinizing the child's home environment and involving parents in the developmental progress of their children are also considered important. More stimulation and educational play are recommended for rural children and male urban children.
Child development; R-PDQ; Madina; Saudi Arabia
Stem cell therapies may be valuable in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Here we focus on two very different types of stem cells – hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells. Myeloablation and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation alter host immune response by reconstituting the recipient’s blood cell lines with donor cells. Autologous hematopoietic reconstitution may “reboot” mucosal immunity to a normal baseline state, but does not alter any underlying genetic predisposition to IBD. In contrast, allogeneic hematopoietic transplantation reconstitutes all blood lineages from a tissue-matched donor who presumably does not have a genetic predisposition to IBD. Compared with autologous hematopoietic transplantation, allogeneic hematopoietic transplantation carries a much greater risk of complications, including graft-versus-host disease. Mesenchymal stem cells can give rise to cartilage, bone and fat in vitro, but do not reconstitute hematopoiesis after transplantation. Systemically infused mesenchymal stem cells appear to favorably downregulate host immune responses through poorly understood mechanisms. In addition, mesenchymal stem cells may be applied topically to help close fistulas associated with Crohn’s disease. For all of these stem cell therapy applications for IBD, only cases and small series have been reported. Larger clinical trials are planned or ongoing.
inflammatory bowel disease; Crohn’s disease; stem cell therapy; bone marrow transplant; mesenchymal stem cell
Haploidentical hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation is an alternative transplant strategy for patients without an HLA-matched donor. Still, only half of patients who might benefit from transplantation are able to find an HLA-matched related or unrelated donor. Haploidentical donor is readily available for many patients in need of immediate stem-cell transplantation. Historical experience with haploidentical stem-cell transplantation has been characterised by a high rejection rate, graft-versus-host disease, and transplant-related mortality. Important advances have been made in this field during the last 20 years. Many drawbacks of haploidentical transplants such as graft failure and significant GVHD have been overcome due to the development of new extensive T cell depletion methods with mega dose stem-cell administration. However, prolonged immune deficiency and an increased relapse rate remain unresolved problems of T cell depletion. New approaches such as partial ex vivo or in vivo alloreactive T cell depletion and posttransplant cell therapy will allow to improve immune reconstitution in haploidentical transplants. Results of unmanipulated stem-cell transplantation with using ATG and combined immunosuppression in mismatched/haploidentical transplant setting are promising. This paper focuses on recent advances in haploidentical hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation for hematologic malignancies.
Primary graft failure after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation is a life-threatening complication. A shortened conditioning regimen may reduce the risk of infection and increase the chance of survival. Here, we report the outcome of 11 patients with hematologic diseases (median age, 44; range, 25–67 years, 7 males) who received a 1-day reduced-intensity preparative regimen given as a re-transplantation for primary graft failure. The salvage regimen consisted of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, alemtuzumab, and total-body irradiation, all administered 1 day before re-transplantation. All patients received T-cell replete peripheral blood stem cells from the same or different haploidentical donor (n = 10) or from the same matched sibling donor (n = 1). Neutrophil counts promptly increased to >500/µL for 10 of the 11 patients at a median of 13 days. Of these, none developed Grade III/IV acute graft-versus-host disease. At present, 8 of the 11 patients are alive with a median follow-up of 11.2 months from re-transplantation and 5 of the 8 are in remission. In conclusion, this series suggests that our 1-day preparative regimen is feasible, leads to successful engraftment in a high proportion of patients, and is appropriate for patients requiring immediate re-transplantation after primary graft failure following reduced-intensity transplantation.
allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation; primary graft failure; re-transplantation
There are limited data on the epidemiology of allergic disorders in Saudi Arabia. Such data are needed for, amongst other things, helping to plan service provision at a time when there is considerable investment taking place in national healthcare development. We sought to estimate the prevalence of atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis and asthma in primary school children in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a two-stage cross-sectional survey of schoolchildren in Madinah. Children were recruited from 38 randomly selected schools. Questionnaires were sent to the parents of all 6,139 6–8 year old children in these schools. These parental-completed questionnaires incorporated questions from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), which had previously been validated for use in Arab populations. We undertook descriptive analyses, using the Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) to calculate 95% confidence intervals. The overall response rate was 85.9% (n = 5,188), 84.6% for girls and 86.2% for boys, respectively. Overall, parents reported symptoms suggestive of a history of eczema in 10.3% (95%CI 9.4, 11.4), rhinitis in 24.2% (95%CI 22.3, 26.2) and asthma in 23.6% (95%CI 21.3, 26.0) of children. Overall, 41.7% (95%CI 39.1, 44.4) of children had symptoms suggestive of at least one allergic disorder, with a substantial minority manifesting symptoms indicative of co-morbid allergic disease. Comparison of these symptom-based prevalence estimates with reports of clinician-diagnosed disease suggested that the majority of children with eczema and asthma had been diagnosed, but only a minority (17.4%) of children had been diagnosed with rhinitis. International comparisons indicated that children in Madinah have amongst the highest prevalence of allergic problems in the world.
Symptoms indicative of allergic disease are very common in primary school-aged children in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, with figures comparable to the highest risk regions in the world.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) can be challenging to pediatric recipients and their families. Little is known about the recipients' psychological status as they initiate treatment and in the year afterwards. The purpose of this study is to describe the psychological status of 107 pediatric HSCT recipients from their parents' perspective, and to compare reports from parents and children in a subset of 55 children. We hypothesized that there would be discrepancies between parent and child report of child distress.
Multi-site, prospective study of eligible child participants and their parents who completed selected modules from the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR, Childhood Version (KID-SCID) the month before and one year after HSCT. Diagnoses were threshold or subthreshold.
According to parents, nearly 30% of children had anxiety disorder_both before and after HSCT; approximately half of these met threshold criteria. Agreement between parents and children for anxiety disorders was poor at baseline (κ= −0.18, 95th % CI= −0.33, −0.02) and fair at 12 months (κ= 0.31, 95th % CI= −0.04, 0.66). Agreement about mood disorders was fair at baseline (10% prevalence, κ=0.39, 95th % CI=−0.02, 0.79) and moderate at 12 months (14% prevalence, κ=0.41, 95th % CI= 0.02, 0.80).
Anxiety (30%) and mood (10 to 14%) symptoms are common in children both before and after HSCT; parent and child reports of these symptoms do not agree. Input from parents and children is recommended to identify more accurately children who may need additional intervention during and following HSCT.
parent; child; psychological distress
Brucellosis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in patients living in areas that are endemic for the infection.
A 20 years old Saudi male was diagnosed to have severe aplastic anemia at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh in April 2006. One hundred and twelve days following his successful allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant, he presented with pyrexia in addition to neutropenia and mild thrombocytopenia. Brucella serology was strongly positive and blood cultures grew Brucella melitensis. The bacteremic episode of brucellosis was successfully treated with streptomycin, doxycyclin and ciprofloxacin at the outpatient clinic. To our knowledge, this is the first case of a naturally occurring Brucella infection complicated by Brucella bacteremia in a recipient of hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
Brucellosis may cause systemic infections, complicated bacteremias and serious morbidity in immunocompromised patients living in countries that are endemic for the infection. It should be considered as a possible cause of fever and pancytopenia in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients living in these geographical locations. Nevertheless, the infection is curable provided the diagnosis is made early and an appropriate antimicrobial therapy is promptly initiated.
Large registries of potential unrelated stem cell donors have been established in order to enable stem cell transplantation for patients without HLA-identical related donors. Donor search is complicated by the fact that the stored HLA information of many registered donors is incomplete. We carried out a project that was aimed to improve chances of patients with ongoing donor searches to find an HLA-matched unrelated donor. For that purpose, we carried out additional donor center-initiated HLA-DRB1 typing of donors who were only typed for the HLA loci A and B so far and were potential matches for patients in need of a stem cell transplant. In total, 8,861 donors were contacted for donor center-initiated HLA-DRB1 typing within 1,089 donor searches. 12 of these donors have donated stem cells so far, 8 thereof for their respective target patients. We conclude that chances of patients with ongoing donor searches to find an HLA-matched unrelated donor can indeed be improved by donor-center initiated typing that is carried out in addition to the standard donor search process. Our results also raise questions regarding the appropriate use of incompletely typed donors within unrelated donor searches.
The globally widespread single-gene disorders β-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia (SCA) can only be cured by allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). HSCT treatment of thalassemia has substantially improved over the last two decades, with advancements in preventive strategies, control of transplant-related complications, and preparative regimens. A risk class–based transplantation approach results in disease-free survival probabilities of 90%, 84%, and 78% for class 1, 2, and 3 thalassemia patients, respectively. Because of disease advancement, adult thalassemia patients have a higher risk for transplant-related toxicity and a 65% cure rate. Patients without matched donors could benefit from haploidentical mother-to-child transplantation. There is a high cure rate for children with SCA who receive HSCT following myeloablative conditioning protocols. Novel non-myeloablative transplantation protocols could make HSCT available to adult SCA patients who were previously excluded from allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
The genetic diseases thalassemia and sickle cell anemia are curable by allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The distinct pathogeneses of the disorders necessitate differences in the procedures used.
Bladder cancer is a common malignancy. It is ranked ninth among male population in Saudi Arabia. Urine cytology is used by some physicians routinely in the workup for diagnosis and follow-up of patients with urothelial cancer. Our objective is to determine whether urine cytology is still essential in the work up of suspected urothelial cancer patients and to measure its cost-effectiveness.
Materials and Methods:
We reviewed all urine cytology reports that were performed over a period of five years from 2006 to 2010 in the International Medical Center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The medical records of patients with cytology reports of both positive for malignant cells and atypical cells suspicious of malignancy were retrospectively, studied for age, sex, nationality, cystoscopic findings, imaging results, and total cost.
A total of 563 urine cytology tests were done on 516 patients. Two patients were positive for malignant cell and 10 showed atypical cells suspicious of malignancy. All 12 patients underwent imaging and/or cystoscopy as part of their complete work up for hematuria. The two patients with positive cytology had a cystoscopic confirmation of bladder tumor. In the 10 patients with atypical cells, bladder tumor was identified in seven using cystoscopy and/or imaging. The mean age was 54.6±16 year (range 15-95). The total cost was 140,750 SR (37,533 USD) for a yield of 0.3% positive results and 2% atypical cytology.
Routine urine cytology did not affect the diagnostic strategy for urothelial cancer. It should be only used in selected patients.
Hematuria; transitional cell carcinoma; urine cytology; urine markers; urothelial cancer
The palliative care (PC) needs of patients with noncancer life-threatening illnesses are comparable to that of cancer patients. This report describes the contribution of noncancer patients to the population of PC patients in a tertiary care hospital in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
Materials and Methods:
This is a retrospective review of the “palliative care inpatient database” of 21 months.
From 474 patients, 20 (4.2%) had a noncancer diagnosis. The main reason for the referral of noncancer patients was pain control. The most prevalent diagnoses were sickle cell disease (SCD) in 6 (30%) patients and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in 5 (25%).
These findings suggest that the PC needs of noncancer patients are largely unmet in our region. Further efforts are necessary to advance noncancer PC in Saudi Arabia. The PC needs of patients with SCD and PAD need to be addressed in future research.
Noncancer; Palliative care; Peripheral arterial disease; Saudi Arabia; Sickle cell disease
The zebrafish has proven to be an excellent model for human disease, particularly hematopoietic diseases, since these fish make similar types of blood cells as humans and other mammals. The genetic program that regulates the development and differentiation of hematopoietic cells is highly conserved. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the source of all the blood cells needed by an organism during its lifetime. Identifying an HSC requires a functional assay, namely, a transplantation assay consisting of multilineage engraftment of a recipient and subsequent serial transplant recipients. In the past decade, several types of hematopoietic transplant assays have been developed in the zebrafish. An understanding of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes in the zebrafish has lagged behind transplantation experiments, limiting the ability to perform unbiased competitive transplantation assays. This paper summarizes the different hematopoietic transplantation experiments performed in the zebrafish, both with and without immunologic matching, and discusses future directions for this powerful experimental model of human blood diseases.
Purpose of Review
2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the first use of umbilical cord blood (UCB) as a source of donor cells for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In those early days, there was great doubt and skepticism about the utility of UCB as a source of hematopoietic stem cells. Doubts about whether UCB, containing 10-20x fewer cells than bone marrow, had sufficient cells to durably engraft a myeloablated patient and, after demonstration that engraftment occurred with less graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), whether it would confer graft versus leukemia (GvL) activity were raised.
Transplantation with UCB is effective in the treatment of children with hematological malignancies, marrow failure, immunodeficiencies, hemoglobinopathies and inherited metabolic diseases. Transplantation without full HLA matching is possible and despite a lower incidence of GvHD, GvL is preserved. The number of cells in a single UCB can be limiting, but the use of 2 UCBs for a single transplant shows promise to overcome this obstacle.
Cord blood transplantation is now an established field with enormous potential. UCB increases access to transplantation therapy for many patients unable to indentify a fully matched adult donor. In the future, it may emerge as a source of cells for cellular therapies focused on tissue repair and regeneration.
Umbilical Cord Blood; Unrelated Donors; Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation; Inborn Errors of Metabolism
With rapidly expanding evidence of benefit reported by several groups, allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation has become an acceptable treatment option for sickle cell disease. It is currently the only curative therapy available. Hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation was offered primarily as a therapeutic option for severe sickle cell disease in the context of myeloablative matched sibling donor transplants over the last two decades and helped to establish the benefits of transplantation for this disorder. While this approach provided proof of principle, the disadvantages and limitations of transplantation became evident along the way. It has been recognized that transplantation for sickle cell disease does not need to adhere strictly to the principles of transplantation for malignant disorders, such as achievement of full donor cell chimerism. As reviewed here, in recent years the transplant community has set out to explore ways to make stem-cell transplantation more available to patients with the disease, define indications and better timing, and offset toxicities with novel approaches to conditioning and better supportive care.
hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation; sickle cell disease
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation provides the only potential curative option in many patients with hematological malignancies. Finding a suitably matched donor in a timely manner is often difficult. However, most patients have a partially HLA-mismatched (HLA-haploidentical) first-degree relative readily available. Historically, HLA-haploidentical bone marrow transplantation (BMT) has been considered extremely high risk due to high rates of life-threatening graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and non-relapse mortality (NRM). Modifications of the stem cell graft, such as T-cell depletion, have resulted in poor rates of engraftment. We have recently completed a phase II clinical trial of nonmyeloablative HLA-haploidentical hematopoietic BMT followed by post-transplantation high-cyclophosphamide. High-dose cyclophosphamide has been shown to create immunogenic tolerance by specifically killing activated mature T-cells. As a result, alloreactive T-cells in the donor graft are selectively destroyed thereby decreasing the incidence of severe GVHD. As well, host-versus-graft reactive T-cells are also selectively eliminated thereby increasing rates of engraftment. Among 210 patients with hematological malignancies receiving nonmyeloablative, HLA-haploidentical BMT with post-transplantation cyclophosphamide, the rate of sustained donor cell engraftment has been 87%. The cumulative incidence of grade 2–4 acute GVHD is 27%, grade 3–4 acute GVHD is 5% and chronic GVHD is 15%. Interestingly, increasing HLA disparity between donor and recipient was not associated with increasing incidence of GVHD or decreased event-free survival. Nonmyeloablative haploidentical stem cell transplantation with post-transplantation cyclophosphamide seems to be a promising, potentially curative, option for patients with hematological malignancies who either lack an HLA-matched related or unrelated donor, or in whom a myeloablative preparative regimen is contraindicated due to significant co-morbidities or history of extensive pre-treatment.
stem cell transplantation; nonmyeloablative; HLA-haploidentical; hematological malignancies; cyclophosphamide
More than 25,000 hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCTs) are performed each year for the treatment of lymphoma, leukemia, immune-deficiency illnesses, congenital metabolic defects, hemoglobinopathies, and myelodysplastic and myeloproliferative syndromes. Before transplantation, patients receive intensive myeloablative chemoradiotherapy followed by stem cell “rescue.” Autologous HSCT is performed using the patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells, which are harvested before transplantation and reinfused after myeloablation. Allogeneic HSCT uses human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched stem cells derived from a donor. Survival after allogeneic transplantation depends on donor–recipient matching, the graft-versus-host response, and the development of a graft versus leukemia effect. This article reviews the biology of stem cells, clinical efficacy of HSCT, transplantation procedures, and potential complications.
hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; complications
Breaking bad news (BBN) to parents whose newborn has a major disease is an ethical dilemma. In Saudi Arabia, BBN about newborns is performed according to the parental preferences that have been reported from non-Arabic/non-Islamic countries. Saudi mothers' preferences about BBN have not yet been studied. Therefore, we aimed to elicit the preferences of Saudi mothers about BBN concerning newborns.
We selected a convenience sample of 402 Saudi mothers, aged 18-50 years, who had no previous experience with BBN. We selected them via a simple number-randomization scheme from the premises of a level III Saudi hospital between October of 2009 and January of 2011. We used a hypothetical situation (BBN about trisomy 21) to elicit their preferences about BBN concerning newborns via a structured verbal questionnaire composed of 12 multiple-choice questions. We expressed their preferences as percentages (95% confidence interval), and we used the Kendall's W test (W) to assess the degree of agreement in preferences.
The Saudi mothers preferred that BBN be conducted with both parents together (64% [60-69]), albeit with weak levels of agreement (W = 0.29). They showed moderate agreement in their preferences that BBN should be conducted early (79% [75-83], W = 0.48), in detail (81% [77-85], W = 0.52), in person (88% [85-91], W = 0.58), and in a quiet setting (86% [83-90], W = 0.53). With extremely weak agreement, they preferred to have a known person present for support during BBN (56% [51-61], W = 0.01), to have close bodily contact with their babies (66% [61-70], W = 0.10), and to have no another patients present (64% [59-68], W = 0.08). They showed moderate levels of agreement in their desires to detail, in advance, their preferences about process of BBN by giving a reversible, written informed consent that could be utilized for guidance, if needed (80% [76-84], W = 0.36).
In our experience, Saudi mothers' preferences about BBN concerning newborns are varied, suggesting that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is inappropriate. A reversible, written informed consent detailing their preferences about BBN that would be kept in their medical records and utilized for guidance, if needed, may be the best solution, given this level of diversity. These findings merit further study.