Study 275: Updated Expanded Access Program for Remestemcel-L in Steroid-Refractory Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease in Children.


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 ( 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.





MSB-275 Study Group, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, Humans, Graft vs Host Disease, Acute Disease, Steroids, Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation, Child, Female, Male


Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Kurtzberg, Joanne, Susan Prockop, Sonali Chaudhury, Biljana Horn, Eneida Nemecek, Vinod Prasad, Prakash Satwani, Pierre Teira, et al. (2020). Study 275: Updated Expanded Access Program for Remestemcel-L in Steroid-Refractory Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease in Children. Biology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, 26(5). pp. 855–864. 10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.01.026 Retrieved from

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Joanne Kurtzberg

Jerome S. Harris Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Kurtzberg is an internationally renowned expert in pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation, and novel applications of cord blood and birthing tissues in the emerging fields of cellular therapies and regenerative medicine.   Dr. Kurtzberg serves as the Director of the Marcus Center for Cellular Cures (MC3), Director of the Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program, Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, and Co-Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory at Duke University.  The Carolinas Cord Blood Bank is an FDA licensed public cord blood bank distributing unrelated cord blood units for donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) through the CW Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.  The Robertson GMP Cell Manufacturing Laboratory supports manufacturing of RETHYMIC (BLA, Enzyvant, 2021), allogeneic cord tissue derived and bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), and DUOC, a microglial/macrophage cell derived from cord blood.

Dr. Kurtzberg’s research in MC3 focuses on translational studies from bench to bedside, seeking to develop transformative clinical therapies using cells, tissues, molecules, genes, and biomaterials to treat diseases and injuries that currently lack effective treatments. Recent areas of investigation in MC3 include clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of autologous and allogeneic cord blood in children with neonatal brain injury – hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP), and autism. Clinical trials testing allogeneic cord blood are also being conducted in adults with acute ischemic stroke. Clinical trials optimizing manufacturing and testing the safety and efficacy of cord tissue MSCs in children with autism, CP and HIE and adults with COVID-lung disease are underway. DUOC, given intrathecally, is under study in children with leukodystrophies and adults with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

In the past, Dr. Kurtzberg has developed novel chemotherapeutic drugs for acute leukemias, assays enumerating ALDH bright cells to predict cord blood unit potency, methods of cord blood expansion, potency assays for targeted cell and tissue based therapies. Dr. Kurtzberg currently holds several INDs for investigational clinical trials from the FDA.  She has also trained numerous medical students, residents, clinical and post-doctoral fellows over the course of her career.


Vinod K. Prasad

Consulting Professor in the Department of Pediatrics

1. Expanding the role of umbilical cord blood transplants for inherited metabolic disorders.
2. Impact of histocompatibility and other determinants of alloreactivity on clinical outcomes of unrelated cord blood transplants.
3. Studies to analyse the impact of Killer Immunoglobulin receptors on the outcomes of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation utilizing haploidentical, CD34 selected, familial grafts.
4. Propective longitudinal study of serial monitoring of adenovirus in allogenic transpants(SMAART)patients.
5. Use of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of GVHD

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