Cell therapy for diverse central nervous system disorders: inherited metabolic diseases and autism.

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2018-01

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Abstract

The concept of utilizing human cells for the treatment of medical conditions is not new. In its simplest form, blood product transfusion as treatment of severe hemorrhage has been practiced since the 1800s. The advent of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) began with the development of bone marrow transplantation for hematological malignancies in the mid-1900s and is now the standard of care for many hematological disorders. In the past few decades, HSCT has expanded to additional sources of donor cells, a wider range of indications, and the development of novel cell products. This trajectory has sparked a rapidly growing interest in the pursuit of innovative cell therapies to treat presently incurable diseases, including neurological conditions. HSCT is currently an established therapy for certain neurologically devastating inherited metabolic diseases, in which engrafting donor cells provide lifelong enzyme replacement that prevents neurological deterioration and significantly extends the lives of affected children. Knowledge gained from the treatment of these rare conditions has led to refinement of the indications and timing of HSCT, the study of additional cellular products and techniques to address its limitations, and the investigation of cellular therapies without transplantation to treat more common neurological conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder.

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10.1038/pr.2017.254

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Sun, Jessica M, and Joanne Kurtzberg (2018). Cell therapy for diverse central nervous system disorders: inherited metabolic diseases and autism. Pediatric research, 83(1-2). pp. 364–371. 10.1038/pr.2017.254 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/24606.

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Scholars@Duke

Jessica Muller Sun

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Kurtzberg

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.


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