“[Surprisingly], this treatment modality is [actually] quite rare, with [only] approximately 9,000 allogeneic transplants occurring in the United States each year,” she said.
One of the primary barriers to HSCT for SCD is a lack of compatible donors. Currently, fewer than 20% of sickle cell patients have a matched unrelated donor or HLA-matched sibling donor, she reported.
Another common barrier are the risks associated with the procedure, including treatment-related toxicities and death. Active participation in a clinical trial is one strategy that can mitigate these risks, she said.
The Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network () is a group of transplant centers that are recognized experts in HSCT. Dr. DiFronzo explained that the consortium is cosponsored by the National Cancer Institute and NHLBI, with the goal of improving outcomes for both pediatric and adult patients with SCD undergoing HSCT.
At present, the BMT CTN has directly funded three multicenter clinical studies for SCD, including thestudy, which has now been completed, as well as the and trials, both of which are currently enrolling patients.
“The goal of these new approaches [being studied in these 3 trials] is cure, where individuals can live longer with a better quality of life,” Dr. DiFronzo said. “We’ve [specifically] adjusted regimens with [this goal] in mind.”
Dr. Fitzhugh and Dr. DiFronzo did not provide information on financial disclosures.