Conference Coverage

T-cell product improves outcomes of haplo-HSCT


Photo by Chad McNeeley

HSCT preparation

MADRID—Updated results of a phase 1/2 study suggest the T-cell product BPX-501 lowers the risks associated with haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplant (haplo-HSCT).

In this ongoing study, researchers are testing BPX-501 in pediatric patients undergoing haplo-HSCT to treat a range of hematologic disorders.

Patients treated thus far have experienced rapid engraftment and early hospital discharge, a low rate of acute graft-versus-host disease (GHVD), no extensive chronic GVHD, and a low rate of transplant-related mortality at 180 days.

“The combination of haploidentical transplantation and BPX-501 infusion is an effective strategy for children in need of an allograft lacking a compatible donor,” said study investigator Mattia Algeri, MD, of Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù in Rome, Italy.

Dr Algeri presented these results during the Presidential Symposium at the 22nd Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA) as abstract S146.

The research was sponsored by Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the company developing BPX-501.

About BPX-501

BPX-501 consists of genetically modified donor T cells incorporating the CaspaCIDe safety switch, which is designed to eliminate the T cells in the event of toxicity.

Rimiducid is used to activate the CaspaCIDe safety switch, which consists of the CID-binding domain coupled to the signaling domain of caspase-9, an enzyme that is part of the apoptotic pathway.

The goal of this therapy is to allow physicians to more safely perform haplo-HSCTs.


Dr Algeri and his colleagues have tested BPX-501 in 98 pediatric patients treated at centers in Europe and the US.

Fifty-nine patients had non-malignant conditions, including primary immune deficiency (n=26), thalassemia major (n=8), sickle cell disease (n=5), Diamond-Blackfan anemia (n=2), Swachman-Diamond syndrome (n=1), Fanconi anemia (n=9), hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (n=6), aplastic anemia (n=1), and osteoporosis (n=1).

Thirty-nine patients had malignant conditions, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL, n=21), acute myeloid leukemia (AML, n=14), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS, n=3), and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL, n=1).

The patients received BPX-501 after an alpha/beta T-cell-depleted haplo-HSCT. All patients had at least 6 months of follow-up.

Overall results

Ninety-five percent of the patients engrafted (93/98), and the researchers said they observed rapid recovery of T cells, B cells, and immunoglobulins.

At 180 days, the incidence of transplant-related mortality was 5%, and there were no cases of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder.

The cumulative incidence of grade 2-4 acute GVHD was 14%. For patients with at least 1 year of follow-up, the cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD at 1 year was 3%.

Eleven patients received rimiducid—10 who had uncontrollable acute GVHD and 1 who developed late acute GVHD. In all of these patients, GVHD resolved and has not recurred.

There were no adverse events associated with BPX-501 or rimiducid.

European cohort

Dr Algeri presented more detailed data on the 61 patients treated at centers in Europe.

Fifteen of these patients had ALL, 10 had AML, 16 had primary immune deficiency, 7 had thalassemia major, 1 had sickle cell disease, 2 had Diamond-Blackfan anemia, 5 had Fanconi anemia, 4 had hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, and 1 had osteoporosis.

Their median age was 4.8 (range, 0.25-17), and 56% were male. The patients received busulfan-based conditioning (41%), total body irradiation (36%), treosulfan-based conditioning (18%), and other conditioning (5%).

Ninety-five percent of the patients had a parent donor, and the other 5% had a sibling donor. The median donor age was 36 (range, 19-50).

The patients’ median time to neutrophil recovery was 15 days (range, 9-75), and their median time to platelet recovery was 10 days (range, 4-64). Their median time to discharge was 25 days (range, 14-122).

The cumulative incidence of acute grade 2-4 GVHD was 9.9%, and the cumulative incidence of acute grade 3-4 GVHD was 3.3%.

There were no cases of transplant-related mortality at 180 days and no cases of extensive chronic GVHD.

“These preliminary data compare favorably to previously published data on matched, unrelated donor transplantation,” Dr Algeri said. “And for this reason, an observational matched, unrelated donor study is being initiated to enable comparison of the safety and efficacy of haploidentical transplantation and BPX-501 infusion to the standard of care for patients without a matched sibling donor.”

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