Transplantation of Megadoses of Purified Haploidentical Stem Cells

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Peripheral mobilized parental CD34+ progenitors were isolated and used for the hematopoietic reconstitution after a myeloablative therapy in 23 pediatric patients with various diseases. Fourteen donors were human leukocyte antigen (HLA) three-loci mismatches, 6 donors were two-loci and 3 donors were one-locus mismatches. For depletion of T-lymphocytes, a positive selection of the mobilized peripheral CD34+ progenitors using the method of magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS) was used. The purity of the CD34+ cells after MACS-sorting was 98-99%, the average number of transplanted CD34+ cells was 14.2 3 × 106/kg (range 5.4-3 9 × 3 I 06/kg) and the average number of infused T-lymphocytes was 1.4 × 3 104/kg. Due to this low T cell number, only a short-term or no prophylaxis of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was necessary and no GVHD was seen. A significant GVHD was only seen in patients after add-back of donor T-lymphocytes, which was performed in some patients for prevention of relapse or in patients who showed a transient mixed chimerism. Since the B lymphocyte contamination of the isolated CD34+ cells was low in the range of 0.2%, no Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated lymphoproliferative syndrome was observed. A primary engraftment was seen in 18 patients. Nonengraftment and rejection occurred in three and two patients, respectively. In four of these 5 patients, a second transplant using purified CD34+ cells from the same donor after an immunological reconditioning regimen resulted in a complete and sustained hematopoietic reconstitution. The speed of the immunological recovery was dependent on the number of transplanted CD34+ cells and was more rapid if this number was >20 × 3 106/kg. Eleven of the 23 patients are alive and disease free with a median follow-up of 12 months (range 2-30). The main cause of death was relapse (7 patients), and only one fatal infection was seen. Our data suggest that the transplantation of megadoses of haploidentical CD34+ cells is a realistic therapeutic option for patients who otherwise have no suitable donor, and an alternative to the use of unrelated cord blood.

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