• Home
  • News
  • Calendar
  • About DF/HCC
  • Membership
  • Visitor Center

Member Resources



Blood current issue
Blood RSS feed -- current issue

To understand the placement of a certain protein in a physiological system and the pathogenesis of related disorders, it is not only of interest to determine its function but also important to describe the sequential steps in its life cycle, from synthesis to secretion and ultimately its clearance. von Willebrand factor (VWF) is a particularly intriguing case in this regard because of its important auxiliary roles (both intra- and extracellular) that implicate a wide range of other proteins: its presence is required for the formation and regulated release of endothelial storage organelles, the Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs), whereas VWF is also a key determinant in the clearance of coagulation factor VIII. Thus, understanding the molecular and cellular basis of the VWF life cycle will help us gain insight into the pathogenesis of von Willebrand disease, design alternative treatment options to prolong the factor VIII half-life, and delineate the role of VWF and coresidents of the WPBs in the prothrombotic and proinflammatory response of endothelial cells. In this review, an update on our current knowledge on VWF biosynthesis, secretion, and clearance is provided and we will discuss how they can be affected by the presence of protein defects.

Prophylactic application of clotting factor concentrates is the basis of modern treatment of severe hemophilia A. In children, the early start of prophylaxis as primary or secondary prophylaxis has become the gold standard in most countries with adequate resources. In adults, prophylaxis is reasonably continued when started as primary or secondary prophylaxis in childhood to maintain healthy joint function. Initial data support that adult patients with already existing advanced joint arthropathy benefit from tertiary prophylaxis with significantly lowered number of bleeds, almost complete absence of target joints, and less time off from work. Current prophylactic regimens, although very effective, do not completely prevent joint disease in a long-term perspective. Joint arthropathy in primary prophylaxis develops over many years, sometimes over a decade or even longer time periods. The ankle joints are the first and most severely affected joints in those patients and thus may serve in outcome assessment as an indicator of early joint arthropathy when followed by ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging. Optimized outcome and best use of available resources is expected from individualization of therapy regimens, which comprises the individual’s bleeding pattern, condition of the musculoskeletal system, level of physical activity and the pharmacokinetic profile of the substituted coagulation factor, and most recently includes novel products with extended half-lives.

The pathogenesis of inhibitory antibodies has been the focus of major scientific interest over the last decades, and several studies on underlying immune mechanisms and risk factors for formation of these antibodies have been performed with the aim of improving the ability to both predict and prevent their appearance. It seems clear that the decisive factors for the immune response to the deficient factor are multiple and involve components of both a constitutional and therapy-related nature. A scientific concern and obstacle for research in the area of hemophilia is the relatively small cohorts available for studies and the resulting risk of confounded and biased results. Careful interpretation of data is recommended to avoid treatment decisions based on a weak scientific platform. This review will summarize current concepts of the underlying immunological mechanisms and risk factors for development of inhibitory antibodies in patients with hemophilia A and discuss how these findings may be interpreted and influence our clinical management of patients.

Despite the worldwide prevalence of rare bleeding disorders (RBDs), knowledge of these conditions and their management is suboptimal; health care professionals often have little diagnostic and treatment experience with variable access to diagnostic modalities required for accurate identification. Therefore, patients often experience morbidity and mortality due to delayed diagnosis. As RBDs represent a small potential commercial market, few, if any, specific therapies exist for these conditions. As a result, affected individuals commonly face delayed diagnosis, incomplete laboratory evaluation, and limited treatment options. Standardization and customization of coagulation assays, full genome sequencing, and global clotting assays will significantly improve diagnosis of patients with RBDs. In addition, new therapeutic modalities, both recombinant and plasma derived, are emerging, at least in developed countries. Registries and clinical trials have demonstrated decreased bleeding and improved outcomes when patients are appropriately diagnosed and properly treated. Expansion and harmonization of international registries has been initiated to correlate genotype, laboratory, and clinical phenotypes including bleeding severity to improve the diagnosis and therapeutic approach. This review focuses on the latest advances in our understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of RBDs.

Ibrutinib is a Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved for the treatment of patients with relapsed refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (RR-CLL). We describe the characteristics, causes of discontinuation, and outcomes in patients who discontinued treatment with ibrutinib. One hundred twenty-seven patients were enrolled in various clinical trials of ibrutinib, with or without rituximab, at our center. Thirty-three (26%) patients have discontinued ibrutinib to date. The majority of those patients had high-risk features: 94% with unmutated immunoglobulin heavy chain variable gene rearrangement, 58% with del(17p) by fluorescence in situ hybridization, and 54% with a complex karyotype. Causes of discontinuation were disease transformation (7), progressive CLL (7), stem cell transplantation (3), adverse events (11), serious adverse events/deaths (3), and miscellaneous reasons (2). Twenty five patients (76%) died after discontinuing ibrutinib; the median overall survival was 3.1 months after discontinuation. Most patients with RR-CLL who discontinued ibrutinib early were difficult to treat and had poor outcomes.

We conducted a pooled analysis of 869 individual newly diagnosed elderly patient data from 3 prospective trials. At diagnosis, a geriatric assessment had been performed. An additive scoring system (range 0-5), based on age, comorbidities, and cognitive and physical conditions, was developed to identify 3 groups: fit (score = 0, 39%), intermediate fitness (score = 1, 31%), and frail (score ≥2, 30%). The 3-year overall survival was 84% in fit, 76% in intermediate-fitness (hazard ratio [HR], 1.61; P = .042), and 57% in frail (HR, 3.57; P < .001) patients. The cumulative incidence of grade ≥3 nonhematologic adverse events at 12 months was 22.2% in fit, 26.4% in intermediate-fitness (HR, 1.23; P = .217), and 34.0% in frail (HR, 1.74; P < .001) patients. The cumulative incidence of treatment discontinuation at 12 months was 16.5% in fit, 20.8% in intermediate-fitness (HR, 1.41; P = .052), and 31.2% in frail (HR, 2.21; P < .001) patients. Our frailty score predicts mortality and the risk of toxicity in elderly myeloma patients. The International Myeloma Working group proposes this score for the measurement of frailty in designing future clinical trials. These trials are registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01093136 (EMN01), #NCT01190787 (26866138MMY2069), and #NCT01346787 (IST-CAR-506).

Jarid1b/KDM5b is a histone demethylase that regulates self-renewal and differentiation in stem cells and cancer; however, its function in hematopoiesis is unclear. Here, we find that Jarid1b is highly expressed in primitive hematopoietic compartments and is overexpressed in acute myeloid leukemias. Constitutive genetic deletion of Jarid1b did not impact steady-state hematopoiesis. In contrast, acute deletion of Jarid1b from bone marrow increased peripheral blood T cells and, following secondary transplantation, resulted in loss of bone marrow reconstitution. Our results reveal that deletion of Jarid1b compromises hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) self-renewal capacity and suggest that Jarid1b is a positive regulator of HSC potential.

We have designed a novel therapeutic approach for lymphoma that combines targeted kinase inhibition with in situ vaccination. Intratumoral injection of an unmethylated cytosine guanine dinucleotide (CpG)-enriched oligodeoxynucleotide, an agonist for the toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), induces the activation of natural killer cells, macrophages, and antigen presenting cells that control tumor growth at the local site. Ibrutinib, an irreversible inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, a key enzyme in the signaling pathway downstream of B-cell receptor, is an effective treatment against many types of B-cell lymphomas. The combination of intratumoral injection of CpG with systemic treatment by ibrutinib resulted in eradication of the tumors not only in the injected site, but also at distant sites. Surprisingly, this combinatorial antitumor effect required an intact T-cell immune system since it did not occur in nude, severe combined immunodeficiency, or T-cell depleted mice. Moreover, T cells from animals treated with intratumoral CpG and ibrutinib prevented the outgrowth of newly injected tumors. This result suggests that ibrutinib can induce immunogenic cell death of lymphoma cells and that concomitant stimulation of antigen-presenting cells in the tumor microenvironment by toll-like receptor ligands can lead to a powerful systemic antitumor immune response.

Aplastic anemia (AA) is a disease characterized by T-cell–mediated destruction of bone marrow (BM) hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Physiologically, T cells migrate to the BM in response to chemokines, such as SDF-1α, the ligand for CXCR4. However, how T cells traffic to the BM in AA is poorly understood. CXCR4 is aberrantly expressed in immune-mediated diseases and its regulation by nuclear factor-B (NF-B) in cancer models is well documented. In this study, we show that CXCR4 is highly expressed on BM-infiltrating CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in a mouse model of AA. Inhibiting CXCR4 in AA mice, using CXCR4–/– splenocytes or AMD3100, significantly reduced BM infiltration of T cells. We also report that NF-B occupancy at the CXCR4 promoter is enhanced in BM-infiltrating CD8+ T cells of AA mice. Moreover, inhibiting NF-B signaling in AA mice using Bay11 or dehydroxymethylepoxyquinomicin, or transferring p50–/– splenocytes, decreased CXCR4 expression on CD8+ T cells, significantly reduced BM infiltration of T cells, and strongly attenuated disease symptoms. Remarkably, therapeutic administration of Bay11 significantly extended survival of AA mice. Overall, we demonstrate that CXCR4 mediates migration of pathogenic T cells to the BM in AA mice, and inhibiting NF-B signaling may represent a novel therapeutic approach to treating AA.

In multiple myeloma, cytogenetic changes are important predictors of patient outcome. In this setting, the most important changes are deletion 17p, del(17p), and translocation of chromosomes 4 and 14, t(4;14), conferring a poor outcome. However, a certain degree of heterogeneity is observed in the survival of these high-risk patients. We hypothesized that other chromosomal changes may impact the outcome. We retrospectively analyzed a large series of 242 patients displaying either t(4;14) (157 patients) or del(17p) (110 patients), 25 patients presenting both abnormalities, using single nucleotide polymorphism array. In patients with t(4;14), del(1p32), del22q, and >30 chromosomal structural changes negatively impacted progression-free survival (PFS). For overall survival (OS), del(13q14), del(1p32), and the number of chromosomal structural changes worsened the prognosis of patients. For patients with del(17p), del6q worsened the prognosis of patients, whereas trisomy 15 and monosomy 14 were found to have a protective effect on PFS. For OS, del(1p32) worsened the prognosis of patients, whereas having >8 numerical changes was found to have a protective effect on survival. This study, which is the largest series of high-risk patients analyzed with the most modern genomic technique, identified 1 main factor negatively impacting survival: del(1p32).

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and Burkitt lymphoma are both germinal center–derived B-cell lymphomas. To assess the consequences of permanent latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) expression as observed in tumor cells of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) –associated HL, we analyzed 3-dimensional (3D) telomere dynamics and measured the expression of shelterin proteins at the transcriptional and translational level and their topographic distribution in the EBV-negative Burkitt cell line BJAB stably transfected with an inducible LMP1 system. Stable LMP1 expression led to a highly significant increase of multinucleated cells, nuclear volume, and 3D telomeric aggregates when compared with the LMP1-suppressed BJAB controls. Most importantly, LMP1 induced a significant downregulation of the shelterin components TRF1, TRF2, and POT1 at the transcriptional and translational level, and this downregulation was reversed after resuppression of LMP1. In addition, as revealed by spectral karyotyping, LMP1 induced "outré" giant cells and hypoploid "ghost" cells. This LMP1-induced multinucleation was blocked upon LMP1-independent TRF2 expression. These results show that LMP1-dependent deregulation of telomere stability and nuclear organization via shelterin downregulation, in particular TRF2, favors chromosomal rearrangements. We speculate that telomeric aggregates and ongoing breakage-bridge-fusion cycles lead to disturbed cytokinesis and finally to multinuclearity, as observed in EBV-associated HL.

α-Emitting radionuclides deposit a large amount of energy within a few cell diameters and may be particularly effective for radioimmunotherapy targeting minimal residual disease (MRD). To evaluate this hypothesis, 211At-labeled 1F5 monoclonal antibody (mAb) (anti-CD20) was studied in both bulky lymphoma tumor xenograft and MRD animal models. Superior treatment responses to 211At-labeled 1F5 mAb were evident in the MRD setting. Lymphoma xenograft tumor-bearing animals treated with doses of up to 48 µCi of 211At-labeled anti-CD20 mAb ([211At]1F5-B10) experienced modest responses (0% cures but two- to threefold prolongation of survival compared with negative controls). In contrast, 70% of animals in the MRD lymphoma model demonstrated complete eradication of disease when treated with 211At-B10-1F5 at a radiation dose that was less than one-third (15 µCi) of the highest dose given to xenograft animals. Tumor progression among untreated control animals in both models was uniformly lethal. After 130 days, no significant renal or hepatic toxicity was observed in the cured animals receiving 15 µCi of [211At]1F5-B10. These findings suggest that α-emitters are highly efficacious in MRD settings, where isolated cells and small tumor clusters prevail.

Mitochondrial respiration is a crucial component of cellular metabolism that can become dysregulated in cancer. Compared with normal hematopoietic cells, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells and patient samples have higher mitochondrial mass, without a concomitant increase in respiratory chain complex activity. Hence these cells have a lower spare reserve capacity in the respiratory chain and are more susceptible to oxidative stress. We therefore tested the effects of increasing the electron flux through the respiratory chain as a strategy to induce oxidative stress and cell death preferentially in AML cells. Treatment with the fatty acid palmitate induced oxidative stress and cell death in AML cells, and it suppressed tumor burden in leukemic cell lines and primary patient sample xenografts in the absence of overt toxicity to normal cells and organs. These data highlight a unique metabolic vulnerability in AML, and identify a new therapeutic strategy that targets abnormal oxidative metabolism in this malignancy.

The acquired somatic JAK2-V617F mutation is present in >80% of patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). Stat3 plays a role in hematopoietic homeostasis and might influence the JAK2-V617F–driven MPN phenotype. We crossed our transgenic SclCre;V617F mice with a conditional Stat3 knockout strain and performed bone marrow transplantations into lethally irradiated recipient mice. The deletion of Stat3 increased the platelet numbers in SclCre;V617F;Stat3fl/fl mice compared with SclCre;V617F;Stat3fl/+ or SclCre;V617F;Stat3+/+ mice. Stat3 deletion also normalized JAK2-V617F–induced neutrophilia. Megakaryocyte progenitors were elevated, especially in the spleen, and a slight increase in myelofibrosis was noted. We observed increased mRNA expression levels of Stat1 and Stat1 target genes and augmented phosphorylation of Stat1 protein in bone marrow and spleen of JAK2-V617F mice after Stat3 deletion. The survival of Stat3-deficient mice expressing JAK2-V617F was reduced. Inflammatory bowel disease, previously associated with shortened survival of Stat3-deficient mice, was less prominent in the bone marrow transplantation setting, possibly by limiting deletion of Stat3 to hematopoietic tissues only. In conclusion, deletion of Stat3 in hematopoietic cells from JAK2-V617F mice did not ameliorate the course of MPN, but rather enhanced thrombocytosis and shortened the overall survival.

Aurora kinase A (AURKA) is a therapeutic target in acute megakaryocytic leukemia. However, its requirement in normal hematopoiesis and megakaryocyte development has not been extensively characterized. Based on its role as a cell cycle regulator, we predicted that an Aurka deficiency would lead to severe abnormalities in all hematopoietic lineages. Here we reveal that loss of Aurka in hematopoietic cells causes profound cell autonomous defects in the peripheral blood and bone marrow. Surprisingly, in contrast to the survival defects of nearly all hematopoietic lineages, deletion of Aurka was associated with increased differentiation and polyploidization of megakaryocytes both in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, in contrast to other cell types examined, megakaryocytes continued DNA synthesis after loss of Aurka. Thus, like other cell cycle regulators such as Aurkb and survivin, Aurka is required for hematopoiesis, but is dispensable for megakaryocyte endomitosis. Our work supports a growing body of evidence that the megakaryocyte endomitotic cell cycle differs significantly from the proliferative cell cycle.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with coagulopathy, although it often lacks 2 key risk factors: severe bleeding and significant fluid resuscitation associated with hemorrhagic shock. The pathogenesis of TBI-associated coagulopathy remains poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that brain-derived microparticles (BDMPs) released from an injured brain induce a hypercoagulable state that rapidly turns into consumptive coagulopathy. Here, we report that mice subjected to fluid percussion injury (1.9 ± 0.1 atm) developed a BDMP-dependent hypercoagulable state, with peak levels of plasma glial cell and neuronal BDMPs reaching 17 496 ± 4833/μL and 18 388 ± 3657/μL 3 hours after TBI, respectively. Uninjured mice injected with BDMPs developed a dose-dependent hyper-turned hypocoagulable state measured by a progressively prolonged clotting time, fibrinogen depletion, and microvascular fibrin deposition in multiple organs. The BDMPs were 50 to 300 nm with intact membranes, expressing neuronal or glial cell markers and procoagulant phosphatidylserine and tissue factor. Their procoagulant activity was greater than platelet microparticles and was dose-dependently blocked by lactadherin. Microparticles were produced from injured hippocampal cells, transmigrated through the disrupted endothelial barrier in a platelet-dependent manner, and activated platelets. These data define a novel mechanism of TBI-associated coagulopathy in mice, identify early predictive markers, and provide alternative therapeutic targets.

Low bone density is a growing concern in aging men with hemophilia and may result in high-morbidity fragility fractures. Using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT), we demonstrate low trabecular and cortical bone density contributing to lower volumetric bone mineral density (BMD) at both distal radius and tibia in patients with hemophilia compared with age- and sex-matched controls. The low trabecular bone density found in hemophilia is attributed to significantly decreased trabecular number and increased separation; the lower cortical bone density results from thinner cortices, whereas cortical porosity is maintained. Microfinite element analysis from three-dimensional HR-pQCT images demonstrates that these microarchitectural deficits seen in patients with hemophilia translate into significantly lower estimated failure load (biomechanical bone strength) at the distal tibia and radius when compared with controls. In addition, an inverse association of joint score with BMD and failure load suggests the negative role of hemophilic arthropathy in bone density loss.

Mucopolysaccharidosis type I–Hurler syndrome (MPS-IH) is a lysosomal storage disease characterized by multisystem morbidity and death in early childhood. Although hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has been performed in these patients for more than 30 years, large studies on the long-term outcome of patients with MPS-IH after HCT are lacking. The goal of this international study was to identify predictors of the long-term outcome of patients with MPS-IH after successful HCT. Two hundred seventeen patients with MPS-IH successfully engrafted with a median follow-up age of 9.2 years were included in this retrospective analysis. Primary endpoints were neurodevelopmental outcomes and growth. Secondary endpoints included neurologic, orthopedic, cardiac, respiratory, ophthalmologic, audiologic, and endocrinologic outcomes. Considerable residual disease burden was observed in the majority of the transplanted patients with MPS-IH, with high variability between patients. Preservation of cognitive function at HCT and a younger age at transplantation were major predictors for superior cognitive development posttransplant. A normal α-l-iduronidase enzyme level obtained post-HCT was another highly significant predictor for superior long-term outcome in most organ systems. The long-term prognosis of patients with MPS-IH receiving HCT can be improved by reducing the age at HCT through earlier diagnosis, as well as using exclusively noncarrier donors and achieving complete donor chimerism.