EBMT NEWSLETTER | January 2016 | Volume 50 - Issue 1

Important dates

Results of Autologous Haematopoetic Stem Cell Transplantation for Refractory Crohn's Disease: a randomised clinical trial

Results from the Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation International Crohn’s Disease (ASTIC) trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on December 15, 2015 show that autologous Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) was not significantly better than conventional therapy at inducing sustained disease remission (clinical remission off all medical therapy for 3 months with no evidence of active disease on endoscopy and GI imaging) at one year in patients with treatment refractory Crohn’s disease. However, exploratory analyses did demonstrate benefit of HSCT over conventional treatment that warrants further study. Thus, compared to the control group, significantly more HSCT patients were able to withdraw all immunosuppressive therapy for the three months prior to the primary endpoint. Furthermore, at the primary endpoint, numerically (but not significantly) more patients undergoing HSCT had been in clinical remission for 3 months and were free of disease on endoscopic / radiological assessment (p= 0.054).  Importantly, there were significant benefits of HSCT compared to conventional treatment in the absolute reduction of clinical and endoscopic disease activity.

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Effective Prevention of Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease by Anti-Lymphocyte Globulin After Stem Cell Transplantation

An EBMT labeled phase III clinical trial has found that the addition of anti-lymphocyte globulin (ATG) as part of the conditioning regimen in patients with Acute Leukaemia who underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation from their HLA-identical sibling led to a significant reduction of chronic graft-versus host disease (cGvHD) after transplantation without increase of relapse and infectious complications. These results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on January 7, 2016.

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