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Corey S. Cutler, MD, MPH, FRCPC, discusses the exploration of itolizumab in acute graft-versus-host disease.
Corey S. Cutler, MD, MPH, FRCPC, director, Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Program, director, Clinical Research, Stem Cell Transplantation, director, Stem Cell Transplantation Survivorship Program, physician, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, associate professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, discusses the exploration of itolizumab (Alzumab) in acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD).
The monoclonal antibody itolizumab targets the CD6 receptor. Patients with aGVHD typically present with high levels of CD6 on activated T cells, Cutler says. CD6 also assists in trafficking lymphocytes to areas of inflammation, Cutler adds. By targeting a CD6 activation marker on T-cells, itolizumab could attack the cells that might be pathologic in aGVHD, Cutler explains.
Researchers hope the addition itolizumab in the frontline setting of aGVHD can improve response rates of standard-of-care corticosteroids, Cutler notes. Furthermore, the addition of itolizumab could help prevent early relapses patients when corticosteroids are tapered, since steroids can be toxic in the acute setting, Cutler says. Minimizing exposure for patients to corticosteroids could benefit long-term survival, Cutler concludes.