Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology Lineberger
Adult hematopoietic stem/bone marrow transplantation (HSCT) involves the transfer of donor cells to patients/recipients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma or other blood/bone marrow cancers. Dr. Sarantopoulos primary laboratory interest is study of the significant immune pathology that develops in patients who have undergone HSCT. While HSCT offers the possibility of cure for many patients with hematologic diseases, the full potential of HSCT has not been realized because of transplant-related complications. Chronic graft versus host disease (GVHD) has become the most significant post-HSCT cause of morbidity and mortality. Chronic GVHD has an adverse impact on survival that has not improved significantly over the last 30 years. The only standard therapy for chronic GVHD is high-dose steroids. Targeted therapy for chronic GVHD has been difficult to develop due to limited understanding of immunopathologic mechanisms in human cGVHD. Responses to rituximab suggest that B cells play a role in cGVHD, but the mechanisms that promote and sustain B cell involvement have not been elucidated. If we can better understand the pathophysiology of chronic GVHD we can develop targeted therapeutic agents specific for BAFF pathways and activated B cells that may lead to decreased morbidity and mortality in our patients.
Dr. Sarantopoulos primary laboratory interest is study of the significant immune pathology that develops in patients who have undergone HSCT.