Allogeneic marrow transplantation can cure sickle cell disease; however, HLA-matched donors are difficult to find, and the toxicities of myeloablative conditioning are prohibitive for most adults with this disease. We developed a nonmyeloablative bone marrow transplantation platform using related, including HLA-haploidentical, donors for patients with sickle cell disease. The regimen consisted of antithymocyte globulin, fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and total body irradiation, and graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis with posttransplantation high-dose cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate mofetil, and tacrolimus or sirolimus. After screening 19 patients, we transplanted 17, 14 from HLA-haploidentical and 3 from HLA-matched related donors. Eleven patients engrafted durably. With a median follow-up of 711 days (minimal follow up 224 days), 10 patients are asymptomatic, and 6 patients are off immunosupression. Only 1 patient developed skin-only acute graft-versus-host disease that resolved without any therapy; no mortality was seen. Nonmyeloablative conditioning with posttransplantation high-dose cyclophosphamide expands the donor pool, making marrow transplantation feasible for most patients with sickle cell disease, and is associated with a low risk of complications, even with haploidentical related donors. Graft failure, 43% in haploidentical pairs, remains a major obstacle but may be acceptable in a fraction of patients if the majority can be cured without serious toxicities.
- Submitted July 2, 2012.
- Accepted August 20, 2012.
- © 2012 by The American Society of Hematology