Francisco Javier Bolanos-Meade, MD
As a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, my group's research is focused on finding novel therapies for the treatment of both acute and chronic graft versus host disease (GVHD). To that end, we are developing new strategies for prophylaxis as well as therapies for this problem. We are exploring the use of drugs such as pentostatin in steroid refractory GVHD. This drug inhibits an enzyme, called ADA, that induces apoptosis (cell death) of lymphocytes, the effector cells in GVHD. Our results using this approach have been quite encouraging. Also, we are exploring other novel approaches such as extracorporeal photopheresis or high-dose cyclophosphamide. We are participating in the NIH Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network consortium to find useful therapies for GVHD. We are also members of the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials on Chronic GVHD, and there we are trying to establish rational guidelines for supportive care, trial design, etc. We run an internationally unique GVHD multidisciplinary clinic with many GVHD experts including a nurse practitioner, research nurse and others from fields such as physical medicine and rehabilitation, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, dermatology, pulmonology and more.