San Francisco– April 2, 2014 – Fresenius Kabi announced today that Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has received the company’s first Fresenius Kabi Scientific Investigator Award. The winning submission, “Extracorporeal Photopheresis Combined with Low-Dose IL-2 for Chronic Graft versus Host Disease,” was from a team led by John Koreth, M.D., Ph.D., physician-researcher in the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and William Savage, M.D., Ph.D., physician-researcher in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Drs. Koreth and Savage will be co-principal investigators on the project.
“We were honored by the quality and number of submissions we received after announcing the award at the end of last year,” said William Cork, executive vice president and chief technology officer for the Fresenius Kabi Medical Devices division. “The proposal from Drs. Koreth and Savage and their colleagues was novel and very impressive. Chronic graft versus host disease remains a major complication of stem cell transplantation and a leading cause of death for patients. It is this type of photopheresis research we hope one day will lead to new treatments for patients.”
Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is an immune-mediated inflammatory disorder affecting more than half of survivors of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and results in significant morbidity and mortality.
“Usual immune suppression medications have limited benefit and considerable toxicity,” explained Dr. Koreth, who is a transplant physician in the Adult Stem cell Transplantation Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. “Better cGVHD treatments are a major unmet need. Photopheresis and low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) treatment each act to promote immune tolerance and offer clinical benefit in cGVHD. Combining photopheresis and low-dose IL-2 could further enhance immune tolerance and improve cGVHD control and we are excited to have this opportunity to jointly assess the combination for benefit in patients with refractory cGVHD.”
In November 2013, Fresenius Kabi announced a call for applicants for its first award to advance research in therapeutic apheresis and cell therapy. Fresenius Kabi, through its Fenwal business, has a long history as a global leader in blood technologies and transfusion medicine.
Fresenius Kabi will recognize the winning submission at the 2014 American Society for Apheresis & World Apheresis Association Joint Conference in San Francisco. Attendees can learn more at the Fresenius Kabi exhibit (Booth 1). The conference runs April 2-5, 2014.
Photopheresis therapy involves using advanced blood-separation techniques to introduce light-activated drugs to the blood, expose the blood to ultraviolet light outside the body, and return the treated blood to the patient. This is used today to treat rare cancers and immune disorders.
About Fresenius Kabi
Fresenius Kabi (www.fresenius-kabi.us) is a global health care company that specializes in medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition. The company’s products and services are used to help care for critically and chronically ill patients. The company’s U.S. headquarters is in Lake Zurich, Illinois.