Action number CA17138 COST

Second Working Group Meeting

The second Working Group meeting of the Action was held at the University of Pisa, Italy from 6-7th February 2019.

The second Working Group meeting of the Action was held at the University of Pisa, Italy from 6-7th February 2019. All participants, including our new members, were welcomed by Professor Anne Dickinson, Action Chair and Professor Sara Galimberti, MC member and Local Organiser. Professor Anne Dickinson introduced the meeting, by detailing the mission of the Action and introducing the overall objectives and specific working group objectives for the benefit of new working group members.  

The working groups then split into parallel sessions to discuss overall progress since the first Working Group meeting, and to decide on future objectives.

WG1 – Development of an epidemiological platform

Since the first Working Group meeting in Zagreb, WG1 has worked on the epidemiological survey, which will be circulated among Transplant Centres in Europe. This will now be distributed to transplant centres including ITC countries, via personal contacts and EBMT and there is potential for an STSM to collate the data and merge data for a joint analysis.

For the remainder of the grant period, the group plan to analyse the incidence and prevalence of cGvHD across German centres and produce a dictionary for cGvHD reference material on the EUROGRAFT website, which may be used to produce a training workshop.

WG3 – Working Group on socio-economics and quality of life

Working Group 3 have focussed attention on identifying new experts to participate in the initiative, and have written the first draft of the survey on current QOL/PRO practices since the last WG meeting.

For the remainder of the grant period, the plan to finalise the project joint survey, including presentation of the general survey at the Transplant Complications Working Party (TCWP) business meeting during EBMT March 2019. The group will also begin the creation of online toolbox for Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) and gather available patient testimonials on social media and other patient advocacy group websites. They can then submit links to the website for patient advocacy groups, EUPATI and Physiotherapy websites. Finally, the group will plan an ECI STSM to identify a matrix for standard patients trajectory.

WG4 – Working Group on diagnostic criteria and response assessment in cGVHD

Working group 4 have been developing a survey of diagnostic criteria and response assessment of cGvHD care in Europe. They have also identified links and resources for the COST EUROGRAFT. Future work of the group for the first grant period includes addressing specialist nurses in the Action. At the upcoming Frankfurt EBMT Conference, they will link the Action with the EBMT nurses group. Further plans include the creation of an HTML e-book with a pictorial atlas of cGVHD.

WG2 – Working Group on molecular and cellular biomarkers of cGVHD

Dr Francesca Perutelli gave an update on a review article that is in preparation by WG2. This will focus on genetic predictive biomarkers of cGvHD. Francesca has spent one month in Newcastle on an STSM reviewing the literature and preparing a draft of the article, including extensive PubMed searches. The plan for the remainder of her STSM is to continue with the paper in progress and design a table summarising all of the PubMed search papers. For the remainder of the grant period, the groups discussed organing a biomarker workshop to be held in 2020 in Zagreb. They also planned a number of potential STSMs:

1 STSM: To explore cellular biomarkers in the laboratory of Professor Hildegard Greinix (Austria)

2 STSM: To explore pathomechanism in cGvHD in the laboratory of Dr Nuala Mooney (France)

3 STSM: To explore nanostring profiling of miRNA expression in cGvHD with Dr Rachel Crossland (UK)

The group will also continue to review the literature and prepare a second review article on ‘state of art and novel potential biomarkers’. Finally, a collaboration has been initiated with the USA to coordinate replication and validation of known biomarkers, including standardization of storage of probes, assessment of probes, and prospective documentation of clinical data.

WG5 – Working Group on immunotherapy for the treatment of cGVHD

Since the last Working Group meeting, the group have drafted a literature review on immunomodulating agents. Dr Nathaniel Saidu from Zagreb, Croatia, gave an overview of the data he has collected in relation to the literature review during his STSM to Pisa, Italy in Jan-Feb 2019, entitled ‘How molecular biology and pharmacogenetics can help to understand the immune system’s behaviour during the treatment of cGVHD with immunotherapy: the role of PD-L1, Torquetenovirus and of the assessment of tyrosine kinase inhibitors plasma levels.’

The group will take initiative for a Frontiers in Immunology research topic on GvHD: “Managing GvHD in the era of personalized medicine” (Professor Ulrike Koehl) and for the remainder of GP1 plan to initiate work on a review article on the use of ATMPs for treatment/prophylaxis of cGvHD, as well as continue work on the review of immunomodulating agents for treatment of

Future plans for the WG include planning a training school on immunotherapy, hosted by Miltenyi as part of the newly started MSCA ITN Network “MATURE-NK”. The group also discussed the creation of a tool-box of documents for producing of GMP-grade cells and creating an up-to-date online tutorial on cGvHD, where users may afterwards get a “certificate”. There are also 2 planned STSMs and plans for questionnaires or interviews for an overview of current usage of immunotherapy against cGvHD in European transplant centres, and to uncover existing hurdles and needs.

The meeting concluded with a summary discussion to finalise plans for the next grant period, update plans for dissemination including progress of the Action website, and an overview of research and coordination including future STSMs. Finally, the meeting was followed by a fantastic tour of the Campo Santo by night, and a wonderful conference dinner at the Restaurant Duomo.


Wed 06 Feb 2019 - Thu 07 Feb 2019


University of Pisa, Pisa

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