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Articles by King Fahad Specialist Hospital

The rising role of natural killer cells in patients with malignant hematological disorders and in recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Published on: 1st October, 2019

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8333010200

Natural killer (NK) cells, the third population of lymphoid cells, comprise 5%-25% of peripheral blood (PB) lymphocytes and represent the first line of defense against infections and tumors [1-7]. They can be derived from: bone marrow, PB, cryopreserved umbilical cord blood (UCB), human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and various cell lines such as NK-92 and KHYG-1 [1]. NK cells; which have been divided into cytotoxic, tolerant, and regulatory subsets; are classified into: (1) naïve CD56 bright CD 16 dim CD 3 dim cells, (2) mature CD56 dim CD16 bright CD3 dim cells, and (3) lymphoid tissue-resident CD69+/CXCR6+ NK cells [1,2,8-11]. Although NK cells have been traditionally considered as part of the innate immune system, they have recently been shown to exhibit many of the features associated with adaptive immunity [8,12]. The functions of NK cells which are influenced by several cytokines include: elimination of infected cells, destruction of cancer cells, reducing the incidence of graft versus host disease (GVHD) following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), and regulation of pregnancy outcome [10,11,13]. 
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Natural killer cells in patients with hematologic malignancies, solid tumors and in recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Published on: 9th December, 2019

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8440596237

Natural killer cells represent the first line of defense against infections and tumors and can be derived from various sources including: bone marrow, peripheral blood, specific types of human stem cells, and certain cell lines. The functions of natural killer cells are influenced by: several cytokines, activating and inhibitory receptors, as well as other immune cells such as dendritic cells and mesenchymal stem cells. Natural killer cells are attractive candidates for adoptive cellular therapy in patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors in addition to recipients of various forms of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation as they enhance antitumor effects without causing graft versus host disease. Several clinical trials have shown safety and efficacy of natural killer cell products obtained from autologous as well as allogeneic sources and used in conjunction with cytotoxic chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies and novel agents. The following review, which includes extensive literature review on several aspects of natural killer cells, will give particular attention to: the rising role of natural killer cell therapies in patients with malignant hematological disorders, solid tumors and in recipients of stem cell therapies; preparation and manufacture of natural killer cell products; challenges facing the utilization of this form of cellular therapy including evolution of resistance; and maneuvers that can be employed to enhance the efficacy of natural killer cell therapies as well as suggested solutions to resolve the remaining challenges.
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Neutrophils, NETs, NETosis and their paradoxical roles in COVID-19

Published on: 11th May, 2020

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8592950514

The pandemic of COVID-19 has adversely affected the world in many aspects. The health and economic sectors suffer most of the repercussions of this disease. The search for a cure for this rapidly spreading virus which is causing massive life losses worldwide requires clear understanding of the immunopathogenesis of this virus so as to develop pinpointed targeted therapies rather than relying mainly on supportive care measures and drug repurposing to fight this life-threatening virus infection. Neutrophils, neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), and NETosis are not well studied not only in COVID-19, but also in coroviruses in general. The review will shed lights on the functions of neutrophils, NETs, and NETosis in various infectious complications as well as in sepsis and acute lung conditions in an attempt to understand their actual roles and in order to help in designing targeted therapies in the near future.
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The rising role of mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of COVID-19 infections

Published on: 7th July, 2020

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8623431074

Infectious diseases are a leading cause of death worldwide [1,2]. The Mid-20th century witnessed most of the antimicrobial discoveries but recently there is dramatic shortage of new classes of antimicrobial agents due to failure to build a sustainable antimicrobial discovery platform [1-4]. For example, antibiotics comprise ˂ 1.5% of the compounds under investigation at the major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies [1,5]. 
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Successful management of disseminated Fusarium infection in a patient with acute myeloid leukemia

Published on: 17th September, 2018

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 7877981809

Background: Invasive fungal infections cause significant morbidity and mortality in patients with hematologic malignancies and in recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Case: We report a patient with relapsed acute myeloid leukemia who developed disseminated Fusarium infection during the neutropenic period following the salvage cycle of chemotherapy given at King Fahad specialist Hospital in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. The invasive fungal infection was successfully managed with a combination of voriconazole and liposomal amphotericin-B. Discussion: Fusarium species can cause invasive infections that may become disseminated and life-threatening in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Conclusion: Combined antifungal therapy and recovery of neutrophil count are essential to control invasive Fusarium infections
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Reversal of pure red cell aplasia by varicella zoster virus infection

Published on: 3rd May, 2019

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8163589934

Background: Pure red cell aplasia is characterized by anemia, reticulocytopenia and diminished bone marrow erythroid precursors. It has multifactorial etiology and consequently several therapeutic interventions. Case: In August 2017, a young patient was diagnosed to have pure red cell aplasia. She was given immunosuppressive therapy for approximately two months but this treatment was stopped due to intolerance. Later on she developed herpes zoster infection that was treated with valacyclovir. Subsequently, it was noted that the patient became blood transfusion independent due to normalization of her hemoglobin and regeneration of the erythroid precursors in the bone marrow. Discussion: Varicella zoster virus behaves differently from other members of the herpes group of viruses such as cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus. Two retrospective studies, performed in patients with malignant hematological disorders and bone marrow failure, have shown that infection with the virus may cause stimulation of the three cell lines in the bone marrow and superior overall survival. Conclusion: The outcome of the patient presented confirms the findings of the two studies showing long-term beneficial effects of varicella zoster virus infections in immunocompromised individuals.
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Varicella zoster virus: The potentially useful virus

Published on: 5th July, 2019

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8174826530

Varicella zoster virus (VZV), a double-stranded DNA virus, is a highly contagious human neurotropic virus that belongs to the alpha group of herpes viruses [1-4]. Primary VZV infection (chickenpox) occurs in childhood then the virus becomes latent in the nerve ganglia [1,5-7]. Reactivation of the virus may occur decades later and cause herpes zoster (HZ) which is manifested by a typical painful skin eruption that has characteristic dermatomal distribution [1,5]. Reactivation of VZV is usually predisposed to: old age; comorbid medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive airway disease, and end-stage renal disease; and immunosuppression due to malignancy, autoimmune disorders, immunosuppressive therapies, trauma, cytotoxic chemotherapy, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), and solid organ transplantation (SOT) [1,5-7].
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The beneficial effects of varicella zoster virus

Published on: 15th July, 2019

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8186245399

Varicella zoster virus behaves differently from other herpes viruses as it differs from them in many aspects. Recently, there has been growing evidence on the beneficial effects of the virus in immune compromised hosts and these effects are translated into prolongation of survival. The reported beneficial effects of the virus include: (1) stimulation of bone marrow activity in patients with hematologic malignancies and bone marrow failure syndromes, (2) antitumor effects in various hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, and (3) association with graft versus host disease which has anticancer effects. Additionally, there are several reports on the safety of the live-attenuated even in severely immune suppressed individuals and on the emerging role of the virus in cancer immunotherapy. In this review, the following aspects of the virus will be thoroughly discussed: (1) new data on the genetic background, pathogenesis, vaccination, and new therapeutic modalities; (2) bone marrow microenvironment and hematopoiesis; (3) cells involved in the pathogenesis of the virus such as: mesenchymal stem cells, dendritic cells, natural killer cells, T-cells and mononuclear cells; (4) cellular proteins such as open reading frames, glycoproteins, promyelocytic leukemia protein, chaperons, and SUMOs; (5) extracellular vesicles, exosomes, and micro-RNAs; and (6) signaling pathways, cytokines, and interferons.
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The outcome of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in patients with multiple myeloma. The experience of King Fahad Specialist Hospital in Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Published on: 29th September, 2022

Background: Aautologous hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) is the standard of care for newly diagnosed patients with multiple myeloma (MM) who are eligible for autologous transplantation. Although cryopreservation is routinely employed, autologous HSCT can be performed using non-cryopreserved stem cells.Methods and materials: A retrospective study of patients with MM who received autologous HSCT between the 10th of October 2010 and the 31st of January 2022 at King Fahad Specialist Hospital (KFSH) in Dammam, Saudi Arabia was performed.Results: Over 11 years and 113 days, a total of 135 autologous HSCTs were performed for 119 patients with MM at our institution. Single autologous HSCTs were performed for 119 patients, while 16 of these patients received either planned tandem autologous transplants or second autografts due to either progression or relapse of their myeloma. The median age of patients with MM at autologous HSCT was 51.5 years. At presentation of their MM, the following high-risk (HR) features were encountered: stage III disease according to the revised international scoring system (RISS) in 12.3%; adverse cytogenetics in 31.93% of patients; advanced bone disease in 60.50%; and renal dysfunction or failure in 11.76% of patients. A total of 104 autologous HSCTs (77.04%) were performed without cryopreservation while 31 autografts (22.96%) were performed using cryopreserved apheresis stem cell products. Additionally, 54 autologous HSCTs (40.00%) were done at outpatient while 81 autografts (60.00%) were performed in an inpatient setting. Survival for 100 days post-HSCT for all patients with MM who received autologous transplants including those done at outpatient was 100%. The 4 years overall survival (OS) an progression-free survival (PFS) for patients with MM who received non- cryopreserved or fresh autologous HSCTs were 82% and 68% respectively.Conclusion: Autologous HSCT without cryopreservation is safe, and feasible and can lead to short-term as well as long-term outcomes that are comparable to autologous transplantation with cryopreservation. Non- cryopreserved autologous grafts allow the performance of autologous transplants in an outpatient setting to save beds and reduce costs.
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Outcome of Outpatient Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients with Multiple Myeloma and Relapsed and Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma. The Experience of King Fahad Specialist Hospital in Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Published on: 8th March, 2023

Background: Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) is the standard of care for transplant-eligible patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) and patients with relapsed and refractory Hodgkin lymphoma (R/R-HL) who achieve chemosensitivity after salvage therapy. Although autologous HSCT is routinely performed in an  inpatient setting, the procedure can safely be performed in an  outpatient setting.Methods and materials: A retrospective study of patients with MM and R/R- HL who received outpatient autologous HSCT at King Fahad Specialist Hospital (KFSH) in Dammam, Saudi Arabia between the first of April 2017 and the 31st of January 2022 was performed.Results: Over the study period of 4 years and 10 months, a total of 90 outpatient autologous HSCTs were performed for 79 patients (54 patients with MM; 4 of them received planned tandem autografts and 7 other myeloma patients received second autologous HSCTs for relapsed or progressive disease; and 25 patients with R/R-HL) at our institution. The median ages of patients with MM and those with R/R-HL at HSCT were 50.4 years and 27.8 years respectively.At the presentation of their MM, the following high-risk (HR) features were encountered: stage II and III diseases according to the revised international scoring system (RISS) in 53.7%; adverse cytogenetics in 42.6% and extensive bone involvement in 53.7% of patients. In patients with HL at presentation, 48% of patients had stage IV disease according to Ann Arbor staging classification and 84% of patients had B symptoms.Survival for 100 days post-HSCT for all patients with MM and HL who received outpatient autologous transplants was 100%. For patients with MM, the overall survival (OS) rates at 3 years and 4 years post-HSCT were 80% and 67%, while the progression-free survival (PFS) rates over 3 years and 4 years were 58% and 38% respectively. For patients with HL, the OS at 6 years post-HSCT was 95% while the PFS rates at 3 years and 6 years post-HSCT were 84% and 62% respectively.Conclusion: Outpatient autologous HSCT for patients with MM and HL is safe, and feasible and can lead to short-term as well as long-term outcomes that are comparable to autologous transplantation performed in an  inpatient setting. Additional benefits of outpatient autologous include saving beds and reducing hospital costs.
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Update on the Use of Mesenchymal Stem Cells and their Products in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Published on: 29th November, 2023

Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) is a major limitation to the success of allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) as Steroid-Refractory (SR) acute GVHD carries poor prognosis due to the absence of an efficacious second-line therapy. Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) which have immunosuppressive, immunomodulatory, and regenerative properties may become a highly effective therapeutic modality for SR-GVHD in the near future. MSCs have already been approved to treat childhood SR-GVHD in Japan, and they have been conditionally licensed in New Zealand and Canada. It is expected that MSCs will be approved for the treatment of SR-GVHD in adults in Europe, North America, and other parts of the world within a few years. Utilization of the recently introduced techniques including the use of MSC products such as exosomes and Extracellular Vesicles (ECVs) instead of the parent MSCs, robotic manufacturing technology, and genetic engineering of MSCs will ultimately overcome the remaining obstacles facing the widespread utilization of MSCs and their products as therapeutics not only in HSCT but also in other medical fields. The aim of this review is to provide an update on the remarkable progress achieved in the use of MSCs and their products in the field of HSCT.
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Update on the Use of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in the Treatment of Various Infectious Diseases Including COVID-19 Infection

Published on: 5th December, 2023

Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and regenerative potentials. Additionally, utilization of MSCs in the clinical arena has been shown to be safe and well tolerated. Hence, this form of cellular therapy has gained particular attention in the treatment of several infectious disorders and their complications. MSCs have been successfully used in the treatment of the following infections and their complications: bacterial infections including complicated sepsis; viral infections including Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), hepatitis B and C viruses, and Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) complicated by acute respiratory distress syndrome; parasitic infections including schistosomiasis, malaria, and Chagas disease; and mycobacterial infections including tuberculosis. The use of MSCs derived from certain sources and Extracellular Vesicles (ECVs) derived from MSCs has improved their efficacy and reduced their side effects. However, the clinical application of MSCs in the treatment of several infectious diseases still faces real challenges that need to be resolved. The current status of MSCs and the controversies related to their utilization in various infections will be thoroughly discussed in this review. 
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Update on the Clinical Applications of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Published on: 21st December, 2023

Mesenchymal stem cells are heterogenous adult multipotent stromal cells that can be isolated from various sources including bone marrow, peripheral blood, umbilical cord blood, dental pulp, and adipose tissue. They have certain regenerative, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, immunosuppressive, antimicrobial, and other properties that enable them to have several therapeutic and clinical applications including treatment of various autoimmune disorders; role in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and regenerative medicine; treatment of skin, pulmonary and cardiovascular disorders; treatment of neurological and eye diseases; as well as treatment of various infections and their complications. Different factors including donor age, biological source, route of administration, and signaling pathways have an impact on the functions and consequently the clinical applications of mesenchymal stromal cells. The products of mesenchymal stem cells such as extracellular vesicles and exosomes reproduce the biological effects and most of the therapeutic actions of the parent stem cells. Genetic engineering and the use of specific mesenchymal stromal cell products have improved their clinical efficacy and decreased their adverse effects. However, despite the recent progress in the use of mesenchymal stem cells, the clinical application of these cells in the treatment of several diseases still faces real challenges that need to be resolved. The current status of mesenchymal stem cells and the controversies related to their clinical utilization in various disease conditions will be thoroughly discussed in this review.
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