Background. The use of umbilical cord blood (UCB) in transplant has been limited by the low number of CD34+ cells, resulting in prolonged periods of cytopenia for patients and high risk of graft failure, thereby restricting its widespread application. MGTA-456 is the hematopoietic cell product after cord blood CD34+ cells are placed in expansion culture for 15 days with an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) antagonist in the presence of SCF, Flt-3L, IL-6 and TPO. In a prior Phase 1/2 safety study, 18 patients received MGTA-456, its accompanying CD34negfraction and a larger, unexpanded UCB unit. All patients engrafted at a median of 14.5 days (range, 7-23), significantly faster than similarly treated historical controls (p<0.01). Based on these results, two Phase 2 studies were initiated to evaluate the effectiveness of MGTA-456 as a stand-alone graft after myeloablative conditioning (MAC) or non-myeloablative conditioning (NMAC).

Patients and Methods : Twenty patients with high-risk hematologic malignancy and a partially HLA-matched CBU were enrolled; 10 were treated with cyclophosphamide (CY) 120 mg/kg, fludarabine (FLU) 75 mg/m2 and total body irradiation (TBI) 1320 cGy (MAC) and 10 with CY 50 mg/kg, FLU 200 mg/m2 and TBI 200 cGy (NMAC). All patients received cyclosporine and mycophenolate mofetil post-transplant immunoprophylaxis. Expansion was low in 2 UCB units, therefore 18 patients received MGTA-456 and its CD34neg fraction.

Results : Expansion culture yielded a median of 1,227 x 106 CD34+ cells (range, 201-8969) as compared to the input number of 4.2 x 106 (range, 1.4-16.3) after CD34 selection - a 324-fold (range, 42-1643) expansion of CD34+ cells. As transplant results vary by intensity of the conditioning, patient outcomes were compared to similarly treated historical cohorts between 2006 and 2015 (n=151 MAC; n=132 NMAC). For both groups, demographics were similar except for more recent year of transplant for recipients of MGTA-456. For recipients of MAC, MGTA-456 engrafted in all patients at a median of 14 days (range, 7-32) as compared to 89% engraftment at a median of 23 days (range, 19-31) in the control population (p<0.01, see Figure 1). Complete chimerism was rapid for both myeloid and T cells with no late graft failures; the longest follow-up was 5.6 years in recipients of MGTA-456. For recipients of NMAC, MGTA-456 also engrafted in all patients at a median of 7 days (range, 6-14) as compared to 94% engraftment at a median of 15 days (range, 7-22). In contrast to complete chimerism seen after MAC, chimerism is often mixed for the first month in both myeloid and T cells after NMAC. Compared to the historical cohort, recipients of MGTA-456 had more rapid chimerism after NMAC. CD34 cell dose correlates with speed of recovery but only in recipients with MAC; in recipients of NMAC, recovery is uniformly rapid regardless of CD34 cell dose. Additionally, immune recovery as measured by an absolute CD4 count >200/uL was achieved at day 60 (median) in recipients of MGTA-456 regardless of conditioning regimen. Results were also encouraging for other transplant outcomes. For recipients of MGTA-456 compared to the historical cohort after MAC, incidence of acute GVHD (aGVHD) grade 3-4 was 22% vs 24%; chronic GVHD (cGVHD), 11% vs 21%; transplant-related mortality (TRM), 11% vs 34%; and overall survival (OS), 67% vs 55%. After NMAC, results were similar between cohorts except for a higher risk of aGVHD in recipients of MGTA-456 (aGVHD 3-4, 43% vs 15%; cGVHD, 0% vs 19%; TRM, 22% vs 20%; and OS, 44% vs 49%). The increased rate of aGVHD in the NMAC cohort likely reflects non-compliance with prescribed GVHD immunoprophylaxis in 2 of 9 recipients.

Conclusion : In these studies, MGTA-456 significantly accelerated hematopoietic recovery and abrogated the engraftment barrier typically associated with UCB transplantation. The marked expansion of CD34+ cells in MGTA-456 suggests that a significant number of patients will have an adequate single CBU and better HLA matched graft since a greater proportion of the cord blood inventory will be available irrespective of weight. Given these promising results, additional studies are being planned.


Wagner: Novartis: Research Funding; Magenta Therapeutics: Research Funding. Brunstein: Novartis: Research Funding; Magenta Therapeutics: Research Funding. Boitano: Magenta Therapeutics: Employment, Equity Ownership, Patents & Royalties; Magenta Therapeutics: Employment, Equity Ownership, Patents & Royalties. McKenna: Magenta Therapeutics: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding. Sanna: Magenta Therapeutics: Employment, Equity Ownership, Patents & Royalties. Bleul: Hoffmann-La Roche AG: Employment. Cooke: Magenta Therapeutics: Employment, Equity Ownership, Patents & Royalties.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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