Dr. Ladas Awarded NIH, NCI R01 Grant to Study Probiotics in Children Undergoing Stem Cell Transplantation

      Dr. Elena Ladas of the Integrative Therapies Program at CCW was recently awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI) R01 grant to support the first double-blind randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of probiotics in preventing gastrointestinal acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD) in children undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation for a hematologic malignancy.  Probiotics for Prevention of Acute Graft-vs-Host Disease in Children with Cancer will be performed throughout the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a NCI National Clinical Trial Network group.  Children and adolescents will be recruited from approximately 80 COG institutions.  The probiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum or placebo will be administered to 454 children and adolescents undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation for a hematologic malignancy beginning with the initiation of conditioning.  

 “This study will provide a unique opportunity to evaluate the clinical benefit and mechanism of probiotics in preventing gastrointestinal aGvHD”, Elena J. Ladas, PhD, RD, one of the study’s principle investigators explained.

aGvHD is a major cause of transplant-related morbidity and mortality. This study will be the first double-blind randomized, placebo-control trial to evaluate how probiotics prevent gastrointestinal aGvHD by measuring their proposed effects on the intestinal microbiota following pediatric stem cell transplantation If probiotic prophylaxis proves efficacious, it may not only improve the quality of life for stem cell transplant recipients, but also extend the therapeutic application of stem cell transplant in curing other malignant and non-malignant diseases.