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High-Dose Immunosuppression and Autologous Transplantation for Multiple Sclerosis (HALT MS) Study

This study has been completed.
Immune Tolerance Network (ITN)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Identifier:
First received: February 7, 2006
Last updated: November 9, 2016
Last verified: November 2016
The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), a serious disease in which the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord. MS can be progressive and severe and lead to significant disability. The study treatment involves the use of high-dose chemotherapeutic drugs to suppress the immune system. The participant's own (autologous) blood-forming (hematopoietic, CD34+) stem cells are collected before the chemotherapy is given, and then transplanted back into the body following treatment. Transplantation of autologous hematopoietic stem cells is required to prevent very prolonged periods of low blood cell counts after the high-dose chemotherapy.

Condition Intervention Phase
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis
Drug: Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and prednisone
Drug: Carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan (BEAM)
Procedure: Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Phase II Study of High-Dose Immunosuppressive Therapy (HDIT) Using Carmustine, Etoposide, Cytarabine, and Melphalan (BEAM) and Thymoglobulin, and Autologous CD34+ Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HCT) for the Treatment of Poor Prognosis Multiple Sclerosis

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Time to treatment failure [ Time Frame: During the 5 years after transplant ]

Enrollment: 25
Study Start Date: July 2006
Study Completion Date: November 2015
Primary Completion Date: November 2015 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: MS Treatment
Autologous peripheral blood stem cell grafts were CD34+ selected; the participants then received high-dose treatment with carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan as well as rabbit antithymocyte globulin before autologous HCT.
Drug: Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and prednisone
Growth factor regimen; occurs at study entry
Drug: Carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan (BEAM)
High-dose chemotherapy; occurs seven or more days following collection of autologous graft
Procedure: Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant
Occurs after growth factor regimen and collection of autologous graft

Detailed Description:

MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system in which myelin, the protective coat that surrounds nerve cells, is damaged or destroyed by autoimmune T cells and macrophages, leading to an eventual loss of neurologic function. In a pilot study in Europe using high-dose chemotherapy, it was observed that 18 of 19 MS patients stabilized or improved clinically, and only one patient showed a new lesion on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain at 4.5 years after treatment. Improvement was seen in quality-of-life assessments.

In ITN033AI, high-dose chemotherapy with autologous CD34-selected hematopoietic cell transplantation will be given to confirm the results from the pilot study and to offer therapy to patients with early MS and a poor prognosis. Research studies will be performed in addition to clinical assessments to better understand the effect of the treatment on the activity of MS. High-dose chemotherapy will be used to deplete autoreactive immune cells. These regimens also deplete the bone marrow, the source of blood-forming CD34+ stem cells which causes very low blood counts. Therefore, the participant's autologous CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells will be collected before high dose immunosuppressive therapy is given and then returned as a transplant post-chemotherapy. Patients will be followed closely after the autologous transplantation since they will be at risk for infections after treatment.

At the beginning of the study, participants will undergo a number of screening and baseline procedures, including a physical exam, blood collection, MS-confirming neurology exams and questionnaires, and MRI procedures. Participants will be given prednisone and granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) to mobilize CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow into the peripheral blood. When the peripheral blood CD34+ cell count reaches 20,000 cells/ml or greater, these cells will be collected by leukapheresis. In this process, a catheter is placed into a large blood vessel, peripheral blood is withdrawn, and a high speed sedimentation (leukapheresis) device is used to separate and retain the cells required for autologous transplantation. Other blood cells are then returned to the participant's body. In the laboratory, the CD34+ hematopoietic stem cell graft will be selected and prepared from the leukapheresis collection, and stored until needed for transplant. Seven or more days following the collection of their autologous graft, participants will be hospitalized and receive high-dose chemotherapy consisting of carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan (BEAM) and thymoglobulin. This is followed by transplantation of the autologous hematopoietic cell graft. Participants will remain in the hospital for observation during recovery of their peripheral blood cell counts, as described in the protocol. Participants will receive G-CSF and blood transfusions, if needed, and will be monitored for infections. Following discharge from the hospital, eight study visits will occur over sixty months (five years). During these visits, participants will undergo blood and urine collection, MRI studies, leukapheresis, and MS neurology exams and will complete questionnaires.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 60 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis of relapsing-remitting or progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis for less than 15 years using McDonald Criteria. More information on this criterion can be found in the protocol
  • Score between 3.0 and 5.5 on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)
  • T2 abnormalities on brain MRI consistent with MS
  • Two or more relapses in 18 months time on interferon (IFN), glatiramer acetate (GA), natalizumab or cytotoxic therapy with EDSS increase of 1.0 or greater for participants with EDSS at screening of 3.0 to 3.5 (0.5 or greater for participants with EDSS at screening of 4.0 to 5.5) sustained at least 4 weeks after at least one of these relapses OR one relapse on IFN, GA, natalizumab or cytotoxic therapy with EDSS increase of 1.5 or greater (1.0 for subjects with EDSS at screening of 5.5) sustained at least 4 weeks, together with MRI changes consistent with poor prognosis. More information on this criterion can be found in the protocol.
  • On IFN or GA for at least 6 months before the relapses occur that are counted to satisfy previous inclusion criterion OR have received adequate doses of natalizumab or cytotoxic therapy on a treatment schedule before the relapses occur that are counted to satisfy previous inclusion criterion
  • Approval by an MS Review Panel to participate in the study. More information on this criterion can be found in the protocol.
  • In good clinical condition with adequate organ function and without coexisting medical problems that would increase the risk to the participant
  • Willing to use acceptable methods of contraception
  • Willing and able to comply with all study requirements
  • Willing to accept and comprehend irreversible sterility as side effect of therapy

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Primary progressive MS
  • Secondary progressive MS without relapses (i.e., progression without exacerbations or relapses) for 12 or more months
  • Neuromyelitis optica, a disease similar to MS
  • Initiation of new immunosuppressant treatment after the participant becomes eligible for the protocol or continuance of immunosuppressant drugs after the participant is screened for the protocol. Treatment with IFN, GA, or corticosteroids is permitted after the participant becomes eligible for the protocol.
  • Lapse of greater than 6 months between the time a participant is eligible for the protocol and initiation of protocol treatment except when judged acceptable by the MS Review Panel
  • Prior treatment with investigational immunosuppressive agents within 3 months of study eligibility
  • Positive baseline plasma and CSF testing for JC virus or a brain MRI that has changes consistent with a diagnosis of progressive multifocal encephalopathy (PML)
  • History of cytopenia consistent with the diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
  • Active hepatitis B or C infection, cirrhosis, or HIV infection
  • Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
  • Uncontrolled viral, fungal, or bacterial infection. Patients with asymptomatic bacteriuria are not excluded.
  • Any illness that would jeopardize the ability to tolerate aggressive chemotherapy
  • Prior history of malignancy, except localized basal cell or squamous skin cancer. Other malignancies for which the subject is judged cured by the administered therapy will be considered on an individual basis.
  • Hypersensitivity to mouse, rabbit, or Escherichia coli-derived proteins or to iron compounds/medications
  • Metallic objects implanted in the body that would affect MRI exams
  • Psychiatric illness, mental deficiency, or cognitive dysfunction
  • Pregnancy
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00288626

United States, Ohio
Ohio State University School of Medicine
Columbus, Ohio, United States, 43210
United States, Texas
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas, United States, 77030
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; Transplant site, please contact Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas, United States, 77230-1402
United States, Washington
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, Washington, United States, 98109-1024
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Immune Tolerance Network (ITN)
Study Chair: Richard A. Nash, MD Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Colorado Blood Cancer Institute, Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, Denver
Study Chair: James D. Bowen, MD Multiple Sclerosis Center, Swedish Neuroscience Institute, Seattle, Washington
Study Chair: George H. Kraft, MD Departments of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington
Study Chair: George J. Hutton, MD The Maxine Messinger Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, The Methodist Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine
Study Chair: Uday Popat, MD Department of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Study Chair: Michael K. Racke, MD Department of Neurology, Ohio State University Medical Center
Study Chair: Steven M. Devine, MD Department of Hematology and Oncology, Ohio State University Medical Center
Study Chair: Annette Wundes, MD Department of Neurology, University of Washington
Study Chair: George E. Georges, MD Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Clinical Research Division, University of Washington
  More Information

Additional Information:

Study Data/Documents: Individual Participant Data Set  This link exits the site
Identifier: SDY549
Deidentified participant ID mapping to manuscript ID. ImmPort study identifier is SDY549.
Study summary, -design, -demographics, and -study files  This link exits the site
ImmPort study identifier is SDY549

Responsible Party: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Identifier: NCT00288626     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: DAIT ITN033AI
Study First Received: February 7, 2006
Last Updated: November 9, 2016
Individual Participant Data  
Plan to Share IPD: Yes
Plan Description: Data access is provided to the public in the Immunology Database and Analysis Portal (ImmPort), a long-term archive of clinical and mechanistic data from DAIT-funded grants and contracts that also provides data analysis tools available to researchers.

Keywords provided by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID):
hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT)
high-dose immunosuppressive therapy(HDIT)

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting
Pathologic Processes
Demyelinating Autoimmune Diseases, CNS
Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System
Nervous System Diseases
Demyelinating Diseases
Autoimmune Diseases
Immune System Diseases
Etoposide phosphate
Immunosuppressive Agents
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
Antineoplastic Agents
Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
Topoisomerase II Inhibitors
Topoisomerase Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action processed this record on March 24, 2017