Ronan Desmond

National Institutes of Health, Maryland, United States

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Publications (8)98.8 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: About a quarter of patients with severe aplastic anemia (SAA) remain pancytopenic despite immunosuppressive therapy. We have previously demonstrated that eltrombopag has efficacy in this setting with 44% (11/25) of patients having clinically significant hematologic responses. We now report safety and efficacy data on a further 18 patients and long term follow up on the entire cohort of 43 patients. The overall response rate was 17/43 (40%) at 3-4 months, including tri and bi-lineage responses. The majority of patients who remained on eltrombopag in an extension study (14/17) continued to show improvement, and 7 eventually had significant increases in neutrophil, red cell and platelet lineages. Five patients with robust near-normalization of blood counts had drug discontinued at a median of 28.5 months after entry (range 9 to 37), and all maintained stable counts a median of 13 months (range 1-15) off eltrombopag. 8 patients, including 6 non-responders and 2 responders, developed new cytogenetic abnormalities on eltrombopag, including 5 with chromosome 7 loss or partial deletion. None evolved to acute myeloid leukemia to date. Eltrombopag is efficacious in a subset of patients with aplastic anemia refractory to IST, with frequent multilineage responses, and maintenance of normalized hematopoiesis off treatment. This study is registered at, identifier: NCT00922883.
    Blood 12/2013; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aplastic anemia is a bone marrow failure syndrome that causes pancytopenia and can lead to life-threatening complications. Bone marrow transplantation remains the standard of care for younger patients and those with a good performance status but many patients may not have a suitable donor. Immunosuppressive therapy is able to resolve cytopenias in a majority of patients with aplastic anemia but relapses are not uncommon and some patients remain refractory to this approach. Patients may require frequent blood and platelet transfusion support which is expensive and inconvenient. Life-threatening bleeding complications still occur despite prophylactic platelet transfusion. Thrombopoietin (TPO) mimetics, such as romiplostim and eltrombopag, were developed to treat patients with refractory immune thrombocytopenia but are now being investigated for the treatment of bone marrow failure syndromes. TPO is the main regulator for platelet production and its receptor (c-Mpl) is present on megakaryocytes and hematopoietic stem cells. Trilineage hematopoietic responses were observed in a recent clinical trial using eltrombopag in patients with severe aplastic anemia refractory to immunosuppression suggesting that these agents can provide a new therapeutic option for enhancing blood production. In this review, we discuss these recent results and ongoing investigation of TPO mimetics for aplastic anemia and other bone marrow failure states like myelodysplastic syndromes. Clonal evolution or progression to acute myeloid leukemia remains a concern when using these drugs in bone marrow failure and patients should only be treated in the setting of a clinical trial.
    International journal of hematology 05/2013; · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Severe aplastic anemia, which is characterized by immune-mediated bone marrow hypoplasia and pancytopenia, can be treated effectively with immunosuppressive therapy or allogeneic transplantation. One third of patients have disease that is refractory to immunosuppression, with persistent, severe cytopenia and a profound deficit in hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells. Thrombopoietin may increase the number of hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells. We conducted a phase 2 study involving patients with aplastic anemia that was refractory to immunosuppression to determine whether the oral thrombopoietin mimetic eltrombopag (Promacta) can improve blood counts. Twenty-five patients received eltrombopag at a dose of 50 mg, which could be increased, as needed, to a maximum dose of 150 mg daily, for a total of 12 weeks. Primary end points were clinically significant changes in blood counts or transfusion independence. Patients with a response continued to receive eltrombopag. Eleven of 25 patients (44%) had a hematologic response in at least one lineage at 12 weeks, with minimal toxic effects. Nine patients no longer needed platelet transfusions (median increase in platelet count, 44,000 per cubic millimeter). Six patients had improved hemoglobin levels (median increase, 4.4 g per deciliter); 3 of them were previously dependent on red-cell transfusions and no longer needed transfusions. Nine patients had increased neutrophil counts (median increase, 1350 per cubic millimeter). Serial bone marrow biopsies showed normalization of trilineage hematopoiesis in patients who had a response, without increased fibrosis. Monitoring of immune function revealed no consistent changes. Treatment with eltrombopag was associated with multilineage clinical responses in some patients with refractory severe aplastic anemia. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; number, NCT00922883.).
    New England Journal of Medicine 07/2012; 367(1):11-9. · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Manipulation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) ex vivo is of clinical importance for stem cell expansion and gene therapy applications. However, most cultured HSPCs are actively cycling, and show a homing and engraftment defect compared with the predominantly quiescent noncultured HSPCs. We previously showed that HSPCs make contact with osteoblasts in vitro via a polarized membrane domain enriched in adhesion molecules such as tetraspanins. Here we show that increased cell cycling during ex vivo culture of HSPCs resulted in disruption of this membrane domain, as evidenced by disruption of polarity of the tetraspanin CD82. Chemical disruption or antibody-mediated blocking of CD82 on noncultured HSPCs resulted in decreased stromal cell adhesion, homing, and engraftment in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency IL-2γ(null) (NSG) mice compared with HSPCs with an intact domain. Most leukemic blasts were actively cycling and correspondingly displayed a loss of domain polarity and decreased homing in NSG mice compared with normal HSPCs. We conclude that quiescent cells, unlike actively cycling cells, display a polarized membrane domain enriched in tetraspanins that mediates homing and engraftment, providing a mechanistic explanation for the homing/engraftment defect of cycling cells and a potential new therapeutic target to enhance engraftment.
    Blood 02/2012; 119(8):1848-55. · 9.78 Impact Factor
  • Blood 05/2011; 117(21):5774-6. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    American Journal of Hematology 08/2010; 85(8):607. · 4.00 Impact Factor
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    British Journal of Haematology 12/2008; 144(3):451-2. · 4.94 Impact Factor
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    R Desmond, J McDerra, K Kelly, O Smith
    British Journal of Haematology 11/2008; 144(5):627. · 4.94 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

52 Citations
98.80 Total Impact Points


  • 2012
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Department of Laboratory Medicine
      Maryland, United States
  • 2010–2012
    • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
      • Hematology Branch
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 2008
    • Our Ladys Childrens Hospital, Crumlin
      Dublin, Leinster, Ireland