Transforming the lives of people with cancer and organ transplants through integrated healthcare and research.

Dr. Blosser and a patient sitting and talking in an examination room.

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The Center for Innovations in Cancer & Transplant was founded with the following goals:

  • To provide outstanding multidisciplinary clinical care for pre- and post-transplant patients with cancer.
  • To lead exceptional, multidimensional, patient-focused research of cancer before and after organ transplant through a robust bioregistry and collaborative research network.

We seek to do this through a first-of-its kind clinic, a new bioregistry, and our own original research.

Learn more about the Center

Recent news

March 13, 2024

Hello, Goodbye!

December 19, 2023

UW Huddle Article

November 29, 2023

UW Magazine Highlights CICT

Recent publications

CD19 CAR-T therapy in solid organ transplant recipients: case report and systematic review

Andrew J. Portuguese, Jordan Gauthier, Scott S. Tykodi, Evan T. Hall, Alexandre V. Hirayama, Cecilia C. S. Yeung, Christopher D. Blosser
Bone Marrow Transplantation
Original Work
DOI: 10.1038/s41409-022-01907-z

Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) is a leading cause of cancer death in solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs). Relapsed or refractory (R/R) PTLD portends a high risk of death and effective management is not well established. CD19-targeted CAR-T cell therapy has been utilized, but the risks and benefits are unknown. We report the first case of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) PTLD treated with lisocabtagene maraleucel and present a systematic literature review of SOTRs with PTLD treated with CD19 CAR-T therapy.

Our patient achieved a complete response (CR) with limited toxicity but experienced a CD19+ relapse 8 months after infusion despite CAR-T persistence. Literature review revealed 14 DLBCL and 2 Burkitt lymphoma PTLD cases treated with CD19 CAR-T cells. Kidney (n = 12), liver (n = 2), heart (n = 2), and pancreas after kidney (n = 1) transplant recipients were analyzed. The objective response rate (ORR) was 82.4% (14/17), with 58.5% (10/17) CRs and a 6.5-month median duration of response. Among kidney transplant recipients, the ORR was 91.7% (11/12). Allograft rejection occurred in 23.5% (4/17). No graft failure occurred. Our analysis suggests that CD19 CAR-T therapy offers short-term effectiveness and manageable toxicity in SOTRs with R/R PTLD. Further investigation through larger datasets and prospective study is needed.

Immune checkpoint inhibitor use in solid organ transplant recipients: a systematic review

Andrew J. Portuguese, Scott S. Tykodi, Christopher D. Blosser, Ted A. Gooley, John A. Thompson, Evan T. Hall
Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
Invited Review
DOI: 10.6004/jnccn.2022.7009

Chronic immunosuppression in solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs) leads to an increased risk of a wide variety of cancers. Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy is indicated for many of these; however, the risks and benefits of ICI use in the SOTR population have not been well characterized. We performed a systematic literature review identifying 119 reported cases of ICI use among SOTRs. Treatments used included PD-1 inhibition (75.6%), CTLA-4 inhibition (12.6%), PD-L1 inhibition (1.7%), and combination and/or sequential ICI therapy (10.1%). The most common cancers included cutaneous melanoma (35.3%), hepatocellular carcinoma (22.7%), and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (18.5%).

The overall objective response rate (ORR) was 34.5%, with a median duration of response of 8.0 months. Ongoing response was seen in 21.0%. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma had significantly better ORR compared with other cancer types (68.2% vs 26.8%; odds ratio [OR], 5.85; P =.0006). Factors associated with improved ORR included increasing time from transplant to ICI (OR, 1.09; P =.008) and preemptive reduction in intensity of the graft maintenance immunosuppressive regimen (50.0% vs 18.5%; OR, 4.40; P =.0088). Rejection occurred in 41.2%, graft failure in 23.5%, and immune-related adverse events in 18.5%. Factors significantly associated with allograft rejection included allograft PD-L1 positivity (100% vs 0%; P<.0001) and absence of tacrolimus in the immunosuppressive regimen (48.7% vs 25.6%; OR, 0.36; P =.019). The most common cause of death was progressive malignancy (64.0%), followed by graft failure (24.0%). Our analysis provides current benchmark data to help inform management of SOTRs with advanced cancers that are reflected by our patient cohort. Biomarker development, more robust datasets, and prospective study of concomitant immunosuppression management may help refine decision-making in this complex scenario in the future. Close coordination of care between the medical oncologist and transplant specialist is encouraged to help optimize treatment outcomes.

Kidney recipients with allograft failure, transition of kidney care (KRAFT): a survey of contemporary practices of transplant providers

Tarek Alhamad, … Christopher D. Blosser, … Darshana M. Dadhania
American Journal of Transplantation
Original Work
DOI: 10.1111/ajt.16523

Kidney allograft failure and return to dialysis carry a high risk of morbidity. A practice survey was developed by the AST Kidney Pancreas Community of Practice workgroup and distributed electronically to the AST members. There were 104 respondents who represented 92 kidney transplant centers. Most survey respondents were transplant nephrologists at academic centers. The most common approach to immunosuppression management was to withdraw the antimetabolite first (73%), while only 12% responded they would withdraw calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) first.

More than 60% reported that the availability of a living donor is the most important factor in their decision to taper immunosuppression, followed by risk of infection, risk of sensitization, frailty, and side effects of medications. More than half of respondents reported that embolization was either not available or offered to less than 10% as an option for surgical intervention. Majority reported that ≤50% of failed allograft patients were re-listed before dialysis, and less than a quarter of transplant nephrologists performed frequent visits with their patients with failed kidney allograft after they return to dialysis. This survey demonstrates heterogeneity in the care of patients with a failing allograft and the need for more evidence to guide improvements in clinical practice related to transition of care.