Research

Overview of Hill Group's research of HHV-6 in hematopoietic cell transplant recipients

Understanding the role of human herpesvirus 6 infections in transplant recipients

We are carrying out multiple projects studying the epidemiology of HHV-6 infections in transplant recipients. Our group is involved with developing novel diagnostic and treatment approaches. We have a particular interest in further elucidating the clinical implications of inherited chromosomally integrated HHV-6, a unique condition affecting approximately 1% of the human population wherein affected individuals have 1 copy of the HHV-6 genome in every nucleated cell in their body. We are also conducting a prospective, multicenter center study of the clinical significance of HHV-6B detection in transplant patients with pulmonary disease.


Graph demonstrating the clinical implications of multiple viral infections on transplant outcomes
Multi-virus reactivation is frequent after HCT and associated with increased overall mortality. Credit: Hill et al, Blood 2017, PMCID: PMC5399484 High-res version

Evaluating the clinical implications of multiple viral infections on transplant outcomes

We have performed studies of the epidemiology of infections with DNA viruses in transplant recipients, including CMV, HHV-6B, BKV, EBV, and adenovirus. This work demonstrated that infection with >1 virus occurs in the majority of patients. We developed novel approaches to study how the cumulative viral burden of exposure affects outcomes. This work is important in the context of ongoing development of small molecules and adoptive immunotherapies to treat viral infections in immunocompromised hosts.


Understanding the risk of infections in recipients of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T cell) immunotherapies
Novel CAR-T cell immunotherapies for cancer pose unique risk for infections Credit: Turtle et al, Clin Pharm and Therapy 2016.

Understanding the risk of infections in recipients of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T cell) immunotherapies

We performed the first systematic study of infectious complications following CD19-targeted CAR-T cell immunotherapy in 133 patients with B-cell malignancies. This demonstrated that cytokine release syndrome was a key risk factor for subsequent infections. We have ongoing projects in which we are studying aspects of immune reconstitution and the risk for infections after treatment with CAR-T cell therapy.