Recent Advances in Cytomegalovirus: An Update on Pharmacologic and Cellular Therapies

Michael Boeckh, William J Murphy, Karl S. Peggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The 2015 Tandem American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation/Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Meetings provide an opportunity to review the current status and future perspectives on therapy for cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in the setting of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). After many years during which we have seen few tangible advances in terms of new antiviral drugs, we are now experiencing an exciting period of late-stage drug development, characterized by a series of phase III trials incorporating a variety of novel agents. These trials have the potential to shift our current standard therapeutic strategies, which generally involve pre-emptive therapy based on sensitive molecular surveillance, towards the prophylactic approaches we see more generally with other herpes viruses such as herpes simplex and varicella zoster. This comes at a time when the promise of extensive preclinical research has been translated into encouraging clinical responses with several cellular immunotherapy strategies, which have also been moved towards definitive late-stage clinical trials. How these approaches will be integrated with the new wave of antiviral drugs remains open to conjecture. Although most of the focus of these cellular immunotherapy studies has been on adaptive immunity, and in particular T cells, an increasing awareness of the possible role of other cellular subsets in controlling CMV infection has developed. In particular, the role of natural killer (NK) cells is being revisited, along with that of γδ T cells. Depletion of NK cells in mice results in higher titers of murine CMV in tissues and increased mortality, whereas NK cell deficiency in humans has been linked to severe CMV disease. We will review recent progress in these areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
JournalBiology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Antiviral drugs
  • Cellular therapy
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Natural killer cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Hematology


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