Acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) remain major obstacles to successful allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, contributing substantially to morbidity and non-relapse mortality. Better understanding of the immunopathophysiology of GvHD has identified a number of targets for intervention. Among newly developed agents suitable for the prevention and treatment of GvHD, monoclonal antibodies hold much promise. Monoclonal antibodies currently available, such as infliximab and anti-interferon-γ (anti-IFN-γ), are capable of blocking of the action of initiating and effector cytokines. Antibodies directed against activated T cells, including daclizumab, visilizumab and ABX-CBL, may offer more specificity than the more broadly acting pan-T-cell-depleting agents. Finally, the clinical investigation of antibodies to adhesion molecules (such as LFA-I), or distal effector mechanisms (such as FasL) may offer another level of specificity. Many of these monoclonal antibodies have already undergone clinical testing. Campath-IH has been used for the prevention of acute GvHD with success. Daclizumab, infliximab, visilizumab, and ABX-CBL have shown promising activity in steroid-resistant acute GvHD in early clinical testing. This review summarizes current experience with monoclonal antibodies in the management of acute and chronic GvHD. Over the next decade, however, the challenge will be to define the relative place of these antibodies in the therapeutic armamentarium for GvHD and their impact on long-term survival.
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