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Congenital Athymia: Unmet Needs and Practical Guidance

Howley, Evey; Davies, E Graham; Kreins, Alexandra Y; (2023) Congenital Athymia: Unmet Needs and Practical Guidance. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management , 19 pp. 239-254. 10.2147/TCRM.S379673. Green open access

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Inborn errors of thymic stromal cell development and function which are associated with congenital athymia result in life-threatening immunodeficiency with susceptibility to infections and autoimmunity. Athymic patients can be treated by thymus transplantation using cultured donor thymus tissue. Outcomes in patients treated at Duke University Medical Center and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) over the past three decades have shown that sufficient T-cell immunity can be recovered to clear and prevent infections, but post-treatment autoimmune manifestations are relatively common. Whilst thymus transplantation offers the chance of long-term survival, significant challenges remain to optimise the outcomes for the patients. In this review, we will discuss unmet needs and offer practical guidance based on the experience of the European Thymus Transplantation programme at GOSH. Newborn screening (NBS) for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and routine use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms have improved early recognition of congenital athymia and increasing numbers of patients are being referred for thymus transplantation. Nevertheless, there remain delays in diagnosis, in particular when the cause is genetically undefined, and treatment accessibility needs to be improved. The majority of athymic patients have syndromic features with acute and chronic complex health issues, requiring life-long multidisciplinary and multicentre collaboration to optimise their medical and social care. Comprehensive follow up after thymus transplantation including monitoring of immunological results, management of co-morbidities and patient and family quality-of-life experience, is vital to understanding long-term outcomes for this rare cohort of patients. Alongside translational research into improving strategies for thymus replacement therapy, patient-focused clinical research will facilitate the design of strategies to improve the overall care for athymic patients.

Type: Article
Title: Congenital Athymia: Unmet Needs and Practical Guidance
Location: New Zealand
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.2147/TCRM.S379673
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.2147/TCRM.S379673
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2023 Howley et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms. php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).
Keywords: DiGeorge syndrome, SCID, athymia, immunodeficiency, quality of life, rare diseases, thymus transplantation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10167035
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