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Andrea Winter, Alan Siu, Aria Jamshidi, Martin Malawer and Jonathan H. Sherman

Spindle cell hemangioendothelioma is a rare benign vascular tumor that is not known to involve the sacrum. The authors describe the case of a 31-year-old woman presenting with low-back and radicular pain without weakness or bowel or bladder dysfunction. Admission CT and MRI studies revealed a large S1–3 lytic sacral lesion. The patient initially underwent a nondiagnostic percutaneous biopsy. She subsequently underwent an open biopsy, during which the lesion was found to be highly vascular. Histological investigation revealed a vasoformative lesion consistent with spindle cell hemangioendothelioma. Preoperative embolization followed by resection via intralesional currettage resulted in resolution of symptoms up to 9 months postintervention. Despite the authors' recommendation, the patient became pregnant at that time and requested no additional follow-up imaging. The authors present the first reported case of a spindle cell hemangioendothelioma of the sacrum and review the current literature.

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John D. Heiss, Aria Jamshidi, Smit Shah, Staci Martin, Pamela L. Wolters, Davis P. Argersinger, Katherine E. Warren and Russell R. Lonser

OBJECTIVE

In this clinical trial report, the authors analyze safety and infusion distribution of IL13-Pseudomonas exotoxin, an antitumor chimeric molecule, administered via intratumoral convection enhanced delivery (CED) in pediatric patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

METHODS

This was a Phase I single-institution, open-label, dose-escalation, safety and tolerability study of IL13-PE38QQR infused via single-catheter CED into 5 pediatric DIPG patients. IL13-PE38QQR was administered to regions of tumor selected by radiographic findings. Two escalating dose levels were evaluated: 0.125 µg/mL in cohort 1 and 0.25 µg/mL in cohort 2. Real-time MRI was performed during intratumoral infusions, and MRI and MR spectroscopy were performed before and after the infusions. Clinical evaluations, including parent-reported quality of life (QOL), were assessed at baseline and 4 weeks post-infusion.

RESULTS

Direct infusion of brainstem tumor with IL13-PE using the CED technique in patients with DIPG produced temporary arrest of disease progression in 2 of 5 patients, both of whom subsequently received a second infusion. All 5 patients showed signs of disease progression by 12 weeks after initial infusion. Two patients experienced transient cranial nerve deficits and lethargy after infusion, and these deficits resolved with corticosteroid treatment in both cases. No patient had radiographic evidence of acute or long-term treatment toxicity. Parent-reported QOL was consistent with medical outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Even though IL13-PE delivered by CED did not reach the entire MRI-defined tumor volume in any patient, short-term radiographic antitumor effects were observed in 2 of the 5 patients treated. The patients’ performance status did not improve. Drug delivery using multiple catheters may produce improved outcomes.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00088061 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Joshua D. Burks, Katie L. Gant, James D. Guest, Aria G. Jamshidi, Efrem M. Cox, Kim D. Anderson, W. Dalton Dietrich, Mary Bartlett Bunge, Barth A. Green, Aisha Khan, Damien D. Pearse, Efrat Saraf-Lavi and Allan D. Levi

OBJECTIVE

In cell transplantation trials for spinal cord injury (SCI), quantifiable imaging criteria that serve as inclusion criteria are important in trial design. The authors’ institutional experience has demonstrated an overall high rate of screen failures. The authors examined the causes for trial exclusion in a phase I, open-lab clinical trial examining the role of autologous Schwann cell intramedullary transplantation. Specifically, they reviewed the imaging characteristics in people with chronic SCI that excluded applicants from the trial, as this was a common cause of screening failures in their study.

METHODS

The authors reviewed MRI records from 152 people with chronic (> 1 year) SCI who volunteered for intralesional Schwann cell transplantation but were deemed ineligible by prospectively defined criteria. Rostral-caudal injury lesion length was measured along the long axis of the spinal cord in the sagittal plane on T2-weighted MRI. Other lesion characteristics, specifically those pertaining to lesion cavity structure resulting in trial exclusion, were recorded.

RESULTS

Imaging records from 152 potential participants with chronic SCI were reviewed, 42 with thoracic-level SCI and 110 with cervical-level SCI. Twenty-three individuals (55%) with thoracic SCI and 70 (64%) with cervical SCI were not enrolled in the trial based on imaging characteristics. For potential participants with thoracic injuries who did not meet the screening criteria for enrollment, the average rostral-caudal sagittal lesion length was 50 mm (SD 41 mm). In applicants with cervical injuries who did not meet the screening criteria for enrollment, the average sagittal lesion length was 34 mm (SD 21 mm).

CONCLUSIONS

While screening people with SCI for participation in a cell transplantation clinical trial, lesion length or volume can exclude potential subjects who appear appropriate candidates based on neurological eligibility criteria. In planning future cell-based therapy trials, the limitations incurred by lesion size should be considered early due to the screening burden and impact on candidate selection.