Last Updated: 4/2/2011

Stefanie Sarantopoulos, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Clinical Interests
Treatment of patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other hematologic malignancies with bone marrow transplantation; treatment of patients with chronic graft versus host disease.

Research Interests
Adult hematopoietic stem/bone marrow transplantation (HSCT) involves the transfer of donor cells to patients/recipients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma or other blood/bone marrow cancers. Dr. Sarantopoulos primary laboratory interest is study of the significant immune pathology that develops in patients who have undergone HSCT. While HSCT offers the possibility of cure for many patients with hematologic diseases, the full potential of HSCT has not been realized because of transplant-related complications. Chronic graft versus host disease (GVHD) has become the most significant post-HSCT cause of morbidity and mortality. Chronic GVHD has an adverse impact on survival that has not improved significantly over the last 30 years. The only standard therapy for chronic GVHD is high-dose steroids. Targeted therapy for chronic GVHD has been difficult to develop due to limited understanding of immunopathologic mechanisms in human cGVHD. Responses to rituximab suggest that B cells play a role in cGVHD, but the mechanisms that promote and sustain B cell involvement have not been elucidated. If we can better understand the pathophysiology of chronic GVHD we can develop targeted therapeutic agents specific for BAFF pathways and activated B cells that may lead to decreased morbidity and mortality in our patients.

Recent Accomplishments and Honors
1992 Grunenbaum Cancer Research Fellowship
1998 Sidney Cooperband Cancer Research Award
2005 The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Fellow Award
2005 The Jock & Bunny Adams Research and Educational Endowment
2007 NIH Paul Calebrisi K12 Harvard Cancer Center
2007 Dunkin Donuts Rising Star Award (received two separate awards)
2008 Forbeck Foundation Award
2009 Amy Strelzer Manasevit Award
2010 Greensboro (Triad) Golfers Against Cancer Award
2010 UNC Excellence Award

Mount Holyoke College B.A. 1984-1988 Biochemistry
University of Freiburg (Germany) 1986-1987 Biology
Boston University School of Medicine M.D. 1990-1992, 1996-1998
Boston University School of Medicine Ph.D. 1992-1996 Immunology/Pathology

1. Sarantopoulos S, Kao CYY, Den W, and Sharon J: A method for linking VL and VH region genes that allows bulk transfer between vectors for use in generating polyclonal IgG libraries. Journal of Immunology 1994;152: 5344-5348.
2. Sharon J, Sompuram SR, Yang, CY, Williams BR, and Sarantopoulos S: Construction of polyclonal antibody libraries using phage display. In Methods in Molecular Biology 2002;178:101-112.
3. Sarantopoulos, S., Lu, L. and Cantor, H. Qa-1 restriction of CD8+ suppressor T cells. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 2004;114:1218-1221.
4. Sarantopoulos S, Stevenson KE, Kim HT, Bhuiya NS, Cutler CS, Soiffer RJ, Antin JH, Ritz, J. High BAFF/Blys in Patients with Active Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease. Clin Cancer Research 2007; 13:6167-6114.
5. Sittler T, Zhou J, Park J, Yuen NK, Sarantopoulos S, Mollick J, Salgia R, Giobbie-Hurder A, Dranoff G, Hodi FS. Concerted Potent Humoral Immune Responses to Autoantigens Are Associated with Tumor Destruction and Favorable Clinical Outcomes without Autoimmunity. Clin Cancer Res. 2008;14(12):3896-905.
6. Sarantopoulos S, Stevenson KE, Kim HT, Cutler CS, Bhuiya NS, Schowalter M, Vincent T. Ho, Soiffer RJ, Antin JH, and Ritz R. BAFF Altered B Cell Homeostasis and Excess BAFF in Human Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease. Blood 2009; 113:3865-74.
7. Ho V, Vanneman M, Kim HT, Pasek M, Cutler C, Koreth J, Alyea E, Sarantopoulos S, Antin JH, Ritz J, Canning C, Kutok J, Mihm M, Dranoff G and Soiffer R. Biologic Activity of Irradiated, Autologous, GM-CSF Secreting Leukemia Cell vaccines Early After Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation. PNAS 2009; 106(37):15825-30.
8. Ofran Y, Kim HT, Brusic V, Blake L, Mandrell M, Wu CJ, Sarantopoulos S, Roberto Bellucci, Keskin DB, Soiffer RJ, Antin JP, Ritz J. Diverse patterns of T cell response against multiple newly identified human Y chromosome encoded minor histocompatibility epitopes. Clin Canc Res. 2010; 16:1642-51.
9. Sarantopoulos S, Stevenson KE, Kim HT, Cutler CS, Bhuiya NS, Schowalter M, Ho VT, Soiffer RJ, Antin JH and Ritz R. Recovery of B Cell Homeostasis after Rituximab in Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease (cGVHD). Blood. 2011 Feb 17;117(7):2275-83. Epub 2010 Nov 19.
10. Coghill JM, Sarantopoulos S, Moran TP, Murphy WJ, Blazar BR, Serody JS. Effector CD4+ T cells, the cytokines they generate and graft-versus-host-disease: something old, something new. Blood. 2011 Jan 18. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21245483.

Click here for a list of Publications on PubMed

Telephone: 966-8644
FAX: 966-8212
Address: Lineberger, room 21-147 Chapel Hill, NC 27599

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