Leona Holmberg

Appointments and Affiliations

University of Washington
School of Medicine
Associate Professor
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Clinical Research Division
Autologous Transplant
Member, Appointed: 2013
Professional Headshot of Leona  Holmberg

Mailing Address

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
1100 Fairview Avenue N., D5-390
P.O. Box 19024
Seattle, Washington 98109-1024
United States


Phone: (206) 667-6447
Fax: (206) 667-4937


M.D., University of Miami, School of Medicine, 1986.
Ph.D., Harvard University, Immunology, 1983.

Research Interests

Relapse remains a major issue following an autologous transplant. Relapses result from either the infusion of contaminating tumor cells in the stem cell product and/or from the incomplete eradication of endogenous malignant cells by the treatment regimens. Directly following an autologous transplant, the immune system is relatively incompetent and this immune incompetence may contribute to the high relapse rates seen after autologous transplantation.

My current clinical research interests have focused on trying to augment the immune system after an autologous transplant. A number of clinical trials using different approaches have been developed. Initially, a phase I dose escalating study was conducted to determine the maximum tolerated dose and duration of sequential IL2 therapy as immune stimulation, after infusion of IL2-incubated PBSC. Upon completion, this Phase I study led to a phase II study to determine the efficacy of this type of immunotherapy in treating patients with multiple myeloma. Other clinical trials have been designed for ongoing evaluation of various mobilization regimens to maximize immune responsiveness of PBSC product and to study the effect of adding IL2 with GM-CSF to treat breast cancer and IL2 with Rituxan to treat Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The ability of tumor specific vaccines to maintain a primed immune system after transplant has also been investigated.

The hope is that the addition of immunotherapy to a standard high dose autologous transplant regimen will result in fewer relapses and thus prolong the survival for our patients.



Recent Publications

Scott EC, Hari P, Sharma M, Le-Rademacher J, Huang J, Vogl D, Abidi M, Beitinjaneh A, Fung H, Ganguly S et al..  2016.  Post-Transplant Outcomes in High-Risk Compared with Non-High-Risk Multiple Myeloma: A CIBMTR Analysis.. Biology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. 22(10):1893-1899. Abstract
Hari PN, Majhail NS, Zhang M-J, Hassebroek A, Siddiqui F, Ballen K, Bashey A, Bird J, Freytes CO, Gibson J et al..  2010.  Race and outcomes of autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation for multiple myeloma.. Biology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. 16(3):395-402. Abstract
McCune JS, Holmberg L.  2009.  Busulfan in hematopoietic stem cell transplant setting.. Expert opinion on drug metabolism & toxicology. 5(8):957-69. Abstract

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