Skip to main content

Joanne Kurtzberg, MD

Jerome S. Harris Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics
Professor of Pediatrics
Professor of Pathology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Affiliate of the Duke Regeneration Center
Campus mail: 2400 Pratt Street, DUMC Box 102501, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 668-1100
Email address: kurtz001@mc.duke.edu

Dr. Kurtzberg conducts both clinical and laboratory-based translational research efforts, all involving various aspects of normal and malignant hematopoiesis. In the laboratory, her early work focused on studies determining the mechanisms that regulate the choice between the various pathways of differentiation available to the pluripotent hematopoietic stem cell. Her laboratory established a CD7+ cell line, DU.528, capable of multilineage differentiation as well as self-renewal, and subsequently described the aggressive leukemic syndrome of CD7+ALL and demonstrated that a normal counterpart of the CD7+, TN malignant cell can be isolated from postnatal human thymus, bone marrow, umbilical cord blood and G-CSF mobilized peripheral blood progenitor cells. The leukemic CD7+ cell has been established in model systems nude and SCID mice where direct IL2-cytotoxicity has been demonstrated. The mechanism of IL2-induced cytotoxicity is currently a major focus of work in the laboratory. One focus of Dr. Kurtzberg's translational research is the use of novel deoxynucleosides to purge normal and malignant T-cells from human bone marrow. She has also played an important role in the development of PEG-L Asparaginase and Nelarabine, two novel antileukemia drugs that are now used routinely in the clinic. Dr. Kurtzberg is active in the Children's Oncology Group and coordinated the ALinC 16 high risk study for children with newly diagnosed B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) as well as relapsed studies for children with T- and B-lineage ALL. Under Dr. Kurtzberg's leadership, Duke has established an internationally known children's transplant program which currently treats children with cancer, blood disorders, immune deficiencies, hemoglobinopathies and inherited metabolic diseases. Over the past 2 years, the cord blood transplant program at Duke has initiated studies of autologous cord blood in children with neonatal brain injury and cerebral palsy. Dr. Kurtzberg’s laboratory is also pursuing preclinical studies isolating oligodendrocytes from cord blood with the goal of using these cells for cell therapy to treat acquired agenetic brain injuries in the next few years. Over the past 2 decades, Dr. Kurtzberg pioneered and is investigating the use of banked umbilical cord blood as an alternative stem cell source for unrelated marrow transplantation. She was awarded with a banking and transplant center contract from NHLBI for 1996-2005, to establish the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank (CCBB)at Duke and was the PI on the cord blood transplantation study (COBLT) in children with hematological malignancies and inborn errors of metabolism. In 2006, the CCBB was awarded a contract from HRSA to become a member bank of the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI) of the CW Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program after legislation was passed in 2005 to establish this network. Dr. Kurtzberg is also the Duke PI for the NIH-sponsored, Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT-CTN) and the PI on a national trial comparing single and double cord blood transplantation in children with hematological malignancies. In 2008-2009, Dr. Kurtzberg’s lab pioneered studies to predict cord blood potency through novel assays on segments attached to cryopreserved cord blood units. The program is also performing translational research testing cord blood expansion, cellular targeted therapies and tissue repair and regeneration.

Education and Training

  • M.D., New York University, 1976

Selected Grants and Awards

Publications

Sun, Jessica M., Laura E. Case, Mohamad A. Mikati, Joan M Jasien, Colleen McLaughlin, Barbara Waters-Pick, Gordon Worley, Jesse Troy, and Joanne Kurtzberg. “Sibling umbilical cord blood infusion is safe in young children with cerebral palsy.” Stem Cells Transl Med 10, no. 9 (September 2021): 1258–65. https://doi.org/10.1002/sctm.20-0470.

Full Text

Kharfan-Dabaja, Mohamed A., Ambuj Kumar, Ernesto Ayala, Mahmoud Aljurf, Taiga Nishihori, Rebecca Marsh, Lauri M. Burroughs, et al. “Standardizing Definitions of Hematopoietic Recovery, Graft Rejection, Graft Failure, Poor Graft Function, and Donor Chimerism in Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: A Report on Behalf of the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy.” Transplant Cell Ther 27, no. 8 (August 2021): 642–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.04.007.

Full Text

Gupta, Ashish O., Jaap Jan Boelens, Christen L. Ebens, Joanne Kurtzberg, Troy C. Lund, Angela R. Smith, John E. Wagner, Robert Wynn, Bruce R. Blazar, and Paul J. Orchard. “Consensus opinion on immune-mediated cytopenias after hematopoietic cell transplant for inherited metabolic disorders.” Bone Marrow Transplant 56, no. 6 (June 2021): 1238–47. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41409-020-01179-5.

Full Text

Ballen, Karen, and Joanne Kurtzberg. “Exploring new therapies for children with autism: "Do no harm" does not mean do not try.” Stem Cells Transl Med 10, no. 6 (June 2021): 823–25. https://doi.org/10.1002/sctm.20-0548.

Full Text

Hale, Laura P., Lynn Cheatham, Andrew N. Macintyre, Bonnie LaFleur, Brittany Sanders, Jesse Troy, Joanne Kurtzberg, and Gregory D. Sempowski. “T cell-depleted cultured pediatric thymus tissue as a model for some aspects of human age-related thymus involution.” Geroscience 43, no. 3 (June 2021): 1369–82. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-020-00301-1.

Full Text

Min, H., L. Xu, R. Parrott, S. Wellford, A. Moseman, J. Kurtzberg, and A. J. Filiano. “MESENCHYMAL STROMAL CELLS REPROGRAM MACROPHAGES WITH PROCESSING BODIES.” In Cytotherapy, 23:S18–19, 2021.

Scholars@Duke

Xu, L., H. Min, R. Parrott, J. Kurtzberg, and A. J. Filiano. “MICROGLIAL SUPPRESSION ASSAYS FOR CELL THERAPIES.” In Cytotherapy, 23:S170–71, 2021.

Scholars@Duke

Mallack, Eric J., Bela R. Turk, Helena Yan, Carrie Price, Michelle Demetres, Ann B. Moser, Catherine Becker, et al. “MRI surveillance of boys with X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy identified by newborn screening: Meta-analysis and consensus guidelines.” J Inherit Metab Dis 44, no. 3 (May 2021): 728–39. https://doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12356.

Full Text

Borre, Ethan D., Evan Myers, Marianne Hamilton -Lopez, Geraldine Dawson, Joanne Kurtzberg, Jesse Troy, and Gillian D. Sanders. “PROJECTING THE LONG-TERM CLINICAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACT OF AUTOLOGOUS CORD BLOOD INFUSION IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM.” In Medical Decision Making, 41:E31–32, 2021.

Scholars@Duke

Sun, Jessica M., and Joanne Kurtzberg. “Stem cell therapies in cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder.” Dev Med Child Neurol 63, no. 5 (May 2021): 503–10. https://doi.org/10.1111/dmcn.14789.

Full Text

Pages