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Joanne Kurtzberg, MD

Jerome S. Harris Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics
Professor of Pediatrics
Professor of Pathology
Core Faculty in Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Affiliate of the Regeneration Next Initiative
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

Periera-Simon, Simone, Xiaomei Xia, Paola Catanuto, Ramon Coronado, Joanne Kurtzberg, Michael Bellio, Yee-Shuan Lee, et al. “Anti-fibrotic effects of different sources of MSC in bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis in C57BL6 male mice.” Respirology 26, no. 2 (February 2021): 161–70. https://doi.org/10.1111/resp.13928.

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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, January 9, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-020-00301-1.

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Sun, Jessica M., and Joanne Kurtzberg. “Stem cell therapies in cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder.” Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, January 4, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1111/dmcn.14789.

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Min, Hyunjung, Li Xu, Roberta Parrott, Christopher C. Overall, Melina Lillich, Emily M. Rabjohns, Rishi R. Rampersad, et al. “Mesenchymal stromal cells reprogram monocytes and macrophages with processing bodies.” Stem Cells 39, no. 1 (January 2021): 115–28. https://doi.org/10.1002/stem.3292.

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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, December 29, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1002/jimd.12356.

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Dawson, Geraldine, and Joanne Kurtzberg. “Reply.” J Pediatr, December 1, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.11.064.

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Scaradavou, Andromachi, Scott T. Avecilla, Joann Tonon, Ioannis Politikos, Mitchell E. Horwitz, Joanne Kurtzberg, Filippo Milano, Juliet N. Barker, and Juliet N. American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Cord Blood Special Interest Group. “Guidelines for Cord Blood Unit Thaw and Infusion.” Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 26, no. 10 (October 2020): 1780–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.06.018.

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Sun, Jessica M., Geraldine Dawson, Lauren Franz, Jill Howard, Colleen McLaughlin, Bethany Kistler, Barbara Waters-Pick, Norin Meadows, Jesse Troy, and Joanne Kurtzberg. “Infusion of human umbilical cord tissue mesenchymal stromal cells in children with autism spectrum disorder.” Stem Cells Transl Med 9, no. 10 (October 2020): 1137–46. https://doi.org/10.1002/sctm.19-0434.

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Kurtzberg, Joanne. “The view for cord blood is "cup half full" not "cup half empty".” Stem Cells Transl Med 9, no. 10 (October 2020): 1118–20. https://doi.org/10.1002/sctm.20-0260.

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Qu, Wenchun, Zhen Wang, Joshua M. Hare, Guojun Bu, Jorge M. Mallea, Jorge M. Pascual, Arnold I. Caplan, et al. “Cell-based therapy to reduce mortality from COVID-19: Systematic review and meta-analysis of human studies on acute respiratory distress syndrome.” Stem Cells Translational Medicine 9, no. 9 (September 2020): 1007–22. https://doi.org/10.1002/sctm.20-0146.

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