Dr. Olive Eckstein's research interests focus on optimizing the care of patients with histiocytic disorders and lymphomas by improving the undestanding of the intersection between the biology of these diseases and their clinical presentation.
The goal of her ongoing research is to improve the standard therapy for newly diagnosed Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) patients by conducting a Phase 3, randomized, controlled trial (LCH REASON) of vinblastine/prednisone compared to cytarabine. As the Study Chair of this multi-institutional investigator-initiated trial, she works with our team and external sites to provide guidelines for clinical classification, response to treatment. This trial will also explore the significance of biologic markers, such as circulating peripheral blood BRAFV600E mutated cells, in relation to disease classification and response to treatment. For patients who do not respond to initial therapy or relapse after treatment, options for cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted inhibitors of BRAF/MEK/ERK activation are available and are being studied along with biologic markers of disease.
In addition to her role leading LCH REASON, she is the Vice-Chair of a multi-site IIT Phase II protocol using a MEK inhibitor (cobimetinib) for patients with relapsed/refractory histiocytic diseases, which is supported by the North American Consortium for Histiocytosis (NACHO). She works with data managers and laboratory scientists to analyze genetic patterns related to ERK activation, as well as biomarkers in patient specimens at specific time points in the treatment trials, with the goal of improving risk stratification for future patients.
One of the most important parts of the design of these clinical trials is the development of detailed and thorough response assessments using the most modern technology in order to objectively determine patient outcomes in regards to each treatment. She has a special interest in neurodegenerative LCH (LCH-ND) and is developing better ways to predict who is most at risk for this disease. By advancing the techniques of surveillance methods and timing, we can improve our ability to detect changes at an earlier time point and determine the best way to intervene and prevent this potentially serious long-term complication.
Results from these prospective clinical trials and the development of innovative response evaluations have the potential to dramatically change the standard of care for treating and assessing patients with histiocytic disorders and pave the way for better therapies and patient outcomes.
Her ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between the "bench-to-bedside" with improved understanding of the etiology of these disorders so that we can intervene earlier and optimize medical management while minimizing toxicities.
Dr. Eckstein's work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including: Blood, Blood Advances, British Journal of Hematology, Cancer, Experimental Hematology, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Oncotarget, Neurology, Pediatric Blood and Cancer, Pediatric Hematology Oncology