Biljana Horn, MD (aka Novakovic)

Biljana Horn, MD (aka Novakovic)

Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, UCSF

Phone: (415) 476-2188 (appts, BMT), 476-3831 (appts, oncology)
Box 0106, UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-0106

UCSF Profiles

Cancer Center Membership

Program Member » Pediatric Malignancies

Research Summary

Throughout my medical career I have turned to clinical research in order to answer questions and better understand events that surrounded me. During my medical school OB-GYN rotation, I was disturbed to learn that a joyous event of childbirth was linked to intolerable pain, so I designed a study trying to better understand the quality of pain during birth and its impact on satisfaction with child delivery. Later on, as a rotating intern in the urgent care, I was frustrated with a lack of follow-up information on patients' outcomes after visits, so I designed a simple study providing patients with a postcard which they mailed a week later describing resolution of problems for which they were evaluated in our urgent care, or need for further interventions. When I started my hematopoietic stem cell transplant career, the death rate from transplant-related complications was 30%. I studied complications of hematopoietic stem cell transplant with a goal of improving outcomes.

I was lucky to have witnessed and contributed to significant reduction in transplant-related mortality. Many of my current collaborative research activities involve mentoring younger colleagues, nurse practitioners, psychology students, undergraduate students, and others in designing and conducting clinical research studies. Some of the projects in which I am currently involved as a mentor or a collaborator include: defining the best schedule for the use of alemtuzumab in hematopoietic stem cell transplant, pharmacokynetics of busulfan and fludarabine, therapy of steroid-refractory aGVHD and natural history of transplant-associated microangiopathy.

The other focus of my research is decreasing relapse rate after bone marrow transplant in children with hematologic malignancies. The phase II study using fast withdrawal of immunosuppression and donor lymphoycte infusions is completed and the results have been published at the ASH, ASBMT meeting and in the BBMT journal. I am currently co-investigator on a follow-up institutional study, directed by my younger colleague and a mentee. My research career has been greatly rewarded not as much by a number of grants, awards and publications, but by a real change implemented in my practice which has resulted in improved patients’ outcomes.


Medical School of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia, M.D., 1978-1983, Medicine
Medical School of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia, M.P.H., 1984-1988, Pediatrics and Public Health
University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio, 1988-1991, Pediatrics
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 1991-1994, Hematology-Oncology
UCSF, San Francisco, California, 1997-1998, Neuro-Oncology

Professional Experience

  • 1992-95
    Urgent Care Pediatrics, Kaiser Permanente, Washington DC
  • 1993-94
    Pediatric Emergency Room Attending, St Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, MD
  • 1994-95
    Assistant Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC
  • 1996
    General Pediatric Practice, Kaiser Permanente, Northern California
  • 1996
    Clinical Practice, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Valley Children's Hospital, Fresno, CA
  • 1998-Present
    Clinical Professor, Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program, University of California, San Francisco, CA

Honors & Awards

  • 1993
    Brigit Leventhal Merit Award for Research in Oncology
  • 1994
    AACR Travel Award for Research in Oncology
  • 2002
    Campini Family Award
  • 2003
    Hellman Family Award
  • 2011
    Thrasher Research Fund Award

Selected Publications

  1. Wahlstrom J, Patel K, Eckhert E, Kong D, Horn B, Cowan MJ, Dvorak CC. Transplacental maternal engraftment and posttransplantation graft-versus-host disease in children with severe combined immunodeficiency. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 Jun 16.
    View on PubMed
  2. Bailey-Olson M, Cowan M, Dvorak C, Mueller S, Owens A, Wahlstrom J, Horn B. Evaluation of Pre-Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT) Brain MRI and Neurologic Complications of Pediatric Patients Undergoing HCT for Hematologic Malignancies. J Pediatr Oncol Nurs. 2016 Feb 22.
    View on PubMed
  3. Long-Boyle JR, Savic R, Yan S, Bartelink I, Musick L, French D, Law J, Horn B, Cowan MJ, Dvorak CC. Population pharmacokinetics of busulfan in pediatric and young adult patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplant: a model-based dosing algorithm for personalized therapy and implementation into routine clinical use. Ther Drug Monit. 2015 Apr; 37(2):236-45.
    View on PubMed
  4. Horn B, Petrovic A, Wahlstrom J, Dvorak CC, Kong D, Hwang J, Expose-Spencer J, Gates M, Cowan MJ. Chimerism-based pre-emptive immunotherapy with fast withdrawal of immunosuppression and donor lymphocyte infusions after allogeneic stem cell transplantation for pediatric hematologic malignancies. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2015 Apr; 21(4):729-37.
    View on PubMed
  5. Dvorak CC, Horn BN, Puck JM, Adams S, Veys P, Czechowicz A, Cowan MJ. A trial of alemtuzumab adjunctive therapy in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation with minimal conditioning for severe combined immunodeficiency. Pediatr Transplant. 2014 Sep; 18(6):609-16.
    View on PubMed
  6. Dvorak CC, Horn BN, Puck JM, Czechowicz A, Shizuru JA, Ko RM, Cowan MJ. A trial of plerixafor adjunctive therapy in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation with minimal conditioning for severe combined immunodeficiency. Pediatr Transplant. 2014 Sep; 18(6):602-8.
    View on PubMed
  7. Kurtzberg J, Prockop S, Teira P, Bittencourt H, Lewis V, Chan KW, Horn B, Yu L, Talano JA, Nemecek E, Mills CR, Chaudhury S. Allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cell therapy (remestemcel-L, Prochymal) as a rescue agent for severe refractory acute graft-versus-host disease in pediatric patients. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2014 Feb; 20(2):229-35.
    View on PubMed
  8. Schuetz C, Neven B, Dvorak CC, Leroy S, Ege MJ, Pannicke U, Schwarz K, Schulz AS, Hoenig M, Sparber-Sauer M, Gatz SA, Denzer C, Blanche S, Moshous D, Picard C, Horn BN, de Villartay JP, Cavazzana M, Debatin KM, Friedrich W, Fischer A, Cowan MJ. SCID patients with ARTEMIS vs RAG deficiencies following HCT: increased risk of late toxicity in ARTEMIS-deficient SCID. Blood. 2014 Jan 9; 123(2):281-9.
    View on PubMed
  9. Horn B, Cowan MJ. Unresolved issues in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for severe combined immunodeficiency: need for safer conditioning and reduced late effects. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013 May; 131(5):1306-11.
    View on PubMed
  10. Ayas M, Saber W, Davies SM, Harris RE, Hale GA, Socie G, LeRademacher J, Thakar M, Deeg HJ, Al-Seraihy A, Battiwalla M, Camitta BM, Olsson R, Bajwa RS, Bonfim CM, Pasquini R, Macmillan ML, George B, Copelan EA, Wirk B, Al Jefri A, Fasth AL, Guinan EC, Horn BN, Lewis VA, Slavin S, Stepensky P, Bierings M, Gale RP. Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation for fanconi anemia in patients with pretransplantation cytogenetic abnormalities, myelodysplastic syndrome, or acute leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2013 May 1; 31(13):1669-76.
    View on PubMed
  11. Hale GA, Arora M, Ahn KW, He W, Camitta B, Bishop MR, Bitan M, Cairo MS, Chan K, Childs RW, Copelan E, Davies SM, Perez MA, Doyle JJ, Gale RP, Vicent MG, Horn BN, Hussein AA, Jodele S, Kamani NR, Kasow KA, Kletzel M, Lazarus HM, Lewis VA, Myers KC, Olsson R, Pulsipher M, Qayed M, Sanders JE, Shaw PJ, Soni S, Stiff PJ, Stadtmauer EA, Ueno NT, Wall DA, Grupp SA. Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation for neuroblastoma: the CIBMTR experience. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2013 Aug; 48(8):1056-64.
    View on PubMed
  12. Dvorak CC, Gilman AL, Horn B, Oon CY, Dunn EA, Baxter-Lowe LA, Cowan MJ. Haploidentical related-donor hematopoietic cell transplantation in children using megadoses of CliniMACs-selected CD34(+) cells and a fixed CD3(+) dose. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2013 Apr; 48(4):508-13.
    View on PubMed
  13. French S, DuBois SG, Horn B, Granger M, Hawkins R, Pass A, Plummer E, Matthay K. 131I-MIBG followed by consolidation with busulfan, melphalan and autologous stem cell transplantation for refractory neuroblastoma. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2013 May; 60(5):879-84.
    View on PubMed
  14. Law J, Cowan MJ, Dvorak CC, Musick L, Long-Boyle JR, Baxter-Lowe LA, Horn B. Busulfan, fludarabine, and alemtuzumab as a reduced toxicity regimen for children with malignant and nonmalignant diseases improves engraftment and graft-versus-host disease without delaying immune reconstitution. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2012 Nov; 18(11):1656-63.
    View on PubMed
  15. Cook RJ, Wang Z, Arora M, Lazarus HM, Kasow KA, Champagne MA, Saber W, van Besien KM, Hale GA, Copelan EA, Elmongy M, Ueno NT, Horn BN, Slavin S, Bishop MR, Stadtmauer EA. Clinical outcomes of patients with desmoplastic small round cell tumor of the peritoneum undergoing autologous HCT: a CIBMTR retrospective analysis. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2012 Nov; 47(11):1455-8.
    View on PubMed
  16. Bao L, Cowan MJ, Dunham K, Horn B, McGuirk J, Gilman A, Lucas KG. Adoptive immunotherapy with CMV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes for stem cell transplant patients with refractory CMV infections. J Immunother. 2012 Apr; 35(3):293-8.
    View on PubMed
  17. Ackerman SL, Lown EA, Dvorak CC, Dunn EA, Abrams DI, Horn BN, Degelman M, Cowan MJ, Mehling WE. Massage for children undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation: a qualitative report. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012:792042.
    View on PubMed
  18. Mehling WE, Lown EA, Dvorak CC, Cowan MJ, Horn BN, Dunn EA, Acree M, Abrams DI, Hecht FM. Hematopoietic cell transplant and use of massage for improved symptom management: results from a pilot randomized control trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012:450150.
    View on PubMed
  19. Woodard P, Carpenter PA, Davies SM, Gross TG, He W, Zhang MJ, Horn BN, Margolis DA, Perentesis JP, Sanders JE, Schultz KR, Seber A, Woods WG, Eapen M. Unrelated donor bone marrow transplantation for myelodysplastic syndrome in children. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2011 May; 17(5):723-8.
    View on PubMed
  20. Goddard DS, Horn BN, McCalmont TH, Cordoro KM. Clinical update on graft-versus-host disease in children. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2010 Jun; 29(2):92-105.
    View on PubMed

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