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Archive for the ‘Human Antibody Response’ Category


Did FDA Reverse Course on Convalescent Plasma Therapy for COVID-19?

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

 

Starting with a timeline of recent announcements by the FDA on convalescent plasma therapy

April 16, 2020

FDA STATEMENT

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Encourages Recovered Patients to Donate Plasma for Development of Blood-Related Therapies

 

As part of the all-of-America approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been working with partners across the U.S. government, academia and industry to expedite the development and availability of critical medical products to treat this novel virus. Today, we are providing an update on one potential treatment called convalescent plasma and encouraging those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma to help others fight this disease.

Convalescent plasma is an antibody-rich product made from blood donated by people who have recovered from the disease caused by the virus. Prior experience with respiratory viruses and limited data that have emerged from China suggest that convalescent plasma has the potential to lessen the severity or shorten the length of illness caused by COVID-19. It is important that we evaluate this potential therapy in the context of clinical trials, through expanded access, as well as facilitate emergency access for individual patients, as appropriate.

The response to the agency’s recently announced national efforts to facilitate the development of and access to convalescent plasma has been tremendous. More than 1,040 sites and 950 physician investigators nationwide have signed on to participate in the Mayo Clinic-led expanded access protocol. A number of clinical trials are also taking place to evaluate the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma and the FDA has granted numerous single patient emergency investigational new drug (eIND) applications as well.

Source: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-encourages-recovered-patients-donate-plasma-development-blood

August 23, 2020

 

Recommendations for Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma

 

  • FDA issues guidelines on clinical trials and obtaining emergency enrollment concerning convalescent plasma

FDA has issued guidance to provide recommendations to health care providers and investigators on the administration and study of investigational convalescent plasma collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 (COVID-19 convalescent plasma) during the public health emergency.

The guidance provides recommendations on the following:

Because COVID-19 convalescent plasma has not yet been approved for use by FDA, it is regulated as an investigational product.  A health care provider must participate in one of the pathways described below.  FDA does not collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma or provide COVID-19 convalescent plasma.  Health care providers or acute care facilities should instead obtain COVID-19 convalescent plasma from an FDA-registered blood establishment.

Excerpts from the guidance document are provided below.

Background

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) plays a critical role in protecting the United States (U.S.) from threats including emerging infectious diseases, such as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.  FDA is committed to providing timely guidance to support response efforts to this pandemic.

One investigational treatment being explored for COVID-19 is the use of convalescent plasma collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.  Convalescent plasma that contains antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is being studied for administration to patients with COVID-19. Use of convalescent plasma has been studied in outbreaks of other respiratory infections, including the 2003 SARS-CoV-1 epidemic, the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza virus pandemic, and the 2012 MERS-CoV epidemic.

Although promising, convalescent plasma has not yet been shown to be safe and effective as a treatment for COVID-19. Therefore, it is important to study the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in clinical trials.

Pathways for Use of Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma

The following pathways are available for administering or studying the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma:

  1. Clinical Trials

Investigators wishing to study the use of convalescent plasma in a clinical trial should submit requests to FDA for investigational use under the traditional IND regulatory pathway (21 CFR Part 312). CBER’s Office of Blood Research and Review is committed to engaging with sponsors and reviewing such requests expeditiously. During the COVID-19 pandemic, INDs may be submitted via email to CBERDCC_eMailSub@fda.hhs.gov.

  1. Expanded Access

An IND application for expanded access is an alternative for use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 disease who are not eligible or who are unable to participate in randomized clinical trials (21 CFR 312.305). FDA has worked with multiple federal partners and academia to open an expanded access protocol to facilitate access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma across the nation. Access to this investigational product may be available through participation of acute care facilities in an investigational expanded access protocol under an IND that is already in place.

Currently, the following protocol is in place: National Expanded Access Treatment Protocol

  1. Single Patient Emergency IND

Although participation in clinical trials or an expanded access program are ways for patients to obtain access to convalescent plasma, for various reasons these may not be readily available to all patients in potential need. Therefore, given the public health emergency that the COVID-19 pandemic presents, and while clinical trials are being conducted and a national expanded access protocol is available, FDA also is facilitating access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma for use in patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections through the process of the patient’s physician requesting a single patient emergency IND (eIND) for the individual patient under 21 CFR 312.310. This process allows the use of an investigational drug for the treatment of an individual patient by a licensed physician upon FDA authorization, if the applicable regulatory criteria are met.  Note, in such case, a licensed physician seeking to administer COVID-19 convalescent plasma to an individual patient must request the eIND (see 21 CFR 312.310(b)).

To Obtain a Single Patient Emergency IND  

The requesting physician may contact FDA by completing Form FDA 3926 (https://www.fda.gov/media/98616/download) and submitting the form by email to CBER_eIND_Covid-19@FDA.HHS.gov.

FACT SHEET FOR PATIENTS AND PARENTS/CAREGIVERS EMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATION (EUA) OF COVID-19 CONVALESCENT PLASMA FOR TREATMENT OF COVID-19 IN HOSPITALIZED PATIENTS

  • FDA issues fact sheet for patients on donating plasma

August 23, 2020

 

FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Convalescent Plasma as Potential Promising COVID–19 Treatment, Another Achievement in Administration’s Fight Against Pandemic

 

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for investigational convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19. Based on scientific evidence available, the FDA concluded, as outlined in its decision memorandum, this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.

Today’s action follows the FDA’s extensive review of the science and data generated over the past several months stemming from efforts to facilitate emergency access to convalescent plasma for patients as clinical trials to definitively demonstrate safety and efficacy remain ongoing.

The EUA authorizes the distribution of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in the U.S. and its administration by health care providers, as appropriate, to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Alex Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary:
“The FDA’s emergency authorization for convalescent plasma is a milestone achievement in President Trump’s efforts to save lives from COVID-19,” said Secretary Azar. “The Trump Administration recognized the potential of convalescent plasma early on. Months ago, the FDA, BARDA, and private partners began work on making this product available across the country while continuing to evaluate data through clinical trials. Our work on convalescent plasma has delivered broader access to the product than is available in any other country and reached more than 70,000 American patients so far. We are deeply grateful to Americans who have already donated and encourage individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating convalescent plasma.”

Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., FDA Commissioner:
“I am committed to releasing safe and potentially helpful treatments for COVID-19 as quickly as possible in order to save lives. We’re encouraged by the early promising data that we’ve seen about convalescent plasma. The data from studies conducted this year shows that plasma from patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19 has the potential to help treat those who are suffering from the effects of getting this terrible virus,” said Dr. Hahn. “At the same time, we will continue to work with researchers to continue randomized clinical trials to study the safety and effectiveness of convalescent plasma in treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus.”

Scientific Evidence on Convalescent Plasma

Based on an evaluation of the EUA criteria and the totality of the available scientific evidence, the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research determined that the statutory criteria for issuing an EUA criteria were met.

The FDA determined that it is reasonable to believe that COVID-19 convalescent plasma may be effective in lessening the severity or shortening the length of COVID-19 illness in some hospitalized patients. The agency also determined that the known and potential benefits of the product, when used to treat COVID-19, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product and that that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternative treatments.

 

August 24, 2020

Donate COVID-19 Plasma

 

  • FDA posts video and blog about how to donate plasms if you had been infected with COVID

 

https://youtu.be/PlX15rWdBbY

 

 

Please go to https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/donate-covid-19-plasma

to read more from FDA

 

 

August 25, 2020

 

CLINICAL MEMORANDUM From: , OBRR/DBCD/CRS To: , OBRR Through: , OBRR/DBCD , OBRR/DBCD , OBRR/DBCD/CRS Re: EUA 26382: Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Request (original request 8/12/20; amended request 8/23/20) Product: COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Items reviewed: EUA request Fact Sheet for Health Care Providers Fact Sheet for Recipients Sponsor: Robert Kadlec, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Office of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP), an unapproved biological product, is proposed for use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) under section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act),(21 USC 360bbb-3) as a passive immune therapy for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, a serious or life-threatening disease. There currently is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to CCP for treating COVID-19. The sponsor has pointed to four lines of evidence to support that CCP may be effective in the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19: 1) History of convalescent plasma for respiratory coronaviruses; 2) Evidence of preclinical safety and efficacy in animal models; 3) Published studies of the safety and efficacy of CCP; and 4) Data on safety and efficacy from the National Expanded Access Treatment Protocol (EAP) sponsored by the Mayo Clinic. Considering the totality of the scientific evidence presented in the EUA, I conclude that current data for the use of CCP in adult hospitalized patients with COVID-19 supports the conclusion that CCP meets the “may be effective” criterion for issuance of an EUA from section 564(c)(2)(A) of the Act. It is reasonable to conclude that the known and potential benefits of CCP outweigh the known and potential risks of CCP for the proposed EUA. Current data suggest the largest clinical benefit is associated with high-titer units of CCP administered early course of the disease.

Source: https://www.fda.gov/media/141480/download

 

And Today August 26, 2020

  • A letter, from Senator Warren, to Commissioner Hahn from Senate Committee asking for documentation for any communication between FDA and White House

August 25, 2020 Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. Commissioner of Food and Drugs U.S. Food and Drug Administration 10903 New Hampshire Avenue Silver Spring, MD 20993 Dear Commissioner Hahn: We write regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) troubling decision earlier this week to issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for convalescent plasma as a treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).1 Reports suggests that the FDA granted the EUA amid intense political pressure from President Trump and other Administration officials, despite limited evidence of convalescent plasma’s effectiveness as a COVID-19 treatment.2 To help us better understand whether the issuance of the blood plasma EUA was motivated by politics, we request copies of any and all communications between FDA and White House officials regarding the blood plasma EUA.

Source: https://www.warren.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2020.08.25%20Letter%20to%20FDA%20re%20Blood%20Plasma%20EUA.pdf

…….. which may have been a response to this article

FDA chief walks back comments on effectiveness of coronavirus plasma treatment

 

From CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/25/fda-chief-walks-back-comments-on-effectiveness-of-coronavirus-plasma-treatment.html

PUBLISHED TUE, AUG 25 202010:45 AM EDTUPDATED TUE, AUG 25 20204:12 PM EDT

Berkeley Lovelace Jr.@BERKELEYJR

Will Feuer@WILLFOIA

KEY POINTS

  • The authorization will allow health-care providers in the U.S. to use the plasma to treat hospitalized patients with Covid-19.
  • The FDA’s emergency use authorization came a day after President Trump accused the agency of delaying enrollment in clinical trials for vaccines or therapeutics.
  • The criticism from Trump and action from the FDA led some scientists to believe the authorization, which came on the eve of the GOP national convention, was politically motivated.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn is walking back comments on the benefits of convalescent plasma, saying he could have done a better job of explaining the data on its effectiveness against the coronavirus after authorizing it for emergency use over the weekend.

Commisioners responses over Twitter

https://twitter.com/SteveFDA/status/1298071603675373569?s=20

https://twitter.com/SteveFDA/status/1298071619236245504?s=20

August 26, 2020

In an interview with Bloomberg’s , FDA Commissioner Hahn reiterates that his decision was based on hard evidence and scientific fact, not political pressure.  The whole interview is at the link below:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-25/fda-s-hahn-vows-to-stick-to-the-science-amid-vaccine-pressure?sref=yLCixKPR

Some key points:

  • Dr. Hahn corrected his initial statement about 35% of people would be cured by convalescent plasma. In the interview he stated:

I was trying to do what I do with patients, because patients often understand things in absolute terms versus relative terms. And I should’ve been more careful, there’s no question about it. What I was trying to get to is that if you look at a hundred patients who receive high titre, and a hundred patients who received low titre, the difference between those two particular subset of patients who had these specific criteria was a 35% reduction in mortality. So I frankly did not do a good job of explaining that.

  • FDA colleagues had frank discussion after the statement was made.  He is not asking for other people in HHS to retract their statements, only is concerned that FDA has correct information for physicians and patients
  • Hahn is worried that people will not enroll due to chance they may be given placebo
  • He gave no opinion when asked if FDA should be an independent agency

 

For more articles on COVID19 please go to our Coronavirus Portal at

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/coronavirus-portal/

 

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Novel SARS-CoV-2 sybodies

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Absolute Antibody Ltd., a leader of the market in recombinant antibody products announced a partnership with University of Zurich to offer synthetic nanobodies against the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. Under the partnership, the original nanobodies and recently engineered formats are now accessible to the global research community for use as serological controls and in COVID-19 therapeutic development. The synthetic nanobodies hold a particular potential for the development of inhalable drugs, which could suggest a convenient treatment option for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The laboratory of Markus Seeger at University of Zurich designs a rapid in vitro selection platform to generate synthetic nanobodies, sybodies, against the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. Within a two-week timeframe, the lab had recognized more than 60 unique anti-RBD sybodies from combinatorial display libraries. The sybodies are “designed to mimic the natural shape diversity of camelid nanobodies, consequently allowing for an optimal surface complementarity to the limited hydrophilic epitopes on membrane proteins. Due to their high thermal stabilities and low production costs, sybodies demonstrate a promise for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Sybodies are perfectly suited to trap intrinsically flexible membrane proteins and thereby facilitate structure determination by X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM. Additional research indicate that six of the sybodies bound SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with very high affinity, while five of those also inhibited ACE2, the host cell receptor to which SARS-CoV-2 binds to initiate the COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, two of the sybodies can at the same time bind the RBD, which could permit the construction of a polyvalent antiviral drug. The SARS-CoV-2 sybodies are therefore valuable tools for coronavirus research, diagnostics and therapeutic development.

Moreover, Absolute Antibody has used antibody engineering to fuse the nanobodies to Fc domains in different species, isotypes and subtypes. Absolute Antibody also offers supporting coronavirus research such as the production of gram quantities of human antibodies sequenced from recovering COVID-19 patients.

SOURCE

https://www.biocompare.com/Life-Science-News/562900-SARS-CoV-2-COVID-19-Research-News-Latest-Updates

 

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RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 virus taking over the cells it infects: Virulence – Pathogen’s ability to infect a Resistant Host: The Imbalance between Controlling Virus Replication versus Activation of the Adaptive Immune Response

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN – I added colors and bold face

 

UPDATED on 9/8/2020

What bats can teach us about developing immunity to Covid-19 | Free to read

Clive Cookson, Anna Gross and Ian Bott, London

https://www.ft.com/content/743ce7a0-60eb-482d-b1f4-d4de11182fa9?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_campaign=af64422080-briefing-dy-20200908&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9dfd39373-af64422080-43323101

 

UPDATED on 6/29/2020

Another duality and paradox in the Treatment of COVID-19 Patients in ICUs was expressed by Mike Yoffe, MD, PhD, David H. Koch Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Yaffe has a joint appointment in Acute Care Surgery, Trauma, and Surgical Critical Care, and in Surgical Oncology @BIDMC

on 6/29 at SOLUTIONS with/in/sight at Koch Institute @MIT

How Are Cancer Researchers Fighting COVID-19? (Part II)” Jun 29, 2020 11:30 AM EST

Mike Yoffe, MD, PhD 

In COVID-19 patients: two life threatening conditions are seen in ICUs:

  • Blood Clotting – Hypercoagulability or Thrombophilia
  • Cytokine Storm – immuno-inflammatory response
  • The coexistence of 1 and 2 – HINDERS the ability to use effectively tPA as an anti-clotting agent while the cytokine storm is present.

Mike Yoffe’s related domain of expertise:

Signaling pathways and networks that control cytokine responses and inflammation

Misregulation of cytokine feedback loops, along with inappropriate activation of the blood clotting cascade causes dysregulation of cell signaling pathways in innate immune cells (neutrophils and macrophages), resulting in tissue damage and multiple organ failure following trauma or sepsis. Our research is focused on understanding the role of the p38-MK2 pathway in cytokine control and innate immune function, and on cross-talk between cytokines, clotting factors, and neutrophil NADPH oxidase-derived ROS in tissue damage, coagulopathy, and inflammation, using biochemistry, cell biology, and mouse knock-out/knock-in models.  We recently discovered a particularly important link between abnormal blood clotting and the complement pathway cytokine C5a which causes excessive production of extracellular ROS and organ damage by neutrophils after traumatic injury.

SOURCE

https://www.bidmc.org/research/research-by-department/surgery/acute-care-surgery-trauma-and-surgical-critical-care/michael-b-yaffe

 

See

The Genome Structure of CORONAVIRUS, SARS-CoV-2

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2020/05/04/the-genome-structure-of-coronavirus-sars-cov-2-i-awaited-for-this-article-for-60-days/

 

Imbalanced Host Response to SARS-CoV-2 Drives Development of COVID-19

Open Access Published:May 15, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.026

Highlights

  • SARS-CoV-2 infection induces low IFN-I and -III levels with a moderate ISG response
  • Strong chemokine expression is consistent across in vitroex vivo, and in vivo models
  • Low innate antiviral defenses and high pro-inflammatory cues contribute to COVID-19

Summary

Viral pandemics, such as the one caused by SARS-CoV-2, pose an imminent threat to humanity. Because of its recent emergence, there is a paucity of information regarding viral behavior and host response following SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here we offer an in-depth analysis of the transcriptional response to SARS-CoV-2 compared with other respiratory viruses. Cell and animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infection, in addition to transcriptional and serum profiling of COVID-19 patients, consistently revealed a unique and inappropriate inflammatory response. This response is defined by low levels of type I and III interferons juxtaposed to elevated chemokines and high expression of IL-6. We propose that reduced innate antiviral defenses coupled with exuberant inflammatory cytokine production are the defining and driving features of COVID-19.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords

Results

Defining the Transcriptional Response to SARS-CoV-2 Relative to Other Respiratory Viruses

To compare the transcriptional response of SARS-CoV-2 with other respiratory viruses, including MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-1, human parainfluenza virus 3 (HPIV3), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and IAV, we first chose to focus on infection in a variety of respiratory cell lines (Figure 1). To this end, we collected poly(A) RNA from infected cells and performed RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to estimate viral load. These data show that virus infection levels ranged from 0.1% to more than 50% of total RNA reads (Figure 1A).

Discussion

In the present study, we focus on defining the host response to SARS-CoV-2 and other human respiratory viruses in cell lines, primary cell cultures, ferrets, and COVID-19 patients. In general, our data show that the overall transcriptional footprint of SARS-CoV-2 infection was distinct in comparison with other highly pathogenic coronaviruses and common respiratory viruses such as IAV, HPIV3, and RSV. It is noteworthy that, despite a reduced IFN-I and -III response to SARS-CoV-2, we observed a consistent chemokine signature. One exception to this observation is the response to high-MOI infection in A549-ACE2 and Calu-3 cells, where replication was robust and an IFN-I and -III signature could be observed. In both of these examples, cells were infected at a rate to theoretically deliver two functional virions per cell in addition to any defective interfering particles within the virus stock that were not accounted for by plaque assays. Under these conditions, the threshold for PAMP may be achieved prior to the ability of the virus to evade detection through production of a viral antagonist. Alternatively, addition of multiple genomes to a single cell may disrupt the stoichiometry of viral components, which, in turn, may itself generate PAMPs that would not form otherwise. These ideas are supported by the fact that, at a low-MOI infection in A549-ACE2 cells, high levels of replication could also be achieved, but in the absence of IFN-I and -III induction. Taken together, these data suggest that, at low MOIs, the virus is not a strong inducer of the IFN-I and -III system, as opposed to conditions where the MOI is high.
Taken together, the data presented here suggest that the response to SARS-CoV-2 is imbalanced with regard to controlling virus replication versus activation of the adaptive immune response. Given this dynamic, treatments for COVID-19 have less to do with the IFN response and more to do with controlling inflammation. Because our data suggest that numerous chemokines and ILs are elevated in COVID-19 patients, future efforts should focus on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs that can be rapidly deployed and have immunomodulating properties.

SOURCE

https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)30489-X

SARS-CoV-2 ORF3b is a potent interferon antagonist whose activity is further increased by a naturally occurring elongation variant

Yoriyuki KonnoIzumi KimuraKeiya UriuMasaya FukushiTakashi IrieYoshio KoyanagiSo NakagawaKei Sato

Abstract

One of the features distinguishing SARS-CoV-2 from its more pathogenic counterpart SARS-CoV is the presence of premature stop codons in its ORF3b gene. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 ORF3b is a potent interferon antagonist, suppressing the induction of type I interferon more efficiently than its SARS-CoV ortholog. Phylogenetic analyses and functional assays revealed that SARS-CoV-2-related viruses from bats and pangolins also encode truncated ORF3b gene products with strong anti-interferon activity. Furthermore, analyses of more than 15,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences identified a natural variant, in which a longer ORF3b reading frame was reconstituted. This variant was isolated from two patients with severe disease and further increased the ability of ORF3b to suppress interferon induction. Thus, our findings not only help to explain the poor interferon response in COVID-19 patients, but also describe a possibility of the emergence of natural SARS-CoV-2 quasi-species with extended ORF3b that may exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms.

Highlights

  • ORF3b of SARS-CoV-2 and related bat and pangolin viruses is a potent IFN antagonist

  • SARS-CoV-2 ORF3b suppresses IFN induction more efficiently than SARS-CoV ortholog

  • The anti-IFN activity of ORF3b depends on the length of its C-terminus

  • An ORF3b with increased IFN antagonism was isolated from two severe COVID-19 cases

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv

 

SOURCE

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.11.088179v1

 

 

A deep dive into how the new coronavirus infects cells has found that it orchestrates a hostile takeover of their genes unlike any other known viruses do, producing what one leading scientist calls “unique” and “aberrant” changes.Recent studies show that in seizing control of genes in the human cells it invades, the virus changes how segments of DNA are read, doing so in a way that might explain why the elderly are more likely to die of Covid-19 and why antiviral drugs might not only save sick patients’ lives but also prevent severe disease if taken before infection.“It’s something I have never seen in my 20 years of” studying viruses, said virologist Benjamin tenOever of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, referring to how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, hijacks cells’ genomes.The “something” he and his colleagues saw is how SARS-CoV-2 blocks one virus-fighting set of genes but allows another set to launch, a pattern never seen with other viruses. Influenza and the original SARS virus (in the early 2000s), for instance, interfere with both arms of the body’s immune response — what tenOever dubs “call to arms” genes and “call for reinforcement” genes.The first group of genes produces interferons. These proteins, which infected cells release, are biological semaphores, signaling to neighboring cells to activate some 500 of their own genes that will slow down the virus’ ability to make millions of copies of itself if it invades them. This lasts seven to 10 days, tenOever said, controlling virus replication and thereby buying time for the second group of genes to act.This second set of genes produce their own secreted proteins, called chemokines, that emit a biochemical “come here!” alarm. When far-flung antibody-making B cells and virus-killing T cells sense the alarm, they race to its source. If all goes well, the first set of genes holds the virus at bay long enough for the lethal professional killers to arrive and start eradicating viruses.

“Most other viruses interfere with some aspect of both the call to arms and the call for reinforcements,” tenOever said. “If they didn’t, no one would ever get a viral illness”: The one-two punch would pummel any incipient infection into submission.

SARS-CoV-2, however, uniquely blocks one cellular defense but activates the other, he and his colleagues reported in a study published last week in Cell. They studied healthy human lung cells growing in lab dishes, ferrets (which the virus infects easily), and lung cells from Covid-19 patients. In all three, they found that within three days of infection, the virus induces cells’ call-for-reinforcement genes to produce cytokines. But it blocks their call-to-arms genes — the interferons that dampen the virus’ replication.

The result is essentially no brakes on the virus’s replication, but a storm of inflammatory molecules in the lungs, which is what tenOever calls an “unique” and “aberrant” consequence of how SARS-CoV-2 manipulates the genome of its target.

In another new study, scientists in Japan last week identified how SARS-CoV-2 accomplishes that genetic manipulation. Its ORF3b gene produces a protein called a transcription factor that has “strong anti-interferon activity,” Kei Sato of the University of Tokyo and colleagues found — stronger than the original SARS virus or influenza viruses. The protein basically blocks the cell from recognizing that a virus is present, in a way that prevents interferon genes from being expressed.

In fact, the Icahn School team found no interferons in the lung cells of Covid-19 patients. Without interferons, tenOever said, “there is nothing to stop the virus from replicating and festering in the lungs forever.”

That causes lung cells to emit even more “call-for-reinforcement” genes, summoning more and more immune cells. Now the lungs have macrophages and neutrophils and other immune cells “everywhere,” tenOever said, causing such runaway inflammation “that you start having inflammation that induces more inflammation.”

At the same time, unchecked viral replication kills lung cells involved in oxygen exchange. “And suddenly you’re in the hospital in severe respiratory distress,” he said.

In elderly people, as well as those with diabetes, heart disease, and other underlying conditions, the call-to-arms part of the immune system is weaker than in younger, healthier people, even before the coronavirus arrives. That reduces even further the cells’ ability to knock down virus replication with interferons, and imbalances the immune system toward the dangerous inflammatory response.

The discovery that SARS-CoV-2 strongly suppresses infected cells’ production of interferons has raised an intriguing possibility: that taking interferons might prevent severe Covid-19 or even prevent it in the first place, said Vineet Menachery of the University of Texas Medical Branch.

In a study of human cells growing in lab dishes, described in a preprint (not peer-reviewed or published in a journal yet), he and his colleagues also found that SARS-CoV-2 “prevents the vast amount” of interferon genes from turning on. But when cells growing in lab dishes received the interferon IFN-1 before exposure to the coronavirus, “the virus has a difficult time replicating.”

After a few days, the amount of virus in infected but interferon-treated cells was 1,000- to 10,000-fold lower than in infected cells not pre-treated with interferon. (The original SARS virus, in contrast, is insensitive to interferon.)

Ending the pandemic and preventing its return is assumed to require an effective vaccine to prevent infectionand antiviral drugs such as remdesivir to treat the very sick, but the genetic studies suggest a third strategy: preventive drugs.

It’s possible that treatment with so-called type-1 interferon “could stop the virus before it could get established,” Menachery said.

Giving drugs to healthy people is always a dicey proposition, since all drugs have side effects — something considered less acceptable than when a drug is used to treat an illness. “Interferon treatment is rife with complications,” Menachery warned. The various interferons, which are prescribed for hepatitis, cancers, and many other diseases, can cause flu-like symptoms.

But the risk-benefit equation might shift, both for individuals and for society, if interferons or antivirals or other medications are shown to reduce the risk of developing serious Covid-19 or even make any infection nearly asymptomatic.

Interferon “would be warning the cells the virus is coming,” Menachery said, so such pretreatment might “allow treated cells to fend off the virus better and limit its spread.” Determining that will of course require clinical trials, which are underway.

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A Series of Recently Published Papers Report the Development of SARS-CoV2 Neutralizing Antibodies and Passive Immunity toward COVID19

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

 

Passive Immunity and Treatment of Infectious Diseases

The ability of one person to pass on immunity to another person (passive immunity) is one of the chief methods we develop immunity to many antigens.  For instance, maternal antibodies are passed to the offspring in the neonatal setting as well as in a mother’s milk during breast feeding.  In the clinical setting this is achieved by transferring antibodies from one patient who has been exposed to an antigen (like a virus) to the another individual.   However, the process of purifying the most efficacious antibody as well as its mass production is limiting due to its complexity and cost and can be prohibitively long delay during a pandemic outbreak, when therapies are few and needed immediately.  Regardless, the benefits of developing neutralizing antibodies to confer passive immunity versus development of a vaccine are evident, as the former takes considerable less time than development of a safe and effective vaccine.  For a good review on the development and use of neutralizing antibodies and the use of passive immunity to treat infectious diseases please read the following review:

Margaret A. Keller1,* and E. Richard Stiehm. Passive Immunity in Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2000 Oct; 13(4): 602–614. doi: 10.1128/cmr.13.4.602-614.2000

ABSTRACT

Antibodies have been used for over a century in the prevention and treatment of infectious disease. They are used most commonly for the prevention of measles, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, varicella, rabies, and vaccinia. Although their use in the treatment of bacterial infection has largely been supplanted by antibiotics, antibodies remain a critical component of the treatment of diptheria, tetanus, and botulism. High-dose intravenous immunoglobulin can be used to treat certain viral infections in immunocompromised patients (e.g., cytomegalovirus, parvovirus B19, and enterovirus infections). Antibodies may also be of value in toxic shock syndrome, Ebola virus, and refractory staphylococcal infections. Palivizumab, the first monoclonal antibody licensed (in 1998) for an infectious disease, can prevent respiratory syncytial virus infection in high-risk infants. The development and use of additional monoclonal antibodies to key epitopes of microbial pathogens may further define protective humoral responses and lead to new approaches for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

TABLE 1

Summary of the efficacy of antibody in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases

Infection
Bacterial infections
 Respiratory infections (streptococcus, Streptococcus pneumoniaeNeisseria meningitisHaemophilus influenzae)
 Diphtheria
 Pertussis
 Tetanus
 Other clostridial infections
  C. botulinum
  C. difficile
 Staphylococcal infections
  Toxic shock syndrome
  Antibiotic resistance
  S. epidermidis in newborns
 Invasive streptococcal disease (toxic shock syndrome)
 High-risk newborns
 Shock, intensive care, and trauma
Pseudomonas infection
  Cystic Fibrosis
  Burns
Viral diseases
 Hepatitis A
 Hepatitis B
 Hepatitis C
 HIV infection
 RSV infection
 Herpesvirus infections
  CMV
  EBV
  HSV
  VZV
 Parvovirus infection
 Enterovirus infection
  In newborns
 Ebola
 Rabies
 Measles
 Rubella
 Mumps
 Tick-borne encephalitis
 Vaccinia

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A Great Explanation of Active versus Passive Immunity by Dr. John Campbell, one of the pioneers in the field of immunology:Antibodies have been used for over a century in the prevention and treatment of infectious disease. They are used most commonly for the prevention of measles, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, varicella, rabies, and vaccinia. Although their use in the treatment of bacterial infection has largely been supplanted by antibiotics, antibodies remain a critical component of the treatment of diptheria, tetanus, and botulism. High-dose intravenous immunoglobulin can be used to treat certain viral infections in immunocompromised patients (e.g., cytomegalovirus, parvovirus B19, and enterovirus infections). Antibodies may also be of value in toxic shock syndrome, Ebola virus, and refractory staphylococcal infections. Palivizumab, the first monoclonal antibody licensed (in 1998) for an infectious disease, can prevent respiratory syncytial virus infection in high-risk infants. The development and use of additional monoclonal antibodies to key epitopes of microbial pathogens may further define protective humoral responses and lead to new approaches for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

 

However, developing successful neutralizing antibodies can still be difficult but with the latest monoclonal antibody technology, as highlighted by the following papers, this process has made much more efficient.  In addition, it is not feasable to isolate antibodies from the plasma of covalescent patients in a scale that is needed for a worldwide outbreak.

A good explanation of the need can be found is Dr. Irina Robu’s post Race to develop antibody drugs for COVID-19 where:

When fighting off foreign invaders, our bodies make antibodies precisely produced for the task. The reason vaccines offer such long-lasting protection is they train the immune system to identify a pathogen, so immune cells remember and are ready to attack the virus when it appears. Monoclonal antibodies for coronavirus would take the place of the ones our bodies might produce to fight the disease. The manufactured antibodies would be infused into the body to either tamp down an existing infection, or to protect someone who has been exposed to the virus. However, these drugs are synthetic versions of the convalescent plasma treatments that rely on antibodies from people who have recovered from infection. But the engineered versions are easier to scale because they’re manufactured in rats, rather than from plasma donors.

The following papers represent the latest published work on development of therapeutic and prophylactic neutralizing antibodies to the coronavirus SARS-CoV2

1.  Cross-neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by a human monoclonal SARS-CoV antibody.

Pinto, D., Park, Y., Beltramello, M. et al. Cross-neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by a human monoclonal SARS-CoV antibody. Nature (2020).                                                                            https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2349-y

Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 is a newly emerged coronavirus responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in more than 3.7 million infections and 260,000 deaths as of 6 May 20201,2. Vaccine and therapeutic discovery efforts are paramount to curb the pandemic spread of this zoonotic virus. The SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein promotes entry into host cells and is the main target of neutralizing antibodies. Here we describe multiple monoclonal antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 S identified from memory B cells of an individual who was infected with SARS-CoV in 2003. One antibody, named S309, potently neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV pseudoviruses as well as authentic SARS-CoV-2 by engaging the S receptor-binding domain. Using cryo-electron microscopy and binding assays, we show that S309 recognizes a glycan-containing epitope that is conserved within the sarbecovirus subgenus, without competing with receptor attachment. Antibody cocktails including S309 along with other antibodies identified here further enhanced SARS-CoV-2 neutralization and may limit the emergence of neutralization-escape mutants. These results pave the way for using S309- and S309-containing antibody cocktails for prophylaxis in individuals at high risk of exposure or as a post-exposure therapy to limit or treat severe disease.

 

2.  Potent neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 identified by high-throughput single-cell sequencing of convalescent patients’ B cells

Yunlong Cao et al.  Potent neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 identified by high-throughput single-cell sequencing of convalescent patients’ B cells. Cell (2020).

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.05.025

Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic urgently needs therapeutic and prophylactic interventions. Here we report the rapid identification of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies by high-throughput single-cell RNA and VDJ sequencing of antigen-enriched B cells from 60 convalescent patients. From 8,558 antigen-binding IgG1+ clonotypes, 14 potent neutralizing antibodies were identified with the most potent one, BD-368-2, exhibiting an IC50 of 1.2 ng/mL and 15 ng/mL against pseudotyped and authentic SARS-CoV-2, respectively. BD-368-2 also displayed strong therapeutic and prophylactic efficacy in SARS-CoV-2-infected hACE2-transgenic mice. Additionally, the 3.8Å Cryo-EM structure of a neutralizing antibody in complex with the spike-ectodomain trimer revealed the antibody’s epitope overlaps with the ACE2 binding site. Moreover, we demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies could be directly selected based on similarities of their predicted CDR3H structures to those of SARS-CoV neutralizing antibodies. Altogether, we showed that human neutralizing antibodies could be efficiently discovered by high-throughput single B-cell sequencing in response to pandemic infectious diseases.

3. A human monoclonal antibody blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection

Wang, C., Li, W., Drabek, D. et al. A human monoclonal antibody blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection. Nat Commun 11, 2251 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16256-y

Abstract

The emergence of the novel human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan, China has caused a worldwide epidemic of respiratory disease (COVID-19). Vaccines and targeted therapeutics for treatment of this disease are currently lacking. Here we report a human monoclonal antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 (and SARS-CoV) in cell culture. This cross-neutralizing antibody targets a communal epitope on these viruses and may offer potential for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Extra References on Development of Neutralizing antibodies for COVID19 {Sars-CoV2} published this year (2020)  [1-4]

  1. Fan P, Chi X, Liu G, Zhang G, Chen Z, Liu Y, Fang T, Li J, Banadyga L, He S et al: Potent neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against Ebola virus isolated from vaccinated donors. mAbs 2020, 12(1):1742457.
  2. Dussupt V, Sankhala RS, Gromowski GD, Donofrio G, De La Barrera RA, Larocca RA, Zaky W, Mendez-Rivera L, Choe M, Davidson E et al: Potent Zika and dengue cross-neutralizing antibodies induced by Zika vaccination in a dengue-experienced donor. Nature medicine 2020, 26(2):228-235.
  3. Young CL, Lyons AC, Hsu WW, Vanlandingham DL, Park SL, Bilyeu AN, Ayers VB, Hettenbach SM, Zelenka AM, Cool KR et al: Protection of swine by potent neutralizing anti-Japanese encephalitis virus monoclonal antibodies derived from vaccination. Antiviral research 2020, 174:104675.
  4. Sautto GA, Kirchenbaum GA, Abreu RB, Ecker JW, Pierce SR, Kleanthous H, Ross TM: A Computationally Optimized Broadly Reactive Antigen Subtype-Specific Influenza Vaccine Strategy Elicits Unique Potent Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies against Hemagglutinin. J Immunol 2020, 204(2):375-385.

 

For More Articles on COVID-19 Please see Our Coronavirus Portal on this Open Access Scientific Journal at:

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/coronavirus-portal/

and the following Articles on  Immunity at

Race to develop antibody drugs for COVID-19
Bispecific and Trispecific Engagers: NK-T Cells and Cancer Therapy
Issues Need to be Resolved With ImmunoModulatory Therapies: NK cells, mAbs, and adoptive T cells
Antibody-bound Viral Antigens

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Actemra, immunosuppressive which was designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis but also approved in 2017 to treat cytokine storms in cancer patients SAVED the sickest of all COVID-19 patients

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Emergency room doctor, near death with coronavirus, saved with experimental treatment

Soon after being admitted to his own hospital with a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, he was placed on a ventilator. Five days after that, his lungs and kidneys were failing, his heart was in trouble, and doctors figured he had a day or so to live.

He owes his survival to an elite team of doctors who tried an experimental treatment pioneered in China and used on the sickest of all COVID-19 patients.

Lessons from his dramatic recovery could help doctors worldwide treat other extremely ill COVID-19 patients.

Based on the astronomical level of inflammation in his body and reports written by Chinese and Italian physicians who had treated the sickest COVID-19 patients, the doctors came to believe that it was not the disease itself killing him but his own immune system.

It had gone haywire and began to attack itself — a syndrome known as a “cytokine storm.”

The immune system normally uses proteins called cytokines as weapons in fighting a disease. For unknown reasons in some COVID-19 patients, the immune system first fails to respond quickly enough and then floods the body with cytokines, destroying blood vessels and filling the lungs with fluid.

Dr. Matt Hartman, a cardiologist, said that after four days on the immunosuppressive drug, supplemented by high-dose vitamin C and other therapies, the level of oxygen in Padgett’s blood improved dramatically. On March 23, doctors were able to take him off life support.

Four days later, they removed his breathing tube. He slowly came out of his sedated coma, at first imagining that he was in the top floor of the Space Needle converted to a COVID ward.

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Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Effective humoral immune responses to infection and immunization are defined by high-affinity antibodies generated as a result of B cell differentiation and selection that occurs within germinal centers (GC). Within the GC, B cells undergo affinity maturation, an iterative and competitive process wherein B cells mutate their immunoglobulin genes (somatic hypermutation) and undergo clonal selection by competing for T cell help. Balancing the decision to remain within the GC and continue participating in affinity maturation or to exit the GC as a plasma cell (PC) or memory B cell (MBC) is critical for achieving optimal antibody avidity, antibody quantity, and establishing immunological memory in response to immunization or infection. Humoral immune responses during chronic infections are often dysregulated and characterized by hypergammaglobulinemia, decreased affinity maturation, and delayed development of neutralizing antibodies. Previous studies have suggested that poor antibody quality is in part due to deletion of B cells prior to establishment of the GC response.

 

In fact the impact of chronic infections on B cell fate decisions in the GC remains poorly understood. To address this question, researchers used single-cell transcriptional profiling of virus-specific GC B cells to test the hypothesis that chronic viral infection disrupted GC B cell fate decisions leading to suboptimal humoral immunity. These studies revealed a critical GC differentiation checkpoint that is disrupted by chronic infection, specifically at the point of dark zone re-entry. During chronic viral infection, virus-specific GC B cells were shunted towards terminal plasma cell (PC) or memory B cell (MBC) fates at the expense of continued participation in the GC. Early GC exit was associated with decreased B cell mutational burden and antibody quality. Persisting antigen and inflammation independently drove facets of dysregulation, with a key role for inflammation in directing premature terminal GC B cell differentiation and GC exit. Thus, the present research defines GC defects during chronic viral infection and identify a critical GC checkpoint that is short-circuited, preventing optimal maturation of humoral immunity.

 

Together, these studies identify a key GC B cell differentiation checkpoint that is dysregulated during chronic infection. Further, it was found that the chronic inflammatory environment, rather than persistent antigen, is sufficient to drive altered GC B cell differentiation during chronic infection even against unrelated antigens. However, the data also indicate that inflammatory circuits are likely linked to perception of antigen stimulation. Nevertheless, this study reveals a B cell-intrinsic program of transcriptional skewing in chronic viral infection that results in shunting out of the cyclic GC B cell process and early GC exit with consequences for antibody quality and hypergammaglobulinemia. These findings have implications for vaccination in individuals with pre-existing chronic infections where antibody responses are often ineffective and suggest that modulation of inflammatory pathways may be therapeutically useful to overcome impaired humoral immunity and foster affinity maturation during chronic viral infections.

 

References:

 

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/849844v1

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25656706

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27653600

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26912368

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26799208

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23001146

 

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TWEETS by @pharma_BI and @AVIVA1950 at #IESYMPOSIUM – @kochinstitute 2019 #Immune #Engineering #Symposium, 1/28/2019 – 1/29/2019

 

Real Time Press Coverage: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

eProceedings for Day 1 and Day 2

LIVE Day One – Koch Institute 2019 Immune Engineering Symposium, January 28, 2019, Kresge Auditorium, MIT

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/01/28/live-day-one-koch-institute-2019-immune-engineering-symposium-january-28-2019-kresge-auditorium-mit/

 

LIVE Day Two – Koch Institute 2019 Immune Engineering Symposium, January 29, 2019, Kresge Auditorium, MIT

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2019/01/29/live-day-two-koch-institute-2019-immune-engineering-symposium-january-29-2019-kresge-auditorium-mit/

 

 

  1. AMAZING Conference I covered in Real Time

  2. Aviv Regev Melanoma: malignant cells with resistance in cold niches in situ cells express the resistance program pre-treatment: resistance UP – cold Predict checkpoint immunotherapy outcomes CDK4/6 abemaciclib in cell lines

  3. Aviv Regev, a cell-cell interactions from variations across individuals Most UC-risk genes are cell type specificVariation – epithelial cell signature – organize US GWAS into cell type spec

  4. Diane Mathis Age-dependent Treg and mSC changes – Linear with increase in age Sex-dependent Treg and mSC changes – Female Treg loss in cases of Obesity leading to fibrosis Treg keep IL-33-Producing mSCs under rein Lean tissue/Obese tissue

  5. Martin LaFleur Loss of Ptpn2 enhances CD8+ T cell responses to LCMV and Tumors PTpn2 deletion in the immune system enhanced tumor immunity CHIME enables in vivo screening

  6. Alex Shalek Identifying and rationally modulating cellular drivers of enhanced immunity T Cells, Clusters Expression of Peak and Memory Immunotherapy- Identifying Dendritic cells enhanced in HIV-1 Elite Controllers

  7.   Retweeted

    Onward: our own Michael Birnbaum, who assures us that if you feel like you’re an immunoengineer, then you ARE one!

  8. Glenn Dranoff Adenosine level in blood or tissue very difficult to measure in blood even more than in tissue – NIR178 + PDR 001 Monotherapy (NIR178) combine with PD receptor blockage (PDR) show benefit A alone vs A+B in Clinical trial

  9. Glenn Dranoff PD-L1 blockade elicits responses in some patients: soft part sarcoma LAG-3 combined with PD-1 – human peripheral blood tumor TIM-3 key regulator of T cell and Myeloid cell function: correlates in the TCGA DB myeloid

  10. Glenn Dranoff Institute for Biomedical Research of Neurologic toxicities of CART t IL-6 activation AML – complete response – weekly dose of XmAb CD123X CD3 bispecific antibody anti tumor effect

  11. of protective HLA-DR4 effects outside of “peptide anchor” residues Class I MHC – HLA-E down regulate T and NK cells Receptor Binding: Positional preferences noted for NKG2A

  12. Yvonne Chen Activation of t Cell use CAR t Engineer CAR-T to respond to soluble form of antigens: CD19 CAR Responds to soluble CD19 GFP MCAR responds to Dimeric GFP “Tumor microenvironment is a scary place”

  13. Yvonne Chen Do we need a ligand to be a dimers? Co-expressed second-generation TGF-beta signaling

  14. Yvonne Chen “Engineering smarter and stronger T cells for cancer immunotherapy” OR-Gate cause no relapse – Probing limits of modularity in CAR Design Bispecific CARs are superior to DualCAR: One vs DualCAR (some remained single CAR)

  15.   Retweeted

    Ending the 1st session is Cathy Wu of detailing some amazing work on vaccination strategies for melanoma and glioblastoma patients. They use long peptides engineered from tumor sequencing data.

  16.   Retweeted

    Some fancy imaging: Duggan gives a nice demo of how dSTORM imaging works using a micropatterend image of Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology! yay!

  17.   Retweeted

    Lots of interesting talks in the second session of the – effects of lymphoangiogenesis on anti-tumor immune responses, nanoparticle based strategies to improve bNAbs titers/affinity for HIV therapy, and IAPi cancer immunotherapy

  18.   Retweeted

    Looking forward to another day of the . One more highlight from yesterday – from our own lab showcased her work developing cytokine fusions that bind to collagen, boosting efficacy while drastically reducing toxicities

  19.   Retweeted

    Members of our cell therapy team were down the street today at neighboring for the presented by .

  20.   Retweeted

    He could have fooled me that he is, in fact, an immunologist!

  21.  
  22.   Retweeted

    Come and say Hi! ACIR will be back tomorrow at the Immune Engineering Symposium at MIT. Learn more at . . And stay tuned to read our summary of the talks on Feb 6.

  23. Facundo Batista @MGH # in BG18 Germline Heavy CHain (BG18-gH) High-mannose patch – mice exhibit normal B cell development B cells from naive human germline BG18-gH bind to GT2 immunogen

  24. Preeti Sharma, U Illinois T cell receptor and CAR-T engineering TCR engineering for Targeting glycosylated cancer antigens Nornal glycosylation vs Aberrant Engineering 237-CARs libraries with conjugated (Tn-OTS8) against Tn-antigend In vitro

  25. Bryan Bryson Loss of polarization potential: scRNAseq reveals transcriptional differences Thioredoxin facilitates immune response to Mtb is a marker of an inflammatory macrophage state functional spectrum of human microphages

  26. Bryan Bryson macrophage axis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Building “libraries” – surface marker analysis of Microphages Polarized macrophages are functionally different quant and qual differences History of GM-CSF suppresses IL-10

  27. Jamie Spangler John Hopkins University “Reprogramming anti-cancer immunity RESPONSE through molecular engineering” De novo IL-2 potetiator in therapeutic superior to the natural cytokine by molecular engineering mimicking other cytokines

  28. Jamie Spangler JES6-1 Immunocytokine – inhibiting melanoma Engineering a Treg cell-biased immunocytokine double mutant immunocytokine shows enhanced IL-2Ralpha exchange Affinity De Novo design of a hyper-stable, effector biased IL-2

  29. , Volume Five: in of Cardiovascular Diseases. On com since 12/23/2018

  30. Michael Dustin ESCRT pathway associated with synaptic ectosomes Locatization, Microscopy Cytotoxic T cell granules CTLs release extracellular vescicles similar to T Helper with perforin and granzyme – CTL vesicles kill targets

  31. Michael Dustin Delivery of T cell Effector function through extracellular vesicles Synaptic ectosome biogenisis Model: T cells: DOpamine cascade in germinal cell delivered to synaptic cleft – Effector CD40 – Transfer is cooperative

  32. Michael Dustin Delivery of T cell Effector function through extracellular vesicles Laterally mobile ligands track receptor interaction ICAM-1 Signaling of synapse – Sustain signaling by transient in microclusters TCR related Invadipodia

  33. Mikael Pittet @MGH Myeloid Cells in Cancer Indirect mechanism AFTER a-PD-1 Treatment IFN-gamma Sensing Fosters IL-12 & therapeutic Responses aPD-1-Mediated Activation of Tumor Immunity – Direct activation and the ‘Licensing’ Model

  34. Stefani Spranger KI Response to checkpoint blockade Non-T cell-inflamed – is LACK OF T CELL INFILTRATION Tumor CD103 dendritic cells – Tumor-residing Batf3-drivenCD103 Tumor-intrinsic Beta-catenin mediates lack of T cell infiltration

  35. Max Krummel Gene expression association between two genes: and numbers are tightly linked to response to checkpoint blockage IMMUNE “ACCOMODATION” ARCHYTYPES: MYELOID TUNING OF ARCHITYPES Myeloid function and composition

  36. Noor Momin, MIT Lumican-cytokines improve control of distant lesions – Lumican-fusion potentiates systemic anti-tumor immunity

    Translate Tweet

  37. Noor Momin, MIT Lumican fusion to IL-2 improves treatment efficacy reduce toxicity – Anti-TAA mAb – TA99 vs IL-2 Best efficacy and least toxicity in Lumican-MSA-IL-2 vs MSA-IL2 Lumican synergy with CAR-T

  38.   Retweeted

    excited to attend the immune engineering symposium this week! find me there to chat about and whether your paper could be a good fit for us! 🦠🧬🔬🧫📖

  39.   Retweeted

    Bob Schreiber and Tyler Jacks kicked off the with 2 great talks on the role of Class I and Class II neo-Ag in tumor immunogenicity and how the tumor microenvironment alters T cell responsiveness to tumors in vivo

  40.   Retweeted

    Scott Wilson from gave a fantastic talk on glycopolymer conjugation to antigens to improve trafficking to HAPCs and enhanced tolerization in autoimmunity models. Excited to learn more about his work at his faculty talk!

  41. AMAZING Symposinm

  42.   Retweeted

    Immune Engineering Symposium at MIT is underway!

  43.   Retweeted

    ACIR is excited to be covering the Immune Engineering Symposium at MIT on January 28-29. Learn more at .

  44. Tyler Jacks talk was outstanding, Needs be delivered A@TED TALKs, needs become contents in the curriculum of Cell Biology graduate seminar as an Online class. BRAVO

  45.   Retweeted

    Here we go!! Today and tomorrow the tippity top immunologists converge at

  46.   Retweeted

    Exciting start to this year’s Immune Engineering Symposium put on by at . A few highlights from the first section…

  47. Stephanie Dougan (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) Dept. Virology IAPi outperforms checkpoint blockade in T cell cold tumors reduction of tumor burden gencitabine cross-presenting DCs and CD8 T cells – T cell low 6694c2

  48. Darrell Irvine (MIT, Koch Institute; HHMI) Engineering follicle delivery through synthetic glycans: eOD-60mer nanoparticles vs Ferritin-trimer 8-mer (density dependent)

  49. Darrell Irvine (MIT, Koch Institute; HHMI) GC targeting is dependent on complement component CIQ – activation: Mannose-binding lectins recognize eOD-60mer but not eOD monomer or trimers

  50. Melody Swartz (University of Chicago) Lymphangiogenesis attractive to Native T cells, in VEGF-C tumors T cell homing inhibitors vs block T cell egress inhibitors – Immunotherapy induces T cell killing

  51. Cathy Wu @MGH breakthrough for Brain Tumor based neoantigen-specific T cell at intracranial site Single cells brain tissue vs single cells from neoantigen specific T cells – intratumoral neoantigen-specific T cells: mutARGAP35-spacific

  52. Cathy Wu (Massachusetts General Hospital) – CoFounder of NEON Enduring complete radiographic responses after + alpha-PD-1 treatment (anti-PD-1) NeoVax vs IVAC Mutanome for melanoma and Glioblastoma clinical trials

  53. , U of Chicago IV INJECTION: OVAALBUMIN OVA-P(GALINAC), P(GLCNAC), SUPRESS T CELL RESPONSE Abate T cells response – Reduced cytokine production & increased -regs

  54. Interrogating markers of T cell dysfunction – chance biology of cells by CRISPR – EGR2 at 2 weeks dysfuntioning is reduced presence of EDR2 mutant class plays role in cell metabolism cell becomes functional regulator CD8 T cell

  55. Bob Schreiber (Wash University of St. Louis) Optimal CD8+ T cells mediated to T3 require CD4+ T help

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LIVE Day Two – Koch Institute 2019 Immune Engineering Symposium, January 29, 2019, Kresge Auditorium, MIT

 

Real Time Press Coverage: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

#IESYMPOSIUM @pharma_BI @AVIVA1950

 

MISSION The mission of the Koch Institute (KI) is to apply the tools of science and technology to improve the way cancer is detected, monitored, treated and prevented.

APPROACH We bring together scientists and engineers – in collaboration with clinicians and industry partners – to solve the most intractable problems in cancer. Leveraging MIT’s strengths in technology, the life sciences and interdisciplinary research, the KI is pursuing scientific excellence while also directly promoting innovative ways to diagnose, monitor, and treat cancer through advanced technology.

HISTORY The Koch Institute facility was made possible through a $100 million gift from MIT alumnus David H. Koch. Our new building opened in March 2011, coinciding with MIT’s 150th anniversary. Our community has grown out of the MIT Center for Cancer Research (CCR), which was founded in 1974 by Nobel Laureate and MIT Professor Salvador Luria, and is one of seven National Cancer Institute-designated basic (non-clinical) research centers in the U.S.

https://ki.mit.edu/files/ki/cfile/news/presskit/KI_Fact_Sheet_-_February_2018.pdf

January 28-29, 2019
Kresge Auditorium, MIT

Biological, chemical, and materials engineers are engaged at the forefront of immunology research. At their disposal is an analytical toolkit honed to solve problems in the petrochemical and materials industries, which share the presence of complex reaction networks, and convective and diffusive molecular transport. Powerful synthetic capabilities have also been crafted: binding proteins can be engineered with effectively arbitrary specificity and affinity, and multifunctional nanoparticles and gels have been designed to interact in highly specific fashions with cells and tissues. Fearless pursuit of knowledge and solutions across disciplinary boundaries characterizes this nascent discipline of immune engineering, synergizing with immunologists and clinicians to put immunotherapy into practice.

The 2019 symposium will include two poster sessions and four abstract-selected talks. Abstracts should be uploaded on the registration page. Abstract submission deadline is November 15, 2018. Registration closes December 14.

Featuring on Day 2, 1/29, 2019:

Session IV

Moderator: Michael Birnbaum, Koch Institute, MIT

 

Jamie Spangler (John Hopkins University)

“Reprogramming anti-cancer immunity through molecular engineering”

  • Reprogramming anti-cancer immunity response through molecular engineering”
  • Cytokines induce receptor dimerization
  • Clinical Use of cytokines: Pleiotropy, expression and stability isssues
  • poor pharmacological properties
  • cytokine therapy: New de novo protein using computational methods
  • IL-2 signals through a dimeric nad a trimeric receptor complex
  • IL-2 pleiotropy hinders its therapeutic efficacy
  • IL-2 activate immunosuppression
  • potentiation of cytokine activity by anti-IL-2 antibody selectivity
  • Cytokine binding – Antibodies compete with IL-2 receptor subunits
  • IL-2Ralpha, IL-2 Rbeta: S4B6 mimickry of alpha allosterically enhances beta
  • stimulates both Effectors and T-regs
  • JES6-1 immunocomplex selectively stimulates IL-2Ralpha cells
  • Engineering translational single-chain cytokine/antibody fusion
  • Engineering an EFFECTOR cell-based immunocytokine (602)
  • JES6-1 Immunocytokine – inhibiting melanoma
  • Engineering a Treg cell-biased immunocytokine
  • double mutant immunocytokine shows enhanced IL-2Ralpha exchange
  • Affinity  – molecular eng De Novo design of a hyper-stable, effector biased IL-2
  • De novo IL-2 poteniator in therapeutic superior to the natural cytokine by molecular engineering

 

Bryan Bryson (MIT, Department of Biological Engineering)

“Exploiting the macrophage axis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection”

  • TB  – who develop Active and why?
  • Immunological life cycle of Mtb
  • Global disease Mtb infection outcome varies within individual host
  • lesion are found by single bacteria
  • What are the cellular players in immune success
  • MACROPHAGES – molecular signals enhancing Mtb control of macrophages
  • modeling the host- macrophages are plastic and polarize
  • Building “libraries” – surface marker analysis of Microphages
  • Polarized macrophages are functionally different
  • quant and qual differences
  • History of GM-CSF suppresses IL-10
  • Loss of polarization potential: scRNAseq reveals transcriptional differences Thioredoxin facilitates immune response to Mtb is a marker of an inflammatory macrophage state
  • functional spectrum of human microphages

 

Facundo Batista (Ragon Institute (HIV Research) @MGH, MIT and Harvard)

“Vaccine evaluation in rapidly produced custom humanized mouse models”

  • Effective B cell activation requires 2 signals Antigen and binding to T cell
  • VDJ UCA (Unmutated common Ancestor)
  • B Cell Receptor (BCR) co-receptors and cytoskeleton
  • 44% in Women age 24-44
  • Prototype HIV broadly neutralizing Antibodies (bnAb) do not bind to Env protein – Immunogen design and validation
  • Target Identification –>> Immunogen Design –>>> Immunogen Validation
  • Human Ig Knock-ins [Light variable 5′ chain length vs 7′ length] decisive to inform immunogenicity – One-Step CRISPR approach does not require ES cell work
  • Proof of principle with BG18 Germline Heavy Chain (BG18-gH) High-mannose patch – mice exhibit normal B cell development
  • B cells from naive human germline BG18-gH bind to GT2 immunogen
  • GT2-nanoparticle 9NP) induces robust BG18-gH-500 cells: CD45.2 GL7 IgD
  • Interrogate immune response for HIV, Malaria, Zika, Flu

 

Session V

Moderator: Dane Wittrup, Koch Institute, MIT

 

Yvonne Chen (University of California, Los Angeles)

“Engineering smarter and stronger T cells for cancer immunotherapy”

  • Adoptive T-Cell Therapy
  • Tx for Leukemia – Tumor Antigen escape fro CAR T-cell therapy, CD19/CD20 OR-Gate CARs for prevention of antigen escape – 15 month of development
  • reduce probability of antigen escape due to two antigen CD19/CD20: Probing limits of modularity in CAR design
  • In vivo model: 75% wild type & 25% CD19 – relapse occur in the long term, early vs late vs no relapse: Tx with CAR t had no relapse
  • OR-Gate cause no relapse – Probing limits of modularity in CAR Design
  • Bispecific CARs are superior to DualCAR: One vs DualCAR (some remained single CAR)
  • Bispecific CARs exhibit superior antigen-stimulation capacity – OR-Gate CAR Outperforms Single-Input CARs
  • Lymphoma and Leukemia are 10% of all Cancers
  • TGF-gamma Rewiring T Cell Response
  • Activation of t Cell use CAR t
  • Engineer CAR-T to respond to soluble form of antigens: CD19 CAR Responds to soluble CD19
  • GFP MCAR responds to Dimeric GFP
  • “Tumor microenvironment is a scary place”

 

Michael Birnbaum, MIT, Koch Institute

“A repertoire of protective tumor immunity”

  • Decoding T and NK cell recognition – understanding immune recognition and signaling function for reprogramming the Immune system – Neoantigen vaccine pipeline
  • Personal neoantigen vax improve immunotherapy
  • CLASS I and CLASS II epitomes: MHC prediction performance – more accurate for CLASS I HLA polymorphisms
  • Immune Epitope DB and Analysis Resources 448,630 Peptide Epitomes
  • B cell assay: 413,000
  • T cell assays: 313,000
  • peptide sequence relationships – naturally occurring antigen predictions
  • Cleavable pMHC yeast display to determine peptide loading
  • HLA-DR4 libraries enrich a large collection of peptides: 96000 1/5 of entire peptide DB: Enriched motif, prediction algorithms
  • Algorithmic false negatives vs peptide concentration(nM)
  • HLA-DR4 effects outside of “peptide anchor” residues
  • Class I MHC – HLA-E down regulate T and NK cells
  • Receptor Binding: Positional preferences noted for NKG2A
  • Training data vs Algorithmic approach
  • Globally oriented –
  • TCR sequencing – TCR pairings – Multicell-per-well sequencing
  • MAD-HYPE algorithm

 

Glenn Dranoff, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research

“Mechnism of protective tumor immunity”

  • Immune checkpoint blockade elicit 10 years survival in melanoma
  • PD-1 blockage esophageal carcinoma effective showing survival
  • renal cells, bladder
  • 20% benefit from Immuno therapy – CTLA-4 toxicity is high small % patient benefit
  • PD-1/PD-L1 anti CLTA-4 mAbs
  • solid tumors challenging
  • Requirement for effective IO – Tumor receptivity to immune infiltration
  • modulation
  • Novartis IO in the clinic: multiple tumor immune escape – complexity
  • Approach: focus trials aimed to learn immune response complementation groups manipulate into response
  • work with Engineering for delivery nimble to generate new data
  • Translational research in the clinic
  • CAR T cells
  • B cell malignancies are ideal targets for CAR T cells
  • Relapsed/Refractory – pediatric ALL refractory advanced to no relapse – complete response 80% – 6 years response
  • Antigen loss CD19 – targeting with combinatorial approach to avoid relapse
  • Large B cell lymphoma
  • Neurologic toxicities of CART t IL-6 activation
  • AML – complete response – weekly dose of XmAb CD123X CD3 bispecific antibody – protein engineering – anti tumor effect in refractory Leukemia
  • anaplastic thyroid carcinoma
  • PD-L1 blockade elicits responses in some patients: soft part sarcoma
  • LAG-3 combined with PD-1 – human peripheral blood tumor
  • TIM-3 key regulator of T cell and Myeloid cell function: correlates in the TCGA DB with myeloid
  • Adenosine level in blood or tissue very difficult to measure in blood even more than in tissue – NIR178 + PDR 001 Mono-therapy (NIR178) combine with PD receptor blockage (PDR) – shows benefit
  • A alone vs A+B in Clinical trial

 

Session VI

Moderator: Stefani Spranger, Koch Institute, MIT

 

Tim Springer, Boston Children’s Hospital, HMS

The Milieu Model for TGF-Betta Activation”

  • Protein Science – Genomics with Protein
  • Antibody Initiative – new type of antibodies not a monoclonal antibody – a different type
  • Pro TGF-beta
  • TGF-beta – not a typical cytokine it is a prodamine for Mature growth factor — 33 genes mono and heterogeneous dimers
  • Latent TGF-Beta1 crystal structure: prodomaine shields the Growth Factor
  • Mechanism od activation of pro-TGF-beta – integrin alphaVBeta 6: pro-beta1:2
  • Simulation in vivo: actin cytoskeleton cytoplasmic domain
  • LIFE CYCLE OF PROTGF-BETA
  • LRRC33 – GARP class relative
  • microglia and macrophage – link TGF-beta phenotype knock outs
  • TGF compartments of microglia separated myelination loss
  • Inhibition of TGF-beta enhances immune checkpoint
  • Loss of LRRC33-dependent TGF-beta signaling would counteract immune suppression in tumor and in slow tumor growth
  • lung metastasis of B16 in melanoma
  • immuno-histo-chemistry: LRRC33 tumor-associated myeloid cell lack cell surface proTGF-beta1
  • blocking antibodies LRRC33 mitigate toxicity on PD-L1 treatment

 

Alex Shalek, MIT, Department of Chemistry, Koch Institute

“Identifying and rationally modulating cellular drivers of enhanced immunity”

  • Balance in the Immune system
  • Profiling Granulomas  using Seq-Well 2.0
  • lung tissue in South Africa of TB patients
  • Granulomas, linking cell type abundance with burden
  • Exploring T cells Phenotypes
  • Cytotoxic & Effector ST@+ Regulatory
  • Vaccine against TB – 19% effective, only 0 IV BCG vaccination can elicit sterilizing Immunity
  • Profiling cellular response to vaccination
  • T cell gene modules across vaccine routes
  • T Cells, Clusters
  • Expression of Peak and Memory
  • Immunotherapy- Identifying Dendritic cells enhanced in HIV-1 Elite Controllers
  • moving from Observing to Engineering
  • Cellular signature: NK-kB Signaling
  • Identifying and testing Cellular Correlates of TB Protection
  • Beyond Biology: Translation research: Data sets: dosen

 

Session VII

Moderator: Stefani Spranger, Koch Institute, MIT

 

Diane Mathis, Harvard Medical School

“Tissue T-regs”

  • T reg populations in Lymphoid Non–lymphoid Tissues
  • 2009 – Treg tissue homeostasis status – sensitivity to insulin, 5-15% CD4+ T compartment
  •  transcriptome
  • expanded repertoires TCRs
  • viceral adipose tissue (VAT) –  Insulin
  • Dependencies: Taget IL-33 its I/1r/1 – encoded Receptor ST2
  • VAT up-regulate I/1r/1:ST2 Signaling
  • IL-33 – CD45 negative CD31 negative
  • mSC Production of IL-33 is Important to Treg
  • The mesenchyme develops into the tissues of the lymphatic and circulatory systems, as well as the musculoskeletal system. This latter system is characterized as connective tissues throughout the body, such as bone, muscle and cartilage. A malignant cancer of mesenchymal cells is a type of sarcoma.
  • mesenchymal Stromal Cells – mSC – some not all, VAT mSCs express IL-33
  • development of a mAb Panel for sorting the mSC Subtypes
  • Deeper transcriptome for Phenotyping of VAT mSCs
  • physiologic & pathologic perturbation
  1. Age-dependent Treg and mSC changes – Linear with increase in age
  2. Sex-dependent Treg and mSC changes – Female
  • Treg loss in cases of Obesity leading to fibrosis
  • Treg keep IL-33-Producing mSCs under rein
  • Lean tissue vs Obese tissue
  • Aged mice show poor skeletal muscle repair – it is reverses by IL-33 Injection
  • Immuno-response: target tissues systemic T reg
  • Treg and mSC

 

Aviv Regev, Broad Institute; Koch Institute

“Cell atlases as roadmaps to understand Cancer”

  • Colon disease UC – genetic underlining risk, – A single cell atlas of healthy and UC colonic mucosa inflammed and non-inflammed: Epithelial, stromal, Immune – fibroblast not observed in UC colon IAFs; IL13RA2 + IL11
  • Anti TNF responders – epithelial cells
  • Anti TNF non-responders – inflammatory monocytes fibroblasts
  • RESISTANCE to anti-cancer therapy: OSM (Inflammatory monocytes-OSMR (IAF)
  • cell-cell interactions from variations across individuals
  • Most UC-risk genes are cell type specific
  • Variation within a cell type helps predict GWAS gene functions – epithelial cell signature – organize US GWAS into cell type specific – genes in associated regions: UC and IBD

 

  • Melanoma
  • malignant cells with resistance in cold niches in situ
  • cells express the resistance program pre-treatment: resistance UP – cold
  • Predict checkpoint immunotherapy outcomes
  • CDK4/6 – computational search predict as program regulators: abemaciclib in cell lines

 

 

 

Poster Presenters

Preeti Sharma, University of Illinois

T cell receptor and CAR-T engineering – T cell therapy

  • TCR Complex: Vbeta Cbeta P2A Valpha Calpha
  • CAR-T Aga2 HA scTCR/scFv c-myc
  • Directed elovution to isolate optimal TCR or CAR
  • Eng TCR and CARt cell therapy
  • Use of TCRs against pep/MHC allows targeting a n array of cancer antigens
  • TCRs are isolated from T cell clones
  • Conventional TCR identification method vs In Vitro TCR Eng directed evolution
  • T1 and RD1 TCRs drive activity against MART-1 in CD4+ T cells
  • CD8+
  • TCR engineering for Targeting glycosylated cancer antigens
  • Normal glycosylation vs Aberrant glycosylation
  • Engineering 237-CARs  libraries with conjugated (Tn-OTS8) against multiple human Tn-antigend
  • In vitro engineering: broaden specificity to multiple peptide backbone
  • CAR engineering collaborations with U Chicago, U Wash, UPenn, Copenhagen, Germany

 

Martin LaFleur, HMS

CRISPR- Cas9 Bone marrow stem cells for Cancer Immunotherapy

  • CHIME: CHimeric IMmune Editing system
  • sgRNA-Vex
  • CHIME can be used to KO genes in multiple immune lineages
  • identify T cell intrinsic effects in the LCMV model Spleen-depleted, Spleen enhanced
  • Loss of Ptpn2 enhances CD8+ T cell responses to LCMV and Tumors
  • Ptpn2 deletion in the immune system enhanced tumor immunity
  • CHIME enables in vivo screening

 

 

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LIVE Day One – Koch Institute 2019 Immune Engineering Symposium, January 28, 2019, Kresge Auditorium, MIT

 

Real Time Press Coverage: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

#IESYMPOSIUM @pharma_BI @AVIVA1950

MISSION The mission of the Koch Institute (KI) is to apply the tools of science and technology to improve the way cancer is detected, monitored, treated and prevented.

APPROACH We bring together scientists and engineers – in collaboration with clinicians and industry partners – to solve the most intractable problems in cancer. Leveraging MIT’s strengths in technology, the life sciences and interdisciplinary research, the KI is pursuing scientific excellence while also directly promoting innovative ways to diagnose, monitor, and treat cancer through advanced technology.

HISTORY The Koch Institute facility was made possible through a $100 million gift from MIT alumnus David H. Koch. Our new building opened in March 2011, coinciding with MIT’s 150th anniversary. Our community has grown out of the MIT Center for Cancer Research (CCR), which was founded in 1974 by Nobel Laureate and MIT Professor Salvador Luria, and is one of seven National Cancer Institute-designated basic (non-clinical) research centers in the U.S.

https://ki.mit.edu/files/ki/cfile/news/presskit/KI_Fact_Sheet_-_February_2018.pdf

January 28-29, 2019
Kresge Auditorium, MIT

Biological, chemical, and materials engineers are engaged at the forefront of immunology research. At their disposal is an analytical toolkit honed to solve problems in the petrochemical and materials industries, which share the presence of complex reaction networks, and convective and diffusive molecular transport. Powerful synthetic capabilities have also been crafted: binding proteins can be engineered with effectively arbitrary specificity and affinity, and multifunctional nanoparticles and gels have been designed to interact in highly specific fashions with cells and tissues. Fearless pursuit of knowledge and solutions across disciplinary boundaries characterizes this nascent discipline of immune engineering, synergizing with immunologists and clinicians to put immunotherapy into practice.

The 2019 symposium will include two poster sessions and four abstract-selected talks. Abstracts should be uploaded on the registration page. Abstract submission deadline is November 15, 2018. Registration closes December 14.

Featuring on Day 1, 1/28, 2019:

Dane Wittrup,, Koch Institute, MIT

IMMUNE BIOLOGY,

 

7 — Stephanie Dougan (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) HMS, Department of Virology

  • Shared antigens may be the only option for many patients
  • Pathogens, self-antigens, tumor neoantigens, shared coexpressed
  • T cell affinity low or high TCRs – Augment priming
  • Radiation plus anti-CD40 induces vigorous T cell priming
  • TNF family co-stimulatory receptor signaling can be mimicked by IAP antagonists
  • SMACK – c-IAP12 – IAPi enhances function of many immune cells: B Cells, Dendritic cells,
  • Pancreatic cancer cell immunologic memory : Primary challenge, re-challenge
  • IAPi outperforms checkpoint blockade in T cell cold tumors
  • reduction of tumor burden gencitabine cross-presenting DCs and CD8 T cells – T cell low 6694c2
  • IAPi is a T cell-dependent immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer: MHC class I and IFN gemma sensing by tumor cells are critical for endogenous anti-tumor immunity and response to checkpoint blockade
  • T cells are catalytic, they can kill some tumors not all – Genes deleted in tumor cells
  • Intratumoral phagocytes are critical for endogenous: IAP antagonism increases phagocytosis in vivo
  • Model: T cells provide antigen specificity for sustained innate immune response
  • Antigen and adjuvants

12 — Michael Dustin (University of Oxford)

Delivery of T cell Effector function through extracellular vesicles

  • Laterally mobile ligands track receptor interaction
  • ICAM-1
  • Signaling of synapse – Sustain signaling by transient in microclusters TCR related to Invadipodia
  • Synaptic ectosome biogenisis Model: T cells: DOpamine cascade in germinal cell delivered to synaptic cleft – Effector CD40 – Transfer is cooperative
  • Synaptic ectosome composition
  • ESCRT pathway associated with synaptic ectosomes
  • Locatization, Microscopy (STORM, PALM, GSD)
  • Updated Model T cells Exosome transport Cytotoxic T cell granules CTLs release extracellular vescicles similar to T Helper with perforin and granzyme – CTL vesicles kill targets

6 — Darrell Irvine (MIT, Koch Institute; HHMI)

Innate immune recognition of glycosylation in nano particle vaccines

  • HIV Vaccines: Why is it such a challenge
  • HIV vaccine – Immunogen design – CD4 binding site-targeting
  • rational for nanoparticles forms of env immunogens
  • eOD-60mer nanoparticles vs Ferritin-trimer 8-mer
  • Nanoparticle delivery increases anti-Env titers substantially
  • Nanoparticles delivery accelerate the lymphatic system drainage
  • Immunogens drives to lymph nodes: nanoparticles changes environment in the lumph nodes
  • kidney medula – lymphatic system drainage
  • Liposome conjugate allows SOSIP – the germinal center:m training ground for immune response
  • nanoparticle – mechanism of germinal center targeting
  • GC targeting is dependent on complement component CIQ – activation: Mannose-binding lectins recognize eOD-60mer but not eOD monomer or trimers
  • Engineering follicle delivery through synthetic glycans: eOD-60mer nanoparticles vs Ferritin-trimer 8-mer (density dependent)
  • SUMMARY – HIV env nanopartices activate a bridge between innate and adaptive immunity
  • Multiple formulations of nanoparticles shows rapid immune response, comparison with influenza vaccine

 

2 — Tyler Jacks (MIT, Koch Institute; HHMI) – Tumor Biology Lab

Exploring tumor-immune interactions with genetically engineered Cancer Models – A case of Lung Cancer

  • Factors controlling tumor progression – genetically-engineered model of lung adenocarcinoma, metastasis causing death
  • Infiltration of cells: SEQUENCE EXOME – NO TUMOR BURDEN,
  • Exome sequencing reveals few mutations in KP model
  • Programmed neoantogen expression in the KP model: Kras, p53 – both are well researched in Lung cancer – immune cell dependent – tumors escape immune response due to immunosuppression – regulatory T cells most important in this model system
  • tissue specific responses to antigens
  • Lung Cancer – late stage — Programmed neo-antigen expression
  • Single cell mRNA sequencing of CD* T cell over time – sort cells, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 20 weeks – progression of single cell similarity lymph cells vs lungs cells – cell identities  – transcription activation of dysfunction in cells
  • SIIN+ CD8 T cells show markers of dysfunction over time – up regulated signs of exhaustion,
  • T cells becomes exhausted, checkpoint inhibitors beyond a certain point – has no capacity  –
  • Interrogating markers of T cell dysfunction – chance biology of cells by CRISPR Cas9 – EGR2 at 2 weeks dysfunctioning is reduced – presence of EDR2 mutant class plays a role in cell metabolism – cell becomes more functional by modification protocols
  • Effects of CRISPR-mediated vs Combinatorial effects of CRISPR-mediated mutation of inhibitory models

 

8 — Max Krummel (University of California, San Francisco)

Dynamic Emergent behavior in Immune Systems

 

  • T cells are captured on tumor margins (without desired cytotoxicity)
  • Myeloid cells Underlie Intratumoral T cell capture
  • Anti tumor (CD4 CD8) vs Pro-tumor (CD9)
  • If many cells predicting Outcome more favorable – cellular abundance
  • Alternative T Cell reactions in Tissue: T-Helper 1, T-Helper 2
  • Gene expression association between two genes:
  • NK and cDC1 numbers are tightly linked and correlated with response to checkpoint blockage
  • A CD4-Enhaced Class of Melanoma Patients Also can be Checkpoint
  • CD4 T cells in Cancer – control tumors on their on
  • If high ICOS and CD4
  • Stimulate CD4: pull out of lymph nodes cells mCD301B
  • CD4 T cell proliferation but they don’t make PD1 ICOS CD4T
  • CD4 – required: Regulatory T Cells control CS4-dependent Tumor control via Lymph Node depletion (dLN)
  • If CD4 depleted, Lymph Node (LN) connected
  • Regulatory of PD1 ICOS CD4T
  • CD8 CD4 Tumor Affinity
  • Melanoma – T-reg hi or low – Responders are T-reg hi they have CD8
  • Existing Paired presence of T-reg, together with cDC2 number classifies Pt with better CD4
  • In Head and Neck: DC needed to stimulate immune response by CD4
  • Architypes of Immune systems in Tumors – Generally
  • CLASS I, II, III, IV – phynotypic
  • IMMUNE “ACCOMODATION” ARCHYTYPES: MYELOID TUNING OF ARCHITYPES
  • Myeloid function and composition

 

11 — Mikael Pittet (Massachusetts General Hospital)

Myeloid Cells in Cancer

  • complexity of Myeloid
  • Myeloid cells for cancer therapy: Outcomes good and bad: Tumor suppressing vs Tumor Promoting
  • Myeloid and immunotherapy
  • aPD-1 mAbs do not bind IL-12+DCs (scRNAseq): DC Classical and PlasmaCytoid (Allon Klein)
  • Indirect mechanism AFTER a-PD-1 Treatment
  • IFN-gamma Sensing Fosters IL-12 & therapeutic Responses
  • a PD-1-Mediated Activation of Tumor Immunity – Direct activation and the ‘Licensing’ Model

 

1 — Bob Schreiber (Wash University of St. Louis)

Neoantigens and the molecular basis of Cancer Immnutherapy

 

NeoAntigens (NEON Therapeutics, Co-Founder

  • MHC- I, MCH-II, tumor specific vaccine, if BOTH present THEN Clinical therapeutic efficacy is enhanced
  • Cancer Immunoediting to Personalized Cancer Vaccines
  • neoedited Tumors,
  • Tumor vaccines: Tumor Associated Antigens vs Tumor Specific Neoantigens
  • MCH Class II Immune responses to Cancer
  • CD4+
  • Immune Checkpoint Blockade Therapy eliminates T3 Sarcomas via a CD4+ CD8+ T cell dependent Mechanism
  • Control mAb vs (alphaPD-1 CTLA-4) vs (alphaPD-1 CTLA-4) + alpha CD8
  • Mutant Class II Neoepitopes: mltgb1 is the best peptide found
  • Cell Response CD4+ to T3
  • T3 – Median Mutant Affinity Value vs Affinity + Abundance: Prediction N711Y Mutant
  • MHC-II
  • Oncogene-Driven (Kras – G12D-p53 -/- =KP
  • KP Sarcomas  – do not Prime for their own rejection upon re-Challenge: Average Tumor Diameter
  • KP Sarcomas lack Strong Class I Neoepitopes MCA Sarcoma vs KP Sarcomas: Mutant Affinity
  • KP Sarcomas: Kras – G12D-p53
  • MHC Class I and Class II: Promotes PRIMING of mLama4-Specific CD8+ T Cells when KP.mLama4 Tumors express the mltgb1
  • mltgb1 enhances generation of mLama4-Specific CTL
  • controls: (alpha-PD-1), (PD-1 + CD4+)
  • Vaccine protects against T3 Outgrowth
  • CONCLUSIONS: Optimal CD8+ T cells mediated immune responses to T3 sarcomas require CD4+ T cell help

 

9 — Stefani Spranger (MIT, Koch Institute)

The role of Tumor-resident Dendritic Cells for productive anti-tumor immune response

  • CD8+ T cell T cell-inflamed Tumor vs Non-T cell inflamed Tumor
  • Tumor cell intrinsic – Workflow to identify oncogenic pathways differentially activated between T cell-inflamed
  • T cell infiltration (Braf PTEN CD3 T cells/total living cells
  • Response to checkpoint blockade
  • Non-T cell-inflamed – is LACK OF T CELL INFILTRATION – do not accumulate in Tumor,
  • Tumor-intrinsic Beta-catenin signaling mediates lack of T cell infiltration
  • Adoptive transfer of effector CT cells fails to control Beta – T cells remain motile and migrate in a directional fashion after tumor eradication
  • CD103 dendritic cells – Tumor-residing Braf3-driven CD103
  • Cross-presenting cDC1 are essential for effector T cells
  • How can we raise the curve and increase the number of long-term survivors
  • Understanding the role of tumor-resident DC
  • Accumulation of CD103 DC independent of T cells
  • Regression tumor mount T cell response independent of DC1 DC
  • Induction of anti-tumor immunity is independent of the canonical
  • Single cell RNA-Seq reveal new subset to regressiong tumors and stimulate T cells via non-conventional
  • Working hypothesis: productive anti-tumor immunity depends on multiple tumor-resident DC subsets

 

 

5 — Melody Swartz (University of Chicago)

Lymphangiogenesis and immunomodulation

  • Lymphangiogenesisfor in Inflammation
  • Immunosuppression drives metastasis
  • promotion of resolution in disease progression
  • Tumors uses lymphatic system vessels
  • Tumor VEGF-C enhances immune cell interactions with lymphatic system
  • Lymphangiogenesis promore immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment
  • Recruitment of immune cells system: Dendritic Cells,
  • Lymphangiogenesis melanomas – highly responsive to immunotherapy : Vaccination
  • Lymphangiogenesis promote antigen spreading
  • Lymphangiogenesis potentiation: CCL21, CCR7
  • Lymphangiogenesis attractive to Native T cells, in VEGF-C tumors
  • T cell homing inhibitors vs block T cell egress inhibitors – Immunotherapy induces T cell killing
  • Allergic airway inflammation is driven lung and lymph node Lymphangiogenesis
  • Innate Immune cell infiltration reduced
  • Memory recall responses reflect adaptive immunity
  •  pathology exacerbated with VEGFR-3 blockade response of memory recall cell is enhanced
  • VEGFR-3 signaling shifts T call balance, and CCL@1, from Lymph nodes to Lung
  • Differential changes in T cell balance between lung vs adaptive immune response to allergic airway inflammation
  • Lymphangiogenesis in the lung, competition with adaptive immune response to allergic airway inflammation in the lung

 

4 — Cathy Wu, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, HMS – CoFounder of NEON

Building better personal cancer vaccines

  • Vaccine: up to 20 personalized neoantigens as SLPs with adjuvant (polyICLC)
  • high risk melanoma – RESULTS: new immune responses – new responses mutiple immune responses CD4 & CD8: mutated vs Wild type  differences
  • Enduring complete radiographic responses after Neovax + alpha-PD-1 treatment (anti-PD-1)
  • NeoVax vs IVAC MutaNOME
  • Ex vivo responses to assay peptide pools – immune response identified
  • NeoVax: ‘warming’ a cold tumor
  • immune cell infiltration – not studied in Glioblastoma which is a pooled tumor: TCR repertoire and MHC. Available materials: PBMC vs Fresh frozen and FFPE tumor material: Blood va FF brain tissue sequencing
  • Pt 8 neoantigen-specific clonotypesID’s – reactive T cells track to the brain after vaccination
  • Single cells from brain tissue vs single cells from neoantigen specific T cells – intratumoral neoantigen-specific T cells: mutARGAP35-specific T cell identified at site of disease – breakthrough for Brain Tumor #vaccine based neoantigen-specific T cell at intracranial site
  • VAX steering the Immune system
  • commission at Dana Farber – Prediction algorithms of denovo neoantigen targets: Newly profiled peptides to train a model vs peptide in the DB – Single vs Multi-allele HLA peptide sequencing by MassSpectroscopy
  • Mono-allelic MS data reveals novel motifs and sub-motifs
  • Endogenous signals contribution to predictive power
  • NeuroNets Algoriths : Integrative models identify tumor-presented epitopes more accurately than models without training like NeuroNets
  • 5778 class I peptides from 4 cancers class I allele
  • CONCLUSIONS: proteosomal processing endogenous signals transcriptome

 

Poster Presenters

3 — Scott Wilson,  U of Chicago

Antigen-specific Tolerance: A Cure for Autoimmunity

  • Activation of auto-reactive T cell
  • Leveraging the Liver’s Tolerogenic Environment for the Induction of Antigen-specific Tolerance
  • Design Criteria for HAPC- Targeting Platform – Target Antigens to HAPCs
  • Minimal biomaterial footprint
  • Deliver system Hepatic APC-targeting Glycosylations
  • IV INJECTION: OVAALBUMIN OVA-P(GALINAC), P(GLCNAC), SUPRESS T CELL RESPONSE
  • Glyco-conjucates Abate T cells response – Reduced cytokine production &  increased T-regs

 

1- — Noor Momin, MIT, Prof. K. Dane Wittrup Lab

The role of Collagen and Cytokines in Immunotherapy drug development

 

  • Cytokine therapies have poor therapeutic windows
  • Intratumoral Cytokine Delivery: Expectation vs Reality
  • Anchor intratumorally adm cytokines to collagen and protein
  • collagen abundent (toxicity) and long-lived (maximize efficacy)
  • Lumican – homology model – mediate collagen-anchoring? How to mediate anchoring
  • Lumican fusion to IL-2 improves treatment efficacy however toxic – Anti-TAA mAb – TA99 vs IL-2
  • Best efficacy in Lumican-MSA-IL-2 vs MSA-IL2
  • Lumican-cytokines improve control of distant lesions – Lumican-fusion potentiates systemic anti-tumor immunity
  • Lumican-cytokines efficacious in Braf/Pten GEMM
  • Lumican fusion cytokine IL-2 IL-12 Binds collagen

 

 

 

 

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2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for contributions to Cancer Immunotherapy to James P. Allison, Ph.D., of the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Dr. Allison shares the prize with Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Ph.D., of Kyoto University Institute, Japan

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

See

Immune System Stimulants: Articles of Note @pharmaceuticalintelligence.com

Curators: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/05/01/immune-system-stimulants-articles-of-note-pharmaceuticalintelligence-com/

 

Immune-Oncology Molecules In Development & Articles on Topic in @pharmaceuticalintelligence.com

Curators: Stephen J Williams, PhD and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/01/11/articles-on-immune-oncology-molecules-in-development-pharmaceuticalintelligence-com/

 

 

Monday, October 1, 2018

NIH grantees win 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to National Institutes of Health grantee James P. Allison, Ph.D., of the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. Dr. Allison shares the prize with Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Ph.D., of Kyoto University Institute, Japan, for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said, “by stimulating the inherent ability of our immune system to attack tumor cells this year’s Nobel Laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.”

Dr. Allison discovered that a particular protein (CTLA-4) acts as a braking system, preventing full activation of the immune system when a cancer is emerging. By delivering an antibody that blocks that protein, Allison showed the brakes could be released. The discovery has led to important developments in cancer drugs called checkpoint inhibitors and dramatic responses to previously untreatable cancers. Dr. Honjo discovered a protein on immune cells and revealed that it also operates as a brake, but with a different mechanism of action.

“Jim’s work was pivotal for cancer therapy by enlisting our own immune systems to launch an attack on cancer and arrest its development,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “NIH is proud to have supported this groundbreaking research.”

Dr. Allison has received continuous funding from NIH since 1979, receiving more than $13.7 million primarily from NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

“This work has led to remarkably effective, sometime curative, therapy for patients with advanced cancer, who we were previously unable to help,” said NCI Director Ned Sharpless, M.D. “Their findings have ushered in the era of cancer immunotherapy, which along with surgery, radiation and cytotoxic chemotherapy, represents a ‘fourth modality’ for treating cancer. A further understanding of the biology underlying the immune system and cancer has the potential to help many more patients.”

“Dr. Allison’s elegant and groundbreaking work in basic immunology over four decades and its important applicability to cancer is a vivid demonstration of the critical nature of interdisciplinary biomedical research supported by NIH,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

SOURCE

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-grantees-win-2018-nobel-prize-physiology-or-medicine

 

Dr. Lev-Ari covered in person the following curated articles about James Allison, PhD since his days at University of California, Berkeley, including the prizes awarded prior to the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology.

 

2018 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research goes to NIH’s Dr. Rosenberg and fellow immunotherapy researchers James P. Allison, Ph.D., and Carl H. June, M.D.

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2018/08/15/2018-albany-medical-center-prize-in-medicine-and-biomedical-research-goes-to-nihs-dr-rosenberg-and-fellow-immunotherapy-researchers-james-p-allison-ph-d-and-carl-h-june-m-d/

 

Lectures by The 2017 Award Recipients of Warren Alpert Foundation Prize in Cancer Immunology, October 5, 2017, HMS, 77 Louis Paster, Boston

REAL TIME Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/09/08/lectures-by-the-2017-award-recipients-of-warren-alpert-foundation-prize-in-cancer-immunology-october-5-2017-hms-77-louis-paster-boston/

 

Cancer-free after immunotherapy treatment: Treating advanced colon cancer – targeting KRAS gene mutation by tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and Killer T-cells (NK)

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/12/08/cancer-free-after-immunotherapy-treatment-treating-advanced-colon-cancer-targeting-kras-gene-mutation-by-tumor-infiltrating-lymphocytes-tils-and-killer-t-cells-nk/

 

New Class of Immune System Stimulants: Cyclic Di-Nucleotides (CDN): Shrink Tumors and bolster Vaccines, re-arm the Immune System’s Natural Killer Cells, which attack Cancer Cells and Virus-infected Cells

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/04/24/new-class-of-immune-system-stimulants-cyclic-di-nucleotides-cdn-shrink-tumors-and-bolster-vaccines-re-arm-the-immune-systems-natural-killer-cells-which-attack-cancer-cells-and-virus-inf/

 

UC Berkeley research led to Nobel Prize-winning immunotherapy

Immunologist James P. Allison today shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for groundbreaking work he conducted on cancer immunotherapy at UC Berkeley during his 20 years as director of the campus’s Cancer Research Laboratory.

James Allison

James Allison, who for 20 years was a UC Berkeley immunologist conducting fundamental research on cancer, is now at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

Now at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Allison shared the award with Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University in Japan “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.”

Allison, 70, conducted basic research on how the immune system – in particular, a cell called a T cell – fights infection. His discoveries led to a fundamentally new strategy for treating malignancies that unleashes the immune system to kill cancer cells. A monoclonal antibody therapy he pioneered was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011 to treat malignant melanoma, and spawned several related therapies now being used against lung, prostate and other cancers.

“Because this approach targets immune cells rather than specific tumors, it holds great promise to thwart diverse cancers,” the Lasker Foundation wrote when it awarded Allison its 2015 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

Allison’s work has already benefited thousands of people with advanced melanoma, a disease that used to be invariably fatal within a year or so of diagnosis. The therapy he conceived has resulted in elimination of cancer in a significant fraction of patients for a decade and counting, and it appears likely that many of these people are cured.

“Targeted therapies don’t cure cancer, but immunotherapy is curative, which is why many consider it the biggest advance in a generation,” Allison said in a 2015 interview. “Clearly, immunotherapy now has taken its place along with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation as a reliable and objective way to treat cancer.”

“We are thrilled to see Jim’s work recognized by the Nobel Committee,” said Russell Vance, the current director of the Cancer Research Laboratory and a UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology. “We congratulate him on this highly deserved honor. This award is a testament to the incredible impact that the fundamental research Jim conducted at Berkeley has had on the lives of cancer patients”

“I don’t know if I could have accomplished this work anywhere else than Berkeley,” Allison said. “There were a lot of smart people to work with, and it felt like we could do almost anything. I always tell people that it was one of the happiest times of my life, with the academic environment, the enthusiasm, the students, the faculty.”

In this video about UC Berkeley’s new Immunotherapeutics and Vaccine Research Initiative (IVRI), Allison discusses his groundbreaking work on cancer immunotherapy.

In fact, Allison was instrumental in creating the research environment of the current Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley as well as the department’s division of immunology, in which he served stints as chair and division head during his time at Berkeley, said David Raulet, director of Berkeley’s Immunotherapeutics and Vaccine Research Initiative (IVRI).

“His actions helped create the superb research environment here, which is so conducive to making the fundamental discoveries that will be the basis of the next generation of medical breakthroughs,” Raulet said.

Self vs. non-self

Allison joined the UC Berkeley faculty as a professor of molecular and cell biology and director of the Cancer Research Laboratory in 1985. An immunologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin, he focused on a type of immune system cell called the T cell or T lymphocyte, which plays a key role in fighting off bacterial and viral infections as well as cancer.

Supercharging the immune system to cure disease: immunotherapy research at UC Berkeley. (UC Berkeley video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally)

At the time, most doctors and scientists believed that the immune system could not be exploited to fight cancer, because cancer cells look too much like the body’s own cells, and any attack against cancer cells would risk killing normal cells and creating serious side effects.

“The community of cancer biologists was not convinced that you could even use the immune system to alter cancer’s outcome, because cancer was too much like self,” said Matthew “Max” Krummel, who was a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow with Allison in the 1990s and is now a professor of pathology and a member of the joint immunology group at UCSF. “The dogma at the time was, ‘Don’t even bother.’ ”

“What was heady about the moment was that we didn’t really listen to the dogma, we just did it,” Krummel added. Allison, in particular, was a bit “irreverent, but in a productive way. He didn’t suffer fools easily.” This attitude rubbed off on the team.

Trying everything they could in mice to tweak the immune system, Krummel and Allison soon found that a protein receptor called CTLA-4 seemed to be holding T cells back, like a brake in a car.

Postdoctoral fellow Dana Leach then stepped in to see if blocking the receptor would unleash the immune system to actually attack a cancerous tumor. In a landmark paper published in Science in 1996, Allison, Leach and Krummel showed not only that antibodies against CTLA-4 released the brake and allowed the immune system to attack the tumors, but that the technique was effective enough to result in long-term disappearance of the tumors.

“When Dana showed me the results, I was really surprised,” Allison said. “It wasn’t that the anti-CTLA-4 antibodies slowed the tumors down. The tumors went away.”

After Allison himself replicated the experiment, “that’s when I said, OK, we’ve got something here.”

Checkpoint blockade

The discovery led to a concept called “checkpoint blockade.” This holds that the immune system has many checkpoints designed to prevent it from attacking the body’s own cells, which can lead to autoimmune disease. As a result, while attempts to rev up the immune system are like stepping on the gas, they won’t be effective unless you also release the brakes.

Allison in 1993

James Allison in 1993, when he was conducting research at UC Berkeley on a promising immunotherapy now reaching fruition. (Jane Scherr photo)

“The temporary activation of the immune system though ‘checkpoint blockade’ provides a window of opportunity during which the immune system is mobilized to attack and eliminate tumors,” Vance said.

Allison spent the next few years amassing data in mice to show that anti-CTLA-4 antibodies work, and then, in collaboration with a biotech firm called Medarex, developed human antibodies that showed promise in early clinical trials against melanoma and other cancers. The therapy was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2011 and approved by the FDA as ipilimumab (trade name Yervoy), which is now used to treat skin cancers that have metastasized or that cannot be removed surgically.

Meanwhile, Allison left UC Berkeley in 2004 for Memorial Sloan Kettering research center in New York to be closer to the drug companies shepherding his therapy through clinical trials, and to explore in more detail how checkpoint blockade works.

“Berkeley was my favorite place, and if I could have stayed there, I would have,” he said. “But my research got to the point where all the animal work showed that checkpoint blockade had a lot of potential in people, and working with patients at Berkeley wasn’t possible. There’s no hospital, no patients.”

Thanks to Allison’s doggedness, anti-CTLA-4 therapy is now an accepted therapy for cancer and it opened the floodgates for a slew of new immunotherapies, Krummel said. There now are several hundred ongoing clinical trials involving monoclonal antibodies to one or more receptors that inhibit T cell activity, sometimes combined with lower doses of standard chemotherapy.

Antibodies against one such receptor, PD-1, which Honjo discovered in 1992, have given especially impressive results. Allison’s initial findings can be credited for prompting researchers, including Allison himself, to carry out the studies that have demonstrated the potent anti-cancer effects of PD-1 antibodies. In 2015, the FDA approved anti-PD-1 therapy for malignant melanoma, and has since approved it for non-small-cell lung, gastric and several other cancers.

Science magazine named cancer immunotherapy its breakthrough of 2013 because that year, “clinical trials … cemented its potential in patients and swayed even the skeptics. The field hums with stories of lives extended: the woman with a grapefruit-size tumor in her lung from melanoma, alive and healthy 13 years later; the 6-year-old near death from leukemia, now in third grade and in remission; the man with metastatic kidney cancer whose disease continued fading away even after treatment stopped.”

Allison pursued more clinical trials for immunotherapy at Sloan-Kettering and then in 2012 returned to his native Texas.

Born in Alice, Texas, on Aug. 7, 1948, Allison earned a B.S. in microbiology in 1969 and a Ph.D. in biological science in 1973 from the University of Texas, Austin.

RELATED INFORMATION

SOURCE

http://news.berkeley.edu/2018/10/01/uc-berkeley-research-led-to-nobel-prize-winning-immunotherapy/

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