BACKGROUND Therapeutic vaccinations against cancer have mainly targeted differentiation antigens, cancer-testis antigens, and overexpressed antigens and have thus far resulted in little clinical benefit. Studies conducted by multiple groups have demonstrated that T cells recognizing neoantigens are present in most cancers and offer a specific and highly immunogenic target for personalized vaccination.METHODS We recently developed a process using tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes to identify the specific immunogenic mutations expressed in patients’ tumors. Here, validated, defined neoantigens, predicted neoepitopes, and mutations of driver genes were concatenated into a single mRNA construct to vaccinate patients with metastatic gastrointestinal cancer.RESULTS The vaccine was safe and elicited mutation-specific T cell responses against predicted neoepitopes not detected before vaccination. Furthermore, we were able to isolate and verify T cell receptors targeting KRASG12D mutation. We observed no objective clinical responses in the 4 patients treated in this trial.CONCLUSION This vaccine was safe, and potential future combination of such vaccines with checkpoint inhibitors or adoptive T cell therapy should be evaluated for possible clinical benefit in patients with common epithelial cancers.TRIAL REGISTRATION Phase I/II protocol (NCT03480152) was approved by the IRB committee of the NIH and the FDA.FUNDING Center for Clinical Research, NCI, NIH.
Gal Cafri, Jared J. Gartner, Tal Zaks, Kristen Hopson, Noam Levin, Biman C. Paria, Maria R. Parkhurst, Rami Yossef, Frank J. Lowery, Mohammad S. Jafferji, Todd D. Prickett, Stephanie L. Goff, Christine T. McGowan, Samantha Seitter, Mackenzie L. Shindorf, Anup Parikh, Praveen D. Chatani, Paul F. Robbins, Steven A. Rosenberg
BACKGROUND HIV-1 viremia that is not suppressed by combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) is generally attributed to incomplete medication adherence and/or drug resistance. We evaluated individuals referred by clinicians for nonsuppressible viremia (plasma HIV-1 RNA above 40 copies/mL) despite reported adherence to ART and the absence of drug resistance to the current ART regimen.METHODS Samples were collected from at least 2 time points from 8 donors who had nonsuppressible viremia for more than 6 months. Single templates of HIV-1 RNA obtained from plasma and viral outgrowth of cultured cells and from proviral DNA were amplified by PCR and sequenced for evidence of clones of cells that produced infectious viruses. Clones were confirmed by host-proviral integration site analysis.RESULTS HIV-1 genomic RNA with identical sequences were identified in plasma samples from all 8 donors. The identical viral RNA sequences did not change over time and did not evolve resistance to the ART regimen. In 4 of the donors, viral RNA sequences obtained from plasma matched those sequences from viral outgrowth cultures, indicating that the viruses were replication competent. Integration sites for infectious proviruses from those 4 donors were mapped to the introns of the MATR3, ZNF268, ZNF721/ABCA11P, and ABCA11P genes. The sizes of the clones were estimated to be from 50 million to 350 million cells.CONCLUSION These findings show that clones of HIV-1–infected cells producing virus can cause failure of ART to suppress viremia. The mechanisms involved in clonal expansion and persistence need to be defined to effectively target viremia and the HIV-1 reservoir.FUNDING National Cancer Institute, NIH; Howard Hughes Medical Research Fellows Program, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Office of AIDS Research; American Cancer Society; National Cancer Institute through a Leidos subcontract; National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, to the I4C Martin Delaney Collaboratory; University of Rochester Center for AIDS Research and University of Rochester HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit.
Elias K. Halvas, Kevin W. Joseph, Leah D. Brandt, Shuang Guo, Michele D. Sobolewski, Jana L. Jacobs, Camille Tumiotto, John K. Bui, Joshua C. Cyktor, Brandon F. Keele, Gene D. Morse, Michael J. Bale, Wei Shao, Mary F. Kearney, John M. Coffin, Jason W. Rausch, Xiaolin Wu, Stephen H. Hughes, John W. Mellors
BACKGROUND. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) improves diagnostic rates in individuals with suspected Mendelian conditions to varying degrees, primarily by directing the prioritization of candidate DNA variants identified on exome or genome sequencing (ES/GS). Here we implemented an RNA-seq guided method to diagnose individuals across a wide range of ages and clinical phenotypes. METHODS. One hundred fifteen undiagnosed adult and pediatric patients with diverse phenotypes and 67 family members (182 total individuals) underwent RNA-seq from whole blood and fibroblasts at the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) clinical site from 2014-2020. We implemented a workflow to detect outliers in gene expression and splicing for cases that remained undiagnosed despite standard genomic and transcriptomic analysis. RESULTS. The transcriptome-directed approach resulted in a diagnostic rate of 12% across the entire cohort, or 17% after excluding cases solved on ES/GS alone. Newly diagnosed conditions included Koolen-de Vries syndrome (KANSL1), Renpenning syndrome (PQBP1), TBCK-associated encephalopathy, NSD2- and CLTC-related intellectual disability, and others, all with negative conventional genomic testing, including ES and chromosomal microarray (CMA). Fibroblasts exhibited higher and more consistent expression of clinically relevant genes than whole blood. In solved cases with RNA-seq from both tissues, the causative defect was missed in blood in half the cases but none from fibroblasts. CONCLUSION. For our cohort of undiagnosed individuals with suspected Mendelian conditions, transcriptome-directed genomic analysis facilitated diagnoses, primarily through the identification of variants missed on ES and CMA.
David R. Murdock, Hongzheng Dai, Lindsay C. Burrage, Jill A. Rosenfeld, Shamika Ketkar, Michaela F. Müller, Vicente A. Yépez, Julien Gagneur, Pengfei Liu, Shan Chen, Mahim Jain, Gladys Zapata, Carlos A. Bacino, Hsiao-Tuan Chao, Paolo Moretti, William J. Craigen, Neil A. Hanchard, Brendan Lee
BACKGROUND. Serological assays are of critical importance to investigate correlates of response and protection in COVID-19, to define previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in populations and to verify the development of an adaptive immune response in infected individuals. METHODS. We studied 509 confirmed COVID-19 patients from the San Raffaele Hospital of Milan and 480 pre-pandemic organ donor sera collected in 2010-2012. Using fluid-phase luciferase immune precipitation (LIPS) assays, we characterized IgG, IgM, IgA antibodies to the spike Receptor Binding Domain (RBD), S1+S2, nucleocapsid, and ORF6 to 10 of SARS-CoV-2, to the HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 betacoronaviruses spike S2, and the H1N1Ca2009 flu virus hemagglutinin. Sequential samples at 1 and 3 months post-hospital discharge were also tested in 95 patients for SARS-CoV-2 RBD antibodies. RESULTS. Antibodies developed rapidly against multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens in 95% of patients by 4 weeks post-symptoms onset and IgG to the RBD increased until the 3rd month of follow-up. We observed a major synchronous expansion of antibodies to the HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 spike S2. A likely co-infection with influenza was neither linked to a more severe presentation of the disease nor to a worse outcome. Of the measured antibody responses positivity for IgG against the SARS-CoV-2 spike RBD was predictive of survival. CONCLUSIONS. The measurement of antibodies to selected epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 antigens can offer a more accurate assessment of the humoral response in patients and its impact on survival. The presence of partially cross-reactive antibodies with other betacoronoviruses is likely to impact on serological assay specificity and interpretation.
Massimiliano Secchi, Elena Bazzigaluppi, Cristina Brigatti, Ilaria Marzinotto, Cristina Tresoldi, Patrizia Rovere-Querini, Andrea Poli, Antonella Castagna, Gabriella Scarlatti, Alberto Zangrillo, Fabio Ciceri, Lorenzo Piemonti, Vito Lampasona
Background. Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most common histologically defined renal cancer. However, it is not a uniform disease and includes several genetic subtypes with different prognosis. ccRCC is also characterized by distinguished metabolic reprogramming. Tobacco smoking (TS) is an established risk factor for ccRCC with unknown effects on tumor pathobiology. Methods. We investigated the landscape of ccRCCs and paired normal kidney tissues (NKTs) using integrated transcriptomic, metabolomic and metallomic approaches in a cohort of never smokers (NS) and long-term current smokers (LTS) Caucasian males. Results. All three Omics domains consistentl identified a distinct metabolic subtype of ccRCCs in LTS, characterized by activation of oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) coupled with reprogramming of the malate-aspartate shuttle and metabolism of aspartate, glutamate, glutamine and histidine. Cadmium, copper and inorganic arsenic accumulated in LTS tumors showing redistribution among intracellular pools, including relocation of copper into the cytochrome c oxidase complex. Gene expression signature based on the LTS metabolic subtype provided prognostic stratification of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) ccRCC tumors that was independent from genomic alterations. Conclusions. The work identifies the TS related metabolic subtype of ccRCC with vulnerabilities that can be exploited for precision medicine approaches targeting metabolic pathways. The results provide rationale for the development of metabolic biomarkers with diagnostic and prognostic applications using evaluation of OxPhos status. The metallomic analysis reveals the role of disrupted metal homeostasis in ccRCC highlighting the importance of studying effects of metals from e-cigarettes and environmental exposures.
James Reigle, Dina Secic, Jacek Biesiada, Collin Wetzel, Behrouz Shamsaei, Johnson Chu, Yuanwei Zang, Xiang Zhang, Nicholas J. Talbot, Megan E. Bischoff, Yongzhen Zhang, Charuhas V. Thakar, Krishnanath Gaitonde, Abhinav Sidana, Hai Bui, John T. Cunningham, Qing Zhang, Laura S. Schmidt, W. Marston Linehan, Mario Medvedovic, David R. Plas, Julio A. Landero Figueroa, Jarek Meller, Maria F. Czyzyk-Krzeska
Background: Viral load surrogate endpoints transformed development of HIV and hepatitis C therapeutics. Surrogate endpoints for cytomegalovirus (CMV)-related morbidity and mortality could advance development of antiviral treatments. While observational data support using CMV viral load (VL) as a trial endpoint, randomized controlled trials (RCT) demonstrating direct associations between virologic markers and clinical endpoints are lacking. Methods: We performed CMV DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on frozen serum samples from the only placebo-controlled RCT of ganciclovir for early treatment of CMV after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). We used established criteria to assess VL kinetics as surrogates for CMV disease or death by weeks 8, 24, and 48 after randomization and quantified antiviral effects captured by each marker. We used ensemble-based machine learning to assess the predictive ability of VL kinetics and performed this analysis on a ganciclovir prophylaxis RCT for validation. Results: VL suppression with ganciclovir reduced cumulative incidence of CMV disease and death for 20 years after HCT. Mean VL, peak VL, and change in VL during the first five weeks of treatment fulfilled the Prentice definition for surrogacy, capturing > 95% of ganciclovir’s effect, and yielded highly sensitive and specific predictions by week 48. In the prophylaxis trial, viral shedding rate satisfied the Prentice definition for CMV disease by week 24. Conclusion: Our results support using CMV VL kinetics as surrogates for CMV disease, provide a framework for developing CMV preventative and therapeutic agents, and support reductions in viral load as the mechanism through which antivirals reduce CMV disease.
Elizabeth R. Duke, Brian D. Williamson, Bhavesh Borate, Jonathan L. Golob, Chiara Wychera, Terry Stevens-Ayers, Meei-Li Huang, Nicole Cossrow, Hong Wan, T. Christopher Mast, Morgan A. Marks, Mary Flowers, Keith R. Jerome, Lawrence Corey, Peter B. Gilbert, Joshua T. Schiffer, Michael Boeckh
BACKGROUND. The T cell responses to the common cold coronaviruses have not been well characterized. Pre-existing T cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 has been reported, and a recent study suggested that this was due to cross-recognition of the novel coronavirus by T cells specific for the common cold coronaviruses. METHODS. We used the ELISpot assay to characterize the T cell responses against peptide pools derived from the spike protein of three common cold coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, and HCoV-OC43) and SARS-CoV-2 in 21 healthy donors who were seronegative for SARS-CoV-2 and had no known exposure to the virus. An in vitro expansion culture assay was also used to analyze memory T cell responses. RESULTS. We found responses to the spike protein of the three common cold coronaviruses in many donors. We then focused on HCoV-NL63 and demonstrated broad T cell responses to the spike protein and identified 22 targeted peptides. Interestingly, only one subject had a significant response to SARS-CoV-2 spike or nucleocapsid protein in the ELISpot assay. In vitro expansion studies suggested that T cells specific for the HCoV-NL63 spike protein in this subject could also recognize SARS-CoV-2 spike protein peptide pools. CONCLUSIONS. Healthy donors have circulating T cells specific for the spike proteins of HCoV-NL63, HCoV-229E, and HCoV-OC43. T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid proteins were present in only one subject and were potentially the result of cross-recognition by T cells specific for the common cold coronaviruses. Further studies are needed to determine whether this influences COVID-19 outcomes.
Bezawit A. Woldemeskel, Abena K. Kwaa, Caroline C. Garliss, Oliver Laeyendecker, Stuart C. Ray, Joel N. Blankson
BACKGROUND Cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4) is essential for immune homeostasis. Genetic mutations causing haploinsufficiency (CTLA4h) lead to a phenotypically heterogenous, immune-mediated disease that can include neuroinflammation. The neurological manifestations of CTLA4h are poorly characterized.METHODS We performed an observational natural history study of 50 patients with CTLA4h who were followed at the NIH. We analyzed clinical, radiological, immunological, and histopathological data.RESULTS Evidence for neuroinflammation was observed in 32% (n = 16 of 50) of patients in this cohort by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or by cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Clinical symptoms were commonly absent or mild in severity, with headaches as the leading complaint (n = 13 of 16). The most striking findings were relapsing, large, contrast-enhancing focal lesions in the brain and spinal cord observed on MRI. We detected inflammation in the cerebrospinal fluid and leptomeninges before the parenchyma. Brain biopsies of inflammatory lesions from 10 patients showed perivascular and intraparenchymal mixed cellular infiltrates with little accompanying demyelination or neuronal injury.CONCLUSIONS Neuroinflammation due to CTLA4h is mediated primarily by an infiltrative process with a distinct and striking dissociation between clinical symptoms and radiological findings in the majority of patients.FUNDING NIAID, NIH, Division of Intramural Research, NINDS, NIH, Division of Intramural Research, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society–American Brain Foundation.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00001355.
Matthew K. Schindler, Stefania Pittaluga, Yoshimi Enose-Akahata, Helen C. Su, V. Koneti Rao, Amy Rump, Steven Jacobson, Irene Cortese, Daniel S. Reich, Gulbu Uzel
BACKGROUND. The ABO histo-blood group is defined by carbohydrate modifications and is associated with risk for multiple diseases including Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). We hypothesized that genetically determined blood subtype A1 is associated with increased risk of ARDS and markers of microvascular dysfunction and coagulation. METHODS. We conducted analyses in three cohorts of critically ill trauma and sepsis patients (n = 3,710) genotyped on genome-wide platforms to determine the association of the A1 blood type genotype with ARDS risk. We subsequently determined if associations were present in FUT2 defined non-secretors who lack ABO antigens on epithelium, but not endothelium. In a patient subgroup, we determined the associations of blood type with plasma levels of endothelial glycoproteins and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Lastly, we tested if blood type A was associated with less donor lung injury recovery during human ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP). RESULTS. The A1 genotype was associated with a higher risk of moderate to severe ARDS relative to type O in all three populations. In sepsis, this relationship was strongest in non-pulmonary infections. The association persisted in non-secretors, suggesting a vascular mechanism. The A1 genotype was also associated with higher DIC risk as well as concentrations of thrombomodulin and von Willebrand Factor, which in turn were associated with ARDS risk. Blood type A was also associated with less lung injury recovery during EVLP. CONCLUSIONS. We identified a replicable association between ABO blood type A1 and risk of ARDS among the critically ill possibly mediated through microvascular dysfunction and coagulation.
John P. Reilly, Nuala J. Meyer, Michael G.S. Shashaty, Brian J. Anderson, Caroline Ittner, Thomas G. Dunn, Brian Lim, Caitlin Forker, Michael P. Bonk, Ethan D. Kotloff, Rui Feng, Edward Cantu, Nilam S. Mangalmurti, Carolyn S. Calfee, Michael A. Matthay, Carmen Mikacenic, Keith R. Walley, James A. Russell, David C. Christiani, Mark M. Wurfel, Paul N. Lanken, Muredach P. Reilly, Jason D. Christie
BACKGROUND. Understanding outcomes and immunologic characteristics of cellular therapy recipients with SARS-CoV-2 is critical to performing these potentially life-saving therapies in the COVID-19 era. In this study of recipients of allogeneic (Allo) and autologous (Auto) hematopoietic cell transplant and CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy (CAR-T) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, we aimed to identify clinical variables associated with COVID-19 severity and assess lymphocyte populations. METHODS. We retrospectively investigated patients diagnosed between March 15th and May 7th, 2020. In a subset of patients, lymphocyte immunophenotyping, quantitative real-time PCR from nasopharyngeal swabs, and SARS-CoV-2 antibody status were available. RESULTS. We identified 77 SARS-CoV-2 + cellular therapy recipients (Allo = 35, Auto = 37, CAR-T = 5; median time from cellular therapy 782 days (IQR 354,1611). Overall survival at 30 days was 78%. Clinical variables significantly associated with the composite endpoint of non-rebreather or higher oxygen requirement and death (n events = 25/77) included number of co-morbidities (HR 5.41, P = 0.004), infiltrates (HR 3.08, P = 0.032), and neutropenia (HR 1.15, P = 0.04). Worsening graft-versus-host-disease was not identified among Allo subjects. Immune profiling revealed reductions and rapid recovery in lymphocyte populations across lymphocyte subsets. Antibody responses were seen in a subset of patients. CONCLUSION. In this series of Allo, Auto, and CAR-T recipients, we report overall favorable clinical outcomes for COVID-19 patients without active malignancy and provide preliminary insights into the lymphocyte populations that are key for the anti-viral response and immune reconstitution. FUNDING. NIH P01 CA23766, NIH/NCI P30 CA008748.
Gunjan L. Shah, Susan DeWolf, Yeon Joo Lee, Roni Tamari, Parastoo B. Dahi, Jessica A. Lavery, Josel D. Ruiz, Sean M. Devlin, Christina Cho, Jonathan U. Peled, Ioannis Politikos, Michael Scordo, N. Esther Babady, Tania Jain, Santosha Vardhana, Anthony F. Daniyan, Craig S. Sauter, Juliet N. Barker, Sergio A. Giralt, Cheryl Goss, Peter Maslak, Tobias M. Hohl, Mini Kamboj, Lakshmi Ramanathan, Marcel R.M. van den Brink, Esperanza B. Papadopoulos, Genovefa A. Papanicolaou, Miguel-Angel Perales
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