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
Background: Marked progress is achieved in understanding the physiopathology of COVID-19 that caused global pandemics. However, CD4+ T cell population that is critical for antibody response in COVID-19 is poorly understood. Methods: In this study, we provided a comprehensive analysis of peripheral CD4+ T cells of 13 COVID-19 convalescent patients, as defined as confirmed free of SARS-CoV-2 for 2-4 weeks, using flow cytometry, magnetic chemiluminescence enzyme antibody immunoassay and correlated the data with clinical characteristics. Results: We observed that relative to healthy individuals, convalescent patients displayed an altered peripheral CD4+ T cell spectrum. Specifically, consistent with other viral infections, cTFH1 cell associated with SARS-CoV-2 targeting antibodies, which was found to skew with disease severity as more severe individuals showed higher frequency of TEM and TFH-EM cells but a lower frequency of TCM, TFH-CM and TNaive cells, relative to mild and moderate patients. Interestingly, higher frequency of cTFH-EM cells correlated with lower number of recorded admission blood oxygen level in convalescent patients. These observations might constitute residual effects by which COVID-19 can impact the homeostasis of CD4+ T cells in the long-term and explain the highest ratio of class-switched virus-specific antibody producing individuals found in our severe COVID-19 cohort. Conclusion: Together, our study demonstrated close connection between CD4+ T cells and antibody production in COVID-19 convalescents.Funding: This study was supported by Six Talent Peaks Project in Jiangsu Province and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) grants 81970759.
Fang Gong, Yaping Dai, Ting Zheng, Liang Cheng, Dan Zhao, Hao Wang, Min Liu, Hao Pei, Tengchuan Jin, Di Yu, Pengcheng Zhou
BACKGROUND Although mania is characteristic of bipolar disorder, it can also occur following focal brain damage. Such cases may provide unique insight into brain regions responsible for mania symptoms and identify therapeutic targets.METHODS Lesion locations associated with mania were identified using a systematic literature search (n = 41) and mapped onto a common brain atlas. The network of brain regions functionally connected to each lesion location was computed using normative human connectome data (resting-state functional MRI, n = 1000) and contrasted with those obtained from lesion locations not associated with mania (n = 79). Reproducibility was assessed using independent cohorts of mania lesions derived from clinical chart review (n = 15) and of control lesions (n = 490). Results were compared with brain stimulation sites previously reported to induce or relieve mania symptoms.RESULTS Lesion locations associated with mania were heterogeneous and no single brain region was lesioned in all, or even most, cases. However, these lesion locations showed a unique pattern of functional connectivity to the right orbitofrontal cortex, right inferior temporal gyrus, and right frontal pole. This connectivity profile was reproducible across independent lesion cohorts and aligned with the effects of therapeutic brain stimulation on mania symptoms.CONCLUSIONS Brain lesions associated with mania are characterized by a specific pattern of brain connectivity that lends insight into localization of mania symptoms and potential therapeutic targets.FUNDING Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Harvard Medical School DuPont-Warren Fellowship, Portuguese national funds from FCT and Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional, Child Neurology Foundation Shields Research, Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation, Nancy Lurie Marks Foundation, Mather’s Foundation, and the NIH.
Gonçalo Cotovio, Daniel Talmasov, J. Bernardo Barahona-Corrêa, Joey Hsu, Suhan Senova, Ricardo Ribeiro, Louis Soussand, Ana Velosa, Vera Cruz e Silva, Natalia Rost, Ona Wu, Alexander L. Cohen, Albino J. Oliveira-Maia, Michael D. Fox
Background: Patients with diffuse midline gliomas (DMG), including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), have dismal outcomes. We previously described the H3.3K27M mutation as a shared neoantigen in HLA-A*02.01+ H3.3K27M+ DMGs. Within the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium, we assessed safety and efficacy of an H3.3K27M-targeted peptide vaccine. Patients and Methods: Newly diagnosed patients aged 3-21 years with HLA-A*02.01+ and H3.3K27M+ status were enrolled into Stratum A (DIPG) and Stratum B (non-pontine DMG). Vaccine was administered in combination with poly-ICLC every three weeks for eight cycles, followed by once every six weeks. Immuno-monitoring and imaging occurred every three months. Imaging was centrally reviewed. Immunological responses were assessed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells using mass cytometry. Results: 19 patients enrolled in Stratum A (median age=11 years) and 10 in Stratum B (median age=13 years). There were no grade 4 treatment-related adverse events (TRAE). Injection site reaction was the most commonly reported TRAE. Overall survival (OS) at 12 months was 40% (95% CI, 22% to 73%) for Stratum A and 39% (95% CI, 16% to 93%) for Stratum B. The median OS was 16.1 months in patients exhibiting an expansion of H3.3K27M-reactive CD8+ T-cells compared to 9.8 months for their counterparts (p=0.05). DIPG patients with below-median baseline levels of myeloid-derived suppressor cells had prolonged OS compared to their counterparts (p<0.01). Immediate pre-treatment dexamethasone administration inversely associated with H3.3K27M-reactive CD8+ T-cell responses. Conclusion: Administration of the H3.3K27M-specific vaccine is well tolerated. Patients with H3.3K27M-specific CD8+ immunological responses demonstrated prolonged OS compared to non-responders.
Sabine Mueller, Jared M. Taitt, Javier E. Villanueva-Meyer, Erin R. Bonner, Takahide Nejo, Rishi R Lulla, Stewart Goldman, Anu Banerjee, Susan N. Chi, Nicholas S. Whipple, John R. Crawford, Karen Gauvain, Kellie J. Nazemi, Payal B. Watchmaker, Neil D. Almeida, Kaori Okada, Andres M. Salazar, Ryan D. Gilbert, Javad Nazarian, Annette M. Molinaro, Lisa H. Butterfield, Michael D. Prados, Hideho Okada
BACKGROUND. Current methods for the detection and surveillance of bladder cancer (BCa) are often invasive and/or possess suboptimal sensitivity and specificity, especially in early stage, minimal, residual tumors. METHODS. We developed a novel method for the detection of urine tumor DNA Methylation at multiple genomic regions by Mass Array, termed utMeMA. We identified the BCa-specific methylation markers by combined analyses of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital (SYSMH), TCGA and GEO cohorts. The BCa diagnostic model was built in a retrospective cohort (n=313) and validated in a multicenter, prospective cohort (n=175). The performance of this diagnostic assay was analyzed and compared with urine cytology and FISH. RESULTS. We first discovered 26 significant methylation markers of BCa in combined analyses. We build and validate a two-marker-based diagnostic model that discriminated patients with BCa with high accuracy (86.7%), sensitivity (90.0%) and specificity (83.1%). Furthermore, utMeMA based assay achieved a great improvement in sensitivity over urine cytology and FISH, especially in the detection of early stage (Ta and low grade tumor, 64.5% vs. 11.8%, 15.8%), minimal (81.0% vs. 14.8%, 37.9%), residual (93.3% vs. 27.3%, 64.3%) and recurrent (89.5% vs. 31.4%, 52.8%) tumors. The urine diagnostic score (UD-score) from this assay was better associated with tumor malignancy and burden. CONCLUSIONS. Urine tumor DNA methylation assessment for early diagnosis, minimal, residual tumor detection and surveillance in bladder cancer is a rapid, high-throughput, non-invasive and promising approach, which may reduce the burden of cystoscopy and blind second surgery.
Xu Chen, Jingtong Zhang, Weimei Ruan, Ming Huang, Chanjuan Wang, Hong Wang, Zeyu Jiang, Shaogang Wang, Zheng Liu, Chunxiao Liu, Wanlong Tan, Jin Yang, Jiaxin Chen, Zhiwei Chen, Xia Li, Xiaoyu Zhang, Peng Xu, Lin Chen, Ruihui Xie, Qianghua Zhou, Shizhong Xu, Darryl Irwin, JIAN-BING FAN, Jian Huang, Tianxin Lin
BACKGROUND. COVID-19 patients develop pneumonia generally associated to lymphopenia and severe inflammatory response due to uncontrolled cytokine release. These mediators are transcriptionally regulated by the JAK-STAT signaling pathways, which can be disabled by small molecules. METHODS. A group of subjects (n = 20) was treated with baricitinib according to an off-label use of the drug. The study was designed as an observational longitudinal trial and approved by the local ethical committee. The patients were treated with baricitinib 4 mg twice daily for 2 days, followed by 4 mg per day for the remaining 7 days. Changes in the immune phenotype and expression of pSTAT3 in blood cells were evaluated and correlated with serum-derived cytokine levels and antibodies anti-SARS-CoV-2. In a single treated patient, we evaluated also the alteration of myeloid cell functional activity. RESULTS. We provided evidences that baricitinib-treated patients have a marked reduction in serum levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, a rapid recovery in circulating T and B cell frequencies, and increased antibody production against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which were clinically associated with a reduction in oxygen flow need and progressive increase in the P/F. CONCLUSION. Baricitinib prevented the progression towards a severe/extreme form of the viral disease by modulating the patients’ immune landscape and these changes were associated with a safer and favorable clinical outcome of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. TRIAL REGISTRATION. The ClinicalTrials.gov identifier of this project is protocol NCT04438629. FUNDING. This work was supported by Fondazione Cariverona (ENACT Project) and Fondazione TIM.
Vincenzo Bronte, Stefano Ugel, Elisa Tinazzi, Antonio Vella, Francesco De Sanctis, Stefania Canè, Veronica Batani, Rosalinda Trovato, Alessandra Fiore, Varvara Petrova, Francesca Hofer, Roza Maria Barouni, Chiara Musiu, Simone Caligola, Laura Pinton, Lorena Torroni, Enrico Polati, Katia Donadello, Simonetta Friso, Francesca Pizzolo, Manuela Iezzi, Federica Facciotti, Pier Giuseppe Pelicci, Daniela Righetti, Paolo Bazzoni, Mariaelisa Rampudda, Andrea C. Comel, Walter Mosaner, Claudio Lunardi, Oliviero Olivieri
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