Review

Abstract

Muscular dystrophies are debilitating disorders that result in progressive weakness and degeneration of skeletal muscle. Although the genetic mutations and clinical abnormalities of a variety of neuromuscular diseases are well known, no curative therapies have been developed to date. The advent of genome editing technology provides new opportunities to correct the underlying mutations responsible for many monogenic neuromuscular diseases. For example, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene, has been successfully corrected in mice, dogs, and human cells through CRISPR/Cas9 editing. In this Review, we focus on the potential for, and challenges of, correcting muscular dystrophies by editing disease-causing mutations at the genomic level. Ideally, because muscle tissues are extremely long-lived, CRISPR technology could offer a one-time treatment for muscular dystrophies by correcting the culprit genomic mutations and enabling normal expression of the repaired gene.

Authors

Francesco Chemello, Rhonda Bassel-Duby, Eric N. Olson

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Abstract

The critical role of suppressive myeloid cells in immune regulation has come to the forefront in cancer research, with myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) as a main oncology immunotherapeutic target. Recent improvement and standardization of criteria classifying tumor-induced MDSCs have led to unified descriptions and also promoted MDSC research in tuberculosis (TB) and AIDS. Despite convincing evidence on the induction of MDSCs by pathogen-derived molecules and inflammatory mediators in TB and AIDS, very little attention has been given to their therapeutic modulation or roles in vaccination in these diseases. Clinical manifestations in TB are consequences of complex host-pathogen interactions and are substantially affected by HIV infection. Here we summarize the current understanding and knowledge gaps regarding the role of MDSCs in HIV and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (co)infections. We discuss key scientific priorities to enable application of this knowledge to the development of novel strategies to improve vaccine efficacy and/or implementation of enhanced treatment approaches. Building on recent findings and potential for cross-fertilization between oncology and infection biology, we highlight current challenges and untapped opportunities for translating new advances in MDSC research into clinical applications for TB and AIDS.

Authors

Anca Dorhoi, Leigh A. Kotzé, Jay A. Berzofsky, Yongjun Sui, Dmitry I. Gabrilovich, Ankita Garg, Richard Hafner, Shabaana A. Khader, Ulrich E. Schaible, Stefan H.E. Kaufmann, Gerhard Walzl, Manfred B. Lutz, Robert N. Mahon, Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg, William Bishai, Nelita du Plessis

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Abstract

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide and a leading cause of disability. Most strokes are caused by occlusion of a major cerebral artery, and substantial advances have been made in elucidating how ischemia damages the brain. In particular, increasing evidence points to a double-edged role of the immune system in stroke pathophysiology. In the acute phase, innate immune cells invade brain and meninges and contribute to ischemic damage, but may also be protective. At the same time, danger signals released into the circulation by damaged brain cells lead to activation of systemic immunity, followed by profound immunodepression that promotes life-threatening infections. In the chronic phase, antigen presentation initiates an adaptive immune response targeted to the brain, which may underlie neuropsychiatric sequelae, a considerable cause of poststroke morbidity. Here, we briefly review these pathogenic processes and assess the potential therapeutic value of targeting immunity in human stroke.

Authors

Costantino Iadecola, Marion S. Buckwalter, Josef Anrather

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Abstract

Herpesviruses infect virtually all humans and establish lifelong latency and reactivate to infect other humans. Latency requires multiple functions: maintaining the herpesvirus genome in the nuclei of cells; partitioning the viral genome to daughter cells in dividing cells; avoiding recognition by the immune system by limiting protein expression; producing noncoding viral RNAs (including microRNAs) to suppress lytic gene expression or regulate cellular protein expression that could otherwise eliminate virus-infected cells; modulating the epigenetic state of the viral genome to regulate viral gene expression; and reactivating to infect other hosts. Licensed antivirals inhibit virus replication, but do not affect latency. Understanding of the mechanisms of latency is leading to novel approaches to destroy latently infected cells or inhibit reactivation from latency.

Authors

Jeffrey I. Cohen

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Abstract

The renaissance of complement diagnostics and therapeutics has introduced precision medicine into a widened field of complement-mediated diseases. In particular, complement-mediated diseases (or complementopathies) with ongoing or published clinical trials of complement inhibitors include paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, cold agglutinin disease, hemolytic uremic syndrome, nephropathies, HELLP syndrome, transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and neuromyelitis optica. Recognizing that this field is rapidly expanding, we aim to provide a state-of-the-art review of (a) current understanding of complement biology for the clinician, (b) novel insights into complement with potential applicability to clinical practice, (c) complement in disease across various disciplines (hematology, nephrology, obstetrics, transplantation, rheumatology, and neurology), and (d) the potential future of precision medicine. Better understanding of complement diagnostics and therapeutics will not only facilitate physicians treating patients in clinical practice but also provide the basis for future research toward precision medicine in this field.

Authors

Eleni Gavriilaki, Robert A. Brodsky

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Abstract

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has spurred a global health crisis. To date, there are no proven options for prophylaxis for those who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, nor therapy for those who develop COVID-19. Immune (i.e. “convalescent”) plasma refers to plasma that is collected from individuals, following resolution of infection and development of antibodies. Passive antibody administration through transfusion of convalescent plasma may offer the only short-term strategy to confer immediate immunity to susceptible individuals. There are numerous examples, where convalescent plasma has been used successfully as post-exposure prophylaxis and/or treatment of infectious diseases, including other outbreaks of coronaviruses (e.g., SARS-1, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome [MERS]). Convalescent plasma has also been used in the COVID-19 pandemic; limited data from China suggest clinical benefit, including radiological resolution, reduction in viral loads and improved survival. Globally, blood centers have robust infrastructure to undertake collections and construct inventories of convalescent plasma to meet the growing demand. Nonetheless, there are nuanced challenges, both regulatory and logistical, spanning donor eligibility, donor recruitment, collections and transfusion itself. Data from rigorously controlled clinical trials of convalescent plasma are also few, underscoring the need to evaluate its use objectively for a range of indications (e.g., prevention vs treatment) and patient populations (e.g., age, comorbid disease). We provide an overview of convalescent plasma, from evidence of benefit, regulatory considerations, logistical work flow and proposed clinical trials, as scale up is brought underway to mobilize this critical resource.

Authors

Evan M. Bloch, Shmuel Shoham, Arturo Casadevall, Bruce S. Sachais, Beth Shaz, Jeffrey L. Winters, Camille van Buskirk, Brenda J. Grossman, Michael Joyner, Jeffrey P. Henderson, Andrew Pekosz, Bryan Lau, Amy Wesolowski, Louis Katz, Hua Shan, Paul G. Auwaerter, David Thomas, David J. Sullivan, Nigel Paneth, Eric Gehrie, Steven Spitalnik, Eldad Hod, Lewis Pollack, Wayne T. Nicholson, Liise-anne Pirofski, Jeffrey A. Bailey, Aaron A.R. Tobian

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Abstract

Regenerative pain medicine, which seeks to harness the body’s own reparative capacity, is rapidly emerging as a field within pain medicine and orthopedics. It is increasingly appreciated that common analgesic mechanisms for these treatments depend on neuroimmune modulation. In this Review, we discuss recent progress in mechanistic understanding of nociceptive sensitization in chronic pain with a focus on neuroimmune modulation. We also examine the spectrum of regenerative outcomes, including preclinical and clinical outcomes. We further distinguish the analgesic mechanisms of regenerative therapies from those of cellular replacement, creating a conceptual and mechanistic framework to evaluate future research on regenerative medicine.

Authors

Thomas Buchheit, Yul Huh, William Maixner, Jianguo Cheng, Ru-Rong Ji

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Abstract

In spite of the recent approval of new promising targeted therapies, the clinical outcome of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains suboptimal, prompting the search for additional and synergistic therapeutic rationales. It is increasingly evident that the bone marrow immune environment of AML patients is profoundly altered, contributing to the severity of the disease but also providing several windows of opportunity to prompt or rewire a proficient antitumor immune surveillance. In this Review, we present current evidence on immune defects in AML, discuss the challenges with selective targeting of AML cells, and summarize the clinical results and immunologic insights from studies that are testing the latest immunotherapy approaches to specifically target AML cells (antibodies, cellular therapies) or more broadly reactivate antileukemia immunity (vaccines, checkpoint blockade). Given the complex interactions between AML cells and the many components of their environment, it is reasonable to surmise that the future of immunotherapy in AML lies in the rational combination of complementary immunotherapeutic strategies with chemotherapeutics or other oncogenic pathway inhibitors. Identifying reliable biomarkers of response to improve patient selection and avoid toxicities will be critical in this process.

Authors

Luca Vago, Ivana Gojo

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Abstract

Cellular therapy for hematologic malignancies is a rapidly evolving field, with new iterations of novel constructs being developed at a rapid pace. Since the initial reports of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T cell)success in CD19+ B cell malignancies, multiple clinical trials of CAR T cell therapy directed to CD19 have led to the approval of this therapy by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency for specific indications. Despite strikingly similar efficacy, investigators at multiple centers participating in these studies have observed the nuances of each CAR T cell product, including variability in manufacturing, availability, and toxicity profiles. Here we review state-of-the-art clinical data on CD19-directed CAR T cell therapies in B cell hematologic malignancies, advances made in understanding and modeling associated toxicities, and several exciting advances and creative solutions for overcoming challenges with this therapeutic modality.

Authors

Matthew J. Frigault, Marcela V. Maus

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Abstract

Multiple myeloma (MM), a bone marrow–resident hematological malignancy of plasma cells, has remained largely incurable despite dramatic improvements in patient outcomes in the era of myeloma-targeted and immunomodulatory agents. It has recently become clear that T cells from MM patients are able to recognize and eliminate myeloma, although this is subverted in the majority of patients who eventually succumb to progressive disease. T cell exhaustion and a suppressive bone marrow microenvironment have been implicated in disease progression, and once these are established, immunotherapy appears largely ineffective. Autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is a standard of care in eligible patients and results in immune effects beyond cytoreduction, including lymphodepletion, T cell priming via immunogenic cell death, and inflammation; all occur within the context of a disrupted bone marrow microenvironment. Recent studies suggest that ASCT reestablishes immune equilibrium and thus represents a logical platform in which to intervene to prevent immune escape. New immunotherapies based on checkpoint inhibition targeting the immune receptor TIGIT and the deletion of suppressive myeloid populations appear attractive, particularly after ASCT. Finally, the immunologically favorable environment created after ASCT may also represent an opportunity for approaches utilizing bispecific antibodies or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells.

Authors

Simone A. Minnie, Geoffrey R. Hill

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