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.
Simone A. Minnie, Geoffrey R. Hill
The functional state of the preexisting T cells in the tumor microenvironment is a key determinant for effective antitumor immunity and immunotherapy. Increasing evidence suggests that immunosenescence is an important state of T cell dysfunction that is distinct from exhaustion, a key strategy used by malignant tumors to evade immune surveillance and sustain the suppressive tumor microenvironment. Here, we discuss the phenotypic and functional characteristics of senescent T cells and their role in human cancers. We also explore the possible mechanisms and signaling pathways responsible for induction of T cell senescence by malignant tumors, and then discuss potential strategies to prevent and/or reverse senescence in tumor-specific T cells. A better understanding of these critical issues should provide novel strategies to enhance cancer immunotherapy.
Xia Liu, Daniel F. Hoft, Guangyong Peng
Sickle cell anemia is a unique disease dominated by hemolytic anemia and vaso-occlusive events. The latter trigger a version of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) pathobiology that is singular in its origin, cyclicity, complexity, instability, perpetuity, and breadth of clinical consequences. Specific clinical features are probably attributable to local I/R injury (e.g., stroke syndromes) or remote organ injury (e.g., acute chest syndrome) or the systematization of inflammation (e.g., multifocal arteriopathy). Indeed, by fashioning an underlying template of endothelial dysfunction and vulnerability, the robust inflammatory systematization no doubt contributes to all sickle pathology. In this Review, we highlight I/R–targeting therapeutics shown to improve microvascular blood flow in sickle transgenic mice undergoing I/R, and we suggest how such insights might be translated into human therapeutic strategies.
Robert P. Hebbel, John D. Belcher, Gregory M. Vercellotti
Lymphoid malignancies typically promote an infiltrate of immune cells at sites involved by the disease. While some of the immune cells present in lymphoma have effector function, the immune system is unable to eradicate the malignant clone. Therapies that optimize immune function therefore have the potential to improve the outcome of lymphoma patients. In this Review, we discuss immunologic approaches that directly target the malignant cell as well as approaches to optimize both the innate and adaptive immune response to the tumor. While many of these therapies have shown single-agent activity, the future will clearly require thoughtful combinations of these approaches.
Stephen M. Ansell, Yi Lin
Real-world data (RWD) continue to emerge as a new source of clinical evidence. Although the best-known use case of RWD has been in drug regulation, RWD are being generated and used by many other parties, including biopharmaceutical companies, payors, clinical researchers, providers, and patients. In this Review, we describe 21 potential uses for RWD across the spectrum of health care. We also discuss important challenges and limitations relevant to the translation of these data into evidence.
Vivek A. Rudrapatna, Atul J. Butte
Hematological malignancies have long been at the forefront of the development of novel immune-based treatment strategies. The earliest successful efforts originated from the extensive body of work in the field of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. These efforts laid the foundation for the recent exciting era of cancer immunotherapy, which includes immune checkpoint blockade, personal neoantigen vaccines, and adoptive T cell transfer. At the heart of the specificity of these novel strategies is the recognition of target antigens presented by malignant cells to T cells. Here, we review the advances in systematic identification of minor histocompatibility antigens and neoantigens arising from personal somatic alterations or recurrent driver mutations. These exciting efforts pave the path for the implementation of personalized combinatorial cancer therapy.
Livius Penter, Catherine J. Wu
Signaling by the TGF-β superfamily is important in the regulation of hematopoiesis and is dysregulated in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs), contributing to ineffective hematopoiesis and clinical cytopenias. TGF-β, activins, and growth differentiation factors exert inhibitory effects on red cell formation by activating canonical SMAD2/3 pathway signaling. In this Review, we summarize evidence that overactivation of SMAD2/3 signaling pathways in MDSs causes anemia due to impaired erythroid maturation. We also describe the basis for biological activity of activin receptor ligand traps, novel fusion proteins such as luspatercept that are promising as erythroid maturation agents to alleviate anemia and related comorbidities in MDSs and other conditions characterized by impaired erythroid maturation.
Amit Verma, Rajasekhar N.V.S. Suragani, Srinivas Aluri, Nishi Shah, Tushar D. Bhagat, Mark J. Alexander, Rami Komrokji, Ravi Kumar
Technological advances in rapid data acquisition have transformed medical biology into a data mining field, where new data sets are routinely dissected and analyzed by statistical models of ever-increasing complexity. Many hypotheses can be generated and tested within a single large data set, and even small effects can be statistically discriminated from a sea of noise. On the other hand, the development of therapeutic interventions moves at a much slower pace. They are determined from carefully randomized and well-controlled experiments with explicitly stated outcomes as the principal mechanism by which a single hypothesis is tested. In this paradigm, only a small fraction of interventions can be tested, and an even smaller fraction are ultimately deemed therapeutically successful. In this Review, we propose strategies to leverage large-cohort data to inform the selection of targets and the design of randomized trials of novel therapeutics. Ultimately, the incorporation of big data and experimental medicine approaches should aim to reduce the failure rate of clinical trials as well as expedite and lower the cost of drug development.
Eugene Melamud, D. Leland Taylor, Anurag Sethi, Madeleine Cule, Anastasia Baryshnikova, Danish Saleheen, Nick van Bruggen, Garret A. FitzGerald
Immunotherapy has transformed the treatment landscape for a wide range of human cancers. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), monoclonal antibodies that block the immune-regulatory “checkpoint” receptors CTLA-4, PD-1, or its ligand PD-L1, can produce durable responses in some patients. However, coupled with their success, these treatments commonly evoke a wide range of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) that can affect any organ system and can be treatment-limiting and life-threatening, such as diabetic ketoacidosis, which appears to be more frequent than initially described. The majority of irAEs from checkpoint blockade involve either barrier tissues (e.g., gastrointestinal mucosa or skin) or endocrine organs, although any organ system can be affected. Often, irAEs resemble spontaneous autoimmune diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D), and autoimmune pancreatitis. Yet whether similar molecular or pathologic mechanisms underlie these apparent autoimmune adverse events and classical autoimmune diseases is presently unknown. Interestingly, evidence links HLA alleles associated with high risk for autoimmune disease with ICI-induced T1D and colitis. Understanding the genetic risks and immunologic mechanisms driving ICI-mediated inflammatory toxicities may not only identify therapeutic targets useful for managing irAEs, but may also provide new insights into the pathoetiology and treatment of autoimmune diseases.
Michael Dougan, Massimo Pietropaolo
The discovery of peripheral intracellular clocks revealed circadian oscillations of clock genes and their targets in all cell types, including those in the lung, sparking exploration of clocks in lung disease pathophysiology. While the focus has been on the role of these clocks in adult airway diseases, clock biology is also likely to be important in perinatal lung development, where it has received far less attention. Historically, fetal circadian rhythms have been considered irrelevant owing to lack of external light exposure, but more recent insights into peripheral clock biology raise questions of clock emergence, its concordance with tissue-specific structure/function, the interdependence of clock synchrony and functionality in perinatal lung development, and the possibility of lung clocks in priming the fetus for postnatal life. Understanding the perinatal molecular clock may unravel mechanistic targets for chronic airway disease across the lifespan. With current research providing more questions than answers, it is about time to investigate clocks in the developing lung.
Colleen M. Bartman, Aleksey Matveyenko, Y.S. Prakash
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