BACKGROUND. Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic neurodevelopmental disorder of life-threatening hyperphagia, obesity, intellectual deficits, compulsivity, and other behavioral problems. The efficacy and safety of i.n. carbetocin, an oxytocin analog, was evaluated in a prospective, randomized, double-blinded trial in adolescents with PWS. METHODS. Eligible patients aged 10–18 years with genetically confirmed PWS were randomized (1:1) to i.n. carbetocin or placebo 3 times daily for 14 days. The primary efficacy endpoint was change in parent/caregiver-rated Hyperphagia in PWS Questionnaire–Responsiveness (HPWSQ-R) total score. Secondary efficacy endpoints included HPWSQ-R behavior, drive, and severity domains; clinician-rated HPWSQ; Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Severity Scale; food domain of the Reiss Profile; and Clinical Global Impression–Improvement scale. Endpoints were assessed using analysis of covariance. Relationship between primary and secondary endpoints was assessed using Pearson correlation coefficients. Safety was assessed throughout the study. RESULTS. Demographics and clinical characteristics were similar between treatment groups (carbetocin, n = 17; placebo, n = 20). Patients receiving carbetocin had statistically significant reductions in HPWSQ-R total score at study end (–15.6) versus patients receiving placebo (–8.9; P = 0.029); several secondary efficacy endpoints also demonstrated significant differences (P < 0.05). Treatment effects for the primary and secondary endpoints were highly correlated (P ≤ 0.0001). Incidence of adverse events (AEs) was similar between treatment groups. CONCLUSION. I.n. carbetocin was well tolerated and improved hyperphagia and behavioral symptoms of PWS. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01968187 FUNDING. The study was funded by Ferring Pharmaceuticals. Recruitment was aided by ongoing work in PWS performed through Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant U54 HD083211.
Elisabeth M. Dykens, Jennifer Miller, Moris Angulo, Elizabeth Roof, Michael Reidy, Hind T. Hatoum, Richard Willey, Guy Bolton, Paul Korner
BACKGROUND. Heat shock protein peptide complex-96 (HSPPC-96) triggers adaptive and innate antitumor immune responses. The safety and efficacy of HSPPC-96 vaccination was examined in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). METHODS. In this open-label, single-arm, phase I study, adult patients were vaccinated with HSPPC-96 in combination with the standard treatment for newly diagnosed GBM after surgical resection. Primary endpoints were frequency of adverse events and progression-free survival (PFS) at 6 months. Secondary endpoints included overall survival (OS), PFS, and tumor-specific immune response (TSIR). RESULTS. A total of 20 patients with newly diagnosed GBM were enrolled from September 2013 to February 2015. No grade 3 or 4 vaccine-related adverse events were noted. After a median follow-up of 42.3 months, PFS was 89.5% (95% CI, 66.9%–98.7%) at 6 months, median PFS was 11.0 months (95% CI, 8.2–13.8), and median OS was 31.4 months (95% CI, 14.9–47.9). TSIR was significantly increased by 2.3-fold (95% CI, 1.7–3.2) after vaccination. Median OS for patients with high TSIR after vaccination was >40.5 months (95% CI, incalculable) as compared with 14.6 months (95% CI, 7.0–22.2) for patients with low TSIR after vaccination (hazard ratio, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.071–0.90; P = 0.034). A multivariate Cox regression model revealed TSIR after vaccination as a primary independent predicator for survival. CONCLUSION. The HSPPC-96 vaccination, combined with the standard therapy, is a safe and effective strategy for treatment of newly diagnosed GBM patients. TSIR after vaccination would be a good indicator predicting the vaccine efficacy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02122822. FUNDING. National Key Technology Research and Development Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2014BAI04B01, 2014BAI04B02), Beijing Natural Science Foundation (7164253), Beijing Talents Fund (2014000021469G257), and Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Committee (JSGG20170413151359491).
Nan Ji, Yang Zhang, Yunpeng Liu, Jian Xie, Yi Wang, Shuyu Hao, Zhixian Gao
BACKGROUND. Constitutive activation of ERK1/2 occurs in various cancers, and its reactivation is a well-described resistance mechanism to MAPK inhibitors. ERK inhibitors may overcome the limitations of MAPK inhibitor blockade. The dual mechanism inhibitor SCH772984 has shown promising preclinical activity across various BRAFV600/RAS-mutant cancer cell lines and human cancer xenografts. METHODS. We have developed an orally bioavailable ERK inhibitor, MK-8353; conducted preclinical studies to demonstrate activity, pharmacodynamic endpoints, dosing, and schedule; completed a study in healthy volunteers (P07652); and subsequently performed a phase I clinical trial in patients with advanced solid tumors (MK-8353-001). In the P07652 study, MK-8353 was administered as a single dose in 10- to 400-mg dose cohorts, whereas in the MK-8353-001 study, MK-8353 was administered in 100- to 800-mg dose cohorts orally twice daily. Safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and antitumor activity were analyzed. RESULTS. MK-8353 exhibited comparable potency with SCH772984 across various preclinical cancer models. Forty-eight patients were enrolled in the P07652 study, and twenty-six patients were enrolled in the MK-8353-001 study. Adverse events included diarrhea (44%), fatigue (40%), nausea (32%), and rash (28%). Dose-limiting toxicity was observed in the 400-mg and 800-mg dose cohorts. Sufficient exposure to MK-8353 was noted that correlated with biological activity in preclinical data. Three of fifteen patients evaluable for treatment response in the MK-8353-001 study had partial response, all with BRAFV600-mutant melanomas. CONCLUSION. MK-8353 was well tolerated up to 400 mg twice daily and exhibited antitumor activity in patients with BRAFV600-mutant melanoma. However, antitumor activity was not particularly correlated with pharmacodynamic parameters. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01358331. FUNDING. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc., and NIH (P01 CA168585 and R35 CA197633).
Stergios J. Moschos, Ryan J. Sullivan, Wen-Jen Hwu, Ramesh K. Ramanathan, Alex A. Adjei, Peter C. Fong, Ronnie Shapira-Frommer, Hussein A. Tawbi, Joseph Rubino, Thomas S. Rush III, Da Zhang, Nathan R. Miselis, Ahmed A. Samatar, Patrick Chun, Eric H. Rubin, James Schiller, Brian J. Long, Priya Dayananth, Donna Carr, Paul Kirschmeier, W. Robert Bishop, Yongqi Deng, Alan Cooper, Gerald W. Shipps, Blanca Homet Moreno, Lidia Robert, Antoni Ribas, Keith T. Flaherty
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressing, fatal disorder with no effective treatment. We used simple genetic models of ALS to screen phenotypically for potential therapeutic compounds. We screened libraries of compounds in C. elegans, validated hits in zebrafish, and tested the most potent molecule in mice and in a small clinical trial. We identified a class of neuroleptics that restored motility in C. elegans and in zebrafish, and the most potent was pimozide, which blocked T-type Ca2+ channels in these simple models and stabilized neuromuscular transmission in zebrafish and enhanced it in mice. Finally, a short randomized controlled trial of sporadic ALS subjects demonstrated stabilization of motility and evidence of target engagement at the neuromuscular junction. Simple genetic models are, thus, useful in identifying promising compounds for the treatment of ALS, such as neuroleptics, which may stabilize neuromuscular transmission and prolong survival in this disease.
Shunmoogum A. Patten, Dina Aggad, Jose Martinez, Elsa Tremblay, Janet Petrillo, Gary A.B. Armstrong, Alexandre La Fontaine, Claudia Maios, Meijiang Liao, Sorana Ciura, Xiao-Yan Wen, Victor Rafuse, Justin Ichida, Lorne Zinman, Jean-Pierre Julien, Edor Kabashi, Richard Robitaille, Lawrence Korngut, J. Alexander Parker, Pierre Drapeau
BACKGROUND. Deficiency of IL-1 receptor antagonist (DIRA) is a rare autoinflammatory disease that presents with life-threatening systemic inflammation, aseptic multifocal osteomyelitis, and pustulosis responsive to IL-1–blocking treatment. This study was performed (a) to investigate rilonacept, a long-acting IL-1 inhibitor, in maintaining anakinra-induced inflammatory remission in DIRA patients, (b) to determine doses needed to maintain remission, and (c) to evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of rilonacept in young children (<12 years). METHODS. Six mutation-positive DIRA patients (children, ages 3–6 years), treated with daily anakinra, were enrolled into an open-label pilot study of subcutaneous rilonacept for 24 months. Clinical symptoms and inflammatory blood parameters were measured at all visits. A loading dose (4.4 mg/kg) was administered, followed by once weekly injections (2.2 mg/kg) for 12 months. Dose escalation (4.4 mg/kg) was allowed if inflammatory remission was not maintained. Subjects in remission at 12 months continued rilonacept for an additional 12 months. RESULTS. Five of six patients required dose escalation for findings of micropustules. Following dose escalation, all patients were in remission on weekly rilonacept administration, with stable laboratory parameters for the entire study period of 24 months. All children are growing at normal rates and have normal heights and weights. Quality of life improved while on rilonacept. No serious adverse events were reported. CONCLUSION. Rilonacept was found to maintain inflammatory remission in DIRA patients. The once weekly injection was well tolerated and correlated with increased quality of life, most likely related to the lack of daily injections. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01801449. FUNDING. NIH, NIAMS, and NIAID.
Megha Garg, Adriana A. de Jesus, Dawn Chapelle, Paul Dancey, Ronit Herzog, Rafael Rivas-Chacon, Theresa L. Wampler Muskardin, Ann Reed, James C. Reynolds, Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky, Gina A. Montealegre Sanchez
BACKGROUND. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is an obesity-driven condition of pandemic proportions that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Pathophysiological mechanisms are poorly understood, though inflammation has been implicated in MetS pathogenesis. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of galantamine, a centrally acting acetylcholinesterase inhibitor with antiinflammatory properties, on markers of inflammation implicated in insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk, and other metabolic and cardiovascular indices in subjects with MetS. METHODS. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, subjects with MetS (30 per group) received oral galantamine 8 mg daily for 4 weeks, followed by 16 mg daily for 8 weeks or placebo. The primary outcome was inflammation assessed through plasma levels of cytokines and adipokines associated with MetS. Secondary endpoints included body weight, fat tissue depots, plasma glucose, insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL), triglycerides, BP, heart rate, and heart rate variability (HRV). RESULTS. Galantamine resulted in lower plasma levels of proinflammatory molecules TNF (–2.57 pg/ml [95% CI –4.96 to –0.19]; P = 0.035) and leptin (–12.02 ng/ml [95% CI –17.71 to –6.33]; P < 0.0001), and higher levels of the antiinflammatory molecules adiponectin (2.71 μg/ml [95% CI 1.93 to 3.49]; P < 0.0001) and IL-10 (1.32 pg/ml, [95% CI 0.29 to 2.38]; P = 0.002) as compared with placebo. Galantamine also significantly lowered plasma insulin and HOMA-IR values, and altered HRV. CONCLUSION. Low-dose galantamine alleviates inflammation and insulin resistance in MetS subjects. These findings support further study of galantamine in MetS therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02283242. FUNDING. Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Brazil, and the NIH.
Fernanda M. Consolim-Colombo, Carine T. Sangaleti, Fernando O. Costa, Tercio L. Morais, Heno F. Lopes, Josiane M. Motta, Maria C. Irigoyen, Luiz A. Bortoloto, Carlos Eduardo Rochitte, Yael Tobi Harris, Sanjaya K. Satapathy, Peder S. Olofsson, Meredith Akerman, Sangeeta S. Chavan, Meggan MacKay, Douglas P. Barnaby, Martin L. Lesser, Jesse Roth, Kevin J. Tracey, Valentin A. Pavlov
The placebo effect is a phenomenon in which patients who are given an inactive treatment (e.g., inert pill) show a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition. Placebo effects in clinical trials have been investigated for many years especially because placebo treatments often serve as the control arm of randomized clinical trial designs. Recent observations suggest that placebo effects may be modified by genetics. This observation has given rise to the term “placebome,” which refers to a group of genome-related mediators that affect an individual’s response to placebo treatments. In this study, we conduct a network analysis of the placebome and identify a placebome module in the comprehensive human interactome using a seed-connector algorithm. The placebome module is significantly enriched with neurotransmitter signaling pathways and brain-specific proteins. We validate the placebome module using a large cohort of the Women’s Genome Health Study (WGHS) trial and demonstrate that the placebome module is significantly enriched with genes whose SNPs modify the outcome in the placebo arm of the trial. To gain insights into placebo effects in different diseases and drug treatments, we use a network proximity measure to examine the closeness of the placebome module to different disease modules and drug target modules. The results demonstrate that the network proximity of the placebome module to disease modules in the interactome significantly correlates with the strength of the placebo effect in the corresponding diseases. The proximity of the placebome module to molecular pathways affected by certain drug classes indicates the existence of placebo-drug interactions. This study is helpful for understanding the molecular mechanisms mediating the placebo response, and sets the stage for minimizing its effects in clinical trials and for developing therapeutic strategies that intentionally engage it.
Rui-Sheng Wang, Kathryn T. Hall, Franco Giulianini, Dani Passow, Ted J. Kaptchuk, Joseph Loscalzo
Vivek Subbiah, Muhammad Rizwan Khawaja, David S. Hong, Behrang Amini, Jiang Yungfang, Hui Liu, Adrienne Johnson, Alexa B. Schrock, Siraj M. Ali, James X. Sun, David Fabrizio, Sarina Piha-Paul, Siqing Fu, Apostolia M. Tsimberidou, Aung Naing, Filip Janku, Daniel D. Karp, Michael Overman, Cathy Eng, Scott Kopetz, Funda Meric-Bernstam, Gerald S. Falchook
Background. Reports on long-term (≥10 years) effects of cancer vaccines are missing. Therefore, in 2002, we initiated a phase I/II trial in cutaneous melanoma patients to further explore the immunogenicity of our DC vaccine and to establish its long-term toxicity and clinical benefit after a planned 10-year followup.
Methods. Monocyte-derived DCs matured by TNFα, IL-1β, IL-6, and PGE2 and then loaded with 4 HLA class I and 6 class II–restricted tumor peptides were injected intradermally in high doses over 2 years. We performed serial immunomonitoring in all 53 evaluable patients.
Results. Vaccine-specific immune responses including high-affinity, IFNγ-producing CD4+ and lytic polyfunctional CD8+ T cells were de novo induced or boosted in most patients. Exposure of mature DCs to trimeric soluble CD40 ligand, unexpectedly, did not further enhance such immune responses, while keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) pulsing to provide unspecific CD4+ help promoted CD8+ T cell responses — notably, their longevity. An unexpected 19% of nonresectable metastatic melanoma patients are still alive after 11 years, a survival rate similar to that observed in ipilimumab-treated patients and achieved without any major (>grade 2) toxicity. Survival correlated significantly with the development of intense vaccine injection site reactions, and with blood eosinophilia after the first series of vaccinations, suggesting that prolonged survival was a consequence of DC vaccination.
Conclusions. Long-term survival in advanced melanoma patients undergoing DC vaccination is similar to ipilimumab-treated patients and occurs upon induction of tumor-specific T cells, blood eosinophilia, and strong vaccine injection site reactions occurring after the initial vaccinations.
TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00053391.
FUNDING. European Community, Sixth Framework Programme (Cancerimmunotherapy LSHC-CT-2006-518234; DC-THERA LSHB-CT-2004-512074), and German Research Foundation (CRC 643, C1, Z2).
Stefanie Gross, Michael Erdmann, Ina Haendle, Steve Voland, Thomas Berger, Erwin Schultz, Erwin Strasser, Peter Dankerl, Rolf Janka, Stefan Schliep, Lucie Heinzerling, Karl Sotlar, Pierre Coulie, Gerold Schuler, Beatrice Schuler-Thurner
Julie E. Bauman, Umamaheswar Duvvuri, William E. Gooding, Tanya J. Rath, Neil D. Gross, John Song, Antonio Jimeno, Wendell G. Yarbrough, Faye M. Johnson, Lin Wang, Simion Chiosea, Malabika Sen, Jason Kass, Jonas T. Johnson, Robert L. Ferris, Seungwon Kim, Fred R. Hirsch, Kimberly Ellison, John T. Flaherty, Gordon B. Mills, Jennifer R. Grandis
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