BACKGROUND Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) patients have mutations in the COL7A1 gene and thus lack functional type VII collagen (C7) protein; they have marked skin fragility and blistering. This single-center phase 1/2a open-label study evaluated the long-term efficacy, safety, and patient-reported outcomes in RDEB patients treated with gene-corrected autologous cell therapy.METHODS Autologous keratinocytes were isolated from participant skin biopsies. Epidermal sheets were prepared from cells transduced with a retrovirus carrying the full-length human COL7A1 gene. These gene-corrected autologous epidermal sheets measured 5 × 7 cm (35 cm2) and were transplanted onto 6 wound sites in each of 7 adult participants (n = 42 sites total) from 2013 to 2017. Participants were followed for 2 to 5 years.RESULTS No participants experienced any serious related adverse events. Wound healing of 50% or greater by Investigator Global Assessment was present in 95% (36 of 38) of treated wounds versus 0% (0 of 6) of untreated control wounds at 6 months (P < 0.0001). At year 1, 68% (26 of 38) of treated wounds had 50% or greater healing compared with 17% (1 of 6) of control wounds (P = 0.025). At year 2, 71% (27 of 38) of treated wounds had 50% or greater healing compared with 17% (1 of 6) of control wounds (P = 0.019).CONCLUSION C7 expression persisted up to 2 years after treatment in 2 participants. Treated wounds with 50% or greater healing demonstrated improvement in patient-reported pain, itch, and wound durability. This study provides additional data to support the clinically meaningful benefit of treating chronic RDEB wounds with ex vivo, C7 gene–corrected autologous cell therapy. This approach was safe and promoted wound healing that was associated with improved patient-reported outcomes.TRIAL REGISTRATION Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01263379.FUNDING Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Partnership, Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, NIH R01 AR055914, Office of Research and Development at the Palo Alto Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, and the Dermatology Foundation.
Shaundra Eichstadt, Melissa Barriga, Anusha Ponakala, Claudia Teng, Ngon T. Nguyen, Zurab Siprashvili, Jaron Nazaroff, Emily S. Gorell, Albert S. Chiou, Lisa Taylor, Phuong Khuu, Douglas R. Keene, Kerri Rieger, Rohit K. Khosla, Louise K. Furukawa, H. Peter Lorenz, M. Peter Marinkovich, Jean Y. Tang
The treatment of most autoimmune diseases still relies on systemic immunosuppression and is associated with severe side effects. The development of drugs that more specifically abrogate pathogenic pathways is therefore most desirable. In nature, such specificity is exemplified, e.g., by the soft tick–derived biotherapeutic Coversin, which locally suppresses immune responses by inhibiting complement factor 5 (C5) and leukotriene B4 (LTB4). C5a, a proteolytic fragment of C5, and LTB4 are critical drivers of skin inflammation in pemphigoid diseases (PDs), a group of autoimmune blistering skin diseases. Here, we demonstrate that both Coversin and its mutated form L-Coversin, which inhibits LTB4 only, dose dependently attenuate disease in a model of bullous pemphigoid–like epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (BP-like EBA). Coversin, however, reduces disease more effectively than L-Coversin, indicating that inhibition of C5 and LTB4 synergize in their suppressing effects in this model. Further supporting the therapeutic potential of Coversin in humans, we found that C5a and LTB4 are both present in the blister fluid of patients with BP in quantities inducing the recruitment of granulocytes and that the number of cells expressing their receptors, C5aR1 and BLT1, respectively, is increased in perilesional skin. Collectively, our results highlight Coversin and possibly L-Coversin as potential therapeutics for PDs.
Tanya Sezin, Sripriya Murthy, Claudia Attah, Malte Seutter, Maike M. Holtsche, Christoph M. Hammers, Enno Schmidt, Fibi Meshrkey, Sadegh Mousavi, Detlef Zillikens, Miles A. Nunn, Christian D. Sadik
BACKGROUND Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a severe form of skin fragility disorder due to mutations in COL7A1 encoding basement membrane type VII collagen (C7), the main constituent of anchoring fibrils (AFs) in skin. We developed a self-inactivating lentiviral platform encoding a codon-optimized COL7A1 cDNA under the control of a human phosphoglycerate kinase promoter for phase I evaluation.METHODS In this single-center, open-label phase I trial, 4 adults with RDEB each received 3 intradermal injections (~1 × 106 cells/cm2 of intact skin) of COL7A1-modified autologous fibroblasts and were followed up for 12 months. The primary outcome was safety, including autoimmune reactions against recombinant C7. Secondary outcomes included C7 expression, AF morphology, and presence of transgene in the injected skin.RESULTS Gene-modified fibroblasts were well tolerated, without serious adverse reactions or autoimmune reactions against recombinant C7. Regarding efficacy, there was a significant (P < 0.05) 1.26-fold to 26.10-fold increase in C7 mean fluorescence intensity in the injected skin compared with noninjected skin in 3 of 4 subjects, with a sustained increase up to 12 months in 2 of 4 subjects. The presence of transgene (codon-optimized COL7A1 cDNA) was demonstrated in the injected skin at month 12 in 1 subject, but no new mature AFs were detected.CONCLUSION To our knowledge, this is the first human study demonstrating safety and potential efficacy of lentiviral fibroblast gene therapy with the presence of COL7A1 transgene and subsequent C7 restoration in vivo in treated skin at 1 year after gene therapy. These data provide a rationale for phase II studies for further clinical evaluation.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClincalTrials.gov NCT02493816.FUNDING Cure EB, Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association (UK), UK NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, and Fondation René Touraine Short-Exchange Award.
Su M. Lwin, Farhatullah Syed, Wei-Li Di, Tendai Kadiyirire, Lu Liu, Alyson Guy, Anastasia Petrova, Alya Abdul-Wahab, Fiona Reid, Rachel Phillips, Maria Elstad, Christos Georgiadis, Sophia Aristodemou, Patricia A. Lovell, James R. McMillan, John Mee, Snaigune Miskinyte, Matthias Titeux, Linda Ozoemena, Rashida Pramanik, Sonia Serrano, Racheal Rowles, Clarisse Maurin, Elizabeth Orrin, Magdalena Martinez-Queipo, Ellie Rashidghamat, Christos Tziotzios, Alexandros Onoufriadis, Mei Chen, Lucas Chan, Farzin Farzaneh, Marcela Del Rio, Jakub Tolar, Johann W. Bauer, Fernando Larcher, Michael N. Antoniou, Alain Hovnanian, Adrian J. Thrasher, Jemima E. Mellerio, Waseem Qasim, John A. McGrath
BACKGROUND. Cutaneous neurofibromas (cNF) are physically disfiguring, painful, and cause extensive psychologic harm in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). There is currently no effective medical treatment and surgical procedures are inaccessible to most NF1 patients globally. OBJECTIVE. While research is underway to find an effective medical treatment for cNF, there is an urgent need to develop surgical approach that is accessible to all NF1 patients in the world with the skill set and equipment found in most general medical office settings. Here, we present a robust surgical approach to remove cNF that does not require sterile surgical field, utilizes accessible clinical equipment, and can be performed by any health care providers including family practitioners, and physician assistants. METHODS. In a prospective case-series, patients with NF1 underwent this surgical procedure which removes multiple cutaneous neurofibromas. The Dermatology Life Quality Index was given to subjects before and after the procedure as surrogate for patient satisfaction. RESULTS. 83 tumors were removed throughout the body from twelve individuals. Examination at follow-up visits revealed well-healed scars without infection or adverse events including aberrant scarring. Patient satisfaction with the procedure was high with significant improvements in symptoms, daily activities, leisure, personal relationships, and treatment experience (P = 0.00062). CONCLUSION. This study demonstrates a robust surgical approach to management cutaneous neurofibromas which can be accessed world-wide to individuals with NF1 and performed by a wide-variety of medical specialists with high clinical efficacy and patient satisfaction.
Bahir H. Chamseddin, La’Nette Hernandez, Dezehree Solorzano, Juan Vega, Lu Q. Le
Autoimmune disease is 4 times more common in women than men. This bias is largely unexplained. Female skin is “autoimmunity prone,” showing upregulation of many proinflammatory genes, even in healthy women. We previously identified VGLL3 as a putative transcription cofactor enriched in female skin. Here, we demonstrate that skin-directed overexpression of murine VGLL3 causes a severe lupus-like rash and systemic autoimmune disease that involves B cell expansion, autoantibody production, immune complex deposition, and end-organ damage. Excess epidermal VGLL3 drives a proinflammatory gene expression program that overlaps with both female skin and cutaneous lupus. This includes increased B cell–activating factor (BAFF), the only current biologic target in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); IFN-κ, a key inflammatory mediator in cutaneous lupus; and CXCL13, a biomarker of early-onset SLE and renal involvement. Our results demonstrate that skin-targeted overexpression of the female-biased factor VGLL3 is sufficient to drive cutaneous and systemic autoimmune disease that is strikingly similar to SLE. This work strongly implicates VGLL3 as a pivotal orchestrator of sex-biased autoimmunity.
Allison C. Billi, Mehrnaz Gharaee-Kermani, Joseph Fullmer, Lam C. Tsoi, Brett D. Hill, Dennis Gruszka, Jessica Ludwig, Xianying Xing, Shannon Estadt, Sonya J. Wolf, Syed Monem Rizvi, Celine C. Berthier, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Maria A. Beamer, Mrinal K. Sarkar, Yun Liang, Ranjitha Uppala, Shuai Shao, Chang Zeng, Paul W. Harms, Monique E. Verhaegen, John J. Voorhees, Fei Wen, Nicole L. Ward, Andrzej A. Dlugosz, J. Michelle Kahlenberg, Johann E. Gudjonsson
BACKGROUND. Topical calcipotriol plus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) combination is an effective immunotherapy against actinic keratosis (AK), which is a precursor to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). However, the long-term effectiveness of calcipotriol plus 5-FU treatment for SCC prevention is unknown. METHODS. We performed a blinded prospective cohort study on participants of a randomized double-blind clinical trial in which a 4-day course of topical calcipotriol plus 5-FU combination was compared to Vaseline plus 5-FU (control) for AK treatment. SCC and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) incidences were assessed at 1, 2, and 3 years after trial. Tissues were analyzed for calcipotriol plus 5-FU–induced T cell immunity in the skin. RESULTS. Calcipotriol plus 5-FU–induced tissue-resident memory T (Trm) cell formation in face and scalp skin associated with significantly higher erythema scores compared with control (P < 0.01). Importantly, more participants in the test cohort remained SCC-free over the more than 1,500-day follow-up period (P = 0.0765), and significantly fewer developed SCC on the treated face and scalp within 3 years (2 of 30 [7%] versus 11 of 40 [28%] in control group, hazard ratio 0.215 [95% CI: 0.048–0.972], P = 0.032). Accordingly, significantly more epidermal Trm cells persisted in the calcipotriol plus 5-FU–treated face and scalp skin compared with control (P = 0.0028). There was no significant difference in BCC incidence between the treatment groups. CONCLUSION. A short course of calcipotriol plus 5-FU treatment on the face and scalp is associated with induction of robust T cell immunity and Trm formation against AKs and significantly lowers the risk of SCC development within 3 years of treatment. FUNDING. This research was supported by internal academic funds and by grants from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Sidney Kimmel Foundation, Cancer Research Institute, and NIH.
Abby R. Rosenberg, Mary Tabacchi, Kenneth H. Ngo, Michael Wallendorf, Ilana S. Rosman, Lynn A. Cornelius, Shadmehr Demehri
Genomic studies revealed the existence of health- and acne-associated P. acnes strains and suggested novel approaches for broadening understanding of acne vulgaris. However, clinical association of P. acnes with disease or health has yet to be corroborated experimentally. Current animal models of acne do not closely mimic human disease and have unclear translational value. We have developed a murine model of acne by combining P. acnes inoculation with topical application of a synthetic human sebum. We showed that human sebum promoted persistence of intradermally injected P. acnes with little loss of viability after 1 week and permitted use of more physiologic inoculums. Application of acne-associated P. acnes RT4/5 strains led to development of moderate to severe skin pathology compared with application of health-associated type II P. acnes strains (RT2/6). RT4/5 P. acnes strains uniformly induced higher levels of KC (IL-8), IL-1α, IL-1β, and IL-6 in vitro and in vivo compared with type II P. acnes strains. Overall, our data provide immunopathologic corroboration of health and disease association of clinical P. acnes strains and inform on a platform to query putative virulence factors uncovered by genomic studies.
Stacey L. Kolar, Chih-Ming Tsai, Juan Torres, Xuemo Fan, Huiying Li, George Y. Liu
Psoriasis is one of the most common skin inflammatory diseases worldwide. The vitamin D3 analog calcipotriol has been used alone or in combination with corticosteroids in treating plaque psoriasis, but how it suppresses psoriatic inflammation has not been fully understood. Using an experimental mouse psoriasis model, we show that topical calcipotriol inhibited the pivotal IL-23/IL-17 axis and neutrophil infiltration in psoriatic skin, and interestingly, such effects were mediated through the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in keratinocytes (KCs). We further reveal that IL-36α and IL-36γ, which have recently emerged as key players in psoriasis pathogenesis, were effectively repressed by calcipotriol via direct VDR signaling in mouse KCs. Accordingly, calcipotriol treatment suppressed IL-36α/γ expression in lesional skin from patients with plaque psoriasis, which was accompanied by a reduced IL-23/IL-17 expression. In contrast, dexamethasone indirectly reduced IL-36α/γ expression in mouse psoriatic skin through immune cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that calcipotriol and dexamethasone, in combination, synergistically suppressed the expression of IL-36α/γ, IL-23, and IL-17 in the established mouse psoriasis. Our findings indicate that the combination of calcipotriol and corticosteroid efficiently disrupts the IL-36 and IL-23/IL-17 positive feedback loop, thus revealing a mechanism underlying the superior efficacy of calcipotriol and corticosteroid combination therapy for psoriasis.
Beatriz Germán, Ruicheng Wei, Pierre Hener, Christina Martins, Tao Ye, Cornelia Gottwick, Jianying Yang, Julien Seneschal, Katia Boniface, Mei Li
Among other cells, macrophages regulate the inflammatory and reparative phases during wound healing but genetic determinants and detailed molecular pathways that modulate these processes are not fully elucidated. Here, we took advantage of normal variation in wound healing in 1,378 genetically outbred mice, and carried out macrophage RNA-sequencing profiling of mice with extreme wound healing phenotypes (i.e., slow and fast healers, n = 146 in total). The resulting macrophage coexpression networks were genetically mapped and led to the identification of a unique module under strong trans-acting genetic control by the Runx2 locus. This macrophage-mediated healing network was specifically enriched for cholesterol and fatty acid biosynthetic processes. Pharmacological blockage of fatty acid synthesis with cerulenin resulted in delayed wound healing in vivo, and increased macrophage infiltration in the wounded skin, suggesting the persistence of an unresolved inflammation. We show how naturally occurring sequence variation controls transcriptional networks in macrophages, which in turn regulate specific metabolic pathways that could be targeted in wound healing.
Marta Bagnati, Aida Moreno-Moral, Jeong-Hun Ko, Jérôme Nicod, Nathan Harmston, Martha Imprialou, Laurence Game, Jesus Gil, Enrico Petretto, Jacques Behmoaras
Current clinical methods for the evaluation of lymphatic vessel function, crucial for early diagnosis and evaluation of treatment-response of several pathological conditions, in particular of post-surgical lymphedema, are based on complex and mainly qualitative imaging techniques. To address this unmet medical need, we established a simple strategy for the painless and quantitative assessment of cutaneous lymphatic function. We prepared a lymphatic-specific tracer formulation, consisting of the clinically approved near-infrared fluorescent dye, indocyanine green, and the solubilizing surfactant Kolliphor HS15. The tracer is non-invasively delivered to the dermal layer of the skin using MicronJet600TM hollow microneedles, and the fluorescence signal decay at the injection site is measured over time using a custom-made, portable detection device. The decay rate of fluorescence signal in the skin was used as a direct measure of lymphatic vessel drainage function. With this new method, we could quantify impaired lymphatic clearance in transgenic mice lacking dermal lymphatics and distinguish distinct lymphatic clearance patterns in pigs in different body locations and under manual stimulus. Overall, this method has the potential for becoming a non-invasive and quantitative clinical “office-test” for lymphatic function assessment.
Anna K. Polomska, Steven T. Proulx, Davide Brambilla, Daniel Fehr, Mathias Bonmarin, Simon Brändli, Mirko Meboldt, Christian Steuer, Tsvetina Vasileva, Nils Reinke, Jean-Christophe Leroux, Michael Detmar
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