BACKGROUND. Subgroups of patients with relapsed or refractory (R/R) chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) exhibit suboptimal outcomes after standard therapies, including oral kinase inhibitors. We and others have previously reported on safety and efficacy of autologous CD19-targeted CAR T-cells for these patients; here we report safety and long-term follow-up of CAR T-cell therapy with or without conditioning chemotherapy for patients with R/R CLL and indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL). METHODS. We conducted a phase 1 clinical trial investigating CD19-targeted CAR T-cells incorporating a CD28 costimulatory domain (19-28z). Seventeen of 20 patients received conditioning chemotherapy prior to CAR T-cell infusion. Five patients with CLL received ibrutinib at the time of autologous T-cell collection and/or CAR T-cell administration. RESULTS. This analysis included 16 patients with R/R CLL and 4 patients with R/R indolent B-NHL. Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) was observed in all 20 patients but grades 3 and 4 CRS and neurological events were uncommon (10% for each). Ex vivo expansion of T-cells and proportions of CD4+/CD8+ CAR T-cells with CD62L+CD127+ immunophenotype were significantly greater in patients on ibrutinib at leukapheresis. Three of 12 evaluable CLL patients receiving conditioning chemotherapy achieved CR (two had minimal residual disease–negative CR). All patients achieving CR remained progression-free at median follow-up of 53 months. CONCLUSION. Conditioning chemotherapy and 19-28z CAR T-cells were acceptably tolerated across investigated dose levels in heavily pretreated patients with R/R CLL and indolent B-NHL, and a subgroup of patients achieved durable CR. Ibrutinib therapy may modulate autologous T-cell phenotype. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00466531. FUNDING. Juno Therapeutics.
Mark B. Geyer, Isabelle Rivière, Brigitte Sénéchal, Xiuyan Wang, Yongzeng Wang, Terence J. Purdon, Meier Hsu, Sean M. Devlin, M. Lia Palomba, Elizabeth Halton, Yvette Bernal, Michel Sadelain, Jae H. Park, Renier J. Brentjens
Humoral immunity is important in limiting clinical disease in malaria, yet the longitudinal B cell response to infection remains unclear. We performed a 1-year prospective study in patients treated for acute P. falciparum malaria for the first time, or with previous exposure to the disease. Using an unbiased exploratory approach with mass cytometry, followed by targeted flow cytometry, we found that ~80% of mature B cells that proliferated in response to acute infection expressed CD11c. Only ~40% of CD11c+ B cells displayed an atypical B cell phenotype, with the remaining cells primarily made up of activated- and resting memory B cells. The CD11c+ B cells expanded rapidly following infection, with previous exposure to malaria resulting in a significantly larger increase compared to individuals with primary infection. This was attributed to an expansion of switched CD11c+ B cells that was absent in primary infected individuals. The rate of contraction of the CD11c+ B cell compartment was independent of previous exposure to malaria and displayed a slow decay with a half-life of ~300 days. Collectively, these results identify CD11c as a marker of B cells responding to malaria and further highlight differences in primary- and secondary B cell responses during infection.
Christopher Sundling, Caroline Rönnberg, Victor Yman, Muhammad Asghar, Peter Jahnmatz, Tadepally Lakshmikanth, Yang Chen, Jaromir Mikes, Mattias N. Forsell, Klara Sondén, Adnane Achour, Petter Brodin, Kristina E.M. Persson, Anna Färnert
Human antibody-secreting cells (ASC) triggered by immunization are globally recognized as CD19loCD38hiCD27hi. Yet, different vaccines give rise to antibody responses of different longevity, suggesting ASC populations are heterogeneous. We define circulating ASC heterogeneity in vaccine responses using multi-color flow cytometry, morphology, VH repertoire, and RNA transcriptome analysis. We also tested differential survival using a novel human cell-free system that mimics the bone-marrow (BM) microniche. In peripheral blood, we identified three CD19pos and two CD19neg ASC subsets. All subsets contributed to the vaccine-specific responses and were characterized by in vivo proliferation and activation. VH repertoire demonstrated strong oligoclonality with extensive interconnectivity among the five subsets and switched memory B cells. Transcriptome analysis showed separation of CD19pos and CD19neg subsets that included pathways such as cell cycle, hypoxia, TNFA, and unfolded protein response (UPR). They also demonstrated similar long-term in vitro survival after 48 days. In summary, vaccine-induced ASC with different surface markers (CD19 and CD138) derive from shared proliferative precursors yet express distinctive transcriptomes. Equal survival indicates that all ASC compartments are endowed with long-lived potential. Accordingly, in vivo survival of peripheral long-lived plasma cells may be determined in part by their homing and residence in the BM microniche.
Swetha Garimilla, Doan C. Nguyen, Jessica L. Halliley, Christopher Tipton, Alexander F. Rosenberg, Christopher F. Fucile, Celia L. Saney, Shuya Kyu, Denise Kaminski, Yu Qian, Richard H. Scheuermann, Greg Gibson, Inaki Sanz, F. Eun-Hyung Lee
Following injury, leukocytes are released from hematopoietic organs and migrate to the site of damage to regulate tissue inflammation and repair, however leukocytes lacking β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR) expression have marked impairments in these processes. β-blockade is a common strategy for the treatment of many cardiovascular etiologies, therefore the objective of our study was to assess the impact of prior β-blocker treatment on baseline leukocyte parameters and their responsiveness to acute injury. In a temporal and βAR isoform-dependent manner, chronic β-blocker infusion increased splenic vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) expression and leukocyte accumulation (monocytes/macrophages, mast cells and neutrophils) and decreased chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) expression, migration of bone marrow cells (BMC) and peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL), as well as infiltration into the heart following acute cardiac injury. Further, CCR2 expression and migratory responsiveness was significantly reduced in the PBL of patients receiving β-blocker therapy compared to β-blocker-naïve patients. These results highlight the ability of chronic β-blocker treatment to alter baseline leukocyte characteristics that decrease their responsiveness to acute injury and suggest that prior β-blockade may act to reduce the severity of innate immune responses.
Laurel A. Grisanti, Claudio de Lucia, Toby P. Thomas, Aron Stark, John T. Strony, Valerie D. Myers, Remus Berretta, Daohai Yu, Celestino Sardu, Raffaele Marfella, Erhe Gao, Steven R. Houser, Walter J. Koch, Eman A. Hamad, Douglas G. Tilley
Drug refractory epilepsy (RE) is a chronic neurological disease with varied etiology that represents a group of patients whose seizures do not respond to anti-epileptic drugs. The immune system may have a role in seizure and epilepsy development, but the specific mechanisms of inflammation that lead to epileptogenesis and contribute to RE are unknown. Here, we used mass cytometry to comprehensively study the immune system of pediatric patients with RE and compared their immune profile and function with patients with age-matched autoimmune encephalitis (AIE) and healthy controls. Patients with RE and AIE displayed similar immune profiles overall, with changes in CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell subsets and an unbalance toward pro-inflammatory IL-17 production. In addition, patients with RE uniquely showed an altered balance in natural killer cell subsets. A systems level intercellular network analysis identified rewiring of the immune system leading to loss of inhibitory/regulatory intercellular connections and emergence of pro-inflammatory pathogenic functions in neuro-inflammatory immune-cell networks in patients with AIE and RE. These data underscore the contribution of systemic inflammation to the pathogenesis of seizures and epileptogenesis and have direct translational implications in advancing diagnostics and therapeutics design.
Pavanish Kumar, Derrick Wei Shih Chan, Amanda Lim, Bhairav Paleja, Simon Ling, Lai Li Yun, Su Li Poh, Adeline Ngoh, Thaschawee Arkachaisri, Joo Guan Yeo, Salvatore Albani
BACKGROUND. PD-L1 expression and tumor mutational burden (TMB) have emerged as important biomarkers of response to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. These biomarkers have each succeeded and failed in predicting responders for different cancer types. We sought to describe the PD-L1 expression landscape across the spectrum of ICI-responsive human cancers, and to determine the relationship between PD-L1 expression, TMB, and response rates to ICIs. METHODS. We assessed 9887 clinical samples for PD-L1 expression and TMB. RESULTS. PD-L1 expression and TMB are not significantly correlated within most cancer subtypes, and they show only a marginal association at the tumor sample level (Pearson’s correlation 0.084). Across distinct tumor types, PD-L1 expression and TMB have nonoverlapping effects on the response rate to PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors and can broadly be used to categorize the immunologic subtypes of cancer. CONCLUSION. Our results indicate that PD-L1 expression and TMB may each inform the use of ICIs, point to different mechanisms by which PD-L1 expression regulates ICI responsiveness, and identify new opportunities for therapeutic development. FUNDING. Funding was provided by Foundation Medicine Inc., the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, the Viragh Foundation, the National Cancer Institute Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Gastrointestinal Cancers (P50 CA062924), the NIH Center Core Grant (P30 CA006973), the Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation, and the Conquer Cancer Foundation.
Mark Yarchoan, Lee A. Albacker, Alexander C. Hopkins, Meagan Montesion, Karthikeyan Murugesan, Teena T. Vithayathil, Neeha Zaidi, Nilofer S. Azad, Daniel A. Laheru, Garrett M. Frampton, Elizabeth M. Jaffee
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are key modulators of inflammation and are important for the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. Adoptive immunotherapy with polyclonal Tregs holds promise in organ transplantation, graft-versus-host disease, and autoimmune diseases, but may be enhanced by antigen-specific, long-lived Treg cells. We modified primary human Tregs with chimeric antigen-receptors (CARs) bearing different costimulatory domains and performed in vitro analyses of their phenotype and function. While neither the presence of a CAR nor the type of costimulation domain influenced Foxp3 expression in Tregs, the costimulation domain of the CARs affected CAR Treg surface phenotype and functions such as cytokine production. Furthermore, signaling from the CD28 costimulation domain maintained CAR Treg suppressor function, whereas 4-1B costimulation did not. In vivo, CAR Tregs accumulated at sites expressing target antigen, and suppressed antigen specific effector T cell responses; however, only CAR Tregs with CD28 signaling domains were potent inhibitors of effector T cell mediated graft rejection in vivo. Our findings support the use of CD28 based CAR-Tregs for tissue specific immune suppression in the clinic.
Angela C. Boroughs, Rebecca C. Larson, Bryan D. Choi, Amanda A. Bouffard, Lauren S. Riley, Erik Schiferle, Anupriya S. Kulkarni, Curtis L. Cetrulo, David Ting, Bruce R. Blazar, Shadmehr Demehri, Marcela V. Maus
MHC I-restricted epitopes of chicken ovalbumin (OVA) were originally identified using CD8 T cells as probes. Here, using bioinformatics tools, we identify four additional epitopes in OVA in addition to a cryptic epitope. Each new epitope is presented in vivo, as deduced from the lack of CD8 response to it in OVA-transgenic mice. In addition, CD8 responses to the known and novel epitopes are examined in C57BL/6 mice exposed to the OVA-expressing tumor E.G7 in several ways. No responses to any epitope including SIINFEKL are detected in mice with growing E.G7 or mice immunized with the tumor. Only in E.G7-bearing mice treated with an anti-CTLA4 antibody which depletes tumor-infiltrating regulatory T cells, CD8 responses to SIINFEKL and the novel epitope EKYNLTSVL are detected. Finally, all epitopes fails to treat mice with pre-existing tumors. These observations force an important re-consideration of the common assumptions about the therapeutic value of neoepitopes detected by CD8 responses in tumor-bearing hosts.
Sukrut Hemant Karandikar, John Sidney, Alessandro Sette, Mark Joseph Selby, Alan Jerry Korman, Pramod Kumar Srivastava
The mTOR pathway is central to most cells. How mTOR is activated in macrophages and modulates macrophage physiology remain poorly understood. The tumor suppressor Folliculin (FLCN) is a GAP for RagC/D, a regulator of mTOR. We show here that LPS potently suppresses FLCN in macrophages, allowing nuclear translocation of the transcription factor TFE3, leading to lysosome biogenesis, cytokine production, and hypersensitivity to inflammatory signals. Nuclear TFE3 additionally activates a transcriptional RagD positive feedback loop that stimulates FLCN-independent canonical mTOR signaling to S6K and increases cellular proliferation. LPS thus simultaneously suppresses the TFE3 arm and activates the S6K arm of mTOR. In vivo, mice lacking myeloid FLCN reveal chronic macrophage activation, leading to profound histiocytic infiltration and tissue disruption, with hallmarks of human histiocytic syndromes like Erdheim-Chester Disease. Our data thus identify a critical FLCN-mTOR-TFE3 axis in myeloid cells, modulated by LPS, that balances mTOR activation and curbs innate immune responses.
Jia Li, Shogo Wada, Lehn K. Weaver, Chhanda Biswas, Edward M. Behrens, Zoltan Arany
BACKGROUND. Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is the most common symptomatic primary immunodeficiency and is frequently complicated by interstitial lung disease (ILD) for which etiology is unknown and therapy inadequate. METHODS. Medical record review implicated B cell dysregulation in CVID ILD progression. This was further studied in blood and lung samples using culture, cytometry, ELISA, and histology. Eleven CVID ILD patients were treated with rituximab and followed for 18 months. RESULTS. Serum IgM increased in conjunction with ILD progression, a finding that reflected the extent of IgM production within B cell follicles in lung parenchyma. Targeting these pulmonary B cell follicles with rituximab ameliorated CVID ILD, but disease recurred in association with IgM elevation. Searching for a stimulus of this pulmonary B cell hyperplasia, we found B cell–activating factor (BAFF) increased in blood and lungs of progressive and post-rituximab CVID ILD patients and detected elevation of BAFF-producing monocytes in progressive ILD. This elevated BAFF interacts with naive B cells, as they are the predominant subset in progressive CVID ILD, expressing BAFF receptor (BAFF-R) within pulmonary B cell follicles and blood to promote Bcl-2 expression. Antiapoptotic Bcl-2 was linked with exclusion of apoptosis from B cell follicles in CVID ILD and increased survival of naive CVID B cells cultured with BAFF. CONCLUSION. CVID ILD is driven by pulmonary B cell hyperplasia that is reflected by serum IgM elevation, ameliorated by rituximab, and bolstered by elevated BAFF-mediated apoptosis resistance via BAFF-R. FUNDING. NIH, Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium, and Rare Disease Foundation.
Paul J. Maglione, Gavin Gyimesi, Montserrat Cols, Lin Radigan, Huaibin M. Ko, Tamar Weinberger, Brian H. Lee, Emilie K. Grasset, Adeeb H. Rahman, Andrea Cerutti, Charlotte Cunningham-Rundles
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