Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is characterized by its highly immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) that limits T cell infiltration and induces T cell hypofunction. Mesothelin-redirected chimeric antigen receptor T cell (meso-CAR T cell) therapy has shown some efficacy in clinical trials but antitumor efficacy remains modest. We hypothesized that combined meso-CAR T cells with an oncolytic adenovirus expressing TNF-α and IL-2 (Ad5/3-E2F-D24-TNFa-IRES-IL2, or OAd-TNFa-IL2) would improve efficacy. OAd-TNFa-IL2 enhanced the antitumor efficacy of meso-CAR T cells in human-PDA-xenograft immunodeficient mice and efficacy was associated with robustly increased tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), enhanced and prolonged T cell function. Mice treated with parental OAd combined with meso-CAR T developed tumor metastasis to the lungs even if primary tumors were controlled. However, no mice treated with combined OAd-TNFa-IL2 and meso-CAR T died of tumor metastasis. We also evaluated this approach in a syngeneic mouse tumor model by combining adenovirus expressing murine TNF-α and IL-2 (Ad-mTNFa-mIL2) and mouse CAR T cells. This approach induced significant tumor regression in mice engrafted with highly aggressive and immunosuppressive PDA tumors. Ad-mTNFa-mIL2 increased both CAR T cell and host T cell infiltration to the tumor and altered host tumor immune status with M1 polarization of macrophages and increased dendritic cell maturation. These findings indicate that combining cytokine-armed oncolytic adenovirus to enhance the efficacy of CAR T cell therapy is a promising approach to overcome the immunosuppressive TME for the treatment of PDA.
Keisuke Watanabe, Yanping Luo, Tong Da, Sonia Guedan, Marco Ruella, John Scholler, Brian Keith, Regina M. Young, Boris Engels, Suvi Sorsa, Mikko Siurala, Riikka Havunen, Siri Tähtinen, Akseli Hemminki, Carl H. June
Current obesity interventions suffer from lack of durable effects and undesirable complications. Fumagillin, an inhibitor of methionine aminopeptidase-2, causes weight loss by reducing food intake, but with effects on weight that are superior to pair-feeding. Here, we show that feeding of rats on a high-fat diet supplemented with fumagillin (HF/FG) suppresses the aggressive feeding observed in pair-fed controls (HF/PF) and alters expression of circadian genes relative to the HF/PF group. Multiple indices of reduced energy expenditure are observed in HF/FG but not HF/PF rats. HF/FG rats also exhibit changes in gut hormones linked to food intake, increased energy harvest by gut microbiota, and caloric spilling in the urine. Studies in gnotobiotic mice reveal that effects of fumagillin on energy expenditure but not feeding behavior may be mediated by the gut microbiota. In sum, fumagillin engages weight loss–inducing behavioral and physiologic circuits distinct from those activated by simple caloric restriction.
Jie An, Liping Wang, Michael L. Patnode, Vanessa K. Ridaura, Jonathan M. Haldeman, Robert D. Stevens, Olga Ilkayeva, James R. Bain, Michael J. Muehlbauer, Erin L. Glynn, Steven Thomas, Deborah Muoio, Scott A. Summers, James E. Vath, Thomas E. Hughes, Jeffrey I. Gordon, Christopher B. Newgard
EBV infection is associated with a number of malignancies of clinical unmet need, including Hodgkin lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, gastric cancer, and posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD), all of which express the EBV protein latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A), an antigen that is difficult to target by conventional antibody approaches. To overcome this, we utilized phage display technology and a structure-guided selection strategy to generate human T cell receptor–like (TCR-like) monoclonal antibodies with exquisite specificity for the LMP2A-derived nonamer peptide, C426LGGLLTMV434 (CLG), as presented on HLA-A*02:01. Our lead construct, clone 38, closely mimics the native binding mode of a TCR, recognizing residues at position P3–P8 of the CLG peptide. To enhance antitumor potency, we constructed dimeric T cell engaging bispecific antibodies (DiBsAb) of clone 38 and an affinity-matured version clone 38-2. Both DiBsAb showed potent antitumor properties in vitro and in immunodeficient mice implanted with EBV transformed B lymphoblastoid cell lines and human T cell effectors. Clone 38 DiBsAb showed a stronger safety profile compared with its affinity-matured variant, with no activity against EBV– tumor cell lines and a panel of normal tissues, and was less cross-reactive against HLA-A*02:01 cells pulsed with a panel of CLG-like peptides predicted from a proteomic analysis. Clone 38 was also shown to recognize the CLG peptide on other HLA-A*02 suballeles, including HLA-A*02:02, HLA-A*02:04, and HLA-A*02:06, allowing for its potential use in additional populations. Clone 38 DiBsAb is a lead candidate to treat EBV malignancies with one of the strongest safety profiles documented for TCR-like mAbs.
Mahiuddin Ahmed, Andres Lopez-Albaitero, Dmitry Pankov, Brian H. Santich, Hong Liu, Su Yan, Jingyi Xiang, Pei Wang, Aisha N. Hasan, Annamalai Selvakumar, Richard J. O’Reilly, Cheng Liu, Nai-Kong V. Cheung
In cystic fibrosis (CF), deletion of phenylalanine 508 (F508del) in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) anion channel causes misfolding and premature degradation. Considering the numerous effects of the F508del mutation on the assembly and processing of CFTR protein, combination therapy with several pharmacological correctors is likely to be required to treat CF patients. Recently, it has been reported that thymosin α-1 (Tα-1) has multiple beneficial effects that could lead to a single-molecule-based therapy for CF patients with F508del. Such effects include suppression of inflammation, improvement in F508del-CFTR maturation and gating, and stimulation of chloride secretion through the calcium-activated chloride channel (CaCC). Given the importance of such a drug, we aimed to characterize the underlying molecular mechanisms of action of Tα-1. In-depth analysis of Tα-1 effects was performed using well-established microfluorimetric, biochemical, and electrophysiological techniques on epithelial cell lines and primary bronchial epithelial cells from CF patients. The studies, which were conducted in 2 independent laboratories with identical outcome, demonstrated that Tα-1 is devoid of activity on mutant CFTR as well as on CaCC. Although Tα-1 may still be useful as an antiinflammatory agent, its ability to target defective anion transport in CF remains to be further investigated.
Valeria Tomati, Emanuela Caci, Loretta Ferrera, Emanuela Pesce, Elvira Sondo, Deborah M. Cholon, Nancy L. Quinney, Susan E. Boyles, Andrea Armirotti, Roberto Ravazzolo, Luis J.V. Galietta, Martina Gentzsch, Nicoletta Pedemonte
Intraocular injection of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors has been an evident route for delivering gene drugs into the retina. However, gaps in our understanding of AAV transduction patterns within the anatomically unique environments of the subretinal and intravitreal space of the primate eye impeded the establishment of noninvasive and efficient gene delivery to foveal cones in the clinic. Here, we establish new vector-promoter combinations to overcome the limitations associated with AAV-mediated cone transduction in the fovea with supporting studies in mouse models, human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived organoids, postmortem human retinal explants, and living macaques. We show that an AAV9 variant provides efficient foveal cone transduction when injected into the subretinal space several millimeters away from the fovea, without detaching this delicate region. An engineered AAV2 variant provides gene delivery to foveal cones with a well-tolerated dose administered intravitreally. Both delivery modalities rely on a cone-specific promoter and result in high-level transgene expression compatible with optogenetic vision restoration. The model systems described here provide insight into the behavior of AAV vectors across species to obtain safety and efficacy needed for gene therapy in neurodegenerative disorders.
Hanen Khabou, Marcela Garita-Hernandez, Antoine Chaffiol, Sacha Reichman, Céline Jaillard, Elena Brazhnikova, Stéphane Bertin, Valérie Forster, Mélissa Desrosiers, Céline Winckler, Olivier Goureau, Serge Picaud, Jens Duebel, José-Alain Sahel, Deniz Dalkara
The genome-wide activity of transcription factors (TFs) on multiple regulatory elements precludes their use as gene-specific regulators. Here we show that ectopic expression of a TF in a cell-specific context can be used to silence the expression of a specific gene as a therapeutic approach to regulate gene expression in human disease. We selected the TF Krüppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) based on its putative ability to recognize a specific DNA sequence motif present in the rhodopsin (RHO) promoter and its lack of expression in terminally differentiated rod photoreceptors (the RHO-expressing cells). Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector–mediated ectopic expression of KLF15 in rod photoreceptors of pigs enables Rho silencing with limited genome-wide transcriptional perturbations. Suppression of a RHO mutant allele by KLF15 corrects the phenotype of a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa with no observed toxicity. Cell-specific-context conditioning of TF activity may prove a novel mode for somatic gene–targeted manipulation.
Salvatore Botta, Nicola de Prisco, Elena Marrocco, Mario Renda, Martina Sofia, Fabiola Curion, Maria Laura Bacci, Domenico Ventrella, Cathal Wilson, Carlo Gesualdo, Settimio Rossi, Francesca Simonelli, Enrico Maria Surace
BACKGROUND. In patients with limited response to conventional therapeutics, repositioning of already approved drugs can bring new, more effective options. Current drug repositioning methods, however, frequently rely on retrospective computational analyses and genetic testing — time consuming methods that delay application of repositioned drugs. Here, we show how proteomic analysis of liquid biopsies successfully guided treatment of neovascular inflammatory vitreoretinopathy (NIV), an inherited autoinflammatory disease with otherwise poor clinical outcomes. METHODS. Vitreous biopsies from NIV patients were profiled by an antibody array for expression of 200 cytokine-signaling proteins. Non-NIV controls were compared with NIV samples from various stages of disease progression. Patterns were identified by 1-way ANOVA, hierarchical clustering, and pathway analysis. Subjects treated with repositioned therapies were followed longitudinally. RESULTS. Proteomic profiles revealed molecular pathways in NIV pathologies and implicated superior and inferior targets for therapy. Anti-VEGF injections resolved vitreous hemorrhages without the need for vitrectomy surgery. Methotrexate injections reversed inflammatory cell reactions without the side effects of corticosteroids. Anti–IL-6 therapy prevented recurrent fibrosis and retinal detachment where all prior antiinflammatory interventions had failed. The cytokine array also showed that TNF-α levels were normal and that corticosteroid-sensitive pathways were absent in fibrotic NIV, helping explain prior failure of these conventional therapeutic approaches. CONCLUSIONS. Personalized proteomics can uncover highly personalized therapies for autoinflammatory disease that can be timed with specific pathologic activities. This precision medicine strategy can also help prevent delivery of ineffective drugs. Importantly, proteomic profiling of liquid biopsies offers an endpoint analysis that can directly guide treatment using available drugs.
Gabriel Velez, Alexander G. Bassuk, Diana Colgan, Stephen H. Tsang, Vinit B. Mahajan
Pridopidine is currently under clinical development for Huntington disease (HD), with on-going studies to better characterize its therapeutic benefit and mode of action. Pridopidine was administered either prior to the appearance of disease phenotypes or in advanced stages of disease in the YAC128 mouse model of HD. In the early treatment cohort, animals received 0, 10, or 30 mg/kg pridopidine for a period of 10.5 months. In the late treatment cohort, animals were treated for 8 weeks with 0 mg/kg or an escalating dose of pridopidine (10 to 30 mg/kg over 3 weeks). Early treatment improved motor coordination and reduced anxiety- and depressive-like phenotypes in YAC128 mice, but it did not rescue striatal and corpus callosum atrophy. Late treatment, conversely, only improved depressive-like symptoms. RNA-seq analysis revealed that early pridopidine treatment reversed striatal transcriptional deficits, upregulating disease-specific genes that are known to be downregulated during HD, a finding that is experimentally confirmed herein. This suggests that pridopidine exerts beneficial effects at the transcriptional level. Taken together, our findings support continued clinical development of pridopidine for HD, particularly in the early stages of disease, and provide valuable insight into the potential therapeutic mode of action of pridopidine.
Marta Garcia-Miralles, Michal Geva, Jing Ying Tan, Nur Amirah Binte Mohammad Yusof, Yoonjeong Cha, Rebecca Kusko, Liang Juin Tan, Xiaohong Xu, Iris Grossman, Aric Orbach, Michael R. Hayden, Mahmoud A. Pouladi
The monocyte lineage is essential to normal wound healing. Macrophage inhibition or knockout in mice results in impaired wound healing through reduced neovascularization, granulation tissue formation, and reepithelialization. Numerous studies have either depleted macrophages or reduced their activity in the context of wound healing. Here, we demonstrate that by increasing the number of macrophages or monocytes in the wound site above physiologic levels via pullulan-collagen composite dermal hydrogel scaffold delivery, the rate of wound healing can be significantly accelerated in both wild-type and diabetic mice, with no adverse effect on the quality of repair. Macrophages transplanted onto wounds differentiate into M1 and M2 phenotypes of different proportions at various time points, ultimately increasing angiogenesis. Given that monocytes can be readily isolated from peripheral blood without in vitro manipulation, these findings hold promise for translational medicine aimed at accelerating wound healing across a broad spectrum of diseases.
Michael S. Hu, Graham G. Walmsley, Leandra A. Barnes, Kipp Weiskopf, Robert C. Rennert, Dominik Duscher, Michael Januszyk, Zeshaan N. Maan, Wan Xing Hong, Alexander T.M. Cheung, Tripp Leavitt, Clement D. Marshall, Ryan C. Ransom, Samir Malhotra, Alessandra L. Moore, Jayakumar Rajadas, H. Peter Lorenz, Irving L. Weissman, Geoffrey C. Gurtner, Michael T. Longaker
We have recently reported that tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) promote early transcoelomic metastasis of ovarian cancer by facilitating TAM–ovarian cancer cell spheroid formation. ASK1 is known to be important for macrophage activation and inflammation-mediated tumorigenesis. In the present study, we show that ASK1 deficiency attenuates TAM-spheroid formation and ovarian cancer progression in an orthotopic ovarian cancer model. Interestingly, ASK1 in stroma, but not in TAMs, is critical for peritoneal tumor growth of ovarian cancer. Moreover, overexpression of an ASK1 inhibitory protein (suppressor of cytokine signaling-1; SOCS1) in vascular endothelium attenuates vascular permeability, TAM infiltration, and ovarian cancer growth. Mechanistically, we show that ASK1 mediates degradation of endothelial junction protein VE-cadherin via a lysosomal pathway to promote macrophage transmigration. Importantly, a pharmacological ASK1 inhibitor prevents tumor-induced vascular leakage, macrophage infiltration, and tumor growth in two mouse models. Since transcoelomic metastasis is also associated with many other cancers, such as pancreatic and colon cancers, our study provides ASK1 as a therapeutic target for the treatment of ovarian cancer and other transcoelomic metastasis cancers.
Mingzhu Yin, Huanjiao Jenny Zhou, Jiqin Zhang, Caixia Lin, Hongmei Li, Xia Li, Yonghao Li, Haifeng Zhang, David G. Breckenridge, Weidong Ji, Wang Min
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