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Sustained Helicobacter pylori infection accelerates gastric dysplasia in a mouse model

Life Sci Alliance

2021 Christina Leverich; Robert Pierce; Nina Salama; Julien Dubrulle; Valerie O'Brien; Jean Campbell; Vattanak Kong; Amanda Koehne; Armando Rodriguez

More than 80% of gastric cancer is attributable to stomach infection with Helicobacter pylori (Hp). Gastric preneoplastic progression involves sequential tissue changes, including loss of parietal cells, metaplasia and dysplasia. In transgenic mice, active KRAS expression recapitulates these tissue changes in the absence of Hp infection. This model provides an experimental system to investigate additional roles of Hp in preneoplastic progression, beyond its known role in initiating inflammation. Tissue histology, gene expression, the immune cell repertoire, and metaplasia and dysplasia marker expression were assessed in KRAS+ mice +/-Hp infection. Hp+/KRAS+ mice had severe T-cell infiltration and altered macrophage polarization; a different trajectory of metaplasia; more dysplastic glands; and greater proliferation of metaplastic and dysplastic glands. Eradication of Hp with antibiotics, even after onset of metaplasia, prevented or reversed these tissue phenotypes. These results suggest that gastric preneoplastic progression differs between Hp+ and Hp- cases, and that sustained Hp infection can promote the later stages of gastric preneoplastic progression.

Predictive lifestyle markers for efficacy of cancer immune checkpoint inhibitors: a commentary

Future Oncol

2021 Ulrike Peters; John Thompson; Joshua Veatch; Evan Hall; Allison Silverman; Sylvia Lee; Rachel Malen; Amanda Phipps; Scott Tykodi; Shailender Bhatia; Arthur Sillah

Lifestyle factors could plausibly modulate the host immune system, the tumor microenvironment and, hence, immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) response. As such, these factors should be considered in ICI studies.

Detection of engineered T cells in FFPE tissue by multiplex in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry

J Immunol Methods

2020 Ratsamy Chanthaphavong; Jean Campbell; Marie Bleakley; Megan McAfee; Cameron Turtle; Anthony Rongvaux; Alexandre Hirayama; Robert Pierce; Aude Chapuis

Identifying engineered T cells in situ is important to understand the location, persistence, and phenotype of these cells in patients after adoptive T cell therapy. While engineered cells are routinely characterized in fresh tissue or blood from patients by flow cytometry, it is difficult to distinguish them from endogenous cells in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue biopsies. To overcome this limitation, we have developed a method for characterizing engineered T cells in fixed tissue using in situ hybridization (ISH) to the woodchuck hepatitis post-transcriptional regulatory element (WPRE) common in many lentiviral vectors used to transduce chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) and T cell receptor T (TCR-T) cells, coupled with alternative permeabilization conditions that allows subsequent multiplex immunohistochemical (mIHC) staining within the same image. This new method provides the ability to mark the cells by ISH, and simultaneously stain for cell-associated proteins to immunophenotype CAR/TCR modified T cells within tumors, as well as assess potential roles of these cells in on-target/off-tumor toxicity in other tissue.

Immunogenic Chemotherapy Enhances Recruitment of CAR-T Cells to Lung Tumors and Improves Antitumor Efficacy when Combined with Checkpoint Blockade

Cancer Cell

2020 Robert Amezquita; Sylvia Lee; A. McGarry Houghton; Jennifer Specht; Shivani Srivastava; Sarah Garrison; David Maloney; Sushma Yechan Gunja; Raphael Gottardo; Stanley Riddell; Kimberly Smythe; Valentin Voillet; Megha Sarvothama; Susanna Berger; Carla Jaeger; Smitha Pillai; Scott Furlan; Robert Pierce

Adoptive therapy using chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells (CAR-T cells) is effective in hematologic but not epithelial malignancies, which cause the greatest mortality. In breast and lung cancer patients, CAR-T cells targeting the tumor-associated antigen receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1) infiltrate tumors poorly and become dysfunctional. To test strategies for enhancing efficacy, we adapted the KrasLSL-G12D/+;p53f/f autochthonous model of lung adenocarcinoma to express the CAR target ROR1. Murine ROR1 CAR-T cells transferred after lymphodepletion with cyclophosphamide (Cy) transiently control tumor growth but infiltrate tumors poorly and lose function, similar to what is seen in patients. Adding oxaliplatin (Ox) to the lymphodepletion regimen activates tumor macrophages to express T-cell-recruiting chemokines, resulting in improved CAR-T cell infiltration, remodeling of the tumor microenvironment, and increased tumor sensitivity to anti-PD-L1. Combination therapy with Ox/Cy and anti-PD-L1 synergistically improves CAR-T cell-mediated tumor control and survival, providing a strategy to improve CAR-T cell efficacy in the clinic.

Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) clinical practice guideline on immune effector cell-related adverse events

J Immunother Cancer

2020 Cameron Turtle

Immune effector cell (IEC) therapies offer durable and sustained remissions in significant numbers of patients with hematological cancers. While these unique immunotherapies have improved outcomes for pediatric and adult patients in a number of disease states, as 'living drugs,' their toxicity profiles, including cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS), differ markedly from conventional cancer therapeutics. At the time of article preparation, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved tisagenlecleucel, axicabtagene ciloleucel, and brexucabtagene autoleucel, all of which are IEC therapies based on genetically modified T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), and additional products are expected to reach marketing authorization soon and to enter clinical development in due course. As IEC therapies, especially CAR T cell therapies, enter more widespread clinical use, there is a need for clear, cohesive recommendations on toxicity management, motivating the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) to convene an expert panel to develop a clinical practice guideline. The panel discussed the recognition and management of common toxicities in the context of IEC treatment, including baseline laboratory parameters for monitoring, timing to onset, and pharmacological interventions, ultimately forming evidence- and consensus-based recommendations to assist medical professionals in decision-making and to improve outcomes for patients.

A Phase 1b Study Evaluating the Safety, Tolerability, and Immunogenicity of CMB305, a Lentiviral-Based Prime-Boost Vaccine Regimen, in Patients with Locally Advanced, Relapsed, or Metastatic Cancer Expressing NY-ESO-1


2020 Seth Pollack

Preclinical data suggest that a "prime-boost" vaccine regimen using a target-expressing lentiviral vector for priming, followed by a recombinant protein boost, may be effective against cancer; however, this strategy has not been evaluated in a clinical setting. CMB305 is a prime-boost vaccine designed to induce a broad anti-NY-ESO-1 immune response. It is composed of LV305, which is an NY-ESO-1 expressing lentiviral vector, and G305, a recombinant adjuvanted NY-ESO-1 protein. This multicenter phase 1b, first-in-human trial evaluated CMB305 in patients with NY-ESO-1 expressing solid tumors. Safety was examined in a 3 + 3 dose-escalation design, followed by an expansion with CMB305 alone or in a combination with either oral metronomic cyclophosphamide or intratumoral injections of a toll-like receptor agonist (glucopyranosyl lipid A). Of the 79 patients who enrolled, 81.0% had sarcomas, 86.1% had metastatic disease, and 57.0% had progressive disease at study entry. The most common adverse events were fatigue (34.2%), nausea (26.6%), and injection-site pain (24.1%). In patients with soft tissue sarcomas, a disease control rate of 61.9% and an overall survival of 26.2 months (95% CI, 22.1-NA) were observed. CMB305 induced anti-NY-ESO-1 antibody and T-cell responses in 62.9% and 47.4% of patients, respectively. This is the first trial to test a prime-boost vaccine regimen in patients with advanced cancer. This approach is feasible, can be delivered safely, and with evidence of immune response as well as suggestion of clinical benefit.

Tocilizumab in hospitalized patients with COVID-19: Clinical outcomes, inflammatory marker kinetics, and safety

J Med Virol

2020 Cameron Turtle; Joshua Hill; Christine Johnston; Manoj Menon; Hu Xie; Margaret Green; Wendy Leisenring; Guang-Shing Cheng

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to infection with SARS-CoV-2 causes substantial morbidity. Tocilizumab, an interleukin-6 receptor antagonist, might improve outcomes by mitigating inflammation. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective study of patients admitted to the University of Washington Hospital system with COVID-19 and requiring supplemental oxygen. Outcomes included clinical improvement, defined as a two-point reduction in severity on a 6-point ordinal scale or discharge, and mortality within 28 days. We used Cox proportional-hazards models with propensity score inverse probability weighting to compare outcomes in patients who did and did not receive tocilizumab. RESULTS: We evaluated 43 patients who received tocilizumab and 45 who did not. Patients receiving tocilizumab were younger with fewer comorbidities but higher baseline oxygen requirements. Tocilizumab treatment was associated with reduced CRP, fibrinogen, and temperature, but there were no meaningful differences in time to clinical improvement (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.92; 95% CI, 0.38-2.22) or mortality (aHR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.21-1.52). A numerically higher proportion of tocilizumab-treated patients had subsequent infections, transaminitis, and cytopenias. CONCLUSIONS: Tocilizumab did not improve outcomes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. However, this study was not powered to detect small differences, and there remains the possibility for a survival benefit. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Microdissected "cuboids" for microfluidic drug testing of intact tissues

Lab Chip

2020 Gargi Mishra; Albert Folch; Taranjit Gujral; Robert Pierce

As preclinical animal tests often do not accurately predict drug effects later observed in humans, most drugs under development fail to reach the market. Thus there is a critical need for functional drug testing platforms that use human, intact tissues to complement animal studies. To enable future multiplexed delivery of many drugs to one small biopsy, we have developed a multi-well microfluidic platform that selectively treats cuboidal-shaped microdissected tissues or "cuboids" with well-preserved tissue microenvironments. We create large numbers of uniformly-sized cuboids by semi-automated sectioning of tissue with a commercially available tissue chopper. Here we demonstrate the microdissection method on normal mouse liver, which we characterize with quantitative 3D imaging, and on human glioma xenograft tumors, which we evaluate after time in culture for viability and preservation of the microenvironment. The benefits of size uniformity include lower heterogeneity in future biological assays as well as facilitation of their physical manipulation by automation. Our prototype platform consists of a microfluidic circuit whose hydrodynamic traps immobilize the live cuboids in arrays at the bottom of a multi-well plate. Fluid dynamics simulations enabled the rapid evaluation of design alternatives and operational parameters. We demonstrate the proof-of-concept application of model soluble compounds such as dyes (CellTracker, Hoechst) and the cancer drug cisplatin. Upscaling of the microfluidic platform and microdissection method to larger arrays and numbers of cuboids could lead to direct testing of human tissues at high throughput, and thus could have a significant impact on drug discovery and personalized medicine.

Real-world evidence of tisagenlecleucel for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Blood Adv

2020 Cameron Turtle

Tisagenlecleucel is a CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy approved for treatment of pediatric and young adult patients with relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and adults with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The initial experience with tisagenlecleucel in a real-world setting from a cellular therapy registry is presented here. As of January 2020, 511 patients were enrolled from 73 centers, and 410 patients had follow-up data reported (ALL, n = 255; NHL, n = 155), with a median follow-up of 13.4 and 11.9 months for ALL and NHL, respectively. Among patients with ALL, the initial complete remission (CR) rate was 85.5%. Twelve-month duration of response (DOR), event-free survival, and overall survival (OS) rates were 60.9%, 52.4%, and 77.2%, respectively. Among adults with NHL, the best overall response rate was 61.8%, including an initial CR rate of 39.5%. Six-month DOR, progression-free survival, and OS rates were 55.3%, 38.7%, and 70.7%, respectively. Grade ≥3 cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity were reported in 11.6% and 7.5% of all patients, respectively. Similar outcomes were observed in patients with in-specification and out-of-specification products as a result of viability <80% (range, 61% to 79%). This first report of tisagenlecleucel in the real-world setting demonstrates outcomes with similar efficacy and improved safety compared with those seen in the pivotal trials.

In vitro-transcribed antigen receptor mRNA nanocarriers for transient expression in circulating T cells in vivo

Nat Commun

2020 Matthias Stephan; Neha Parayath; Sirkka Stephan; Amanda Koehne; Peter Nelson

Engineering chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) or T cell receptors (TCR) helps create disease-specific T cells for targeted therapy, but the cost and rigor associated with manufacturing engineered T cells ex vivo can be prohibitive, so programing T cells in vivo may be a viable alternative. Here we report an injectable nanocarrier that delivers in vitro-transcribed (IVT) CAR or TCR mRNA for transiently reprograming of circulating T cells to recognize disease-relevant antigens. In mouse models of human leukemia, prostate cancer and hepatitis B-induced hepatocellular carcinoma, repeated infusions of these polymer nanocarriers induce sufficient host T cells expressing tumor-specific CARs or virus-specific TCRs to cause disease regression at levels similar to bolus infusions of ex vivo engineered lymphocytes. Given their ease of manufacturing, distribution and administration, these nanocarriers, and the associated platforms, could become a therapeutic for a wide range of diseases.