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1.  Targeting Interleukin-13 with Tralokinumab Attenuates Lung Fibrosis and Epithelial Damage in a Humanized SCID Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Model 
The aberrant fibrotic and repair responses in the lung are major hallmarks of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Numerous antifibrotic strategies have been used in the clinic with limited success, raising the possibility that an effective therapeutic strategy in this disease must inhibit fibrosis and promote appropriate lung repair mechanisms. IL-13 represents an attractive target in IPF, but its disease association and mechanism of action remains unknown. In the present study, an overexpression of IL-13 and IL-13 pathway markers was associated with IPF, particularly a rapidly progressive form of this disease. Targeting IL-13 in a humanized experimental model of pulmonary fibrosis using tralokinumab (CAT354) was found to therapeutically block aberrant lung remodeling in this model. However, targeting IL-13 was also found to promote lung repair and to restore epithelial integrity. Thus, targeting IL-13 inhibits fibrotic processes and enhances repair processes in the lung.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2013-0342OC
PMCID: PMC4068948  PMID: 24325475
fibroblast; epithelium; fibrosis
2.  Quantitative Measurement of the Target-Mediated Internalization Kinetics of Biopharmaceuticals 
Pharmaceutical Research  2014;32:286-299.
Purpose
Measurement of internalization of biopharmaceuticals targeting cell surface proteins can greatly facilitate drug development. The objective of this study was to develop a reliable method for determination of internalization rate constant (kint) and to demonstrate its utility.
Methods
This method utilized confocal imaging to record the internalization kinetics of fluorescence-tagged biopharmaceuticals in live-cells and a quantitative image-analysis algorithm for kint determination. Kint was incorporated into a pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) model for simulation of the drug PK profiles, target occupancy and the displacement of endogenous ligand.
Results
The method was highly sensitive, allowing kint determination in cells expressing as low as 5,000 receptors/cell, and was amenable to adherent and suspension cells. Its feasibility in a mixed cell population, such as whole blood, was also demonstrated. Accurate assessment of the kint was largely attributed to continuous monitoring of internalization in live cells, rapid confocal image acquisition and quantitative image-analysis algorithm. Translational PK-PD simulations demonstrated that kint is a major determinant of the drug PK profiles, target occupancy, and the displacement of endogenous ligand.
Conclusions
The developed method is robust for broad cell types. Reliable kint assessment can greatly expedite biopharmaceutical development by facilitating target evaluation, drug affinity goal setting, and clinical dose projection.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11095-014-1462-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11095-014-1462-8
PMCID: PMC4284384  PMID: 25208874
biopharmaceutical drug development; internalization kinetics; pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modeling; image analysis
3.  The epithelium in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: breaking the barrier 
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease of unknown etiology characterized by a dysregulated wound healing response that leads to fatal accumulation of fibroblasts and extracellular matrix (ECM) in the lung, which compromises tissue architecture and lung function capacity. Injury to type II alveolar epithelial cells is thought to be the key event for the initiation of the disease, and so far both genetic factors, such as mutations in telomerase and MUC5B genes as well as environmental components, like cigarette smoking, exposure to asbestos and viral infections have been implicated as potential initiating triggers. The injured epithelium then enters a state of senescence-associated secretory phenotype whereby it produces both pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic factors that contribute to the wound healing process in the lung. Immune cells, like macrophages and neutrophils as well as activated myofibroblasts then perpetuate this cascade of epithelial cell apoptosis and proliferation by release of pro-fibrotic transforming growth factor beta and continuous deposition of ECM stiffens the basement membrane, altogether having a deleterious impact on epithelial cell function. In this review, we describe the role of the epithelium as both a physical and immunological barrier between environment and self in the homeostatic versus diseased lung and explore the potential mechanisms of epithelial cell injury and the impact of loss of epithelial cell permeability and function on cytokine production, inflammation, and myofibroblast activation in the fibrotic lung.
doi:10.3389/fphar.2013.00173
PMCID: PMC3887273  PMID: 24454287
epithelium; fibroblasts; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; apoptosis; TGF-β
4.  Efficacy and safety of mavrilimumab in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;72(9):1445-1452.
Objectives
Mavrilimumab, a human monoclonal antibody targeting the alpha subunit of the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor, was evaluated in a phase 2 randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate efficacy and safety in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
Subcutaneous mavrilimumab (10 mg, 30 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg) or placebo was administered every other week for 12 weeks in subjects on stable background methotrexate therapy. The primary endpoint was the proportion of subjects achieving a ≥1.2 decrease from baseline in Disease Activity Score (DAS28-CRP) at week 12.
Results
55.7% of mavrilimumab-treated subjects met the primary endpoint versus 34.7% placebo (p=0.003) at week 12; for the 10 mg, 30 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg groups, responses were 41.0% (p=0.543), 61.0% (p=0.011), 53.8% (p=0.071), and 66.7% (p=0.001) respectively. Response rate differences from placebo were observed at week 2 and increased throughout the treatment period. The 100 mg dose demonstrated a significant effect versus placebo on DAS28-CRP<2.6 (23.1% vs 6.7%, p=0.016), all categories of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria (ACR20: 69.2% vs 40.0%, p=0.005; ACR50: 30.8% vs 12.0%, p=0.021; ACR70: 17.9% vs 4.0%, p=0.030), and the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (−0.48 vs −0.25, p=0.005). A biomarker-based disease activity score showed a dose-dependent decrease at week 12, indicating suppression of disease-related biological pathways. Adverse events were generally mild or moderate in intensity. No significant hypersensitivity reactions, serious or opportunistic infections, or changes in pulmonary parameters were observed.
Conclusions
Mavrilimumab induced rapid clinically significant responses in RA subjects, suggesting that inhibiting the mononuclear phagocyte pathway may provide a novel therapeutic approach for RA.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202450
PMCID: PMC3756523  PMID: 23234647
Rheumatoid Arthritis; Treatment; Disease Activity
5.  An Anti-Human ICAM-1 Antibody Inhibits Rhinovirus-Induced Exacerbations of Lung Inflammation 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(8):e1003520.
Human rhinoviruses (HRV) cause the majority of common colds and acute exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Effective therapies are urgently needed, but no licensed treatments or vaccines currently exist. Of the 100 identified serotypes, ∼90% bind domain 1 of human intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) as their cellular receptor, making this an attractive target for development of therapies; however, ICAM-1 domain 1 is also required for host defence and regulation of cell trafficking, principally via its major ligand LFA-1. Using a mouse anti-human ICAM-1 antibody (14C11) that specifically binds domain 1 of human ICAM-1, we show that 14C11 administered topically or systemically prevented entry of two major groups of rhinoviruses, HRV16 and HRV14, and reduced cellular inflammation, pro-inflammatory cytokine induction and virus load in vivo. 14C11 also reduced cellular inflammation and Th2 cytokine/chemokine production in a model of major group HRV-induced asthma exacerbation. Interestingly, 14C11 did not prevent cell adhesion via human ICAM-1/LFA-1 interactions in vitro, suggesting the epitope targeted by 14C11 was specific for viral entry. Thus a human ICAM-1 domain-1-specific antibody can prevent major group HRV entry and induction of airway inflammation in vivo.
Author Summary
Viruses exploit receptors on the host cell to cause infection. Therapies aimed at blocking virus-receptor interactions have the potential to prevent viral disease. Cellular receptors are also important for normal host cell function. Therefore, new therapies targeting these receptors to block viral infection may also inadvertently alter the physiology of the host cell. Viral pathogens, such as the cold virus (rhinovirus), are believed to be the major cause of asthma attacks and exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In this study, we show that it is possible to identify novel therapeutic antibodies that block infection with rhinovirus without impairing the receptors' main function of cell adhesion. We then use animal models that show that an antibody can inhibit virus-induced lung inflammation and disease. Moreover, we show that this antibody can also inhibit a virally induced asthma exacerbation. This work is relevant in that it shows that antibodies can be tailored to distinct regions of viral receptors to block infection without inhibiting the receptors' normal cellular function. This is important for the development of new treatments that will prevent diseases caused by infection with rhinovirus, such as exacerbations of asthma and COPD.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003520
PMCID: PMC3731244  PMID: 23935498
6.  The Role of Interleukin-1 and Interleukin-18 in Pro-Inflammatory and Anti-Viral Responses to Rhinovirus in Primary Bronchial Epithelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63365.
Human Rhinovirus (HRV) is associated with acute exacerbations of chronic respiratory disease. In healthy individuals, innate viral recognition pathways trigger release of molecules with direct anti-viral activities and pro-inflammatory mediators which recruit immune cells to support viral clearance. Interleukin-1alpha (IL-1α), interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) and interleukin-18 (IL-18) have critical roles in the establishment of neutrophilic inflammation, which is commonly seen in airways viral infection and thought to be detrimental in respiratory disease. We therefore investigated the roles of these molecules in HRV infection of primary human epithelial cells. We found that all three cytokines were released from infected epithelia. Release of these cytokines was not dependent on cell death, and only IL-1β and IL-18 release was dependent on caspase-1 catalytic activity. Blockade of IL-1 but not IL-18 signaling inhibited up-regulation of pro-inflammatory mediators and neutrophil chemoattractants but had no effect on virus induced production of interferons and interferon-inducible genes, measured at both mRNA and protein level. Similar level of virus mRNA was detected with and without IL-1RI blockade. Hence IL-1 signaling, potentially involving both IL-1β and IL-1α, downstream of viral recognition plays a key role in induction of pro-inflammatory signals and potentially in recruitment and activation of immune cells in response to viral infection instigated by the epithelial cells, whilst not participating in direct anti-viral responses.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063365
PMCID: PMC3665753  PMID: 23723976
7.  Developing the next generation of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2011;162(7):1470-1484.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the commonest autoimmune diseases affecting 0.8% of the population. Over the last decade the treatment of this chronic disease has been revolutionized by the use of monoclonal antibodies and fusion proteins, targeting molecules like tumour necrosis factor alpha. Nevertheless, approximately one-third of subjects fail to respond to these therapies and therefore significant unmet medical need remains. Following a decade of use, clinical, government and regulatory agency expectations have changed for new antibodies therapies entering this highly competitive area. In this review, we discuss the current advances being made in antibody engineering and how they are being considered and used in the development of the next generation of antibodies to meet future expectations of healthcare providers, physicians and patients. Moreover, we discuss how pattern recognition receptors may provide new antibody tractable targets that may break the cycle of autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01183.x
PMCID: PMC3057286  PMID: 21182494
antibody; rheumatoid arthritis; cytokine; engineering; phage display; transgenic mice; pattern recognition; toll-like receptors; biologics
8.  IL-1α/IL-1R1 Expression in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Mechanistic Relevance to Smoke-Induced Neutrophilia in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28457.
Background
Cigarette smoking is the main risk factor for the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite this, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to COPD pathogenesis are still poorly understood.
Methodology and Principal Findings
The objective of this study was to assess IL-1 α and β expression in COPD patients and to investigate their respective roles in perpetuating cigarette smoke-induced inflammation. Functional studies were pursued in smoke-exposed mice using gene-deficient animals, as well as blocking antibodies for IL-1α and β. Here, we demonstrate an underappreciated role for IL-1α expression in COPD. While a strong correlation existed between IL-1α and β levels in patients during stable disease and periods of exacerbation, neutrophilic inflammation was shown to be IL-1α-dependent, and IL-1β- and caspase-1-independent in a murine model of cigarette smoke exposure. As IL-1α was predominantly expressed by hematopoietic cells in COPD patients and in mice exposed to cigarette smoke, studies pursued in bone marrow chimeric mice demonstrated that the crosstalk between IL-1α+ hematopoietic cells and the IL-1R1+ epithelial cells regulates smoke-induced inflammation. IL-1α/IL-1R1-dependent activation of the airway epithelium also led to exacerbated inflammatory responses in H1N1 influenza virus infected smoke-exposed mice, a previously reported model of COPD exacerbation.
Conclusions and Significance
This study provides compelling evidence that IL-1α is central to the initiation of smoke-induced neutrophilic inflammation and suggests that IL-1α/IL-1R1 targeted therapies may be relevant for limiting inflammation and exacerbations in COPD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028457
PMCID: PMC3232226  PMID: 22163019
9.  A Micro RNA Processing Defect in Rapidly Progressing Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21253.
Background
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis exhibits differential progression from the time of diagnosis but the molecular basis for varying progression rates is poorly understood. The aim of the present study was to ascertain whether differential miRNA expression might provide one explanation for rapidly versus slowly progressing forms of IPF.
Methodology and Principal Findings
miRNA and mRNA were isolated from surgical lung biopsies from IPF patients with a clinically documented rapid or slow course of disease over the first year after diagnosis. A quantitative PCR miRNA array containing 88 of the most abundant miRNA in the human genome was used to profile lung biopsies from 9 patients with rapidly progressing IPF, 6 patients with slowly progressing IPF, and 10 normal lung biopsies. Using this approach, 11 miRNA were significantly increased and 36 were significantly decreased in rapid biopsies compared with normal biopsies. Slowly progressive biopsies exhibited 4 significantly increased miRNA and 36 significantly decreased miRNA compared with normal lung. Among the miRNA present in IPF with validated mRNA targets were those with regulatory effects on epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Five miRNA (miR-302c, miR-423-5p, miR-210, miR-376c, and miR-185) were significantly increased in rapid compared with slow IPF lung biopsies. Additional analyses of rapid biopsies and fibroblasts grown from the same biopsies revealed that the expression of AGO1 and AGO2 (essential components of the miRNA processing RISC complex) were lower compared with either slow or normal lung biopsies and fibroblasts.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that the development and/or clinical progression of IPF might be the consequence of aberrant miRNA processing.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021253
PMCID: PMC3119674  PMID: 21712985
10.  Expression of the T Helper 17-Associated Cytokines IL-17A and IL-17F in Asthma and COPD 
Chest  2010;138(5):1140-1147.
Background:
Asthma and COPD are characterized by airway dysfunction and inflammation. Neutrophilic airway inflammation is a common feature of COPD and is recognized in asthma, particularly in severe disease. The T helper (Th) 17 cytokines IL-17A and IL-17F have been implicated in the development of neutrophilic airway inflammation, but their expression in asthma and COPD is uncertain.
Methods:
We assessed IL-17A and IL-17F expression in the bronchial submucosa from 30 subjects with asthma, 10 ex-smokers with mild to moderate COPD, and 27 nonsmoking and 14 smoking control subjects. Sputum IL-17 concentration was measured in 165 subjects with asthma and 27 with COPD.
Results:
The median (interquartile range) IL-17A cells/mm2 submucosa was increased in mild to moderate asthma (2.1 [2.4]) compared with healthy control subjects (0.4 [2.8]) but not in severe asthma (P = .04). In COPD, IL-17A+ cells/mm2 submucosa were increased (0.5 [3.7]) compared with nonsmoking control subjects (0 [0]) but not compared with smoking control subjects (P = .046). IL-17F+ cells/mm2 submucosa were increased in severe asthma (2.7 [3.6]) and mild to moderate asthma (1.6 [1.0]) compared with healthy controls subjects (0.7 [1.4]) (P = .001) but was not increased in subjects with COPD. IL-17A and IL-17F were not associated with increased neutrophilic inflammation, but IL-17F was correlated with the submucosal eosinophil count (rs = 0.5, P = .005). The sputum IL-17 concentration in COPD was increased compared with asthma (2 [0-7] pg/mL vs 0 [0-2] pg/mL, P < .0001) and was correlated with post-bronchodilator FEV1% predicted (r = −0.5, P = .008) and FEV1/FVC (r = −0.4, P = .04).
Conclusions:
Our findings support a potential role for the Th17 cytokines IL-17A and IL-17F in asthma and COPD, but do not demonstrate a relationship with neutrophilic inflammation.
doi:10.1378/chest.09-3058
PMCID: PMC2972626  PMID: 20538817
11.  Mavrilimumab, a human monoclonal antibody targeting GM-CSF receptor-α, in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase I, first-in-human study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2011;70(9):1542-1549.
Objective
To evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of mavrilimumab, a human monoclonal antibody targeting the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor-α, in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-escalating phase I study in subjects with RA who received stable methotrexate treatment for ≥3 months before enrolment. Subjects received single intravenous escalating doses of mavrilimumab (0.01–10.0 mg/kg) or placebo.
Results
32 subjects were enrolled in this study (1 unblinded subject at 0.01 mg/kg and another at 0.03 mg/kg were followed by five sequential double-blinded cohorts, n=6 each, treated with 0.1, 0.3, 1.0, 3.0 and 10.0 mg/kg, respectively). Adverse events were mild or moderate and were reported with similar frequency across all treatment cohorts. One subject (10.0 mg/kg) experienced moderate face and neck urticaria during infusion that resolved with symptomatic treatment. Systemic clearance of mavrilimumab approached that of endogenous IgG at doses >1.0 mg/kg; pharmacodynamic activity was confirmed in the 1.0 and 3.0 mg/kg cohorts by suppression of suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 mRNA transcripts. In exploratory analyses, reductions of acute phase reactants were observed in subjects with elevated C-reactive protein (>5 mg/l) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (≥20.0 mm/h) at baseline. No significant change in Disease Activity Score 28-joint assessment (DAS28) was seen in any of the cohorts. In mavrilimumab-treated subjects (n=15) with baseline DAS28 >3.2, mean disease activity (DAS28) was significantly reduced at 4 weeks.
Conclusion
In this first-in-human study, mavrilimumab showed preliminary evidence of pharmacodynamic activity. Importantly, the safety and pharmacokinetic profiles of mavrilimumab support further clinical studies in RA.
Trial registration number: NCT00771420.
doi:10.1136/ard.2010.146225
PMCID: PMC3147227  PMID: 21613310

Results 1-11 (11)