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1.  Gene and cell therapy for children — New medicines, new challenges?☆ 
Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews  2014;73(100):162-169.
The range of possible gene and cell therapy applications is expanding at an extremely rapid rate and advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) are currently the hottest topic in novel medicines, particularly for inherited diseases. Paediatric patients stand to gain enormously from these novel therapies as it now seems plausible to develop a gene or cell therapy for a vast number of inherited diseases.
There are a wide variety of potential gene and cell therapies in various stages of development. Patients who received first gene therapy treatments for primary immune deficiencies (PIDs) are reaching 10 and 15 years post-treatment, with robust and sustained immune recovery. Cell therapy clinical trials are underway for a variety of tissues including corneal, retinal and muscle repair and islet cell transplantation. Various cell therapy approaches are also being trialled to enhance the safety of bone marrow transplants, which should improve survival rates in childhood cancers and PIDs. Progress in genetic engineering of lymphocyte populations to target and kill cancerous cells is also described. If successful these ATMPs may enhance or replace the existing chemo-ablative therapy for several paediatric cancers. Emerging applications of gene therapy now include skin and neurological disorders such as epidermolysis bullosa, epilepsy and leukodystrophy. Gene therapy trials for haemophilia, muscular dystrophy and a range of metabolic disorders are underway. There is a vast array of potential advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs), and these are likely to be more cost effective than existing medicines. However, the first clinical trials have not been without setbacks and some of the key adverse events are discussed. Furthermore, the arrival of this novel class of therapies brings many new challenges for the healthcare industry. We present a summary of the key non-clinical factors required for successful delivery of these potential treatments. Technological advances are needed in vector design, raw material manufacture, cell culture and transduction methodology, and particularly in making all these technologies readily scalable.
Graphical abstract
PMCID: PMC4074676  PMID: 24583376
Gene therapy; Cell therapy; ATMP; Stem cell; Translational; Vector; GMP; Biologics; Autologous
2.  Peptide immunotherapy in allergic asthma generates IL-10–dependent immunological tolerance associated with linked epitope suppression 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(7):1535-1547.
Treatment of patients with allergic asthma using low doses of peptides containing T cell epitopes from Fel d 1, the major cat allergen, reduces allergic sensitization and improves surrogate markers of disease. Here, we demonstrate a key immunological mechanism, linked epitope suppression, associated with this therapeutic effect. Treatment with selected epitopes from a single allergen resulted in suppression of responses to other (“linked”) epitopes within the same molecule. This phenomenon was induced after peptide immunotherapy in human asthmatic subjects and in a novel HLA-DR1 transgenic mouse model of asthma. Tracking of allergen-specific T cells using DR1 tetramers determined that suppression was associated with the induction of interleukin (IL)-10+ T cells that were more abundant than T cells specific for the single-treatment peptide and was reversed by anti–IL-10 receptor administration. Resolution of airway pathophysiology in this model was associated with reduced recruitment, proliferation, and effector function of allergen-specific Th2 cells. Our results provide, for the first time, in vivo evidence of linked epitope suppression and IL-10 induction in both human allergic disease and a mouse model designed to closely mimic peptide therapy in humans.
PMCID: PMC2715096  PMID: 19528258
3.  Resolution of Allergic Inflammation and Airway Hyperreactivity Is Dependent upon Disruption of the T1/ST2–IL-33 Pathway 
Rationale: Although there have been numerous studies on the development of allergen-induced inflammation, the mechanisms leading to resolution of inflammation remain poorly understood. This represents an important consideration because failure to resolve allergen driven inflammation potentially leads to irreversible airway remodeling, characteristic of chronic asthma.
Objectives: We investigated the resolution of allergic inflammation and identified the factors responsible.
Methods: BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were sensitized to ovalbumin and challenged through the airways to induce allergic inflammation. Mice were analyzed at 24 hours and 7 days after the final challenge.
Measurements and Main Results: Airway hyperreactivity (AHR) and increased mucus production were present 7 days after the cessation of allergen challenge in BALB/c mice. Persisting AHR correlated with the continued presence of Th2 cells but not eosinophils in the lungs. The role of Th2 cells in maintaining AHR was confirmed using blocking antibodies against T1/ST2, IL-4, and IL-13 during the resolution period. Moreover, AHR in the “Th1 type” C57BL/6 mouse strain was resolved 1 week after allergen challenge, concomitant with clearance of Th2 cells from the lung. Expression of the T1/ST2 ligand, IL-33, also correlated with maintenance of AHR.
Conclusions: We have used blockade of Th2 function and strain differences to show for the first time that resolution of allergic inflammation and AHR may be dependent on the T1/ST2-IL-33 pathway and the presence of Th2 cells, suggesting they are necessary not only for the development of an allergic response but also for its maintenance.
PMCID: PMC2675564  PMID: 19179489
Th2 cells; IL-13; IL-4
4.  Intrapulmonary, Adenovirus-Mediated Overexpression of KARAP/DAP12 Enhances Fungal Clearance during Invasive Aspergillosis  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(12):8402-8406.
Herein, we report that the intrapulmonary delivery of an adenovirus vector expressing KARAP/DAP12, an adaptor protein expressed in granulocytes and mononuclear cells, enhanced fungal clearance during experimental invasive pulmonary aspergillosis in neutropenic mice.
PMCID: PMC1307040  PMID: 16299339
5.  Histamine induces cytoskeletal changes in human eosinophils via the H4 receptor 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2003;140(6):1117-1127.
Histamine (0.004–2 μM) induced a concentration-dependent shape change of human eosinophils, but not of neutrophils or basophils, detected as an increase in forward scatter (FSC) in the gated autofluorescence/forward scatter (GAFS) assay.The histamine-induced eosinophil shape change was completely abolished by thioperamide (10 μM), an H3/H4 receptor antagonist, but was not inhibited by pyrilamine or cimetidine (10 μM), H1 and H2 receptor antagonists, respectively. The H4 receptor agonists, clobenpropit and clozapine (0.004–2 μM), which are also H3 receptor antagonists, both induced eosinophil shape change, which was inhibited by thioperamide (10 μM). The H3/H4 receptor agonists, imetit, R-α-methyl histamine and N-α-methyl histamine (0.004–2 μM) also induced eosinophil shape change.Histamine induced actin polymerisation (0.015–10 μM), intracellular calcium mobilisation (10–100 μM) and a significant upregulation of expression of the cell adhesion molecule CD11b (0.004–10 μM) in eosinophils, all of which were inhibited by thioperamide (10–100 μM). In addition, the H4 receptor agonist/H3 receptor antagonist clozapine (20 μM) stimulated a rise in intracellular calcium in eosinophils.Activation of H4 receptors by histamine (1 μM) primed eosinophils for increased chemotactic responses to eotaxin, but histamine (0.1–10 μM) did not directly induce chemotaxis of eosinophils.Pertussis toxin (1 μg ml−1) inhibited shape change and actin polymerisation responses induced by histamine showing that these effects are mediated by coupling to a Gαi/o G-protein.This study demonstrates that human eosinophils express functional H4 receptors and may provide a novel target for allergic disease therapy.
PMCID: PMC1574117  PMID: 14530216
Histamine; H4 receptors; eosinophils; shape change; actin polymerisation

Results 1-5 (5)