Volume 3.01 | Jan 14

Immune Regulation News 3.01, January 14, 2011.
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Steering Cancer Inflammation to Inhibit Tumor Growth and Spread  ShareThis
Most cancer tissues are invaded by inflammatory cells that either stimulate or inhibit the growth of the tumor, depending on what immune cells are involved. Now a Swedish-Belgian research team has shown that a protein that naturally occurs in the body, HRG, inhibits tumor growth and metastasis into secondary organs by activating specific immune cells. [Press release from Uppsala University discussing online prepublication in Cancer Cell]



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H1N1 Pandemic Points to Vaccine Strategy for Multiple Flu Strains
Researchers report that people who were infected with pandemic H1N1 and recovered had an extraordinary immune response, producing antibodies that are protective against a variety of flu strains. [Press release from the University of Chicago discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Experimental Medicine]

Mayo Researchers Describe Measles Viral Protein Movement
Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that proteins on the surface of a cell twist a viral protein into position, allowing the virus to start infection and cause disease, all in a movement as graceful as a ballroom dance. [Press release from the Mayo Clinic discussing online prepublication in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology]

Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ Novel DNA Vaccine for Clade C HIV Achieves Immune Responses and Protection in Non-Human Primates
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced the publication of a scientific paper highlighting positive preclinical results from Inovio’s novel DNA vaccine targeting HIV Clade C viruses. In this study, the vaccine induced strong antibody and T-cell immune responses in rhesus monkeys. Furthermore, the vaccinated monkeys displayed protective effects against a subsequent challenge with an infectious dose of SHIV virus (chimeric HIV/SIV virus) compared to the placebo control animals. [Press release from Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. discussing online prepublication in Vaccine]

Vaccine Blocks Cocaine High in Mice: Novel Vaccine Is Poised to Move Quickly Into Human Trials
Researchers have produced a lasting anti-cocaine immunity in mice by giving them a safe vaccine that combines bits of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics cocaine. The antibody immune response produced in lab mice by the vaccine binds to, and sequesters, cocaine molecules before the drug reached the brains of the animals – and prevents any cocaine-related hyperactivity. [Press release from Weill Cornell Medical College discussing online prepublication in Molecular Therapy]

Researchers Identify New Target in MS
Previous studies have shown that leukocytes infiltrate the CNS and play a significant role in causing the damage that contributes to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms.  It has also been shown that these leukocytes enter the central nervous system (CNS) with help from a family of molecules called MMPs. Using a mouse model, researchers have discovered that a molecular switch called EMMPRIN plays an important role in MS. The researchers explored how in MS, EMMPRIN affects MMPs and the entry of leukocytes into the CNS to result in disease activity. [Press release from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Identification of Candidate IgG Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease via Combinatorial Library Screening
The adaptive immune system is thought to be a rich source of protein biomarkers, but diagnostically useful antibodies remain unknown for a large number of diseases. This is, in part, because the antigens that trigger an immune response in many diseases remain unknown. Researchers present here a general and unbiased approach to the identification of diagnostically useful antibodies that avoids the requirement for antigen identification. [Cell]

Eosinophils are Required for the Maintenance of Plasma Cells in the Bone Marrow
Here researchers demonstrate that bone marrow eosinophils localized together with plasma cells and were the key providers of plasma cell survival factors. [Nat Immunol]

Mouse CCL8, a CCR8 Agonist, Promotes Atopic Dermatitis by Recruiting IL-5+ TH2 Cells
Mouse CCL8 is a CC chemokine of the monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP) family whose biological activity and receptor usage have remained elusive. Here researchers show that CCL8 is highly expressed in the skin, where it serves as an agonist for the chemokine receptor CCR8 but not for CCR2. [Nat Immunol]

ECM1 Controls TH2 Cell Egress from Lymph Nodes through Re-Expression of S1P1
Type 2 helper T cells (TH2) are critically involved in allergies and asthma. Here researchers demonstrate that extracellular matrix protein-1 (ECM1) is highly and selectively expressed in TH2 cells. [Nat Immunol]

HRG Inhibits Tumor Growth and Metastasis by Inducing Macrophage Polarization and Vessel Normalization through Downregulation of PlGF
Polarization of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) to a proangiogenic/immune-suppressive (M2-like) phenotype and abnormal, hypoperfused vessels are hallmarks of malignancy, but their molecular basis and interrelationship remains enigmatic. Researchers report that the host-produced histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG) inhibits tumor growth and metastasis, while improving chemotherapy. [Cancer Cell]

CD4+ Lymphoid Tissue-Inducer Cells Promote Innate Immunity in the Gut
Fetal CD4+ lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) cells play a critical role in the development of lymphoid tissues. Recent studies identified that LTi cells persist in adults and are related to a heterogeneous population of innate lymphoid cells that have been implicated in inflammatory responses. However, whether LTi cells contribute to protective immunity remains poorly defined. Researchers demonstrate that after infection with Citrobacter rodentium, CD4+ LTi cells were a dominant source of interleukin-22 (IL-22) early during infection. [Immunity]

Broadly Cross-Reactive Antibodies Dominate the Human B Cell Response Against 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus Infection
Researchers report a detailed analysis of plasmablast and monoclonal antibody responses induced by pandemic H1N1 infection in humans. Unlike antibodies elicited by annual influenza vaccinations, most neutralizing antibodies induced by pandemic H1N1 infection were broadly cross-reactive against epitopes in the hemagglutinin stalk and head domain of multiple influenza strains. [J Exp Med]

The Heads of the Measles Virus Attachment Protein Move to Transmit the Fusion-Triggering Signal
The measles virus entry system, consisting of attachment (hemagglutinin, H) and fusion proteins, operates by means of a variety of natural and targeted receptors; however, the mechanism that triggers fusion of the viral envelope with the plasma membrane is not understood. Here, researchers tested a model proposing that the two heads of an H dimer, which are covalently linked at their base, after binding two receptor molecules, move relative to each other to transmit the fusion-triggering signal. [Nat Struct Mol Biol]

EMMPRIN: A Novel Regulator of Leukocyte Transmigration into the CNS in Multiple Sclerosis and Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis
In this study, researchers illustrate a novel involvement of EMMPRIN in multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. [J Neurosci]

Cocaine Analog Coupled to Disrupted Adenovirus: A Vaccine Strategy to Evoke High-titer Immunity Against Addictive Drugs
Leveraging the knowledge that E1-E3- adenovirus (Ad) gene transfer vectors are potent immunogens, researchers have developed a novel vaccine platform for addictive drugs by covalently linking a cocaine analog to the capsid proteins of noninfectious, disrupted Ad vector. [Mol Ther]

High Antibody and Cellular Responses Induced to HIV-1 Clade C Envelope Following DNA Vaccines Delivered by Electroporation
Researchers conclude that immunization with a simian/human immunodeficiency virus DNA-based vaccine delivered by electroporation can induce cellular and humoral immune responses that are able to control viral replication. [Vaccine]


Dendreon Announces Offering of $500 Million Convertible Senior Notes Due 2016
Dendreon Corporation announced its intention to offer, subject to market and other conditions, $500 million aggregate principal amount of convertible senior notes due January 15, 2016 (the “Notes”) in an offering registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). [Dendreon Corporation Press Release]

PPD Establishes Joint Venture for Drug Discovery of Large Molecules
PPD, Inc. announced it has established a joint venture with Taijitu Biologics Limited in the area of the discovery of novel biotherapeutics. The joint venture, named BioDuro Biologics, expands PPD’s capability to deliver unique, highly differentiated drug discovery services for biopharmaceutical companies across the globe. [PPD, Inc. Press Release]

OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Anti-Cancer Stem Cell Therapeutic OMP-59R5
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company developing novel therapeutics that target cancer stem cells, announced that patient dosing has commenced in a Phase 1 clinical trial of OMP-59R5 in patients with advanced solid tumor cancers. OMP-59R5 is a monoclonal antibody that binds selected Notch receptors and is the first antibody to specifically block these targets to enter human studies. [OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Press Release] 

Ono and Galapagos Subsidiary BioFocus Sign Target Discovery Agreement in the Field of Autoimmune Disease
Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Osaka Japan) and BioFocus (Saffron Walden UK) announced that they have signed a collaboration agreement, focused on discovering novel targets in the field of autoimmune disease. [Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Press Release]

Cell Medica Signs an Exclusive License Agreement and Strengthens Collaboration with the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine
Cell Medica, a leading cellular therapeutics company which develops, manufactures and markets cellular immunotherapy products for the treatment of infectious disease and cancer, is pleased to announce an exclusive license agreement and research collaboration with the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT), Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, Texas), for the commercialization of an innovative cell-based treatment for cancers associated with the oncogenic Epstein Barr virus (EBV). [Cell Medica Press Release]

MacroGenics Initiates Phase I Clinical Trial of MGAH22 for Patients with HER2-Expressing Solid Tumors
MacroGenics, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company that develops immunotherapeutics to treat autoimmune disorders, cancer and infectious diseases, announced that it had administered drug to the first cohort of patients in a Phase I clinical trial of MGAH22. MGAH22 is an Fc-optimized monoclonal antibody developed by MacroGenics which has been shown, in pre-clinical studies, to reduce tumor growth significantly in a broad panel of HER2-expressing tumors. [MacroGenics, Inc. Press Release]

Immutep and GlaxoSmithKline Sign Licence Agreement for IMP731, a Novel Therapeutic Antibody for the Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases
Immutep S.A. announced the execution of a licence agreement granting GSK exclusive worldwide rights to ImmuTune® IMP731 and any other antibodies that deplete LAG-3 positive cells. IMP731 has demonstrated potency at low doses in preclinical models of T cell mediated inflammation and could represent a new therapeutic approach to the treatment of autoimmune disease. [Immutep Press Release]


National Institutes of Health (United States)

Food and Drug Administration (United States)

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (United States)

European Medicines Agency (European Union)

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (United Kingdom)

Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia)


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Lab Technologist – Tissue Culture (STEMCELL Technologies)

Assistant Professor (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering)

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