SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Expert review of clinical immunology

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Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is the most common systemic vasculitis in people over the age of 50 years. Prospective imaging studies in GCA highlight the systemic nature of this vasculitis. Areas covered: This review summarizes literature using PubMed on complications of GCA and its treatment. Emphasis was placed on articles published within the past 5 years. Disease associated complications including vision loss from arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, large-artery stenoses and ischemia, and, aortic aneurysms and dissections. Glucocorticoids are effective but have serious adverse effects. Furthermore, relapses are frequent and treatment- or disease-associated damage may accrue. Tocilizumab is the first treatment that showed efficacy in a large randomized prospective trial as a glucocorticoid sparing agent for GCA. Patients with GCA are also at increased risk for multiple cardiovascular diseases and venous thromboembolism. Monitoring for large-vessel involvement, particularly late manifestations like aortic aneurysms is important. Expert commentary: Advances in, and the incorporation of, imaging in GCA have led to better recognition and diagnosis of patients with large-vessel involvement. Prompt treatment with glucocorticoids is essential in preventing the occurrence or progression of vision loss. Therapeutics that allow sustained remission and reduce vessel damage in patients with GCA will play a crucial role.

Concepts: Heart, Blood vessel, Stroke, Vasculitis, Aortic aneurysm, Ophthalmology, Giant cell arteritis, Anterior ischemic optic neuropathy

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Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is the most frequent type of vasculitis, occurring in people older than 50 years. So far, treatment has been limited to corticosteroids and methotrexate only. Areas covered: Interleukin-6 (IL-6) plays a role in the pathophysiology of GCA. This review covers recent advances in the treatment of GCA with tocilizumab (TCZ), which specifically binds to both soluble and membrane-bound IL-6R and inhibits IL-6R-mediated signaling. Expert commentary: Two randomized controlled trials recently showed the efficacy of the IL-6 receptors inhibitor monoclonal antibody TCZ for the induction and maintenance of remission in patients with new-onset and relapsing GCA. Furthermore, addition of TCZ to prednisone led to a reduction in the cumulative prednisone doses required to control GCA. The profile of adverse events was balanced across treatment groups and no safety concerns were raised during the trial.

Concepts: Protein, Randomized controlled trial, Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, Pharmaceutical industry, The Trial, Prednisone, Giant cell arteritis

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Adult-onset Still’s disease (AOSD) is a rare systemic auto-inflammatory disorder in which management and treatment have considerably progressed over the past decade. Despite wide use of interleukin (IL)-1 or IL-6 inhibitors, serious complications remain possible. Areas covered: A comprehensive literature search in MEDLINE via Pubmed was performed to review AOSD’s severe and sometimes life-threatening complications: reactive hemophagocytic lymphohystiocytosis, coagulation disorders, fulminant hepatitis, cardiac or pulmonary complications and amyloid A amyloidosis. Expert commentary: Early recognition and prompt management is essential to significantly decrease morbi-mortality. The key question is to determine whether the complication is related to the disease itself or related to or favored by (e.g., infection) the ongoing treatment. For all severe AOSD-related complications, high-dose corticosteroids and supportive measures remain the first-line treatment. In case of inadequate response, combination with IL-1 or IL-6 blockers is justified. Cyclosporine A and etoposide remain of interest, especially in case of reactive hemophagocytic lymphohysitocytosis. Plasma exchange may be useful in case of thrombotic microangiopathy. In the near future, new biologic or non-biologic drugs targeting IL-18 or other cytokines or kinases could be of help.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Heart, The Key, Arthritis, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, Ciclosporin, Adult-onset Still's disease

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The cutaneous vascular manifestations of systemic sclerosis (SSc) comprise Raynaud’s phenomenon, cutaneous ulceration, telangiectasia formation and critical digital ischaemia; each of which are associated with significant disease-related morbidity. Despite the availability of multiple classes of vasodilator therapy, many of which have been the subject of RCTs, a limited number of pharmacological interventions are currently approved for the management of cutaneous vascular manifestations of SSc. Areas covered: A major challenge has been demonstrating treatment efficacy with examples of promising therapies yielding contrasting results in controlled trial settings. Differences between consensus best-practice guidelines, evidence-based recommendations and marketing approvals in different jurisdictions has resulted in geographic variation in clinical practice concerning the management of cutaneous vascular manifestations of SSc. Difficulty demonstrating treatment efficacy risks waning industry engagement for drug development programmes in this field. This article highlights the key challenges in establishing treatment efficacy and barriers that must be overcome to support successful clinical trial programmes across the spectrum of cutaneous vascular manifestations of SSc. Expert commentary: The paucity of approved treatments for cutaneous vascular manifestations of SSc relates as much to challenges in clinical trial design and the need for reliable clinical trial endpoints, as to lack of therapeutic options.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, The Canon of Medicine, Rheumatology, Pharmaceutical industry, Drug development, Clinical trial protocol, Scleroderma

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Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) continues to be the leading cause of late morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT), which is an increasingly applied curative method for both benign and malignant hematologic disorders. Biomarker identification is crucial for the development of noninvasive and cost-effective cGVHD diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive test for use in clinic. Furthermore, biomarkers may help to gain a better insight on ongoing pathophysiological processes. The recent widespread application of omics technologies including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and cytomics provided opportunities to discover novel biomarkers. Areas covered: This review focuses on biomarkers identified through omics that play a critical role in target identification for drug development, and that were verified in at least two independent cohorts. It also summarizes the current status on omics tools used to identify these useful cGVHD targets. We briefly list the biomarkers identified and verified so far. We further address challenges associated to their exploitation and application in the management of cGVHD patients. Finally, insights on biomarkers that are drug targetable and represent potential therapeutic targets are discussed. Expert commentary: We focus on biomarkers that play an essential role in target identification.

Concepts: Medicine, Medical terms, Graft-versus-host disease, Hematology, Organ transplant, Proteomics, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Hematopoietic stem cell

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Allergic conditions such as asthma and atopic dermatitis have a high prevalence but represent a heterogeneous group of diseases despite similar clinical presentation and underlying pathophysiology. A better understanding of the phenotypes and endotypes of these diseases has driven rapid development of biologic medications targeting many steps of the inflammatory pathways. Areas Covered: There are 2 major inflammatory pathways that drive allergic diseases: Type-2 (Th-2) inflammation and non-type 2 inflammation. All of the biologic medications currently approved for use, and most of the biologic medications under development for allergic diseases have focused on the Th-2 inflammatory pathway. Biologic targets along this pathway include Anti-Immunoglobulin E (IgE), Anti-Interleukin -5 (IL-5), Anti-IL 4, and Anti-IL-13. Although the most study has been done in the realm of severe asthma, biologic targets for other allergic diseases including atopic dermatitis, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis, chronic idiopathic urticaria, eosinophilic esophagitis, and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis are also discussed. Expert Commentary: Novel biologic therapies have emerged over the last several years that have revolutionized the management of patients with refractory allergic disease.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Medicine, Asthma, Allergy, Atopy, Angioedema, Contact dermatitis

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Current studies show that, even in the era of antiretroviral therapies, HIV-1 infection is associated with more severe and frequent refractory chronic periodontitis. Areas covered: This review, based on a systematic analysis of the literature, intends to provide an update on factors that may be involved in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease in HIV-1-infected patients, including local immunosuppression, oral microbial factors, systemic inflammation, salivary markers, and the role of gingival tissue as a possible reservoir of HIV-1. Expert commentary: The therapeutic revolution of ART made HIV-1 infection a chronic controllable disease, reduced HIV-1 mortality rate, restored at least partially the immune response and dramatically increased life expectancy of HIV-1-infected patients. Despite all these positive aspects, chronic periodontitis assumes an important role in the HIV-1 infection status for activating systemic inflammation favoring viral replication and influencing HIV-1 status, and also acting as a possible reservoir of HIV-1. All these issues still need to be clarified and validated, but have important clinical implications that certainly will benefit the diagnosis and management of chronic periodontitis in HIV-1-infected patients, and also contributes to HIV-1 eradication.

Concepts: HIV, AIDS, Immune system, Inflammation, Medicine, Infectious disease, Periodontology, Periodontal disease

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Primary immunodeficiencies (PID) are genetic immune disorders causing increased predisposition to infections and autoimmunity. The only curative procedure is hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), results from which have improved dramatically since 2000. Complications remain a serious issue, especially in HLA non-identical transplantation. In PID patients, persistent infection and autoimmunity with end-organ damage cause particular problems with approach to transplantation. This article examines these, emphasising approach to management and consequences. Areas Covered: It is challenging to know which patients should be offered HSCT. As new diseases are discovered, data are required to determine natural history, and HSCT outcomes. Treatment of adults can be challenging, although HSCT outcomes are encouraging. New methods of T-lymphocyte depletion show results comparable to those of matched sibling donor transplants. New cellular therapies to treat viral infections show promising results, and immunomodulatory methods are successful in treating acute graft-versus-host disease. Expert Commentary: New T-lymphocyte depletion methods are a paradigm shift in approach to HSCT for PID. In combination with new cellular approaches to treating viral infection, immunomodulatory approaches to acute graft-versus-host disease and better understanding of endothelial activation syndromes, survival approaches 90%. Widespread introduction of newborn screening for severe combined immunodeficiencies will improve survival further.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Disease, Infectious disease, Infection, Graft-versus-host disease, Organ transplant, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

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Biologic drugs have revolutionized the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis in recent years because of their high efficacy and low risk of toxicity. However, even within the group of biologic therapies, there are differences related to the different mechanisms of action. Areas covered: We review the main adverse events associated with the biologic agents currently available for the treatment of psoriasis and the new inhibitors targeting the p19 subunit of interleukin (IL) 23 and the IL-17A receptor. This review covers injection site reactions, infections, cardiovascular events, demyelinating disorders, tumours, class effects secondary adverse events, immunogenicity, safety in pregnancy and vaccines efficacy. Expert commentary: More than a decade after the first approval of biologic drugs for use in psoriasis, the good safety profile of these drugs is one of the main justifications and incentives for their long-term use. The emergence of new pharmacological groups has made it possible to avoid some of the class effects of first-generation biologic agents and the new therapies appear to pose less risk of reactivation of latent infections, such as hepatitis B virus and tuberculosis. However, they are associated with new adverse effects related to their mechanism of action, including candidiasis and the risk of exacerbation or onset of inflammatory bowel disease.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Pharmacology, Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Ulcerative colitis, Inflammatory bowel disease, Hepatitis B

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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multi-system autoimmune disease. There are three drugs licensed for the treatment of lupus: corticosteroids, hydroxychloroquine and belimumab. Immunosuppressants such as azathioprine, methotrexate and mycophenolate are also used. Despite these treatments there is still considerable morbidity. New treatments are needed for the management of active lupus. Epratuzumab a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody that targets CD22 resulting in selective B cell modulation that has been considered a potential treatment for SLE. Areas covered: Summary of the relevant pathogenesis and disease activity measurements used in SLE patients, current treatments and unmet needs in SLE, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of epratuzumab therapy, and a summary of the 7 clinical trials that have investigated the efficacy and safety of epratuzumab in SLE. Expert commentary: It is not clear why trials have failed to demonstrate efficacy but high placebo response rates from optimisation of standard of care and a sub-optimal dosing regimen may have played a role. Post-hoc analysis suggested that there may be subgroups that did respond, such as anti-SSA positive patients with features of Sjogren’s syndrome. Further research is needed to explore this and other potential sub-groups that might respond.

Concepts: Immune system, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Corticosteroid, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Sjögren's syndrome, Immunosuppressive drug