Expanding Complement Therapeutics for the Treatment of Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria.
ABSTRACT: Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is widely regarded as an archetypal complement-mediated disorder that has propelled complement drug discovery in recent decades. Its pathology is driven by chronic complement dysregulation resulting from the lack of the glycosyl phosphatidyl inositol-linked regulators DAF and CD59 on susceptible erythrocytes. This complement imbalance fuels persistent C3 activation on affected erythrocytes, which culminates in chronic complement-mediated intravascular hemolysis. The clinical application of eculizumab, a humanized anti-C5 antibody that blocks terminal pathway activation, has led to drastic improvement of therapeutic outcomes but has also unveiled hitherto elusive pathogenic mechanisms that are now known to contribute to the clinical burden of a significant proportion of patients with PNH. These emerging clinical needs have sparked a true resurgence of complement therapeutics that offer the promise of even more effective, disease-tailored therapies for PNH. Here, we review the current state of complement therapeutics with a focus on the clinical development of C3-targeted and alternative pathway-directed drug candidates for the treatment of PNH. We also discuss the relative advantages and benefits offered by each complement-targeting approach, including translational considerations that might leverage a more comprehensive clinical intervention for PNH.
Project description:Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is characterized by complement-mediated intravascular hemolysis due to the lack of CD55 and CD59 on affected erythrocytes. The anti-C5 antibody eculizumab has proven clinically effective, but uncontrolled C3 activation due to CD55 absence may result in opsonization of erythrocytes, possibly leading to clinically meaningful extravascular hemolysis. We investigated the effect of the peptidic C3 inhibitor, compstatin Cp40, and its long-acting form (polyethylene glycol [PEG]-Cp40) on hemolysis and opsonization of PNH erythrocytes in an established in vitro system. Both compounds demonstrated dose-dependent inhibition of hemolysis with IC50 ∼4 µM and full inhibition at 6 µM. Protective levels of either Cp40 or PEG-Cp40 also efficiently prevented deposition of C3 fragments on PNH erythrocytes. We further explored the potential of both inhibitors for systemic administration and performed pharmacokinetic evaluation in nonhuman primates. A single intravenous injection of PEG-Cp40 resulted in a prolonged elimination half-life of >5 days but may potentially affect the plasma levels of C3. Despite faster elimination kinetics, saturating inhibitor concentration could be reached with unmodified Cp40 through repetitive subcutaneous administration. In conclusion, peptide inhibitors of C3 activation effectively prevent hemolysis and C3 opsonization of PNH erythrocytes, and are excellent, and potentially cost-effective, candidates for further clinical investigation.
Project description:Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a clonal, non-malignant, hematological disorder characterized by the expansion of hematopoietic stem cells and progeny mature blood cells which are deficient in some surface proteins, including the two complement regulators CD55 and CD59. PNH is the paradigm of diseases implying complement dysregulation as main pathogenic mechanism; in fact, PNH erythrocytes are uncapable to modulate on their surface physiologic complement activation, which eventually leads to the typical clinical hallmark of PNH - the chronic complement-mediated intravascular anemia. Indeed, due to the lack of CD55 complement is continuously activated on erythrocyte surface, which subsequently enables the terminal lytic complement because of the lack of CD59, finally resulting in erythrocyte lysis. The availability of eculizumab as the first complement inhibitor for clinical use renewed the interest for this rare hematological disease. Indeed, in the last decad the anti-C5 monoclonal antibody has proven effective for the treatment of PNH, resulting in a sustained control of complement-mediated intravascular hemolysis, with a remarkable clinical benefit. Anti-complement treatment allowed transfusion independence in at least half of PNH patients receiving eculizumab, with adequate control of all hemolysis-associated symptoms even in almost all remaining patients. In addition, the risk of thromboembolic events - an other clinical hallmark of PNH, which significantly affects prognosis and survival - seems substantially reduced on eculizumab treatment, apparently resulting in improved survival. Even with all these remarkable effects, eculizumab treatment does not result in hemoglobin normalization, and most patients remain anemic. It has been demonstrated that this is due to persistent activation of the early phases of complement activation (upstream the C5), leading to complement-mediated extravascular hemolysis. Ongoing researches are focusing on possible strategies to improve current anti-complement therapies, aiming to develop second-generation complement therapeutics. Here we review PNH and its complement-mediated pathophysiology, summarizing available data on anti-complement treatment; we'll also discuss recent pathogenic insights which drive the development of novel strategies of complement inhibition.
Project description:Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a rare, clonal, hematopoietic stem cell disorder that manifests with a complement-mediated hemolytic anemia, bone marrow failure, and a propensity for thrombosis. These patients experience both intra- and extravascular hemolysis in the context of underlying complement activation. Currently eculizumab effectively blocks the intravascular hemolysis PNH. There remains an unmet clinical need for a complement inhibitor with activity early in the complement cascade to block complement at the classical and alternative pathways. C1 esterase inhibitor (C1INH) is an endogenous human plasma protein that has broad inhibitory activity in the complement pathway through inhibition of the classical pathway by binding C1r and C1s and inhibits the mannose-binding lectin-associated serine proteases in the lectin pathway. In this study, we show that commercially available plasma derived C1INH prevents lysis induced by the alternative complement pathway of PNH erythrocytes in human serum. Importantly, C1INH was able to block the accumulation of C3 degradation products on CD55 deficient erythrocytes from PNH patient on eculizumab therapy. This could suggest a role for inhibition of earlier phases of the complement cascade than that currently inhibited by eculizumab for incomplete or nonresponders to that therapy.
Project description:Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is characterized by complement-mediated cell lysis due to deficiency of GPI-anchored complement regulators. Blockage of the lytic pathway by eculizumab is the only available therapy for PNH patients and shows remarkable benefits, but regularly yields PNH erythrocytes opsonized with fragments of complement protein C3, rendering such erythrocytes prone to extravascular hemolysis. This effect is associated with insufficient responsiveness seen in a subgroup of PNH patients. Novel C3-opsonin targeted complement inhibitors act earlier in the cascade, at the level of activated C3 and are engineered from parts of the natural complement regulator Factor H (FH) or complement receptor 2 (CR2). This inhibitor class comprises three variants of "miniFH" and the clinically developed "FH-CR2" fusion-protein (TT30). We show that the approach of FH-CR2 to target C3-opsonins was more efficient in preventing complement activation induced by foreign surfaces, whereas the miniFH variants were substantially more active in controlling complement on PNH erythrocytes. Subtle differences were noted in the ability of each version of miniFH to protect human PNH cells. Importantly, miniFH and FH-CR2 interfered only minimally with complement-mediated serum killing of bacteria when compared to untargeted inhibition of all complement pathways by eculizumab. Thus, the molecular design of each C3-opsonin targeted complement inhibitor determines its potency in respect to the nature of the activator/surface providing potential functionality in PNH.
Project description:Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a rare bone marrow failure disorder that manifests with hemolytic anemia, thrombosis, and peripheral blood cytopenias. The absence of two glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins, CD55 and CD59, leads to uncontrolled complement activation that accounts for hemolysis and other PNH manifestations. GPI anchor protein deficiency is almost always due to somatic mutations in phosphatidylinositol glycan class A (PIGA), a gene involved in the first step of GPI anchor biosynthesis; however, alternative mutations that cause PNH have recently been discovered. In addition, hypomorphic germ-line PIGA mutations that do not cause PNH have been shown to be responsible for a condition known as multiple congenital anomalies-hypotonia-seizures syndrome 2. Eculizumab, a first-in-class monoclonal antibody that inhibits terminal complement, is the treatment of choice for patients with severe manifestations of PNH. Bone marrow transplantation remains the only cure for PNH but should be reserved for patients with suboptimal response to eculizumab.
Project description:Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a rare hematological disorder associated with an acquired deficiency in glycophosphatidylinositol-anchor biosynthesis that renders erythrocytes susceptible to complement attack. Intravascular hemolysis via the membrane attack complex is a clinical hallmark of the disease, and C5 blockade is currently the only approved treatment for PNH. However, residual anemia is an emerging observation for many PNH patients receiving anti-C5 treatment. A range of complement-targeted therapeutic approaches, encompassing surface-directed inhibition of C3 convertases, blockade of membrane attack complex assembly or C3 interception using peptidic inhibitors, has yielded promising results and offers leverage for even more effective treatment of PNH. This article discusses recent advances in this rapidly evolving field, integrating critical perspectives from preclinical PNH models and diverse complement modulation strategies with genetic insights and therapy response profiles. It also evaluates the relative efficacy, limitations and benefits afforded by C3 or C5 inhibition in the context of PNH therapeutics.
Project description:The treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria has been revolutionized by the introduction of the anti-C5 agent eculizumab; however, eculizumab is not the cure for Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), and room for improvement remains. Indeed, the hematological benefit during eculizumab treatment for PNH is very heterogeneous among patients, and different response categories can be identified. Complete normalization of hemoglobin (complete and major hematological response), is seen in no more than one third of patients, while the remaining continue to experience some degree of anemia (good and partial hematological responses), in some cases requiring regular red blood cell transfusions (minor hematological response). Different factors contribute to residual anemia during eculizumab treatment: underlying bone marrow dysfunction, residual intravascular hemolysis and the emergence of C3-mediated extravascular hemolysis. These two latter pathogenic mechanisms are the target of novel strategies of anti-complement treatments, which can be split into terminal and proximal complement inhibitors. Many novel terminal complement inhibitors are now in clinical development: they all target C5 (as eculizumab), potentially paralleling the efficacy and safety profile of eculizumab. Possible advantages over eculizumab are long-lasting activity and subcutaneous self-administration. However, novel anti-C5 agents do not improve hematological response to eculizumab, even if some seem associated with a lower risk of breakthrough hemolysis caused by pharmacokinetic reasons (it remains unclear whether more effective inhibition of C5 is possible and clinically beneficial). Indeed, proximal inhibitors are designed to interfere with early phases of complement activation, eventually preventing C3-mediated extravascular hemolysis in addition to intravascular hemolysis. At the moment there are three strategies of proximal complement inhibition: anti-C3 agents, anti-factor D agents and anti-factor B agents. These agents are available either subcutaneously or orally, and have been investigated in monotherapy or in association with eculizumab in PNH patients. Preliminary data clearly demonstrate that proximal complement inhibition is pharmacologically feasible and apparently safe, and may drastically improve the hematological response to complement inhibition in PNH. Indeed, we envision a new scenario of therapeutic complement inhibition, where proximal inhibitors (either anti-C3, anti-FD or anti-FB) may prove effective for the treatment of PNH, either in monotherapy or in combination with anti-C5 agents, eventually leading to drastic improvement of hematological response.
Project description:Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a rare, life-threatening hematologic stem cell disorder characterized by hemoglobinuria, thrombosis, and tendency for bone marrow failure. The rare incidence of PNH in children, its nonspecific clinical presentation, and occasional absence of hemoglobinuria make the diagnosis challenging. We present a case of a 17-year-old boy who was hospitalized with a history of recurrent abdominal pain, fever, and dark-colored urine. Laboratory tests revealed anemia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated inflammatory markers. Urinalysis was positive for protein and red blood cells, too many to be counted. Complement studies were within normal limits. Abdominal computed tomography showed a segment of the small bowel with wall thickening and signs of possible microperforation. Exploratory laparotomy revealed necrosis of the small bowel, and histological evaluation was suggestive of an autoimmune process with small vessel vasculitis. Bone marrow biopsy showed hypocellular marrow with a decreased number of myeloid cells, normal number of megakaryocytes, and signs of erythroid hyperplasia. Flow cytometry detected deficiency of CD59 leading to the diagnosis of PNH. The patient was treated with eculizumab infusions resulting in significant improvement. This case highlights the need for high clinical suspicion for rare entities such as PNH in patients presenting without hemoglobinuria.
Project description:The clinical management of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare but life-threatening hematologic disease, has fundamentally improved with the introduction of a therapeutic that prevents complement-mediated intravascular hemolysis. However, a considerable fraction of PNH patients show insufficient treatment response and remain transfusion dependent. Because the current treatment only prevents C5-induced lysis but not upstream C3 activation, it has been speculated that ongoing opsonization with C3 fragments leads to recognition and phagocytosis of PNH erythrocytes by immune cells. Here, for the first time, we provide experimental evidence for such extravascular hemolysis and demonstrate that PNH erythrocytes from anti-C5-treated patients are phagocytosed by activated monocytes in vitro. Importantly, we show that this uptake can be mediated by the end-stage opsonin C3dg, which is not traditionally considered a phagocytic marker, via interaction with complement receptor 3 (CR3). Interaction studies confirmed that C3dg itself can act as a ligand for the binding domain of CR3. The degree of C3dg-mediated erythrophagocytosis in samples from different PNH patients correlated well with the individual level of C3dg opsonization. This finding may guide future treatment options for PNH but also has potential implications for the description and management of other complement-mediated diseases.
Project description:Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome are diseases of excess activation of the alternative pathway of complement that are treated with eculizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against the terminal complement component C5. Eculizumab must be administered intravenously, and moreover some patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria on eculizumab have symptomatic extravascular hemolysis, indicating an unmet need for additional therapeutic approaches. We report the activity of two novel small-molecule inhibitors of the alternative pathway component Factor D using in vitro correlates of both paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. Both compounds bind human Factor D with high affinity and effectively inhibit its proteolytic activity against purified Factor B in complex with C3b. When tested using the traditional Ham test with cells from paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria patients, the Factor D inhibitors significantly reduced complement-mediated hemolysis at concentrations as low as 0.01 μM. Additionally the compound ACH-4471 significantly decreased C3 fragment deposition on paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria erythrocytes, indicating a reduced potential relative to eculizumab for extravascular hemolysis. Using the recently described modified Ham test with serum from patients with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, the compounds reduced the alternative pathway-mediated killing of PIGA-null reagent cells, thus establishing their potential utility for this disease of alternative pathway of complement dysregulation and validating the modified Ham test as a system for pre-clinical drug development for atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. Finally, ACH-4471 blocked alternative pathway activity when administered orally to cynomolgus monkeys. In conclusion, the small-molecule Factor D inhibitors show potential as oral therapeutics for human diseases driven by the alternative pathway of complement, including paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.