Immunomodulation as Therapy for Fungal Infection: Are We Closer?
ABSTRACT: Invasive fungal disease (IFD) causes significant morbidity in immunocompromised patients due to their weakened immune system. Immunomodulatory therapy, in synergy with existing antifungal therapy, is an attractive option to enhance their immune system and aid clearance of these opportunistic pathogens. From a scientific and clinical perspective, we explore the immunotherapeutic options to augment standard antifungal drugs for patients with an IFD. We discuss the range of immunomodulatory therapies being considered in IFD - from cytokines, including G-CSF, GM-CSF, M-CSF, IFN-?, and cytokine agonists, to cellular therapies, consisting of granulocyte transfusion, adoptive T-cell, CAR T-cell, natural killer cell therapies, and monoclonal antibodies. Adjunct pharmaceutical agents which augment the immunity are also being considered. Lastly, we explore the likelihood of the use of probiotics and manipulation of the microbiome/mycobiome to enhance IFD treatment outcomes.
Project description:Background:Available data on the incidence and outcome of invasive fungal diseases (IFD) in children with hematological malignancies or after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are mostly based on monocenter, retrospective studies or on studies performed prior to the availability of newer triazoles or echinocandins. Procedure:We prospectively collected clinical data on incidence, diagnostic procedures, management and outcome of IFD in children treated for hematological malignancies or undergoing HSCT in three major European pediatric cancer centers. Results:A total of 304 children (median age 6.0 years) who underwent 360 therapies (211 chemotherapy treatments, 138 allogeneic HSCTs and/or 11 investigational chemotherapeutic treatments) were included in the analysis. Nineteen children developed proven/probable IFD, mostly due to Aspergillus (n = 10) and Candida spp. (n = 5), respectively. In patients receiving chemotherapy, 11 IFDs occurred, all during induction or re-induction therapy. None of these patients died due to IFD, whereas IFD was lethal in 3 of the 8 HSCT recipients with IFD. Significant differences among centers were observed with regard to the use of imaging diagnostics and the choice, initiation and duration of antifungal prophylaxis. Conclusion:This prospective multicenter study provides information on the current incidence and outcome of IFD in the real life setting. Practice variation between the centers may help to ultimately improve antifungal management in children at highest risk for IFDs.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fastest growing malignancy in the United States in relation to mortality. HCC relies on a complex immunosuppressive network to modify the host immune system and evade destruction. Intrinsic to the liver's function and anatomy, native hepatic and immune cells produce many inhibitory cytokines that promote tolerogenicity and limit immune response. Since the introduction of sorafenib in 2008, no treatment has been able to demonstrate improved survival in patients with advanced HCC post disease progression treated with sorafenib. More recent studies have shown that sorafenib has an immunomodulatory function in addition to inhibition of multiple tyrosine kinases. Clinical trials have aimed to further enhance this immunomodulatory function with other treatments, most promisingly immune checkpoint inhibitors. Additionally, ongoing studies are using combinatorial approaches with immunomodulatory treatment and liver directed therapies such as transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave ablation (MWA), and cryoablation. This article will review recent data describing the immunosuppressive network in HCC, recent results of immunotherapies, and combinatorial approaches to treat advanced HCC.
Project description:Purpose:In patients with hematologic malignancies (HM), bloodstream infections (BSI) and invasive fungal disease (IFD) remain important complications causing considerable mortality and morbidity. At present, the morbidity of IFD and the strategies to initiate antifungal treatment in HM patients with BSI remain unclear. Patients and Methods:Patient characteristics, infection-related variables, and therapy-related features of 1374 HM patients with proven BSI from three hospitals were reviewed to investigate the epidemiology, risk factors and prognosis of IFD. Results:The morbidity of proven and probable IFD in HM patients with BSI was 11.2%, and the mortality of those patients was 40.5%. Existing IFD risk scores were not accurate enough in distinguishing these patients benefiting from antifungal prophylaxis. Multivariate logistic regression identified age >45 years, profound neutropenia, hypoproteinemia, and use of vasopressors as independent variables associated with IFD morbidity in HM patients with BSI. In patients with proven and probable IFD patients, age >45 years, Pitt bacteremia score >3, use of vasopressors, abnormal blood coagulation, and initiation of antifungal therapy within 72 hrs after the onset of fever were independent prognostic factors. The mortality was significantly reduced in patients with high-risk factors of IFD if they initiate antifungal treatment within 72 hrs after the onset of fever compared to the patients not. Conclusion:The morbidity and mortality of IFD increase significantly in HM patients with BSI. Early antifungal therapy may improve prognosis in HM patients with BSI complicated with IFD risk factors.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Invasive fungal disease (IFD) causes morbidity and mortality in patients with hematological malignancy. Recurrence of IFD after chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is associated with poor prognosis. The present study aimed to investigate the efficacy of different strategies of secondary antifungal prophylaxis (SAP) for IFD and choose an appropriate SAP regimen.<h4>Methods</h4>Clinical data of patients with previous IFD who underwent chemotherapy or HSCT between Jan 2008 and Jun 2013 were retrospectively reviewed and followed up to 180 days post-chemotherapy or HSCT. The clinical characteristics and diagnosis were analyzed according to the diagnostic criteria for IFD. The efficacy of different strategies for SAP and risk factors influencing the failure of SAP were evaluated.<h4>Results</h4>Of the 164 patients enrolled, 121 patients received SAP regimen (73.78%), and IFD recurred in 40 patients: 16.5% (20/121) in SAP group and 46.5% (20/43) in non-SAP group. In SAP group, 58 received SAP agents which were proven effective for their previous IFD, while other 63 patients received other broad-spectrum antifungal agents. There was no significant difference in the recurrence rates between these two subgroups (13.8% (8/58) vs 19.0% (12/63), P?=?0.437). The IFD recurrence rates were statistically significant between patients with allogeneic HSCT and chemotherapy or autologous HSCT (25% vs 8.2%, P?=?0.013). Multivariate analysis indicated that allogeneic HSCT was the independent risk factor of IFD recurrence after SAP.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Secondary antifungal prophylaxis is necessary to prevent IFD recurrence in patients with hematological malignancy, especially for patients in the setting of allogeneic HSCT.
Project description:The purpose of this review is to describe antifungal therapeutic candidates in preclinical and clinical development derived from, or directly influenced by, the immune system, with a specific focus on antimicrobial peptides (AMP). Although the focus of this review is AMP with direct antimicrobial effects on fungi, we will also discuss compounds with direct antifungal activity, including monoclonal antibodies (mAb), as well as immunomodulatory molecules that can enhance the immune response to fungal infection, including immunomodulatory AMP, vaccines, checkpoint inhibitors, interferon and colony stimulating factors as well as immune cell therapies. The focus of this manuscript will be a non-exhaustive review of antifungal compounds in preclinical and clinical development that are based on the principles of immunology and the authors acknowledge the incredible amount of in vitro and in vivo work that has been conducted to develop such therapeutic candidates.
Project description:Macrophages are a predominant immune cell population that drive inflammatory responses and exhibit transitions in phenotype and function during tissue remodeling in disease and repair. Thus, engineering an immunomodulatory biomaterial has significant implications for resolving inflammation. Here, a biomimetic and photoresponsive hyaluronan (HA) hydrogel nanocomposite with tunable 3D extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion sites for dynamic macrophage immunomodulation is engineered. Photodegradative alkoxylphenacyl-based polycarbonate (APP) nanocomposites are exploited to permit user-controlled Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) adhesive peptide release and conjugation to a HA-based ECM for real-time integrin activation of macrophages encapsulated in 3D HA-APP nanocomposite hydrogels. It is demonstrated that photocontrolled 3D ECM-RGD peptide conjugation can activate ?v?3 integrin of macrophages, and periodic ?v?3 integrin activation can enhance anti-inflammatory M2 macrophage polarization. Altogether, an emerging use of biomimetic, photoresponsive, and bioactive HA-APP nanocomposite hydrogel is highlighted to command 3D cell-ECM interactions for modulating macrophage polarization, which may shed light on cell-ECM interactions in innate immunity and inspire new biomaterial-based immunomodulatory therapies.
Project description:Invasive fungal disease (IFD) causes significant morbidity and mortality in hematologic malignancy patients with high-risk febrile neutropenia (FN). These patients therefore often receive empirical antifungal therapy. Diagnostic test-guided pre-emptive antifungal therapy has been evaluated as an alternative treatment strategy in these patients.We conducted an electronic search for literature comparing empirical versus pre-emptive antifungal strategies in FN among adult hematologic malignancy patients. We systematically reviewed 9 studies, including randomized-controlled trials, cohort studies, and feasibility studies. Random and fixed-effect models were used to generate pooled relative risk estimates of IFD detection, IFD-related mortality, overall mortality, and rates and duration of antifungal therapy. Heterogeneity was measured via Cochran's Q test, I2 statistic, and between study ?2. Incorporating these parameters and direct costs of drugs and diagnostic testing, we constructed a comparative costing model for the two strategies. We conducted probabilistic sensitivity analysis on pooled estimates and one-way sensitivity analyses on other key parameters with uncertain estimates.Nine published studies met inclusion criteria. Compared to empirical antifungal therapy, pre-emptive strategies were associated with significantly lower antifungal exposure (RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.27-0.85) and duration without an increase in IFD-related mortality (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.36-1.87) or overall mortality (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.46-1.99). The pre-emptive strategy cost $324 less (95% credible interval -$291.88 to $418.65 pre-emptive compared to empirical) than the empirical approach per FN episode. However, the cost difference was influenced by relatively small changes in costs of antifungal therapy and diagnostic testing.Compared to empirical antifungal therapy, pre-emptive antifungal therapy in patients with high-risk FN may decrease antifungal use without increasing mortality. We demonstrate a state of economic equipoise between empirical and diagnostic-directed pre-emptive antifungal treatment strategies, influenced by small changes in cost of antifungal therapy and diagnostic testing, in the current literature. This work emphasizes the need for optimization of existing fungal diagnostic strategies, development of more efficient diagnostic strategies, and less toxic and more cost-effective antifungals.
Project description:Invasive fungal diseases (IFDs) are a leading cause of infection-related-mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). In this prospective pilot study, we investigated the use of bedside lung ultrasound (US) in IFD management. Ten consecutive hematological patients, who developed pulmonary IFD after HSCT, were included in the study. Standard computed tomography scan and lung US were performed at IFD diagnosis and 10 days after antifungal treatment. The lung US demonstrated a high sensitivity in the detection of lung lesions at IFD diagnosis and in the follow-up examinations. It is of potential clinical relevance for IFD management in hematological patients.
Project description:Because of their immunomodulatory activities, human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are being explored to treat a variety of chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disorders and graft-vs-host disease. Treating hMSCs with IFN-? prior to administration augments these immunomodulatory properties; however, this ex vivo treatment limits the broad applicability of this therapy due to technical and regulatory issues. In this study, we engineered an injectable synthetic hydrogel with tethered recombinant IFN-? that activates encapsulated hMSCs to increase their immunomodulatory functions and avoids the need for ex vivo manipulation. Tethering IFN-? to the hydrogel increases retention of IFN-? within the biomaterial while preserving its biological activity. hMSCs encapsulated within hydrogels with tethered IFN-? exhibited significant differences in cytokine secretion and showed a potent ability to halt activated T-cell proliferation and monocyte-derived dendritic cell differentiation compared to hMSCs that were pre-treated with IFN-? and untreated hMSCs. Importantly, hMSCs encapsulated within hydrogels with tethered IFN-? accelerated healing of colonic mucosal wounds in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent mice. This novel approach for licensing hMSCs with IFN-? may enhance the clinical translation and efficacy of hMSC-based therapies.
Project description:Invasive fungal diseases (IFD) caused by Cryptococcus and dimorphic fungi are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Isavuconazole (ISAV) is a novel, broad-spectrum, triazole antifungal agent (IV and by mouth [PO]) developed for the treatment of IFD. It displays potent activity in vitro against these pathogens and in this report we examine outcomes of patients with cryptococcosis or dimorphic fungal infections treated with ISAV.The VITAL study was an open-label nonrandomized phase 3 trial conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ISAV treatment in management of rare IFD. Patients received ISAV 200 mg 3 times daily for 2 days followed by 200 mg once-daily (IV or PO). Proven IFD and overall response at end of treatment (EOT) were determined by an independent, data-review committee. Mortality and safety were also assessed.Thirty-eight patients received ISAV for IFD caused by Cryptococcus spp. (n = 9), Paracoccidioides spp. (n = 10), Coccidioides spp. (n = 9), Histoplasma spp. (n = 7) and Blastomyces spp. (n = 3). The median length of therapy was 180 days (range 2-331 days). At EOT 24/38 (63%) patients exhibited a successful overall response. Furthermore, 8 of 38 (21%) had stable IFD at the end of therapy without progression of disease, and 6 (16%) patients had progressive IFD despite this antifungal therapy. Thirty-three (87%) patients experienced adverse events.ISAV was well tolerated and demonstrated clinical activity against these endemic fungi with a safety profile similar to that observed in larger studies, validating its broad-spectrum in vitro activity and suggesting it may be a valuable alternative to currently available agents.NCT00634049.