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COVID-19 infections are characterized by inflammation of the lungs and other organs that ranges from mild and asymptomatic to fulminant and fatal. Patients who are immunocompromised and those with cardiopulmonary comorbidities appear to be particularly afflicted by this illness. During pandemic conditions, many aspects of cancer care have been impacted. One important clinical question is how to manage patients who need anticancer therapy, including immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) during these conditions. Herein, we consider diagnostic and therapeutic implications of using ICI during this unprecedented period of COVID-19 infections. In particular, we consider the impact of ICI on COVID-19 severity, decisions surrounding continuing or interrupting therapy, diagnostic measures in patients with symptoms or manifestations potentially consistent with either COVID-19 or ICI toxicity, and resumption of therapy in infected patients. While more robust data are needed to guide clinicians on management of patients with cancer who may be affected by COVID-19, we hope this commentary provides useful insights for the clinical community.
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
Importance - Polygenic risk scores comprising millions of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) could be useful for population-wide coronary heart disease (CHD) screening.
Objective - To determine whether a polygenic risk score improves prediction of CHD compared with a guideline-recommended clinical risk equation.
Design, Setting, and Participants - A retrospective cohort study of the predictive accuracy of a previously validated polygenic risk score was assessed among 4847 adults of white European ancestry, aged 45 through 79 years, participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and 2390 participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) from 1996 through December 31, 2015, the final day of follow-up. The performance of the polygenic risk score was compared with that of the 2013 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association pooled cohort equations.
Exposures - Genetic risk was computed for each participant by summing the product of the weights and allele dosage across 6 630 149 SNPs. Weights were based on an international genome-wide association study.
Main Outcomes and Measures - Prediction of 10-year first CHD events (including myocardial infarctions, fatal coronary events, silent infarctions, revascularization procedures, or resuscitated cardiac arrest) assessed using measures of model discrimination, calibration, and net reclassification improvement (NRI).
Results - The study population included 4847 adults from the ARIC study (mean [SD] age, 62.9 [5.6] years; 56.4% women) and 2390 adults from the MESA cohort (mean [SD] age, 61.8 [9.6] years; 52.2% women). Incident CHD events occurred in 696 participants (14.4%) and 227 participants (9.5%), respectively, over median follow-up of 15.5 years (interquartile range [IQR], 6.3 years) and 14.2 (IQR, 2.5 years) years. The polygenic risk score was significantly associated with 10-year CHD incidence in ARIC with hazard ratios per SD increment of 1.24 (95% CI, 1.15 to 1.34) and in MESA, 1.38 (95% CI, 1.21 to 1.58). Addition of the polygenic risk score to the pooled cohort equations did not significantly increase the C statistic in either cohort (ARIC, change in C statistic, -0.001; 95% CI, -0.009 to 0.006; MESA, 0.021; 95% CI, -0.0004 to 0.043). At the 10-year risk threshold of 7.5%, the addition of the polygenic risk score to the pooled cohort equations did not provide significant improvement in reclassification in either ARIC (NRI, 0.018, 95% CI, -0.012 to 0.036) or MESA (NRI, 0.001, 95% CI, -0.038 to 0.076). The polygenic risk score did not significantly improve calibration in either cohort.
Conclusions and Relevance - In this analysis of 2 cohorts of US adults, the polygenic risk score was associated with incident coronary heart disease events but did not significantly improve discrimination, calibration, or risk reclassification compared with conventional predictors. These findings suggest that a polygenic risk score may not enhance risk prediction in a general, white middle-aged population.
Structural principles underlying the composition of protective antiviral monoclonal antibody (mAb) cocktails are poorly defined. Here, we exploited antibody cooperativity to develop a therapeutic mAb cocktail against Ebola virus. We systematically analyzed the antibody repertoire in human survivors and identified a pair of potently neutralizing mAbs that cooperatively bound to the ebolavirus glycoprotein (GP). High-resolution structures revealed that in a two-antibody cocktail, molecular mimicry was a major feature of mAb-GP interactions. Broadly neutralizing mAb rEBOV-520 targeted a conserved epitope on the GP base region. mAb rEBOV-548 bound to a glycan cap epitope, possessed neutralizing and Fc-mediated effector function activities, and potentiated neutralization by rEBOV-520. Remodeling of the glycan cap structures by the cocktail enabled enhanced GP binding and virus neutralization. The cocktail demonstrated resistance to virus escape and protected non-human primates (NHPs) against Ebola virus disease. These data illuminate structural principles of antibody cooperativity with implications for development of antiviral immunotherapeutics.
Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Increased endothelial permeability is central to the pathogenesis of sepsis and leads to organ dysfunction and death but the endogenous mechanisms that drive increased endothelial permeability are not completely understood. We previously reported that cell-free hemoglobin (CFH), elevated in 80% of patients with sepsis, increases lung microvascular permeability in an ex vivo human lung model and cultured endothelial cells. In this study, we augmented a murine model of polymicrobial sepsis with elevated circulating CFH to test the hypothesis that CFH increases microvascular endothelial permeability by inducing endothelial apoptosis. Mice were treated with an intraperitoneal injection of cecal slurry with or without a single intravenous injection of CFH. Severity of illness, mortality, systemic and lung inflammation, endothelial injury and dysfunction and lung apoptosis were measured at selected time points. We found that CFH added to CS increased sepsis mortality, plasma inflammatory cytokines as well as lung apoptosis, edema and inflammation without affecting large vessel reactivity or vascular injury marker concentrations. These results suggest that CFH is an endogenous mediator of increased endothelial permeability and apoptosis in sepsis and may be a promising therapeutic target.
With dengue virus (DENV) becoming endemic in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, there is a pressing global demand for effective strategies to control the mosquitoes that spread this disease. Recent advances in genetic engineering technologies have made it possible to create mosquitoes with reduced vector competence, limiting their ability to acquire and transmit pathogens. Here we describe the development of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes synthetically engineered to impede vector competence to DENV. These mosquitoes express a gene encoding an engineered single-chain variable fragment derived from a broadly neutralizing DENV human monoclonal antibody and have significantly reduced viral infection, dissemination, and transmission rates for all four major antigenically distinct DENV serotypes. Importantly, this is the first engineered approach that targets all DENV serotypes, which is crucial for effective disease suppression. These results provide a compelling route for developing effective genetic-based DENV control strategies, which could be extended to curtail other arboviruses.
Proton minibeam therapy (PMBT) is a form of spatially fractionated radiotherapy wherein broad beam radiation is replaced with segmented minibeams-either parallel, planar minibeam arrays generated by a multislit collimator or scanned pencil beams that converge laterally at depth to create a uniform dose layer at the tumor. By doing so, the spatial pattern of entrance dose is considerably modified while still maintaining tumor dose and efficacy. Recent studies using computational modeling, phantom experiments, and preclinical models, and early clinical feasibility assessments suggest that unique physical and biological attributes of PMBT can be exploited for future clinical benefit. We outline some of the guiding principle of PMBT in this concise overview of this emerging area of preclinical and clinical research inquiry.
Discovery of genotype-phenotype relationships remains a major challenge in clinical medicine. Here, we combined three sources of phenotypic data to uncover a new mechanism for rare and common diseases resulting from collagen secretion deficits. Using a zebrafish genetic screen, we identified the ric1 gene as being essential for skeletal biology. Using a gene-based phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) in the EHR-linked BioVU biobank, we show that reduced genetically determined expression of RIC1 is associated with musculoskeletal and dental conditions. Whole-exome sequencing identified individuals homozygous-by-descent for a rare variant in RIC1 and, through a guided clinical re-evaluation, it was discovered that they share signs with the BioVU-associated phenome. We named this new Mendelian syndrome CATIFA (cleft lip, cataract, tooth abnormality, intellectual disability, facial dysmorphism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and revealed further disease mechanisms. This gene-based, PheWAS-guided approach can accelerate the discovery of clinically relevant disease phenome and associated biological mechanisms.
The XPA protein functions together with the single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) binding protein RPA as the central scaffold to ensure proper positioning of repair factors in multi-protein nucleotide excision repair (NER) machinery. We previously determined the structure of a short motif in the disordered XPA N-terminus bound to the RPA32C domain. However, a second contact between the XPA DNA-binding domain (XPA DBD) and the RPA70AB tandem ssDNA-binding domains, which is likely to influence the orientation of XPA and RPA on the damaged DNA substrate, remains poorly characterized. NMR was used to map the binding interfaces of XPA DBD and RPA70AB. Combining NMR and X-ray scattering data with comprehensive docking and refinement revealed how XPA DBD and RPA70AB orient on model NER DNA substrates. The structural model enabled design of XPA mutations that inhibit the interaction with RPA70AB. These mutations decreased activity in cell-based NER assays, demonstrating the functional importance of XPA DBD-RPA70AB interaction. Our results inform ongoing controversy about where XPA is bound within the NER bubble, provide structural insights into the molecular basis for malfunction of disease-associated XPA missense mutations, and contribute to understanding of the structure and mechanical action of the NER machinery.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.