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Publication History View all

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    ABSTRACT: The importance of the cytoskeleton in mounting a successful immune response is evident from the wide range of defects that occur in actin-related primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs). Studies of these PIDs have revealed a pivotal role for the actin cytoskeleton in almost all stages of immune system function, from hematopoiesis and immune cell development, through to recruitment, migration, intercellular and intracellular signaling, and activation of both innate and adaptive immune responses. The major focus of this review is the immune defects that result from mutations in the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome gene (WAS), which have a broad impact on many different processes and give rise to clinically heterogeneous immunodeficiencies. We also discuss other related genetic defects and the possibility of identifying new genetic causes of cytoskeletal immunodeficiency.
    Immunological Reviews 11/2013; 256(1):282-299.
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic tools have been developed to efficiently engineer T-cell specificity and enhance T-cell function. Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) use the antibody variable segments to direct specificity against cell surface molecules. T-cell receptors (TCR) can redirect T cells to intracellular target proteins, fragments of which are presented in the peptide-binding groove of HLA molecules. A recent clinical trial with CAR-modified T cells redirected against the B-cell lineage antigen CD19 showed dramatic clinical benefit in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients. Similarly, impressive clinical responses were seen in melanoma and synovial cell carcinoma with TCR-modified T cells redirected against the melanocyte lineage antigen MART-1 and the testis-cancer antigen NY-ESO-1. However, on and off-target toxicity was associated with most of these clinical responses, and fatal complications have been observed in some patients treated with gene modified T cells. This review will discuss factors that might contribute to toxic side effects of therapy with gene modified T cells, and outline potential strategies to retain anticancer activity while reducing unwanted side effects.Gene Therapy advance online publication, 27 June 2013; doi:10.1038/gt.2013.34.
    Gene therapy 06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Haematopoeitic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a curative procedure for children with malignant and non-malignant haematological disease as well as an expanding number of inherited disorders. Most patients lack a human leucocyte antigen-matched related donor, making alternative donors, such as closely matched unrelated donors, unrelated umbilical cord blood donations and haploidentical donors, necessary choices. T cell depletion (TCD) has been employed for over 30 years to reduce the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) associated with non-genoidentical HSCT. However, until recently overall survival had not improved with TCD due to increased rates of graft failure, disease relapse and delayed immune reconstitution. Recent advances in graft manipulation and reduced toxicity conditioning regimens have offered renewed hope, particularly for children undergoing haploidentical HSCT, where encouraging results have been achieved using negative depletion techniques to retain beneficial accessory cells, which speed immune reconstitution and reduce disease relapse. Translational work building on megadose CD34(+) selected grafts, including pathogen-specific immunotherapy, suicide gene therapy and other adoptive cellular immunotherapies, has also offered improved outcomes for such patients.
    British Journal of Haematology 05/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Primary immunodeficiencies have played a major role in the development of gene therapy for monogenic diseases of the bone marrow. The last decade has seen convincing evidence of long-term disease correction as a result of ex vivo viral vector-mediated gene transfer into autologous haematopoietic stem cells. The success of these early studies has been balanced by the development of vector-related insertional mutagenic events. More recently the use of alternative vector designs with self-inactivating designs, which have an improved safety profile has led to the initiation of a wave of new studies that are showing early signs of efficacy. The ongoing development of safer vector platforms and gene-correction technologies together with improvements in cell-transduction techniques and optimised conditioning regimes is likely to make gene therapy amenable for a greater number of PIDs. If long-term efficacy and safety are shown, gene therapy will become a standard treatment option for specific forms of PID.Gene Therapy advance online publication, 30 May 2013; doi:10.1038/gt.2013.21.
    Gene therapy 05/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Vein graft failure caused by neointimal hyperplasia (IH) after coronary artery bypass grafting with saphenous veins is a major clinical problem. The lack of safe and efficient vectors for vascular gene transfer has significantly hindered progress in this field. We have developed a Receptor-Targeted Nanocomplex (RTN) vector system for this purpose and assessed its therapeutic efficacy in a rabbit vein graft model of bypass grafting. Adventitial delivery of β-Galactosidase showed widespread transfection throughout the vein wall on day 7, estimated at about 10% of cells in the adventitia and media. Vein grafts were then transfected with a plasmid encoding inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and engrafted into the carotid artery. Fluorescent immunohistochemistry analysis of samples from rabbits killed at 7 days after surgery showed that mostly endothelial cells and macrophages were transfected. Morphometric analysis of vein graft samples from the 28-day groups showed approximately a 50% reduction of neointimal thickness and 64% reduction of neointimal area in the iNOS-treated group compared with the surgery control groups. This study demonstrates efficacy of iNOS gene delivery by the RTN formulation in reducing IH in the rabbit model of vein graft disease.Gene Therapy advance online publication, 2 May 2013; doi:10.1038/gt.2013.20.
    Gene therapy 05/2013;
  • British Journal of Haematology 02/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The cytoplasm is the largest part of the cell by volume and hence its rheology sets the rate at which cellular shape changes can occur. Recent experimental evidence suggests that cytoplasmic rheology can be described by a poroelastic model, in which the cytoplasm is treated as a biphasic material consisting of a porous elastic solid meshwork (cytoskeleton, organelles, macromolecules) bathed in an interstitial fluid (cytosol). In this picture, the rate of cellular deformation is limited by the rate at which intracellular water can redistribute within the cytoplasm. However, direct supporting evidence for the model is lacking. Here we directly validate the poroelastic model to explain cellular rheology at short timescales using microindentation tests in conjunction with mechanical, chemical and genetic treatments. Our results show that water redistribution through the solid phase of the cytoplasm (cytoskeleton and macromolecular crowders) plays a fundamental role in setting cellular rheology at short timescales.
    Nature Material 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Transfer of tumour antigen-specific receptors to T cells requires efficient delivery and integration of transgenes, and currently most clinical studies are using gamma retroviral or lentiviral systems. Whilst important proof-of-principle data has been generated for both chimeric antigen receptors and αβ T cell receptors, the current platforms are costly, time-consuming and relatively inflexible. Alternative, more cost-effective, Sleeping Beauty transposon-based plasmid systems could offer a pathway to accelerated clinical testing of a more diverse repertoire of recombinant high affinity T cell receptors. Nucleofection of hyperactive SB100X transposase-mediated stable transposition of an optimised murine-human chimeric T cell receptor specific for Wilm's tumour antigen from a Sleeping Beauty transposon plasmid. Whilst transfer efficiency was lower than that mediated by lentiviral transduction, cells could be readily enriched and expanded, and mediated effective target cells lysis in vitro and in vivo. Integration sites of transposed TCR genes in primary T cells were almost randomly distributed, contrasting the predilection of lentiviral vectors for transcriptionally active sites. The results support exploitation of the Sleeping Beauty plasmid based system as a flexible and adaptable platform for accelerated, early-phase assessment of T cell receptor gene therapies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e68201.
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    ABSTRACT: The hyper-IgE syndromes (HIES; originally named Job's syndrome) are a collection of primary immunodeficiency syndromes resulting in elevated serum IgE levels and typified by recurrent staphylococcal skin abscesses, eczema and pulmonary infections. The disorder has autosomal dominant and recessive forms. Autosomal dominant HIES has been shown to be mainly due to STAT3 mutations and additionally results in connective tissue, skeletal, vascular and dental abnormalities. Autosomal recessive HIES has been shown to be mainly due to mutations in DOCK8; these patients are more prone to viral skin infections instead. This review article discusses the common clinical features of the syndrome, the genetic mutations responsible and the pathogenesis of the disease, as well as treatments currently used.
    Arthritis research & therapy 11/2012; 14(6):228.
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    ABSTRACT: The function of Hedgehog signaling in hematopoiesis is controversial, with different experimental systems giving opposing results. Here we examined the role of Desert Hedgehog (Dhh) in the regulation of murine erythropoiesis. Dhh is one of 3 mammalian Hedgehog family proteins. Dhh is essential for testis development and Schwann cell function. We show, by analysis of Dhh-deficient mice, that Dhh negatively regulates multiple stages of erythrocyte differentiation. In Dhh-deficient bone marrow, the common myeloid progenitor (CMP) population was increased, but differentiation from CMP to granulocyte/macrophage progenitor was decreased, and the mature granulocyte population was decreased, compared with wild-type (WT). In contrast, differentiation from CMP to megakaryocyte/erythrocyte progenitor was increased, and the megakaryocyte/erythrocyte progenitor population was increased. In addition, we found that erythroblast populations were Dhh-responsive in vitro and ex vivo and that Dhh negatively regulated erythroblast differentiation. In Dhh-deficient spleen and bone marrow, BFU-Es and erythroblast populations were increased compared with WT. During recovery of hematopoiesis after irradiation, and under conditions of stress-induced erythropoiesis, erythrocyte differentiation was accelerated in both spleen and bone marrow of Dhh-deficient mice compared with WT.
    Blood 03/2012; 119(20):4741-51.
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