Katharina Blatt

Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Vienna, Austria

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Publications (38)246.05 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The concept of leukaemic stem cells (LSCs) has been developed to explain the complex cellular hierarchy and biology of leukaemias and to screen for pivotal targets that can be employed to improve drug therapies through LSC eradication in these patients. Some of the newly discovered LSC markers seem to be expressed in a disease‐specific manner and may thus serve as major research tools and diagnostic parameters. A useful LSC marker in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) appears to be CD26, also known as dipeptidylpeptidase IV. Expression of CD26 is largely restricted to CD34+/CD38− LSCs in BCR/ABL1+ CML, but is not found on LSCs in other myeloid or lymphoid neoplasms, with the exception of lymphoid blast crisis of CML, BCR/ABL1p210+ acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and a very few cases of acute myeloid leukaemia. Moreover, CD26 usually is not expressed on normal bone marrow (BM) stem cells. Functionally, CD26 is a cytokine‐targeting surface enzyme that may facilitate the mobilization of LSCs from the BM niche. In this article, we review our current knowledge about the biology and function of CD26 on CML LSCs and discuss the diagnostic potential of this new LSC marker in clinical haematology.
    European Journal of Clinical Investigation 12/2014; 44(12). · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Grass pollen is one of the most important sources of respiratory allergies worldwide. This study describes the development of a grass pollen allergy vaccine based on recombinant hypoallergenic derivatives of the major timothy grass pollen allergens Phl p 1, Phl p 2, Phl p 5, and Phl p 6 by using a peptide-carrier approach. Fusion proteins consisting of nonallergenic peptides from the 4 major timothy grass pollen allergens and the PreS protein from hepatitis B virus as a carrier were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by means of chromatography. Recombinant PreS fusion proteins were tested for allergenic activity and T-cell activation by means of IgE serology, basophil activation testing, T-cell proliferation assays, and xMAP Luminex technology in patients with grass pollen allergy. Rabbits were immunized with PreS fusion proteins to characterize their immunogenicity. Ten hypoallergenic PreS fusion proteins were constructed, expressed, and purified. According to immunogenicity and induction of allergen-specific blocking IgG antibodies, 4 hypoallergenic fusion proteins (BM321, BM322, BM325, and BM326) representing Phl p 1, Phl p 2, Phl p 5, and Phl p 6 were included as components in the vaccine termed BM32. BM321, BM322, BM325, and BM326 showed almost completely abolished allergenic activity and induced significantly reduced T-cell proliferation and release of proinflammatory cytokines in patients' PBMCs compared with grass pollen allergens. On immunization, they induced allergen-specific IgG antibodies, which inhibited patients' IgE binding to all 4 major allergens of grass pollen, as well as allergen-induced basophil activation. A recombinant hypoallergenic grass pollen allergy vaccine (BM32) consisting of 4 recombinant PreS-fused grass pollen allergen peptides was developed for safe immunotherapy of grass pollen allergy. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: House dust mites belong to the most potent indoor allergen sources worldwide and are associated with allergic manifestations in the respiratory tract and the skin. Here we studied the importance of the high molecular weight allergen, Der p 11, in HDM allergy. Sequence analysis showed that Der p 11 has high homology to paramyosins from mites, ticks and other invertebrates. A synthetic gene coding for Der p 11 was expressed in Escherichia coli and rDer p 11 purified to homogeneity as folded, alpha helical protein as determined by circular dichroism spectroscopy. Using antibodies raised against rDer p 11 and immunogold electron microscopy, the allergen was localized in the muscle beneath the skin of mite bodies but not in faeces. IgE reactivity of rDer p 11 was tested with sera from HDM allergic patients from Europe and Africa in RAST-based dot-blot assays. Interestingly, we found that Der p 11 is a major allergen for patients suffering from atopic dermatitis (AD), whereas it is only a minor allergen for patients suffering from respiratory forms of HDM allergy. Thus, rDer p 11 might be a useful serological marker allergen for the identification of a subgroup of HDM allergic patients suffering from HDM-associated AD.Journal of Investigative Dermatology accepted article preview online, 07 July 2014; doi:10.1038/jid.2014.271.
    The Journal of investigative dermatology. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The CD52-targeted antibody alemtuzumab induces major clinical responses in a group of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The mechanism underlying this drug effect remains unknown. We asked whether neoplastic stem cells (NSC) in patients with MDS (n=29) or acute myeloid leukemia, AML (n=62) express CD52. As assessed by flow cytometry, CD52 was found to be expressed on NSC-enriched CD34+/CD38- cells in 8/11 patients with MDS and isolated del(5q). In most other MDS patients, CD52 was weakly expressed or not detectable on NSC. In AML, CD34+/CD38- cells displayed CD52 in 23/62 patients, including 4 with complex karyotype and del(5q) and one with del(5q) and t(1;17;X). In qPCR analyses, purified NSC obtained from del(5q) patients expressed CD52 mRNA. We were also able to show that CD52 mRNA levels correlate with EVI1 expression and that NRAS induces the expression of CD52 in AML cells. The CD52-targeting drug alemtuzumab was found to induce complement-dependent lysis of CD34+/CD38-/CD52+ NSC, but did not induce lysis in CD52- NSC. Alemtuzumab also suppressed engraftment of CD52+ NSC in NSG mice. Finally, CD52 expression on NSC was found to correlate with a poor survival in patients with MDS and AML. The cell surface target Campath-1 (CD52) is expressed on NSC in a group of patients with MDS and AML. CD52 is a novel prognostic NSC-marker and a potential NSC-target in a subset of patients with MDS and AML, which may have clinical implications and may explain clinical effects produced by alemtuzumab in these patients.
    Clinical Cancer Research 05/2014; · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a stem cell (SC) neoplasm characterized by the BCR/ABL1 oncogene. Although mechanisms of BCR/ABL1-induced transformation are well-defined, little is known about effector-molecules contributing to malignant expansion and the extramedullary spread of leukemic SC (LSC) in CML. We have identified the cytokine-targeting surface enzyme dipeptidylpeptidase-IV (DPPIV=CD26) as a novel specific and pathogenetically relevant biomarker of CD34(+)/CD38(-) CML LSC. In functional assays, CD26 was identified as target-enzyme disrupting the SDF-1-CXCR4-axis by cleaving SDF-1, a chemotaxin recruiting CXCR4(+) SC. CD26 was not detected on normal SC or LSC in other hematopoietic malignancies. Correspondingly, CD26(+) LSC decreased to low or undetectable levels during successful treatment with imatinib. CD26(+) CML LSC engrafted NOD-SCID-IL-2Rγ(-/-) (NSG) mice with BCR/ABL1+ cells, whereas CD26(-) SC from the same patients produced multilineage BCR/ABL1-negative engraftment. Finally, targeting of CD26 by gliptins suppressed the expansion of BCR/ABL1+ cells. Together, CD26 is a new biomarker and target of CML LSC. CD26 expression may explain the abnormal extramedullary spread of CML LSC, and inhibition of CD26 may revert abnormal LSC function and support curative treatment approaches in this malignancy.
    Blood 04/2014; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Advanced systemic mastocytosis (SM) is an aggressive hematopoietic neoplasm with poor prognosis and short survival times. So far, no curative therapy is available for affected patients. We have identified the cell surface antigen CD52 (CAMPATH-1) as a molecular target expressed abundantly on the surface of primary neoplastic mast cells (MCs) in patients with advanced SM. In contrast, neoplastic MCs of patients with indolent SM and normal MCs expressed only low levels or did not express CD52. To study the mechanisms of CD52 expression and the value of this antigen as a potential therapeutic target, we generated a human MC cell line, designated MCPV-1, by lentiviral immortalization of cord blood-derived MC progenitor cells. Functional studies revealed that activated RAS profoundly promotes surface expression of CD52. The CD52-targeting antibody alemtuzumab induced cell death in CD52(+) primary neoplastic MCs obtained from patients with SM as well as in MCPV-1 cells. NSG mice xenotransplanted with MCPV-1 cells survived significantly longer after treatment with alemtuzumab (median survival: 31 d untreated vs. 46 d treated; P=0.0012). We conclude that CD52 is a novel marker and potential therapeutic target in neoplastic MCs in patients with advanced SM.-Hoermann, G., Blatt, K., Greiner, G. Putz, E. M., Berger, A., Herrmann, H., Cerny-Reiterer, S., Gleixner, K. V., Walz, C., Hoetzenecker, K., Müllauer, L., Reiter, A., Sotlar, K., Sexl, V., Valent, P., Mayerhofer, M. CD52 is a molecular target in advanced systemic mastocytosis.
    The FASEB Journal 04/2014; · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Der p 23, a new, major house dust mite (HDM) allergen that is recognized by >70% of HDM-allergic patients, has high allergenic activity and, therefore, must be considered an important component for HDM-specific immunotherapy. We constructed and characterized a hypoallergenic Der p 23 vaccine for HDM immunotherapy. Three nonallergenic peptides from the C-terminal IgE epitope-containing part of Der p 23 (P4, P5) and P6, a mutant peptide containing serines instead of cysteines, were identified. Peptides were fused to the hepatitis B virus-derived PreS domain as recombinant fusion proteins (i.e., PreS-2XP4P5 and PreS-4XP6) that were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. Compared with Der p 23, PreS-2XP4P5 and PreS-4XP6 showed no relevant IgE reactivity and exhibited considerably reduced allergenic activity in basophil activation tests using blood from HDM-allergic patients. Upon immunization of rabbits, only PreS-2XP4P5 induced high levels of Der p 23-specific IgG Abs that inhibited binding of patients' IgE to Der p 23, comparable to IgG Abs induced with Der p 23, whereas Abs induced with PreS-4XP6 had only low blocking capacity. Additionally, IgG Abs induced with PreS-2XP4P5 inhibited Der p 23-induced basophil activation comparable to IgG Abs induced with Der p 23. Compared with Der p 23, PreS-2XP4P5 induced lower T cell proliferation but higher levels of the tolerogenic cytokine IL-10 and the Th1 cytokine IFN-γ in PBMCs from HDM-allergic patients, indicating an immunomodulatory capacity of the fusion protein. Therefore, PreS-2XP4P5 represents a promising candidate for immunotherapy of HDM-allergic patients.
    The Journal of Immunology 04/2014; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In systemic mastocytosis (SM), clinical problems arise from factor-independent proliferation of mast cells (MCs) and the increased release of mediators by MCs. However, no human cell line model useful for studying MC activation in the context of SM is available. We have created a stable stem cell factor (SCF)-dependent human MC line, ROSA(KIT WT), expressing a fully functional IgE-receptor. Transfection with KIT D816V converted ROSA(KIT WT) cells into a SCF-independent clone, ROSA(KIT D816V) which produced a mastocytosis-like disease in NSG mice. However, although several signaling pathways are activated, ROSA(KIT D816V) did not exhibit an increased, but even a decreased responsiveness to IgE-dependent stimuli. Moreover, NSG mice bearing ROSA(KIT D816V)-derived tumors did not show mediator-related symptoms, and KIT D816V+ MCs obtained from patients with SM did not show increased IgE-dependent histamine release or CD63 up-regulation. In conclusion, our data show that KIT D816V is a disease-propagating oncoprotein but does not activate MCs to release proinflammatory mediators, which may explain why mediator-related symptoms in SM occur only in the context of a co-existing allergy. ROSA(KIT D816V) may provide a valuable tool for studying the pathogenesis of mastocytosis and should facilitate the development of novel drugs used to treat SM patients.
    Blood 03/2014; · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The major cat allergen Fel d 1 represents one of the most important respiratory allergens. Aim of this study was the rational design of recombinant Fel d 1 derivatives with reduced IgE reactivity and preserved T cell epitopes for vaccination and tolerance induction. Seven recombinant mosaic proteins were generated by reassembly of non-IgE-reactive peptides of Fel d 1 which contained the sequence elements for induction of allergen specific blocking IgG antibodies and T cell epitopes. Mosaic proteins were expressed in E. coli using codon-optimized synthetic genes and compared with Fel d 1 regarding structural fold by circular dichroism, IgE-binding capacity, activation of allergic patients` basophils and ability to induce allergen-specific blocking IgG antibodies upon immunization. Although each of the mosaic proteins had lost the alpha helical fold typical for Fel d 1, a strong reduction in IgE reactivity as well as allergenic activity in basophil activation assays was only obtained for three constructs, two reassembled fragments (Fel d 1 MB, Fel d 1 MC) and a fusion of the latter two (Fel d 1 MF) in which the cysteines of Fel d 1 MC were replaced by serines. Immunisation of rabbits with Fel d 1 MB, MC, MF induced high levels of IgG antibodies that inhibited IgE reactivity of cat allergic patients to Fel d 1 in a comparable manner as IgG induced with the wildtype allergen. We report the development of hypoallergenic reassembled Fel d 1 proteins suitable for vaccination and tolerance induction in cat allergic patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Clinical & Experimental Allergy 02/2014; · 4.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The induction of blocking IgG antibodies that compete with IgE for allergen binding is one important mechanism of allergen-specific immunotherapy. The application of blocking antibodies may be an alternative treatment strategy. A synthetic gene coding for a single-chain fragment (ScFv) specific for the major timothy grass pollen allergen Phl p 2 was inserted into plasmid pCANTAB 5 E, and the recombinant ScFv was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by affinity chromatography. The ScFv was tested for allergen binding by ELISA, and its association and dissociation were measured by surface plasmon resonance (Biacore) technology. The ability of the ScFv to inhibit allergic patients' IgE binding to Phl p 2 and Phl p 2-induced basophil degranulation was studied by ELISA competition and basophil activation (CD203c) assays. We report the expression, purification, biochemical and immunological characterization of a monomeric single-chain fragment (ScFv) of human origin specific for the major timothy grass pollen allergen, Phl p 2. The Phl p 2-ScFv showed high affinity binding to the allergen and blocked the binding of allergic patients' polyclonal IgE to Phl p 2 up to 98%. Furthermore, it inhibited allergen-induced basophil activation. The Phl p 2-ScFv inhibited allergic patients' IgE binding to Phl p 2 as well as Phl p 2-induced basophil activation and might be useful for passive immunotherapy of grass pollen allergy.
    Allergy 11/2013; · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The major timothy grass pollen allergen Phl p 5 belongs to the most potent allergens involved in hay fever and asthma. This study characterized immune-dominant IgE- and T-cell-recognition sites of Phl p 5. Seven peptides, P1 to P7 with a length of 31 to 38 amino acids that spanned the Phl p 5 sequence, were synthesized, characterized by circular dichroism spectroscopy, and tested for IgE reactivity, basophil activation, and T-cell reactivity. Carrier-bound peptides were studied for their ability to induce IgG antibodies in rabbits which recognize Phl p 5 or cross-reactive allergens from different grass species. Peptide-specific antibodies were tested for the capability to inhibit IgE reactivity to Phl p 5 and allergen-induced basophil activation of patients with allergy. The peptides exhibited no secondary structure and showed no IgE reactivity or relevant allergenic activity, indicating that Phl p 5 IgE epitopes are conformational. Except for P3, peptide-specific IgG antibodies blocked IgE binding to Phl p 5 of patients with allergy and cross-reacted with temperate grasses. IgE inhibition experiments and molecular modeling identified several clustered conformational IgE epitopes on the N- as well as C-terminal domain of Phl p 5. P4, which stimulated the strongest T-cell and cytokine responses in patients, was not part of the major IgE-reactive regions. Our study shows an interesting dissociation of the major IgE- and T-cell-reactive domains in Phl p 5 which provides a basis for the development of novel forms of immunotherapy that selectively target IgE or T-cell responses.
    The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 10/2013; · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Disordered stem cell epigenetics and apoptosis-regulating mechanisms contribute essentially to the pathogenesis of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and may trigger disease-progression to secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Expression of apoptosis-mediators FAS (CD95) and DAPK1 the latter being also known for its association with autophagy are upregulated in neoplastic cells in patients with low-risk MDS and epigenetically silenced and downregulated in high-risk MDS and AML as confirmed by a study 50 MDS and 30 AMLs complementing this review. 5-Azacytidine (AZA) and 5-aza-2'deoxycytidine (DAC), promoted FAS and DAPK1 gene demethylation and their (re)expression as well as apoptosis in leukemic cell lines (HL-60, KG1) which can be reversed by siRNA against FAS. Thus, promoter-demethylation of FAS and DAPK1 represents a critical mechanism of drug-induced apoptosis in neoplastic cells in MDS and AML which underscores the clinical implication of epigenetically active therapies.
    Critical reviews in oncology/hematology 10/2013; · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The major turnip (Brassica rapa) pollen allergen, belongs to a family of calcium-binding proteins (i.e., two EF-hand proteins), which occur as highly cross-reactive allergens in pollen of weeds, grasses and trees. In this study, the IgE binding capacity and allergenic activity of three recombinant allergen variants containing mutations in their calcium-binding sites were analyzed in sensitized patients with the aim to identify the most suitable hypoallergenic molecule for specific immunotherapy. Analysis of the wildtype allergen and the mutants regarding IgE reactivity and activation of basophils in allergic patients indicated that the allergen derivative mutated in both calcium-binding domains had the lowest allergenic activity. Gel filtration and circular dichroism experiments showed that both, the wildtype and the double mutant, occurred as dimers in solution and assumed alpha-helical fold, respectively. However, both fold and thermal stability were considerably reduced in the double mutant. The use of bioinformatic tools for evaluation of the solvent accessibility and charge distribution suggested that the reduced IgE reactivity and different structural properties of the double mutant may be due to a loss of negatively charged amino acids on the surface. Interestingly, immunization of rabbits showed that only the double mutant but not the wildtype allergen induced IgG antibodies which recognized the allergen and blocked binding of allergic patients IgE. Due to the extensive structural similarity and cross-reactivity between calcium-binding pollen allergens the hypoallergenic double mutant may be useful not only for immunotherapy of turnip pollen allergy, but also for the treatment of allergies to other two EF-hand pollen allergens.
    Immunobiology 04/2013; · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with advanced systemic mastocytosis, including mast cell leukemia, have a poor prognosis. In these patients, neoplastic mast cells usually harbor the KIT mutant D816V that confers resistance against tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We examined the effects of the multi-kinase blocker ponatinib on neoplastic mast cells and asked whether ponatinib would synergize with other antineoplastic drugs. Ponatinib was found to inhibit the kinase activity of KIT G560V and KIT D816V in the human mast cell leukemia cell line HMC-1. In addition, ponatinib was found to block Lyn- and STAT5 activity in neoplastic mast cells. Ponatinib induced growth inhibition and apoptosis in HMC-1.1 cells (KIT G560V+) and HMC-1.2 cells (KIT G560V+/KIT D816V+) as well as in primary neoplastic mast cells. The effects of ponatinib were dose-dependent, but higher IC50-values were obtained in HMC-1 cells harboring KIT D816V compared to cells lacking KIT D816V. In drug combination experiments, ponatinib was found to synergize with midostaurin in producing growth inhibition and apoptosis in HMC-1 cells and primary neoplastic mast cells. The ponatinib+midostaurin combination induced substantial inhibition of KIT-, Lyn-, and STAT5 activity, but did not suppress Btk. We then applied a Btk siRNA and found that the Btk knock-down sensitizes HMC-1 cells against ponatinib. Finally, we were able to show that ponatinib synergizes with the Btk-targeting drug dasatinib to produce growth inhibition in HMC-1 cells. Ponatinib exerts major growth-inhibitory effects on neoplastic mast cells in advanced systemic mastocytosis and synergizes with midostaurin and dasatinib in inducing apoptosis in neoplastic mast cells.
    Haematologica 03/2013; · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Allergen-specific immunotherapy is the only allergen-specific and disease-modifying treatment for allergy. The construction and characterization of a vaccine for birch pollen allergy is reported. Two nonallergenic peptides, PA and PB, derived from the IgE-reactive areas of the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 were fused to the hepatitis B surface protein, PreS, in four recombinant fusion proteins containing different numbers and combinations of the peptides. Fusion proteins expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity showed a lack of IgE reactivity and allergenic activity when tested with sera and basophils from patients allergic to birch pollen. Compared to Bet v 1 allergen, peptides PA and PB showed reduced T cell activation in PBMCs from allergic patients, whereas PreS fusion proteins induced less IL-5 and more IL-10 and IFN-γ. Immunization of rabbits with the fusion proteins, in particular with a PreS fusion protein 2PAPB-PreS, containing two copies of each peptide, induced high levels of IgG Abs against the major IgE-reactive site on Bet v 1 and related allergens. These IgG Abs inhibited allergic patients' IgE binding to Bet v 1 better than did IgG induced by immunization with complete Bet v 1. Furthermore, 2PAPB-PreS-induced IgG inhibited Bet v 1-induced basophil activation in allergic patients and CD23-facilitated allergen presentation. Our study exemplifies novel beneficial features for a PreS carrier-based peptide vaccine for birch pollen, which, in addition to the established reduction in allergenic activity, include the enhanced focusing of blocking Ab responses toward IgE epitopes, immunomodulatory activity, and reduction of CD23-facilitated allergen presentation.
    The Journal of Immunology 02/2013; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mast cell leukemia (MCL) is a life-threatening disease associated with high mortality and drug-resistance. Only few patients survive more than 12 months. We report on a 55-year-old female patient with acute MCL diagnosed in May 2012. The disease was characterized by a rapid increase in white blood cells and mast cells (MC) in the peripheral blood, and a rapid increase of serum tryptase levels. The KIT D816H mutation was detected in the blood and bone marrow (BM). Induction chemotherapy with high-dose ARA-C and fludarabine (FLAG) was administered. Unexpectedly, the patient entered a hematologic remission with almost complete disappearance of neoplastic MC and a decrease of serum tryptase levels to normal range after 2 cycles of FLAG. Consecutively, the patient was prepared for allogeneic stem cell transplantation. However, shortly after the third cycle of FLAG, tryptase levels increased again, immature MC appeared in the blood, and the patient died from cerebral bleeding. Together, this case shows that intensive chemotherapy regimens, like FLAG, may induce remission in acute MCL. However, treatment responses are short-lived and the overall outcome remains dismal in these patients. We propose to separate this acute type of MCL from more subacute or chronic variants of MCL.
    Leukemia Research Reports. 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) is in part driven by the tyrosine kinase bcr-abl, but imatinib does not produce long-term remission. Therefore, second-generation ABL inhibitors are currently in clinical investigation. Considering different target specificities and the pronounced genetic heterogeneity of Ph+ ALL, which contributes to the aggressiveness of the disease, drug candidates should be evaluated with regard to their effects on the entire Ph+ ALL-specific signaling network. Here, we applied an integrated experimental and computational approach that allowed us to estimate the differential impact of the bcr-abl inhibitors nilotinib, dasatinib, Bosutinib and Bafetinib. First, we determined drug-protein interactions in Ph+ ALL cell lines by chemical proteomics. We then mapped those interactions along with known genetic lesions onto public protein-protein interactions. Computation of global scores through correlation of target affinity, network topology, and distance to disease-relevant nodes assigned the highest impact to dasatinib, which was subsequently confirmed by proliferation assays. In future, combination of patient-specific genomic information with detailed drug target knowledge and network-based computational analysis should allow for an accurate and individualized prediction of therapy.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e77155. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a life-threatening stem cell disease characterized by uncontrolled proliferation and accumulation of myeloblasts. Using an advanced RNAi screen-approach in an AML mouse model we have recently identified the epigenetic 'reader' BRD4 as a promising target in AML. In the current study, we asked whether inhibition of BRD4 by a small-molecule inhibitor, JQ1, leads to growth-inhibition and apoptosis in primary human AML stem- and progenitor cells. Primary cell samples were obtained from 37 patients with freshly diagnosed AML (n=23) or refractory AML (n=14). BRD4 was found to be expressed at the mRNA and protein level in unfractionated AML cells as well as in highly enriched CD34+/CD38- and CD34+/CD38+ stem- and progenitor cells in all patients examined. In unfractionated leukemic cells, submicromolar concentrations of JQ1 induced major growth-inhibitory effects (IC50 0.05-0.5 µM) in most samples, including cells derived from relapsed or refractory patients. In addition, JQ1 was found to induce apoptosis in CD34+/CD38- and CD34+/CD38+ stem- and progenitor cells in all donors examined as evidenced by combined surface/Annexin-V staining. Moreover, we were able to show that JQ1 synergizes with ARA-C in inducing growth inhibition in AML cells. Together, the BRD4-targeting drug JQ1 exerts major anti-leukemic effects in a broad range of human AML subtypes, including relapsed and refractory patients and all relevant stem- and progenitor cell compartments, including CD34+/CD38- and CD34+/CD38+ AML cells. These results characterize BRD4-inhibition as a promising new therapeutic approach in AML which should be further investigated in clinical trials.
    Oncotarget 11/2012; · 6.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: More than 50% of allergic patients have house dust mite (HDM) allergy. Group 1 and 2 allergens are the major HDM allergens. We sought to produce and perform preclinical characterization of a recombinant hypoallergenic combination vaccine for specific immunotherapy of HDM allergy. Synthetic genes coding for 2 hybrid proteins consisting of reassembled Der p 1 and Der p 2 fragments with (recombinant Der p 2 [rDer p 2]/1C) and without (rDer p 2/1S) cysteines were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity by means of affinity chromatography. Protein fold was determined by using circular dichroism analysis, allergenic activity was determined by testing IgE reactivity and using basophil activation assays, and the presence of T-cell epitopes was determined based on lymphoproliferation in allergic patients. Mice and rabbits were immunized to study the molecules' ability to induce an allergic response and whether they induce allergen-specific IgG capable of inhibiting allergic patients' IgE binding to the allergens, respectively. rDer p 2/1C and rDer p 2/1S were expressed in large amounts in E coli as soluble and folded proteins. Because of the lack of disulfide bonds, rDer p 2/1S did not form aggregates and was obtained as a monomeric protein, whereas rDer p 2/1C did form aggregates. Both hypoallergens lacked relevant IgE reactivity and had reduced ability to induce allergic inflammation and allergic responses but induced similar T-cell proliferation as the wild-type allergens. Immunization with the hypoallergens (rDer p 2/1S > rDer p 2/1C) induced IgG antibodies in rabbits that inhibited the IgE reactivity of patients with HDM allergy to Der p 1 and Der p 2. The preclinical characterization indicates that particularly rDer p 2/1S can be used as a safe hypoallergenic molecule for both tolerance and vaccination approaches to treat HDM allergy.
    The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 07/2012; 130(2):435-43.e4. · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mould Alternaria alternata is a major elicitor of allergic asthma. Diagnosis and specific immunotherapy (SIT) of Alternaria allergy are often limited by the insufficient quality of natural mould extracts. To investigate whether recombinant Alt a 1 can be used for reliable diagnosis of Alternaria alternata allergy and to develop a safe, non-allergenic vaccine for SIT of Alternaria allergy. The qualitative sensitization profile of 80 Alternaria-allergic patients from Austria and Italy was investigated using an allergen micro-array and the amount of Alternaria-specific IgE directed to rAlt a 1 was quantified by ImmunoCAP measurements. Peptides spanning regions of predicted high surface accessibility of Alt a 1 were synthesized and tested for IgE reactivity and allergenic activity, using sera and basophils from allergic patients. Carrier-bound peptides were studied for their ability to induce IgG antibodies in rabbits which recognize Alt a 1 and inhibit allergic patients' IgE reactivity to Alt a 1. rAlt a 1 allowed diagnosis of Alternaria allergy in all tested patients, bound the vast majority (i.e. >95%) of Alternaria-specific IgE and elicited basophil activation already at a concentration of 0.1 ng/mL. Four non-allergenic peptides were synthesized which, after coupling to the carrier protein keyhole limpet hemocyanin, induced Alt a 1-specific IgG and inhibited allergic patients' IgE binding to Alt a 1. rAlt a 1 is a highly allergenic molecule allowing sensitive diagnosis of Alternaria allergy. Carrier-bound non-allergenic Alt a 1 peptides are candidates for safe SIT of Alternaria allergy.
    Clinical & Experimental Allergy 06/2012; 42(6):966-75. · 4.79 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

499 Citations
246.05 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2014
    • Medical University of Vienna
      • • Institute for Social Medicine
      • • Institut für Pathophysiologie und Allergieforschung
      • • Universitätsklinik für Innere Medizin I
      • • Zentrum für Pathophysiologie, Infektiologie und Immunologie
      Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • 2013
    • IST Austria
      Klosterneuberg, Lower Austria, Austria
  • 2012–2013
    • Ludwig Boltzmann-Cluster Oncology (LB-CO) | Medical University Vienna
      Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • 2009–2013
    • Vienna General Hospital
      Wien, Vienna, Austria