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Compte M.,Molecular Immunology Unit
Biomatter | Year: 2013

Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies have revolutionized the treatment of cancer and other diseases. However, several limitations of antibody-based treatments, such as the cost of therapy and the achievement of sustained plasma levels, should be still addressed for their widespread use as therapeutics. The use of cell and gene transfer methods offers additional benefits by producing a continuous release of the antibody with syngenic glycosylation patterns, which makes the antibody potentially less immunogenic. In vivo secretion of therapeutic antibodies by viral vector delivery or ex vivo gene modified long-lived autologous or allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cells may advantageously replace repeated injection of clinical-grade antibodies. Gene-modified autologous mesenchymal stem cells can be delivered subcutaneously embedded in a non-immunogenic synthetic extracellular matrix-based scaffold that guarantees the survival of the cell inoculum. The scaffold would keep cells at the implantation site, with the therapeutic protein acting at distance (immunotherapeutic organoid), and could be retrieved once the therapeutic effect is fulfilled. In the present review we highlight the practical importance of living cell factories for in vivo secretion of recombinant antibodies. Source


Vitali C.,University of Milan Bicocca | Vitali C.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Mingozzi F.,University of Milan Bicocca | Broggi A.,University of Milan Bicocca | And 7 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2012

There is evidence that dendritic cells (DCs) induce peripheral tolerance. Nevertheless, it is not known whether immature DCs in general are able to tolerize CD4+ T cells or if this is a prerogative of specialized subtypes. Here we show that, when autoantigen presentation is extended to all conventional mouse DCs, immature lymphoid tissue resident DCs are unable to induce autoantigen-specific regulatory T (iTreg) cell conversion. In contrast, this is an exclusive prerogative of steady-state migratory DCs. Because only lymph nodes host migratory DCs, iTreg cells develop and are retained solely in lymph nodes, and not in the spleen. Mechanistically, in cutaneous lymph nodes, DC-derived CCL22 contributes to the retention of iTreg cells. The importance of the local generation of iTreg cells is emphasized by their essential role in preventing autoimmunity. © 2012 by The American Society of Hematology. Source


Costanza M.,Neurological Institute Foundation Irccs C Besta | Colombo M.P.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Pedotti R.,Neurological Institute Foundation Irccs C Besta
International Journal of Molecular Sciences | Year: 2012

Mast cells (MCs) are best known as key immune players in immunoglobulin E (IgE)-dependent allergic reactions. In recent years, several lines of evidence have suggested that MCs might play an important role in several pathological conditions, including autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model for MS. Since their first description in MS plaques in the late 1800s, much effort has been put into elucidating the contribution of MCs to the development of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity. Mouse models of MC-deficiency have provided a valuable experimental tool for dissecting MC involvement in MS and EAE. However, to date there is still major controversy concerning the function of MCs in these diseases. Indeed, although MCs have been classically proposed as having a detrimental and pro-inflammatory role, recent literature has questioned and resized the contribution of MCs to the pathology of MS and EAE. In this review, we will present the main evidence obtained in MS and EAE on this topic, and discuss the critical and controversial aspects of such evidence. © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source


Pittoni P.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Colombo M.P.,Molecular Immunology Unit
Cancer Research | Year: 2012

Tumor development requires accomplices among white blood cells. Other than macrophages, mast cells have been observed to support the outgrowth of certain neoplasias because of their proangiogenic properties. In some tumor settings, however, mast cells may have a protective role, exerted by their proinflammatory mediators. In prostate cancer, no conclusive data on mast cell function were available. Here, we discuss recent work on the role of mast cells in mouse and human prostate cancer, showing that mast cells can behave alternatively as dangerous promoters, innocent bystanders, or essential guardians of tumors, according to the stage and origin of transformed cells. In particular, mast cells are essential for the outgrowth of early-stage tumors due to their matrix metalloproteinase-9 production, become dispensable in advanced-stage, post-epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and are protective against neuroendocrine prostate tumor variants. The common expression of c-Kit by mast cells and neuroendocrine clones suggests a possible competition for the ligand Stem cell factor and offers the chance of curing early-stage disease while preventing neuroendocrine tumors using c-Kit-targeted therapy. This review discusses the implications of these findings on the advocated mast cell-targeted cancer therapy and considers future directions in the study of mast cells and their interactions with other c-Kit-expressing cells. ©2012 AACR. Source


Burocchi A.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Colombo M.P.,Molecular Immunology Unit | Piconese S.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Frontiers in Immunology | Year: 2013

The expansion of regulatory T cells (Treg) is a common event characterizing the vast majority ofhuman and experimental tumors and it is now well established that Treg represent a crucial hurdle fora successful immunotherapy. Treg are currently classified, according to their origin, into thymus-derived Treg (tTreg) or peripherally induced Treg (pTreg) cells. Controversy exists over the prevalent mechanism accounting for Treg expansion in tumors, since both tTreg proliferation and de novo pTreg differentiation may occur. Since tTreg and pTreg are believed as preferentially self-specific or broadly directed to non-self and tumor-specific antigens, respectively, the balance between tTreg and pTregaccumulation may impact on the repertoire of antigen specificities recognized by Treg in tumors. The prevalence of tTreg or pTreg may also affect the outcome of immunotherapies based on tumor-antigen vaccination or Treg depletion. The mechanisms dictating pTreg induction or tTreg expansion/stability are a matter of intense investigation and the most recent results depict a complex landscape. Indeed, selected Treg subsets may display peculiar characteristics in terms of stability, suppressive function, and cytokine production, depending on microenvironmental signals. These features may be differentially distributed between pTreg and tTreg and may significantly affect the possibility of manipulating Treg in cancer therapy. We propose here that innovative immunotherapeutic strategies may be directed at diverting unstable/uncommitted Treg, mostly enriched in the pTreg pool, into tumor-specific effectors, while preserving systemic immune tolerance ensured by self-specific tTreg. © 2013 Burocchi, Colombo and Piconese. Source

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