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Knutson K.L.,The Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida | Knutson K.L.,Mayo Medical School | Maurer M.J.,Mayo Medical School | Preston C.C.,Mayo Medical School | And 9 more authors.
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy | Year: 2015

The immune system constitutes one of the host factors modifying outcomes in ovarian cancer. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are believed to be a major factor in preventing the immune response from destroying ovarian cancers. Understanding mechanisms that regulate Tregs in the tumor microenvironment could lead to the identification of novel targets aimed at reducing their influence. In this study, we used immunofluorescence-based microscopy to enumerate Tregs, total CD4 T cells, and CD8+ cytotoxic T cells in fresh frozen tumors from over 400 patients with ovarian cancer (>80 % high-grade serous). We sought to determine whether Tregs were associated with survival and genetic variation in 79 genes known to influence Treg induction, trafficking, or function. We used Cox regression, accounting for known prognostic factors, to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) associated with T cell counts and ratios. We found that the ratios of CD8 T cells and total CD4 T cells to Tregs were associated with improved overall survival (CD8/Treg HR 0.84, p = 0.0089; CD4/Treg HR 0.88, p = 0.046) and with genetic variation in IL-10 (p = 0.0073 and 0.01, respectively). In multivariate analyses, the associations between the ratios and overall survival remained similar (IL-10 and clinical covariate-adjusted CD8/Treg HR 0.85, p = 0.031; CD4/Treg HR 0.87, p = 0.093), suggesting that this association was not driven by variation in IL-10. Thus, integration of novel tumor phenotyping measures with extensive clinical and genetic information suggests that the ratio of T cells to Tregs may be prognostic of outcome in ovarian cancer, regardless of inherited genotype in genes related to Tregs. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Knutson K.L.,The Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida | Knutson K.L.,Mayo Medical School | Knutson K.L.,Florida Atlantic University | Karyampudi L.,The Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida | And 3 more authors.
Cancer and Metastasis Reviews | Year: 2015

Clinical outcomes, such as recurrence-free survival and overall survival, in ovarian cancer are quite variable, independent of common characteristics such as stage, response to therapy, and grade. This disparity in outcomes warrants further exploration and therapeutic targeting into the interaction between the tumor and host. One compelling host characteristic that contributes both to the initiation and progression of ovarian cancer is the immune system. Hundreds of studies have confirmed a prominent role for the immune system in modifying the clinical course of the disease. Recent studies also show that anti-tumor immunity is often negated by immune regulatory cells present in the tumor microenvironment. Regulatory immune cells also directly enhance the pathogenesis through the release of various cytokines and chemokines, which together form an integrated pathological network. Thus, in the future, research into immunotherapy targeting ovarian cancer will probably become increasingly focused on combination approaches that simultaneously augment immunity while preventing local immune suppression. In this article, we summarize important immunological targets that influence ovarian cancer outcome as well as include an update on newer immunotherapeutic strategies. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Burri C.,Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute | Burri C.,University of Basel | Yeramian P.D.,The Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida | Allen J.L.,and Hills Inc. | And 20 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2016

Background: Sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis [HAT]) is caused by protozoan parasites and characterized by a chronic progressive course, which may last up to several years before death. We conducted two Phase 2 studies to determine the efficacy and safety of oral pafuramidine in African patients with first stage HAT. Methods: The Phase 2a study was an open-label, non-controlled, proof-of-concept study where 32 patients were treated with 100 mg of pafuramidine orally twice a day (BID) for 5 days at two trypanosomiasis reference centers (Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC]) between August 2001 and November 2004. The Phase 2b study compared pafuramidine in 41 patients versus standard pentamidine therapy in 40 patients. The Phase 2b study was open-label, parallel-group, controlled, randomized, and conducted at two sites in the DRC between April 2003 and February 2007. The Phase 2b study was then amended to add an open-label sequence (Phase 2b-2), where 30 patients received pafuramidine for 10 days. The primary efficacy endpoint was parasitologic cure at 24 hours (Phase 2a) or 3 months (Phase 2b) after treatment completion. The primary safety outcome was the rate of occurrence of World Health Organization Toxicity Scale Grade 3 or higher adverse events. All subjects provided written informed consent. Findings/Conclusion: Pafuramidine for the treatment of first stage HAT was comparable in efficacy to pentamidine after 10 days of dosing. The cure rates 3 months post-treatment were 79% in the 5-day pafuramidine, 100% in the 7-day pentamidine, and 93% in the 10-day pafuramidine groups. In Phase 2b, the percentage of patients with at least 1 treatment-emergent adverse event was notably higher after pentamidine treatment (93%) than pafuramidine treatment for 5 days (25%) and 10 days (57%). These results support continuation of the development program for pafuramidine into Phase 3. © 2016 Burri et al.

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