Lege Artis Medicinae

[Gene modified T cells against cancer]

SZÖŐR Árpád

OCTOBER 20, 2018

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2018;28(10)

[Chimeric antigen receptor modified (CAR) T cells are hailed as a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of oncology. CAR T cells were first applied, with outstanding success, in the treatment of various leukaemias, yielding unprecedented antitumor activity and long periods of disease free survival. Following the success of CAR T cell therapy in leukaemias, solid tumors should now be targeted. These are more complex targets, therefore CAR T cell therapy needs to be further optimized for this purpose. Also, some unfortunate side effects, including the potentially deadly global inflammation called cytokine storm have to be minimized and possibly even eradicated. The next decade will be an exciting time to define whether this therapy which is yet exclusively used for cancer patients is also successful in the treatment of other diseases. In a recent study, T cells reengineered with CAR derived chimeric autoantibody receptors (CAAR) efficiently prevented disease progression in pre-clinical animal models simulating the serious autoimmune disorder, pemphigus vulgaris. Therapy was based on CAAR constructs which have the unique ability to selectively recognize and eliminate the B-cell clones secreting autoantibodies against a self-protein, thus playing a key role in disease pathogenesis and progression. In this review, we would like to give an overview about the history of the CAR T-cell concept, summarize briefly the currently running clinical trials, and discuss the challenges and future prospects of CAR T-cell therapy.]

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SALAMON András , SZPISJAK László , ZÁDORI Dénes, LÉNÁRT István, MARÓTI Zoltán, KALMÁR Tibor , BRIERLEY M. H. Charlotte, DEEGAN B. Patrick , KLIVÉNYI Péter

Sandhoff disease is a rare type of hereditary (autosomal recessive) GM2-gangliosidosis, which is caused by mutation of the HEXB gene. Disruption of the β subunit of the hexosaminidase (Hex) enzyme affects the function of both the Hex-A and Hex-B isoforms. The severity and the age of onset of the disease (infantile or classic; juvenile; adult) depends on the residual activity of the enzyme. The late-onset form is characterized by diverse symptomatology, comprising motor neuron disease, ataxia, tremor, dystonia, psychiatric symptoms and neuropathy. A 36-year-old female patient has been presenting progressive, symmetrical lower limb weakness for 9 years. Detailed neurological examination revealed mild symmetrical weakness in the hip flexors without the involvement of other muscle groups. The patellar reflex was decreased on both sides. Laboratory tests showed no relevant alteration and routine electroencephalography and brain MRI were normal. Nerve conduction studies and electromyography revealed alterations corresponding to sensory neuropathy. Muscle biopsy demonstrated signs of mild neurogenic lesion. Her younger brother (32-year-old) was observed with similar symptoms. Detailed genetic study detected a known pathogenic missense mutation and a 15,088 base pair long known pathogenic deletion in the HEXB gene (NM_000521.4:c.1417G>A; NM_000521:c.-376-5836_669+1473del; double heterozygous state). Segregation analysis and hexosaminidase enzyme assay of the family further confirmed the diagnosis of late-onset Sandhoff disease. The purpose of this case report is to draw attention to the significance of late-onset Sandhoff disease amongst disorders presenting with proximal predominant symmetric lower limb muscle weakness in adulthood.