18.02.2013 - European researchers have shown that depletion of immunosuppressant T lymphocytes boosts hypercholersterolemia and atherosclerosis in mice.
The findings lay the foundation for cell-based therapies against the fatal disease. Until now, several studies had supported the assumption that FoxP3-positive CD4+CD25+ T cells block the inflammatory processes that lead to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the blood vessels, which can cause cardiac infarction and stroke. But the team under Göran Hansson from Swedish Karolinska Institute was the first to demonstrate the effect in genetically engineered DEREG mice. Those mice express the diphteria toxin (DT) under control of a Treg-specific FoxP3 promotor.
Lethally irradiated, atherosclerosis-prone, low-density lipoprotein receptor–deficient (Ldlr–/–) mice received DEREG bone marrow and were injected with DT to eliminate FOXP3+ Tregs. The depletion caused a 2.1-fold increase in atherosclerosis without a concomitant increase in vascular inflammation. The mice also exhibited a 1.7-fold increase in plasma cholesterol and an atherogenic lipoprotein profile with increased levels of VLDL. Clearance of VLDL and chylomicron remnants was hampered, leading to accumulation of cholesterol-rich particles in the circulation. Functional and protein analyses complemented by gene expression array identified reduced protein expression of sortilin-1 in liver and increased plasma enzyme activity of lipoprotein lipase, hepatic lipase, and phospholipid transfer protein as mediators of the altered lipid phenotype. The results prove that FOXP3+ Tregs block atherosclerosis by modulating lipoprotein metabolism.
The findings are good news for drug developers, as Milan-based researchers have recently demonstrated that it is feasible to isolate functional Tregs and expand them in vitro. The patent has already been licenced to German T-cell Europe, which will use the technology for inducing immune tolerance after organ transplantation.
04.05.2016 Barcelona-based epigenetics expert Oryzon Genomics has closed a debt funding round of €10.5m, bringing the total money raised since last year to €27m. The funds will serve to advance the company’s two LSD1 inhibitors in cancer and neurodegeneration.
03.05.2016 Ipsen is strengthening its ties to long-time development partner Oncodesign, a Dijon-based cancer treatment biotech. The French pharma is handing over the pre-clinical pharmacology for its oncology research programmes to Oncodesign.
29.04.2016 Swiss bank Group UBS has raised US$471m (€412m) for the UBS Oncology Impact Fund, which was set up to invest in early-stage cancer treatments. The money raised by the fund, nearly half of which comes from investors in Asia, is the largest amount ever raised for such a cancer investment fund.
27.04.2016 More revenue, more jobs, more financing, more R&D expenditure – all signs point towards sustainable growth in the German biotech sector. These are the results of the most recent company survey 2016, published by biotechnologie.de. The report was once again conducted alongside the biotech standards defined by the organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD).
21.04.2016 An expert panel’s final report on the fatal drug trial earlier this year in France states that the death of one of the participants was most likely caused by the drug’s toxicity and not by any violation of the rules.
21.04.2016 For up to US$685m (€606m), Dutch ArgenX has outlicensed its human antibody programme ARGX-115 to AbbVie. The pre-clinical immuno-oncology candidate targets a protein believed to contribute to immunosuppressive effects of T-cells.
19.04.2016 British drug developer Heptares Therapeutics and mAb maker Kymab Ltd have partnered up in yet another immuno-oncology collaboration. The companies plan to discover antibody meds targeting a superfamily of receptors.
15.04.2016 Not every company is put off by the current stock market climate. Swiss biopharma company GeNeuro has gone public at Euronext Paris, raising €33m in the process. Others, meanwhile, have to find different ways to raise money.
13.04.2016 Despite political disturbances, 2015 was a good year for the biotech scene in Switzerland. Net sales increased by 5.1% to CHF5,133m and 400 additional people found jobs in the sector. As usual, the new numbers were presented at the annual Swiss Biotech Day – which set new records as well.