T regulatory cells expressing the transcripton factor Foxp3 are critical for the maintenance of immune homeostasis. Enhancement of Treg function or numbers hold great promise for the treatment of both organ-specific and systemic autoimmune diseases. This workshop will deal with multiple approaches to
accomplish those goals. As antigen-specific Treg cells have been shown to be most potent suppressors of autoimmune disease in animal models, a major focus of the discussion with be the generation and therapeutic use of antigen-specific Treg cell therapy in man. Through attending this unique workshop, you will discover & assess the following:
• Will induction of tolerance with Tregs be permanent or long-lasting?
• Hear about and discuss the mechanisms of action of Foxp3+ Treg cells
• Can Treg function be enhanced in vivo with IL-2?
• Hear about and discuss antigen-specific versus polyclonal Treg cells approaches?
• Hear about and discuss cellular biotherapy with Tregs to induce tolerance
• Hear about and discuss optimal methods for the induction/expansion of antigen-specific Tregs
• Hear about and discuss if antigen-specific tolerance be induced with Foxp3- T cells
Ethan Shevach, Senior Investigator- Laboratory of Immune System Biology, NIAID/NIH
Dr. Shevach received his A.B. and M.D. degrees from Boston University. He is presently Chief, Cellular Immunology Section, Laboratory of Immune System biology. Dr. Shevach is the author of over 450 papers in the field of Immunology and his research interests over the years have included antigen presentation and processing, T lymphocyte activation, pathogenesis of autoimmunity, and most recently the role of regulatory T cells in immune responses. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Immunology from 1987 to 1992 and as Editor-in-Chief of Cellular Immunology from 1996 to 2007. He is a member of the editorial boards of several journals including Immunity, Journal of Experimental Medicine, and Human Immunology.
First generation of antigen-specific immune tolerance therapies in clinic have shown promising outlooks for the future of this emerging and exciting field, however, it is still unclear whether these treatments have any lasting, beneficial clinical effects. Major outstanding questions that need addressing include the antigen-specificity of these therapeutic approaches, the location where they act, the optimal route of administration, and how to determine their effectiveness in vivo. In addition, as these clinical trials have been at small scale, and the approach taken by these trials varied considerably, the outcomes of these trials could not easily be compared. Standardization/ harmonization of defined aspects of future clinical trials is needed to enable useful comparisons between different trials. Through attending this unique workshop, you will discover & assess the following:
• Considering the optimal administration route
• Hear about and discuss biomarkers of tolerance
• Hear about and discuss how to standardize/ harmonize immune monitoring?
• Hear about and discuss the benefits of reporting standards
• Hear about and discuss the way forward to standardize different classes of therapeutics approaches to achieve antigen-specific immune tolerance with reference to tolerogenic cell therapies as case study
Catharien Hilkens, Reader in Immunotherapy , Newcastle University
Catharien Hilkens obtained her PhD in Immunology at the University of Amsterdam, after which she was awarded a fellowship from the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) to work at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute. She joined Newcastle University in 2003. One of her main research lines is the development of a tolerogenic dendritic cell-based therapy for rheumatoid and inflammatory arthritis. Her other main focus is to understand the function of dendritic cells and macrophages in synovial tissue – and how these cells drive inflammatory arthritis. She is one of the founders of the European network Action to Focus and Accelerate Cell-based Tolerance-inducing Therapies (AFACTT – http://www.afactt.eu).