• Cancer therapeutic potential of combinatorial immuno- and vasomodulatory interventions.

      Hatzikirou, H; Alfonso, J C L; Mühle, S; Stern, C; Weiss, S; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-11-06)
      Currently, most of the basic mechanisms governing tumour-immune system interactions, in combination with modulations of tumour-associated vasculature, are far from being completely understood. Here, we propose a mathematical model of vascularized tumour growth, where the main novelty is the modelling of the interplay between functional tumour vasculature and effector cell recruitment dynamics. Parameters are calibrated on the basis of different in vivo immunocompromised Rag1(-/-) and wild-type (WT) BALB/c murine tumour growth experiments. The model analysis supports that tumour vasculature normalization can be a plausible and effective strategy to treat cancer when combined with appropriate immunostimulations. We find that improved levels of functional tumour vasculature, potentially mediated by normalization or stress alleviation strategies, can provide beneficial outcomes in terms of tumour burden reduction and growth control. Normalization of tumour blood vessels opens a therapeutic window of opportunity to augment the antitumour immune responses, as well as to reduce intratumoral immunosuppression and induced hypoxia due to vascular abnormalities. The potential success of normalizing tumour-associated vasculature closely depends on the effector cell recruitment dynamics and tumour sizes. Furthermore, an arbitrary increase in the initial effector cell concentration does not necessarily imply better tumour control. We evidence the existence of an optimal concentration range of effector cells for tumour shrinkage. Based on these findings, we suggest a theory-driven therapeutic proposal that optimally combines immuno- and vasomodulatory interventions.
    • The distinctive germinal center phase of IgE+ B lymphocytes limits their contribution to the classical memory response.

      He, Jin-Shu; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Xiangying, Deng; Zuan, Lim Yok; Jones, Leigh Ann; Ramakrishna, Lakshmi; de Vries, Victor C; Dolpady, Jayashree; Aina, Hoi; Joseph, Sabrina; et al. (2013-11-18)
      The mechanisms involved in the maintenance of memory IgE responses are poorly understood, and the role played by germinal center (GC) IgE(+) cells in memory responses is particularly unclear. IgE(+) B cell differentiation is characterized by a transient GC phase, a bias toward the plasma cell (PC) fate, and dependence on sequential switching for the production of high-affinity IgE. We show here that IgE(+) GC B cells are unfit to undergo the conventional GC differentiation program due to impaired B cell receptor function and increased apoptosis. IgE(+) GC cells fail to populate the GC light zone and are unable to contribute to the memory and long-lived PC compartments. Furthermore, we demonstrate that direct and sequential switching are linked to distinct B cell differentiation fates: direct switching generates IgE(+) GC cells, whereas sequential switching gives rise to IgE(+) PCs. We propose a comprehensive model for the generation and memory of IgE responses.
    • Immunology. Antigen feast or famine.

      Dustin, Michael L; Müller, A; Skirball Institute for Molecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA. michael.dustin@med.nyu.edu (2012-01-27)
    • In Vivo Killing Capacity of Cytotoxic T Cells Is Limited and Involves Dynamic Interactions and T Cell Cooperativity.

      Halle, Stephan; Keyser, Kirsten Anja; Stahl, Felix Rolf; Busche, Andreas; Marquardt, Anja; Zheng, Xiang; Galla, Melanie; Heissmeyer, Vigo; Heller, Katrin; Boelter, Jasmin; et al. (2016-02-16)
      According to in vitro assays, T cells are thought to kill rapidly and efficiently, but the efficacy and dynamics of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated killing of virus-infected cells in vivo remains elusive. We used two-photon microscopy to quantify CTL-mediated killing in mice infected with herpesviruses or poxviruses. On average, one CTL killed 2-16 virus-infected cells per day as determined by real-time imaging and by mathematical modeling. In contrast, upon virus-induced MHC class I downmodulation, CTLs failed to destroy their targets. During killing, CTLs remained migratory and formed motile kinapses rather than static synapses with targets. Viruses encoding the calcium sensor GCaMP6s revealed strong heterogeneity in individual CTL functional capacity. Furthermore, the probability of death of infected cells increased for those contacted by more than two CTLs, indicative of CTL cooperation. Thus, direct visualization of CTLs during killing of virus-infected cells reveals crucial parameters of CD8(+) T cell immunity.
    • The molecular basis of synergism between carboplatin and ABT-737 therapy targeting ovarian carcinomas.

      Jain, Harsh Vardhan; Müller, A (2011-02-01)
      Resistance to standard chemotherapy (carboplatin + paclitaxel) is one of the leading causes of therapeutic failure in ovarian carcinomas. Emergence of chemoresistance has been shown to be mediated in part by members of the Bcl family of proteins including the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-x(L), whose expression is correlated with shorter disease-free intervals in recurrent disease. ABT-737 is an example of one of the first small-molecule inhibitors of Bcl-2/Bcl-x(L) that has been shown to increase the sensitivity of ovarian cancer cells to carboplatin. To exploit the therapeutic potential of these two drugs and predict optimal doses and dose scheduling, it is essential to understand the molecular basis of their synergistic action. Here, we build and calibrate a mathematical model of ABT-737 and carboplatin action on an ovarian cancer cell line (IGROV-1). The model suggests that carboplatin treatment primes cells for ABT-737 therapy because of an increased dependence of cells with DNA damage on Bcl-x(L) for survival. Numerical simulations predict the existence of a threshold of Bcl-x(L) below which these cells are unable to recover. Furthermore, co- plus posttreatment of ABT-737 with carboplatin is predicted to be the best strategy to maximize synergism between these two drugs. A critical challenge in chemotherapy is to strike a balance between maximizing cell-kill while minimizing patient drug load. We show that the model can be used to compute minimal doses required for any desired fraction of cell kill. These results underscore the potential of the modeling work presented here as a valuable quantitative tool to aid in the translation of novel drugs such as ABT-737 from the experimental to clinical setting and highlight the need for close collaboration between modelers and experimental scientists.
    • Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Hypoxia during Radiotherapy.

      Kempf, Harald; Bleicher, Marcus; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Tumour hypoxia plays a pivotal role in cancer therapy for most therapeutic approaches from radiotherapy to immunotherapy. The detailed and accurate knowledge of the oxygen distribution in a tumour is necessary in order to determine the right treatment strategy. Still, due to the limited spatial and temporal resolution of imaging methods as well as lacking fundamental understanding of internal oxygenation dynamics in tumours, the precise oxygen distribution map is rarely available for treatment planing. We employ an agent-based in silico tumour spheroid model in order to study the complex, localized and fast oxygen dynamics in tumour micro-regions which are induced by radiotherapy. A lattice-free, 3D, agent-based approach for cell representation is coupled with a high-resolution diffusion solver that includes a tissue density-dependent diffusion coefficient. This allows us to assess the space- and time-resolved reoxygenation response of a small subvolume of tumour tissue in response to radiotherapy. In response to irradiation the tumour nodule exhibits characteristic reoxygenation and re-depletion dynamics which we resolve with high spatio-temporal resolution. The reoxygenation follows specific timings, which should be respected in treatment in order to maximise the use of the oxygen enhancement effects. Oxygen dynamics within the tumour create windows of opportunity for the use of adjuvant chemotherapeutica and hypoxia-activated drugs. Overall, we show that by using modelling it is possible to follow the oxygenation dynamics beyond common resolution limits and predict beneficial strategies for therapy and in vitro verification. Models of cell cycle and oxygen dynamics in tumours should in the future be combined with imaging techniques, to allow for a systematic experimental study of possible improved schedules and to ultimately extend the reach of oxygenation monitoring available in clinical treatment.
    • Therapeutic Potential of Bacteria against Solid Tumors.

      Hatzikirou, Haralampos; López Alfonso, Juan Carlos; Leschner, Sara; Weiss, Siegfried; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-04-01)
      Intentional bacterial infections can produce efficacious antitumor responses in mice, rats, dogs, and humans. However, low overall success rates and intense side effects prevent such approaches from being employed clinically. In this work, we titered bacteria and/or the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα in a set of established murine models of cancer. To interpret the experiments conducted, we considered and calibrated a tumor-effector cell recruitment model under the influence of functional tumor-associated vasculature. In this model, bacterial infections and TNFα enhanced immune activity and altered vascularization in the tumor bed. Information to predict bacterial therapy outcomes was provided by pretreatment tumor size and the underlying immune recruitment dynamics. Notably, increasing bacterial loads did not necessarily produce better long-term tumor control, suggesting that tumor sizes affected optimal bacterial loads. Short-term treatment responses were favored by high concentrations of effector cells postinjection, such as induced by higher bacterial loads, but in the longer term did not correlate with an effective restoration of immune surveillance. Overall, our findings suggested that a combination of intermediate bacterial loads with low levels TNFα administration could enable more favorable outcomes elicited by bacterial infections in tumor-bearing subjects. Cancer Res; 77(7); 1553-63. ©2017 AACR.
    • Visualizing antibody affinity maturation in germinal centers.

      Tas, Jeroen M J; Mesin, Luka; Pasqual, Giulia; Targ, Sasha; Jacobsen, Johanne T; Mano, Yasuko M; Chen, Casie S; Weill, Jean-Claude; Reynaud, Claude-Agnès; Browne, Edward P; et al. (2016-03-04)
      Antibodies somatically mutate to attain high affinity in germinal centers (GCs). There, competition between B cell clones and among somatic mutants of each clone drives an increase in average affinity across the population. The extent to which higher-affinity cells eliminating competitors restricts clonal diversity is unknown. By combining multiphoton microscopy and sequencing, we show that tens to hundreds of distinct B cell clones seed each GC and that GCs lose clonal diversity at widely disparate rates. Furthermore, efficient affinity maturation can occur in the absence of homogenizing selection, ensuring that many clones can mature in parallel within the same GC. Our findings have implications for development of vaccines in which antibodies with nonimmunodominant specificities must be elicited, as is the case for HIV-1 and influenza.