Cytokine Signalling Forum


December 18

Professor Iain McInnes Reviews the Most Notable Papers from 2018

McInnes I.
Please click the links below to go to the CSF review of each paper

2018 brought a wealth of new data in cytokine signalling and IL-6 that helps inform current clinical practice and brings the promise of new options in the future. There was good data on the use of sub cutaneous tocilizumab as well as strategies in early RA and for methotrexate tapering. For the currently marketed JAK inhibitors, tofacitinib and baricitinib, continuous long-term efficacy and safety data further support its current use and applications. On the development side, the outcomes of the...

January 16

Cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis – shaping the immunological landscape

McInnes I, Buckley C, Isaacs J.
Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2016 Jan;12(1):63-8

Cytokine-mediated pathways are central to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and there has been great advances in understanding and clinical application in the last 20 years. McInnes and colleagues provide a timely and succinct overview the roles of cytokine families in the various phases and tissue compartments of this disease. They particularly review the combinatorial role played by cytokines in mediating the overlapping innate and adaptive immune responses associated with disease onset...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Preclinical, MOA

April 14

What is the future of targeted therapy in rheumatology: biologics or small molecules?

Moscai A, Kovace L and Gergely P.
BMC Medicine 2014, 12:43

Our understanding of inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis has significantly increased over the last 20 years. With this greater understanding we have seen a significant improvement in the therapy of RA and other inflammatory rheumatic diseases. In this review, Moscai et al. discuss the improvements in therapies for the treatment of these diseases from the introduction of methotrexate as a frontline therapy through to the current era and approval of the first small molecul...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling

Molecular pathways: Molecular basis for sensitivity and resistance to JAK inhibitors

Meyer SC and Levine RL.
Clin Cancer Research doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0279

Janus kinases (JAKs) mediate the regulation of a variety of cytokine signals with alterations in JAK1, JAK2, JAK3 and Tyk2 signalling contributing to many disease states including autoimmune diseases and haematological malignancies. Recently tofacitinib and ruxolitinib have been approved for treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and myelofibrosis respectively. Several JAK2 inhibitors, such as momelotinib and pacritinib, currently in development for myelofibrosis and the JAK1/2 inhibitor baricitinib...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Safety

February 14

Rheumatoid arthritis pathophysiology: update on emerging cytokine and cytokine-associated cell targets

Furst DE and Emery P.
Rheumatology doi:10.1093/rheumatology/ket414

Despite biologic therapies greatly improving the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, many patients do not respond to current treatments or do not maintain response to these treatments. This review covers the evidence for the newly discovered role of Th17 cells, IL-12 and IL-17 family of cytokines in the pathogenesis of RA as well as the development of new therapies targeting these cytokines. With current biologics targeting cytokines such as TNF, IL-1ß and IL-6, the discovery of the Th17 ...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Clinical

Efficacy of conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, glucocorticoids and tofacitinib: a systematic literature review informing the 2013 update of the EULAR recommendations for the management of rheumatoid arthritis

Gaujoux-Viala C, Nam J, Ramiro S.
Ann Rheum Dis doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204588

Systematic literature reviews were undertaken to assess the efficacy of csDMARDs, glucocorticoids and tofacitinib in the treatment of RA. The first two were updates to reviews conducted for the 2010 recommendations while the tofacitinib SLR was a complete review. Two studies identified by the csDMARD SLR, tREACH and TEAR, compared efficacy between MTX mono- and combination therapy (MTX+SSZ+HQ). Both of these studies found there was no benefit to immediate triple therapy. Further studies analysin...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Clinical, Efficacy

Safety of synthetic and biological DMARDs: a systematic literature review informing the 2013 update of the EULAR recommendations for the management of rheumatoid arthritis

Ramiro S, Gaujoux-Viala C, Nam JL et al.
Ann Rheum Dis doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204575

Two systematic literature reviews were undertaken to update the safety findings on synthetic and biological DMARDs in order to inform the updates to the EULAR recommendations to the treatment of RA. Of 10,559 articles screened, 49 were included for review covering a diverse range of outcomes. In the main these showed the patients on bDMARDs had a significantly greater risk of serious infections and tuberculosis compared with csDMARDs, while differences in data between studies mean a slight incr...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Clinical, Safety

January 14

Genome-wide association studies to advance our understanding of critical cell types and pathways in rheumatoid arthritis: recent findings and challenges

Diogo D, Okada Y, Plenge RM.
Curr. Opin. Rheumatol. 2014; 26:85–92. doi:10.1097/BOR.0000000000000012

A large number of loci implicated in disease susceptibility have been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In this review article, Diogo et al. discuss recent advances in GWAS in the context of rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis and clinical applications. Relevant cells types and pathways in RA highlighted by GWAS to date include regulatory T-cells and CD4+ memory T cells as well as the JAK/STAT and NF-kB signalling pathways. The development of drugs targeting these pathways...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling

Emerging cell and cytokine targets in rheumatoid arthritis

Burmester GR, Feist E, Dörner T.
Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013. doi:10.1038/nrrheum.2013.168

Despite major progress in the treatment of RA over the past decade, sustained clinical remission remains elusive. The identification of new treatment targets is therefore necessary, with much research currently being undertaken in this area. Novel therapeutic approaches currently being investigated include T cell-directed therapies targeting both T cell activation and regulation; and the targeting of pathogenic B cell functions, including the use of depleting and non-depleting B cell-directed an...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Preclinical

November 13

Therapeutic Targeting of the JAK/STAT Pathway

Aittomaki S and Pesu M.
Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2013 Oct 24. doi: 10.1111/bcpt.12164

The inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway has proven to be a powerful therapeutic tool in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. The authors review the role of the JAK/STAT pathway in human disease, including the role of mutations in defective function of this pathway. They discuss the rationale behind JAK inhibition and review the two JAK inhibitors currently approved by the FDA for clinical use; tofacitinib, for the treatment of RA, and ruxolitinib, for the treatment of polycythaemia vera and myel...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling

October 13

Involvement of JAK/STAT signalling in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease

Coskun M, Salem M, Pedersen J, Nielsen OF.
Pharmacological Research 2013; 76:1–8

The JAK/STAT signalling pathway has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this review, Coskun et al. provide an excellent background overview of the JAK/STAT cascade. They also highlight recent study findings investigating the mechanisms of the JAK/STAT pathway and the anti-inflammatory effects of novel JAK inhibitors in development and in clinical trials, particularly in IBD. In one study...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling

A meta-analysis of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis

Li L, Li G, Yu C, Li Y.
Clinical Rheumatology 2013 doi 10.1007/s10067-013-2340-1

The role of p38-MAPK inhibitors in treating RA is the subject of some debate. Li et al. therefore performed the first meta-analysis of the current data to evaluate the efficacy and safety of these compounds. The authors identified 3 papers, covering 4 RCTs, for analysis and the results showed that p38-MAPK inhibition achieves a better level of ACR20 improvement vs. placebo, but showed no meaningful difference in ACR50, DAS28 or CRP levels past week 12. Due to the inadequate number and quality of...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling

Ibrutinib and novel BTK inhibitors in clinical development

Akinleye A, Chan Y, Mukhi N et al.
Journal of Hematology & Oncology 2013;6:59

Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) is a part of the cytokine signalling pathways involved in malignancies and autoimmune disorders.. Akinleye et al. provide a review of all the current BTK inhibitors in preclinical and clinical trials for B-cell malignancies and autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. Particular focus is placed on ibrutinib, a novel human BTK-inhibitor, currently in phase III clinical trials. The authors also discuss four new compounds with potential indications...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Clinical

September 13

Inhibitors of switch kinase ‘spleen tyrosine kinase’ in inflammation and immune-mediated disorders: A review

Kaur M, Singh M, Silakari O.
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2013 67:434–446

SYK plays a significant role in the immune cell signalling of B cells, mast cells, macrophages and neutrophils. Kaur et al. provide a comprehensive review of the molecule, its role in autoimmune disease and clinical data on its inhibition. The paper covers the basic chemistry of SYK including structure, mechanism of action, synthetic derivatives and function, and the relevance of SYK as a therapeutic target for many autoimmune diseases is discussed. The SYK inhibitors currently in clinical trial...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling

Kinase Inhibitors: A new tool for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Chakravarty SD, Poulikakos PI, Ivashkiv LB et al.
Clinical Immunology 2013;148:66–78

Chakravaty et al. provide a comprehensive review of the scientific basis for kinase inhibitor use, and summarise experience from clinical trials in tofacitinib and fostamatinib, plus promising clinical data for p38-MAPK inhibitors and P13K? and P13Kd. The authors highlight potential future directions and challenges in kinase inhibitor research, including the emergence of kinases upstream of p38, such as MKK-3 and MKK-6, and the potential of BTK inhibition. One of the challenges of kinase inhibit...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling

August 13

Safety profile of protein kinase inhibitors in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Salgado E, Maneiro J, Carmona L, et al.
Ann Rheum Dis April 2013; doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-203116

Salgado and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review of the safety profiles of protein kinase inhibitors (PKis) used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Additionally, the study aims included identification of any class and molecule-related target and off-target adverse events. Data from 11,858 patients across 41 publications (phase 2 and 3 studies and two pooled analyses) were analysed. As well as published trials of PKi in RA, studies on healthy individuals and patients w...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Clinical, Safety

June 13

Physiology of cytokine pathways in rheumatoid arthritis

Arend WP.
Arthritis Care & Research 2001; 45(1):101-6

This review from 2001 describes the main cytokines involved in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid synovitis, and the redundant and synergistic nature of cytokine pathways in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The self-regulating nature of cytokines are explained through the actions of anti-inflammatory cytokines, opposing cytokines, cytokine receptor antagonists, and naturally occurring antibodies. The paper explains that as disease often results when an imbalance develops in the cytokine network, therap...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Preclinical, MOA

Cytokine networks—towards new therapies for rheumatoid arthritis

McInnes IB, Liew FY.
Nature Clinical Practice 2005; 1(1):31-9

This review describes cytokines and the cytokine network in chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It also discusses how therapies that target cytokines may be feasible and efficacious treatments option for RA. Various targets are considered including blockade of tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 (IL-1), as well as the targeting of cytokines that play a central role in immune regulation and tissue matrix destruction such as IL-6, IL-15, interferon-gamma (IF...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Preclinical, MOA

Cytokine receptor signaling through the Jak–Stat–Socs pathway in disease

O'Sullivan LA, Liongue C, Lewis RS, et al.
Molecular Immunology 2007; 44:2497-506

This review from 2007 provides an overview of the largest cytokine receptor family, the haematopoietin receptors, as well as other key components involved in one of the major cytokine signalling pathways implicated in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. This includes the Janus kinases (Jaks), signal transducers and activators of transcription (Stats) and suppressors of cytokine signalling genes (Socs). Essentially, when a cytokine binds to a receptor from this group a functional cytokine recep...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Preclinical, MOA

Cytokines in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis

McInnes IB, Schett G.
Nature Reviews Immunology 2007; 7:429-42

The imbalance between the activity of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines favouring induction of autoimmunity, chronic inflammation and joint damage is well known, but how cytokines are organised within a hierarchical regulatory network and which cytokines are the best targets for clinical intervention is uncertain. This review therefore examines the effector function of cytokines in the immunological processes central to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The paper aims to try and ...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, Preclinical, MOA

Intracellular Signal Pathways: Potential for Therapies

Mavers M, Ruderman EM, Perlman H.
Current Rheumatology Reports 2009; 11:378-85

With recent progress in the development of drugs targeting signalling pathways for rheumatoid arthritis, this review article from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides an overview of the key intracellular pathways involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. This paper also discusses some of the limitations of current drug targets including lack of clinical efficacy, potential adverse effects and cost, and highlights important issues associated with the design of target drugs...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, MOA

The pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis

McInnes IB, Schett G.
The New England Journal of Medicine 2011; 365:2205-19

This review article describes the pathogenic processes involved in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and discusses the genetic factors and environmental triggers implicated in the disease. Data from twin studies are discussed along with candidate genes with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that have been linked to RA. It is now thought a multistep progression to the development of RA occurs via environmental factors, epigenetic modification of susceptible genes that leads to altered post-transcrip...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling, MOA

Back to the future: oral targeted therapy for RA and other autoimmune diseases

O'Shea JJ, Laurence A, McInnes IB.
Nature Reviews Rheumatology 2013; 9(3):173-82

This review paper considers how advances in understanding of the disease process underlying rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the development of novel techniques have transformed the management of this progressively disabling condition. Physicians are no longer limited to prescribing symptomatic treatments such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or choosing from a seemingly random array of drugs drawn from multiple disciplines, such as methotrexate and sulphasalazine, which are descri...

Keywords: Cytokine Signalling