Publications by authors named "Federica Barzaghi"

39 Publications

Peripheral blood stem and progenitor cell collection in pediatric candidates for gene therapy: a 10-year series.

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev 2021 Sep 1;22:76-83. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Via Olgettina, 58, 20132 Milan, Italy.

Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC)-based gene therapy (GT) requires the collection of a large number of cells. While bone marrow (BM) is the most common source of HSPCs in pediatric donors, the collection of autologous peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) is an attractive alternative for GT. We present safety and efficacy data of a 10-year cohort of 45 pediatric patients who underwent PBSC collection for backup and/or purification of CD34 cells for gene transfer. Median age was 3.7 years and median weight 15.8 kg. After mobilization with lenograstim/plerixafor (n = 41) or lenograstim alone (n = 4) and 1-3 cycles of leukapheresis, median collection was 37 × 10 CD34 cells/kg. The procedures were well tolerated. Patients who collected ≥7 and ≥13 × 10 CD34 cells/kg in the first cycle had pre-apheresis circulating counts of at ≥42 and ≥86 CD34 cells/μL, respectively. Weight-adjusted CD34 cell yield was positively correlated with peripheral CD34 cell counts and influenced by female gender, disease, and drug dosage. All patients received a GT product above the minimum target, ranging from 4 to 30.9 × 10 CD34 cells/kg. Pediatric PBSC collection compares well to BM harvest in terms of CD34 cell yields for the purpose of GT, with a favorable safety profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.omtm.2021.05.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8390560PMC
September 2021

Lentiviral correction of enzymatic activity restrains macrophage inflammation in adenosine deaminase 2 deficiency.

Blood Adv 2021 08;5(16):3174-3187

San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.

Adenosine deaminase 2 deficiency (DADA2) is a rare inherited disorder that is caused by autosomal recessive mutations in the ADA2 gene. Clinical manifestations include early-onset lacunar strokes, vasculitis/vasculopathy, systemic inflammation, immunodeficiency, and hematologic defects. Anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy reduces strokes and systemic inflammation. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) transplantation can ameliorate most disease manifestations, but patients are at risk for complications. Autologous HSPC gene therapy may be an alternative curative option for patients with DADA2. We designed a lentiviral vector encoding ADA2 (LV-ADA2) to genetically correct HSPCs. Lentiviral transduction allowed efficient delivery of the functional ADA2 enzyme into HSPCs from healthy donors. Supranormal ADA2 expression in human and mouse HSPCs did not affect their multipotency and engraftment potential in vivo. The LV-ADA2 induced stable ADA2 expression and corrected the enzymatic defect in HSPCs derived from DADA2 patients. Patients' HSPCs re-expressing ADA2 retained their potential to differentiate into erythroid and myeloid cells. Delivery of ADA2 enzymatic activity in patients' macrophages led to a complete rescue of the exaggerated inflammatory cytokine production. Our data indicate that HSPCs ectopically expressing ADA2 retain their multipotent differentiation ability, leading to functional correction of macrophage defects. Altogether, these findings support the implementation of HSPC gene therapy for DADA2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003811DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8405196PMC
August 2021

X-linked recessive TLR7 deficiency in ~1% of men under 60 years old with life-threatening COVID-19.

Sci Immunol 2021 08;6(62)

Specialized Immunology Laboratory of Dr. Shahrooei, Sina Medical Complex, Ahvaz, Iran.

Autosomal inborn errors of type I IFN immunity and autoantibodies against these cytokines underlie at least 10% of critical COVID-19 pneumonia cases. We report very rare, biochemically deleterious X-linked variants in 16 unrelated male individuals aged 7 to 71 years (mean: 36.7 years) from a cohort of 1,202 male patients aged 0.5 to 99 years (mean: 52.9 years) with unexplained critical COVID-19 pneumonia. None of the 331 asymptomatically or mildly infected male individuals aged 1.3 to 102 years (mean: 38.7 years) tested carry such variants ( = 3.5 × 10). The phenotypes of five hemizygous relatives of index cases infected with SARS-CoV-2 include asymptomatic or mild infection (=2, 5 and 38 years), or moderate (=1, 5 years), severe (=1, 27 years), or critical (=1, 29 years) pneumonia. Two boys (aged 7 and 12 years) from a cohort of 262 male patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia (mean: 51.0 years) are hemizygous for a deleterious TLR7 variant. The cumulative allele frequency for deleterious variants in the male general population is < 6.5x10 We also show that blood B cell lines and myeloid cell subsets from the patients do not respond to TLR7 stimulation, a phenotype rescued by wild-type The patients' blood plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) produce low levels of type I IFNs in response to SARS-CoV-2. Overall, X-linked recessive TLR7 deficiency is a highly penetrant genetic etiology of critical COVID-19 pneumonia, in about 1.8% of male patients below the age of 60 years. Human TLR7 and pDCs are essential for protective type I IFN immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in the respiratory tract.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciimmunol.abl4348DOI Listing
August 2021

Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Cures Adenosine Deaminase 2 Deficiency: Report on 30 Patients.

J Clin Immunol 2021 Jul 29. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Pediatric Immunology, Hematology and Rheumatology Unit, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, APHP, Paris, France.

Purpose: Deficiency of adenosine deaminase 2 (DADA2) is an inherited inborn error of immunity, characterized by autoinflammation (recurrent fever), vasculopathy (livedo racemosa, polyarteritis nodosa, lacunar ischemic strokes, and intracranial hemorrhages), immunodeficiency, lymphoproliferation, immune cytopenias, and bone marrow failure (BMF). Tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) blockade is the treatment of choice for the vasculopathy, but often fails to reverse refractory cytopenia. We aimed to study the outcome of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) in patients with DADA2.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study on the outcome of HCT in patients with DADA2. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS).

Results: Thirty DADA2 patients from 12 countries received a total of 38 HCTs. The indications for HCT were BMF, immune cytopenia, malignancy, or immunodeficiency. Median age at HCT was 9 years (range: 2-28 years). The conditioning regimens for the final transplants were myeloablative (n = 20), reduced intensity (n = 8), or non-myeloablative (n = 2). Donors were HLA-matched related (n = 4), HLA-matched unrelated (n = 16), HLA-haploidentical (n = 2), or HLA-mismatched unrelated (n = 8). After a median follow-up of 2 years (range: 0.5-16 years), 2-year OS was 97%, and 2-year GvHD-free relapse-free survival was 73%. The hematological and immunological phenotypes resolved, and there were no new vascular events. Plasma ADA2 enzyme activity normalized in 16/17 patients tested. Six patients required more than one HCT.

Conclusion: HCT was an effective treatment for DADA2, successfully reversing the refractory cytopenia, as well as the vasculopathy and immunodeficiency.

Clinical Implications: HCT is a definitive cure for DADA2 with > 95% survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-021-01098-0DOI Listing
July 2021

Breakthrough Invasive Fungal Infections in Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

J Fungi (Basel) 2021 Apr 28;7(5). Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Via Olgettina 60, 20132 Milan, Italy.

Despite the recent introduction of mold-active antifungal prophylaxis (MAP), breakthrough invasive fungal infections (b-IFI) still represent a possible complication and a cause of morbidity and mortality in hematological patients and allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation recipients (HSCT). Data on incidence and type of b-IFI are limited, although they are mainly caused by non- and non- molds and seem to depend on specific antifungal prophylaxis and patients' characteristics. Herein, we described the clinical presentation and management of two cases of rare b-IFI which recently occurred at our institution in patients undergoing HSCT and receiving MAP. The management of b-IFI is challenging due to the lack of data from prospective trials and high mortality rates. A thorough analysis of risk factors, ongoing antifungal prophylaxis, predisposing conditions and local epidemiology should drive the choice of antifungal treatments. Early broad-spectrum preemptive therapy with a lipid formulation of amphotericin-B, in combination with a different mold-active azole plus/minus terbinafine, is advisable. The therapy would cover against rare azole-susceptible and -resistant fungal strains, as well as atypical sites of infections. An aggressive diagnostic work-up is recommended for species identification and subsequent targeted therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jof7050347DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8146885PMC
April 2021

IPEX Syndrome: Improved Knowledge of Immune Pathogenesis Empowers Diagnosis.

Front Pediatr 2021 22;9:612760. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Mechanisms of Peripheral Tolerance Unit, San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (SR-Tiget), IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.

Immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked (IPEX) syndrome is a rare monogenic autoimmune disease with variable clinical manifestations, ranging from early-onset severe autoimmunity, including enteropathy, eczema, and type 1 diabetes, to late-onset or atypical symptoms. Despite the clinical heterogeneity, the unifying feature of IPEX is mutation of the gene, which encodes a transcription factor essential for maintenance of thymus-derived regulatory T cells (Tregs). In IPEX patients, Tregs can be present, although unstable and impaired in function, unable to inhibit proliferation and cytokine production of effector T (Teff) cells. Mutated FOXP3 can also disrupt other compartments: FOXP3-deficient Teff cells proliferate more than the wild-type counterpart, display altered T-cell-receptor signaling response, a reduced T-naïve compartment and a skew toward a Th2 profile. Due to mutations, the frequency of autoreactive B cells is increased and the IgA and IgE production is altered, together with early emergence of tissue-specific autoantibodies. Recently, the awareness of the wide clinical spectrum of IPEX improved the diagnostic tools. In cases presenting with enteropathy, histological evaluation is helpful, although there are no pathognomonic signs of disease. On the other hand, the study of FOXP3 expression and Treg function, as well as the detection of specific circulating autoantibodies, is recommended to narrow the differential diagnosis. Nowadays, Sanger sequencing should be limited to cases presenting with the classical triad of symptoms; otherwise, next-generation sequencing is recommended, given the cost-effectiveness and the advantage of excluding IPEX-like syndromes. The latter approach could be time spearing in children with severe phenotypes and candidate to advanced therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fped.2021.612760DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7937806PMC
February 2021

Immunosuppressive therapy in childhood-onset arrhythmogenic inflammatory cardiomyopathy.

Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 2021 03 18;44(3):552-556. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Department of Cardiac Electrophysiology and Arrhythmology, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.

We present, to our knowledge, the first case of immunosuppressive therapy (IST) application in a 12-year-old child with arrhythmogenic inflammatory cardiomyopathy resulting from the overlap between autoimmune myocarditis and primary arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. Indication to off-lable IST was compelling, because of recurrent drug-refractory ventricular arrhythmias (VAs). We show that IST was feasible, safe, and effective on multiple clinical endpoints, including symptoms, VA recurrences, and T-troponin release. Remarkably, all diagnostic and therapeutic strategies were worked out by a dedicated multidisciplinary team, including specialized pediatric immunologists.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pace.14153DOI Listing
March 2021

Mild SARS-CoV-2 Infection After Gene Therapy in a Child With Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome: A Case Report.

Front Immunol 2020 24;11:603428. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Pediatric Immunohematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.

In this work we present the case of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a 1.5-year-old boy affected by severe Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome with previous history of autoinflammatory disease, occurring 5 months after treatment with gene therapy. Before SARS-CoV-2 infection, the patient had obtained engraftment of gene corrected cells, resulting in WASP expression restoration and early immune reconstitution. The patient produced specific immunoglobulins to SARS-CoV-2 at high titer with neutralizing capacity and experienced a mild course of infection, with limited inflammatory complications, despite pre-gene therapy clinical phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.603428DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7732473PMC
December 2020

Acute Cervical Longitudinally Extensive Transverse Myelitis in a Child With Lipopolysaccharide-Responsive-Beige-Like-Anchor-Protein (LRBA) Deficiency: A New Complication of a Rare Disease.

Front Pediatr 2020 16;8:580963. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata, Verona, Italy.

Lipopolysaccharide responsive beige-like anchor protein (LRBA) deficiency is a primary immunodeficiency disorder (PID) that can cause a common variable immunodeficiency (CVID)-like disease. The typical features of the disease are autoimmunity, chronic diarrhea, and hypogammaglobulinemia. Neurological complications are also reported in patients affected by LRBA deficiency. We describe a 7-year old female with an acute cervical longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) as a feature of LRBA deficiency. This is the first case of LETM associated with LRBA deficiency described in literature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fped.2020.580963DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7596261PMC
October 2020

Coronavirus disease 2019 in patients with inborn errors of immunity: An international study.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2021 Feb 24;147(2):520-531. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Istituto Molecolare "A Nocivelli," Department of Experimental and Clinical Sciences, University of Brescia & Asst Spedali civili, Brescia, Italy.

Background: There is uncertainty about the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in individuals with rare inborn errors of immunity (IEI), a population at risk of developing severe coronavirus disease 2019. This is relevant not only for these patients but also for the general population, because studies of IEIs can unveil key requirements for host defense.

Objective: We sought to describe the presentation, manifestations, and outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection in IEI to inform physicians and enhance understanding of host defense against SARS-CoV-2.

Methods: An invitation to participate in a retrospective study was distributed globally to scientific, medical, and patient societies involved in the care and advocacy for patients with IEI.

Results: We gathered information on 94 patients with IEI with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Their median age was 25 to 34 years. Fifty-three patients (56%) suffered from primary antibody deficiency, 9 (9.6%) had immune dysregulation syndrome, 6 (6.4%) a phagocyte defect, 7 (7.4%) an autoinflammatory disorder, 14 (15%) a combined immunodeficiency, 3 (3%) an innate immune defect, and 2 (2%) bone marrow failure. Ten were asymptomatic, 25 were treated as outpatients, 28 required admission without intensive care or ventilation, 13 required noninvasive ventilation or oxygen administration, 18 were admitted to intensive care units, 12 required invasive ventilation, and 3 required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Nine patients (7 adults and 2 children) died.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that (1) more than 30% of patients with IEI had mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and (2) risk factors predisposing to severe disease/mortality in the general population also seemed to affect patients with IEI, including more younger patients. Further studies will identify pathways that are associated with increased risk of severe disease and are nonredundant or redundant for protection against SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.09.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832563PMC
February 2021

Telemedicine in myocarditis: Evolution of a mutidisciplinary "disease unit" at the time of COVID-19 pandemic.

Am Heart J 2020 11 12;229:121-126. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

Myocarditis Disease Unit, IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy; Department of Cardiac Electrophysiology and Arrhythmology, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.

Myocarditis Disease Unit (MDU) is a functional multidisciplinary network designed to offer multidisciplinary assistance to patients with myocarditis. More than 300 patients coming from the whole Country are currently followed up at a specialized multidisciplinary outpatient clinic. Following the pandemic outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 infection in Italy, we present how the MDU rapidly evolved to a "tele-MDU", via a dedicated multitasking digital health platform.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2020.07.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7419248PMC
November 2020

Consensus of the Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network on transition management from pediatric to adult care in patients affected with childhood-onset inborn errors of immunity.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2020 11 19;146(5):967-983. Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, IRCCS Bambino Gesù Childrens' Hospital, Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome Italy.

Medical advances have dramatically improved the long-term prognosis of children and adolescents with inborn errors of immunity (IEIs). Transfer of the medical care of individuals with pediatric IEIs to adult facilities is also a complex task because of the large number of distinct disorders, which requires involvement of patients and both pediatric and adult care providers. To date, there is no consensus on the optimal pathway of the transitional care process and no specific data are available in the literature regarding patients with IEIs. We aimed to develop a consensus statement on the transition process to adult health care services for patients with IEIs. Physicians from major Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network centers formulated and answered questions after examining the currently published literature on the transition from childhood to adulthood. The authors voted on each recommendation. The most frequent IEIs sharing common main clinical problems requiring full attention during the transitional phase were categorized into different groups of clinically related disorders. For each group of clinically related disorders, physicians from major Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network institutions focused on selected clinical issues representing the clinical hallmark during early adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.08.010DOI Listing
November 2020

Emapalumab treatment in an ADA-SCID patient with refractory hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis-related graft failure and disseminated bacillus Calmette-Guérin infection.

Haematologica 2021 02 1;106(2):641-646. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.

Emapalumab, a fully human anti-IFNγ monoclonal antibody, has been approved in the US as second-line treatment of primary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) patients and has shown promise in patients with graft failure (GF) requiring a second allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The blockade of IFNγ activity may increase the risk of severe infections, including fatal mycobacteriosis. We report a case of secondary HLH-related GF in the context of HLA-haploidentical HSCT successfully treated with emapalumab in the presence of concomitant life-threatening infections, including disseminated tuberculosis (TB). A 4 years old girl with Adenosine Deaminase-Severe Combined Immunodeficiency complicated by disseminated TB came to our attention for ex-vivo hematopoietic stem cell-gene therapy. After engraftment failure of gene corrected cells, she received two HLA-haploidentical T-cell depleted HSCT from the father, both failed due to GF related to concomitant multiple infections and secondary HLH. Emapalumab administration allowed to control HLH, as well as to prevent GF after a third haplo-HSCT from the mother. Remarkably, all infections improved with antimicrobial medications and disseminated TB did not show any reactivation. This seminal case supports emapalumab use for treatment of secondary HLH and prevention of GF in patients undergoing haplo-HSCT even in the presence of multiple infections, including TB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2020.255620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7849754PMC
February 2021

Urogenital Abnormalities in Adenosine Deaminase Deficiency.

J Clin Immunol 2020 05 19;40(4):610-618. Epub 2020 Apr 19.

Pediatric Immunohematology and Stem Cell Program, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Via Olgettina, 60, 20132, Milan, Italy.

Background: Improved survival in ADA-SCID patients is revealing new aspects of the systemic disorder. Although increasing numbers of reports describe the systemic manifestations of adenosine deaminase deficiency, currently there are no studies in the literature evaluating genital development and pubertal progress in these patients.

Methods: We collected retrospective data on urogenital system and pubertal development of 86 ADA-SCID patients followed in the period 2000-2017 at the Great Ormond Street Hospital (UK) and 5 centers in Italy. In particular, we recorded clinical history and visits, and routine blood tests and ultrasound scans were performed as part of patients' follow-up.

Results And Discussion: We found a higher frequency of congenital and acquired undescended testes compared with healthy children (congenital, 22% in our sample, 0.5-4% described in healthy children; acquired, 16% in our sample, 1-3% in healthy children), mostly requiring orchidopexy. No urogenital abnormalities were noted in females. Spontaneous pubertal development occurred in the majority of female and male patients with a few cases of precocious or delayed puberty; no patient presented high FSH values. Neither ADA-SCID nor treatment performed (PEG-ADA, BMT, or GT) affected pubertal development or gonadic function.

Conclusion: In summary, this report describes a high prevalence of cryptorchidism in a cohort of male ADA-SCID patients which could represent an additional systemic manifestation of ADA-SCID. Considering the impact urogenital and pubertal abnormalities can have on patients' quality of life, we feel it is essential to include urogenital evaluation in ADA-SCID patients to detect any abnormalities, initiate early treatment, and prevent long-term complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-020-00777-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7253380PMC
May 2020

Treatment with rapamycin can restore regulatory T-cell function in IPEX patients.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2020 04 23;145(4):1262-1271.e13. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (SR-Tiget), IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy; Department of Pediatrics, Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif. Electronic address:

Background: Immune-dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked (IPEX) syndrome is a lethal disease caused by mutations in a transcription factor critical for the function of thymus-derived regulatory T (Treg) cells (ie, FOXP3), resulting in impaired Treg function and autoimmunity. At present, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the therapy of choice for patients with IPEX syndrome. If not available, multiple immunosuppressive regimens have been used with poor disease-free survival at long-term follow-up. Rapamycin has been shown to suppress peripheral T cells while sparing Treg cells expressing wild-type FOXP3, thereby proving beneficial in the clinical setting of immune dysregulation. However, the mechanisms of immunosuppression selective to Treg cells in patients with IPEX syndrome are unclear.

Objective: We sought to determine the cellular and molecular basis of the clinical benefit observed under rapamycin treatment in 6 patients with IPEX syndrome with different FOXP3 mutations.

Methods: Phenotype and function of FOXP3-mutated Treg cells from rapamycin-treated patients with IPEX syndrome were tested by flow cytometry and in vitro suppression assays, and the gene expression profile of rapamycin-conditioned Treg cells by droplet-digital PCR.

Results: Clinical and histologic improvements in patients correlated with partially restored Treg function, independent of FOXP3 expression or Treg frequency. Expression of TNF-receptor-superfamily-member 18 (TNFRSF18, glucocorticoid-induced TNF-receptor-related) and EBV-induced-3 (EBI3, an IL-35 subunit) in patients' Treg cells increased during treatment as compared with that of Treg cells from untreated healthy subjects. Furthermore inhibition of glucocorticoid-induced TNF-receptor-related and Ebi3 partially reverted in vitro suppression by in vivo rapamycin-conditioned Treg cells.

Conclusions: Rapamycin is able to affect Treg suppressive function via a FOXP3-independent mechanism, thus sustaining the clinical improvement observed in patients with IPEX syndrome under rapamycin treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2019.11.043DOI Listing
April 2020

Clinical, Immunological, and Molecular Features of Typical and Atypical Severe Combined Immunodeficiency: Report of the Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network.

Front Immunol 2019 13;10:1908. Epub 2019 Aug 13.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Severe combined immunodeficiencies (SCIDs) are a group of inborn errors of the immune system, usually associated with severe or life-threatening infections. Due to the variability of clinical phenotypes, the diagnostic complexity and the heterogeneity of the genetic basis, they are often difficult to recognize, leading to a significant diagnostic delay (DD). Aim of this study is to define presenting signs and natural history of SCID in a large cohort of patients, prior to hematopoietic stem cell or gene therapies. To this purpose, we conducted a 30-year retro-prospective multicenter study within the Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network. One hundred eleven patients, diagnosed as typical or atypical SCID according to the European Society for Immune Deficiencies criteria, were included. Patients were subsequently classified based on the genetic alteration, pathogenic mechanism and immunological classification. A positive relationship between the age at onset and the DD was found. SCID patients with later onset were identified only in the last decade of observation. Syndromic SCIDs represented 28% of the cohort. Eight percent of the subjects were diagnosed in Intensive Care Units. Fifty-three percent had an atypical phenotype and most of them exhibited a discordant genotype-immunophenotype. Pre-treatment mortality was higher in atypical and syndromic patients. Our study broadens the knowledge of clinical and laboratory manifestations and genotype/phenotype correlation in patients with SCID and may facilitate the diagnosis of both typical and atypical forms of the disease in countries where newborn screening programs have not yet been implemented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.01908DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6700292PMC
September 2020

Rituximab Unveils Hypogammaglobulinemia and Immunodeficiency in Children with Autoimmune Cytopenia.

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2020 01 2;8(1):273-282. Epub 2019 Aug 2.

Paediatric Immunopathology and Allergology Unit, Tor Vergata University Hospital, University of Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

Background: Rituximab (RTX; anti-CD20 mAb) is a treatment option in children with refractory immune thrombocytopenia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AHA), and Evans syndrome (ES). Prevalence and clinical course of RTX-induced hypogammaglobulinemia in these patients are poorly known.

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for persistent hypogammaglobulinemia (PH) after RTX use.

Methods: Clinical and immunologic data from children treated with RTX for immune thrombocytopenia, AHA, and ES were collected from 16 Italian centers and 1 UK center at pre-RTX time point (0), +6 months, and yearly, up to 4 years post-RTX. Patients with previously diagnosed malignancy or primary immune deficiency (PID) were excluded.

Results: We analyzed 53 children treated with RTX for immune thrombocytopenia (n = 36), AHA (n = 13), and ES (n = 4). Median follow-up was 30 months (range, 12-48). Thirty-two percent of patients (17 of 53) experienced PH, defined as IgG levels less than 2 SD for age at last follow-up (>12 months after RTX). Significantly delayed B-cell recovery was observed in children experiencing PH (hazard ratio, 0.55; P < .05), and 6 of 17 (35%) patients had unresolved B-cell lymphopenia at last follow-up. PH was associated with IgA and IgM deficiency, younger age at RTX use (51 vs 116 months; P < .01), a diagnosis of AHA/ES, and better response to RTX. Nine patients with PH (9 of 17 [53%]) were eventually diagnosed with a PID.

Conclusions: Post-RTX PH is a frequent condition in children with autoimmune cytopenia; a sizable proportion of patients with post-RTX PH were eventually diagnosed with a PID. In-depth investigation for PID is therefore recommended in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2019.07.032DOI Listing
January 2020

Bone marrow harvesting from paediatric patients undergoing haematopoietic stem cell gene therapy.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2019 12 31;54(12):1995-2003. Epub 2019 May 31.

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.

Collection of an adequate amount of autologous haematopoietic stem progenitor cells (HSPC) is required for ex vivo manipulation and successful engraftment for certain inherited disorders. Fifty-seven paediatric patients (age 0.5-11.4 years) underwent a bone marrow harvest for the purpose of HSPC gene therapy (GT), including adenosine deaminase-severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID), Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) and metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) patients. Total nucleated cells and the percentage and absolute counts of CD34+ cells were calculated at defined steps of the procedure (harvest, CD34+ cell purification, transduction with the gene transfer vector and infusion of the medicinal product). A minimum CD34+ cell dose for infusion was 2 × 10/kg, with an optimal target at 5-10 × 10/kg. Median volume of bone marrow harvested was 34.2 ml/kg (range 14.2-56.6). The number of CD34+ cells collected correlated inversely with weight and age in all patients and particularly in the MLD children group. All patients reached the minimum target dose for infusion: median dose of CD34+ cells/kg infused was 10.3 × 10/kg (3.7-25.9), with no difference among the three groups. Bone marrow harvest of volumes > 30 ml/kg in infants and children with ADA-SCID, WAS and MLD is well tolerated and allows obtaining an adequate dose of a medicinal product for HSPC-GT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-019-0573-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6897559PMC
December 2019

Targeted NGS Platforms for Genetic Screening and Gene Discovery in Primary Immunodeficiencies.

Front Immunol 2019 11;10:316. Epub 2019 Apr 11.

Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

Primary Immunodeficiencies (PIDs) are a heterogeneous group of genetic immune disorders. While some PIDs can manifest with more than one phenotype, signs, and symptoms of various PIDs overlap considerably. Recently, novel defects in immune-related genes and additional variants in previously reported genes responsible for PIDs have been successfully identified by Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), allowing the recognition of a broad spectrum of disorders. To evaluate the strength and weakness of targeted NGS sequencing using custom-made Ion Torrent and Haloplex (Agilent) panels for diagnostics and research purposes. Five different panels including known and candidate genes were used to screen 105 patients with distinct PID features divided in three main PID categories: and . The Ion Torrent sequencing platform was used in 73 patients. Among these, 18 selected patients without a molecular diagnosis and 32 additional patients were analyzed by Haloplex enrichment technology. The complementary use of the two custom-made targeted sequencing approaches allowed the identification of causative variants in 28.6% ( = 30) of patients. Twenty-two out of 73 (34.6%) patients were diagnosed by Ion Torrent. In this group 20 were included in the SCID/CID category. Eight out of 50 (16%) patients were diagnosed by Haloplex workflow. Ion Torrent method was highly successful for those cases with well-defined phenotypes for immunological and clinical presentation. The Haloplex approach was able to diagnose 4 SCID/CID patients and 4 additional patients with complex and extended phenotypes, embracing all three PID categories in which this approach was more efficient. Both technologies showed good gene coverage. NGS technology represents a powerful approach in the complex field of rare disorders but its different application should be weighted. A relatively small NGS target panel can be successfully applied for a robust diagnostic suspicion, while when the spectrum of clinical phenotypes overlaps more than one PID an in-depth NGS analysis is required, including also whole exome/genome sequencing to identify the causative gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.00316DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6470723PMC
September 2020

The autoimmune targets in IPEX are dominated by gut epithelial proteins.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2019 07 23;144(1):327-330.e8. Epub 2019 Apr 23.

Center for Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine (Solna), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Science for Life Laboratory, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2019.02.031DOI Listing
July 2019

Lentiviral haemopoietic stem/progenitor cell gene therapy for treatment of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome: interim results of a non-randomised, open-label, phase 1/2 clinical study.

Lancet Haematol 2019 May 10;6(5):e239-e253. Epub 2019 Apr 10.

CSD Pharma Consulting, Redhill, UK; Orchard Therapeutics, London, UK.

Background: Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome is a rare, life-threatening, X-linked primary immunodeficiency characterised by microthrombocytopenia, infections, eczema, autoimmunity, and malignant disease. Lentiviral vector-mediated haemopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) gene therapy is a potentially curative treatment that represents an alternative to allogeneic HSPC transplantation. Here, we report safety and efficacy data from an interim analysis of patients with severe Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome who received lentiviral vector-derived gene therapy.

Methods: We did a non-randomised, open-label, phase 1/2 clinical study in paediatric patients with severe Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, defined by either WAS gene mutation or absent Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) expression or a Zhu clinical score of 3 or higher. We included patients who had no HLA-identical sibling donor available or, for children younger than 5 years of age, no suitable 10/10 matched unrelated donor or 6/6 unrelated cord blood donor. After treatment with rituximab and a reduced-intensity conditioning regimen of busulfan and fludarabine, patients received one intravenous infusion of autologous CD34+ cells genetically modified with a lentiviral vector encoding for human WAS cDNA. The primary safety endpoints were safety of the conditioning regimen and safety of lentiviral gene transfer into HSPCs. The primary efficacy endpoints were overall survival, sustained engraftment of genetically corrected HSPCs, expression of vector-derived WASP, improved T-cell function, antigen-specific responses to vaccinations, and improved platelet count and mean platelet volume normalisation. This interim analysis was done when the first six patients treated had completed at least 3 years of follow-up. The planned analyses are presented for the intention-to-treat population. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (number NCT01515462) and EudraCT (number 2009-017346-32).

Findings: Between April 20, 2010, and Feb 26, 2015, nine patients (all male) were enrolled of whom one was excluded after screening; the age range of the eight treated children was 1·1-12·4 years. At the time of the interim analysis (data cutoff April 29, 2016), median follow-up was 3·6 years (range 0·5-5·6). Overall survival was 100%. Engraftment of genetically corrected HSPCs was successful and sustained in all patients. The fraction of WASP-positive lymphocytes increased from a median of 3·9% (range 1·8-35·6) before gene therapy to 66·7% (55·7-98·6) at 12 months after gene therapy, whereas WASP-positive platelets increased from 19·1% (range 4·1-31·0) to 76·6% (53·1-98·4). Improvement of immune function was shown by normalisation of in-vitro T-cell function and successful discontinuation of immunoglobulin supplementation in seven patients with follow-up longer than 1 year, followed by positive antigen-specific response to vaccination. Severe infections fell from 2·38 (95% CI 1·44-3·72) per patient-year of observation (PYO) in the year before gene therapy to 0·31 (0·04-1·11) per PYO in the second year after gene therapy and 0·17 (0·00-0·93) per PYO in the third year after gene therapy. Before gene therapy, platelet counts were lower than 20 × 10 per L in seven of eight patients. At the last follow-up visit, the platelet count had increased to 20-50 × 10 per L in one patient, 50-100 × 10 per L in five patients, and more than 100 × 10 per L in two patients, which resulted in independence from platelet transfusions and absence of severe bleeding events. 27 serious adverse events in six patients occurred after gene therapy, 23 (85%) of which were infectious (pyrexia [five events in three patients], device-related infections, including one case of sepsis [four events in three patients], and gastroenteritis, including one case due to rotavirus [three events in two patients]); these occurred mainly in the first 6 months of follow-up. No adverse reactions to the investigational drug product and no abnormal clonal proliferation or leukaemia were reported after gene therapy.

Interpretation: Data from this study show that gene therapy provides a valuable treatment option for patients with severe Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, particularly for those who do not have a suitable HSPC donor available.

Funding: Italian Telethon Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orchard Therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(19)30021-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494976PMC
May 2019

ALPS-Like Phenotype Caused by ADA2 Deficiency Rescued by Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

Front Immunol 2018 14;9:2767. Epub 2019 Jan 14.

Paediatric Hematology-Oncology, Ospedale della Donna e del Bambino, Verona, Italy.

Adenosine deaminase 2 (ADA2) deficiency is an auto-inflammatory disease due to mutations in cat eye syndrome chromosome region candidate 1 () gene, currently named . The disease has a wide clinical spectrum encompassing early-onset vasculopathy (targeting skin, gut and central nervous system), recurrent fever, immunodeficiency and bone marrow dysfunction. Different therapeutic options have been proposed in literature, but only steroids and anti-cytokine monoclonal antibodies (such as tumor necrosis factor inhibitor) proved to be effective. If a suitable donor is available, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) could be curative. Here we describe a case of ADA2 deficiency in a 4-year-old Caucasian girl. The patient was initially classified as autoimmune neutropenia and then she evolved toward an autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS)-like phenotype. The diagnosis of ALPS became uncertain due to atypical clinical features and normal FAS-induced apoptosis test. She was treated with G-CSF first and subsequently with immunosuppressive drugs without improvement. Only HSCT from a 9/10 HLA-matched unrelated donor, following myeloablative conditioning, completely solved the clinical signs related to ADA2 deficiency. Early diagnosis in cases presenting with hematological manifestations, rather than classical vasculopathy, allows the patients to promptly undergo HSCT and avoid more severe evolution. Finally, in similar cases highly suspicious for genetic disease, it is desirable to obtain molecular diagnosis before performing HSCT, since it can influence the transplant procedure. However, if HSCT has to be performed without delay for clinical indication, related donors should be excluded to avoid the risk of relapse or partial benefit due to a hereditary genetic defect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.02767DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6339927PMC
October 2019

T-cell defects in patients with germline mutations account for combined immunodeficiency.

Blood 2018 11 25;132(22):2362-2374. Epub 2018 Sep 25.

Department of Pediatrics & Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.

ARPC1B is a key factor for the assembly and maintenance of the ARP2/3 complex that is involved in actin branching from an existing filament. Germline biallelic mutations in have been recently described in 6 patients with clinical features of combined immunodeficiency (CID), whose neutrophils and platelets but not T lymphocytes were studied. We hypothesized that ARPC1B deficiency may also lead to cytoskeleton and functional defects in T cells. We have identified biallelic mutations in in 6 unrelated patients with early onset disease characterized by severe infections, autoimmune manifestations, and thrombocytopenia. Immunological features included T-cell lymphopenia, low numbers of naïve T cells, and hyper-immunoglobulin E. Alteration in ARPC1B protein structure led to absent/low expression by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. This molecular defect was associated with the inability of patient-derived T cells to extend an actin-rich lamellipodia upon T-cell receptor (TCR) stimulation and to assemble an immunological synapse. ARPC1B-deficient T cells additionally displayed impaired TCR-mediated proliferation and SDF1-α-directed migration. Gene transfer of in patients' T cells using a lentiviral vector restored both ARPC1B expression and T-cell proliferation in vitro. In 2 of the patients, in vivo somatic reversion restored ARPC1B expression in a fraction of lymphocytes and was associated with a skewed TCR repertoire. In 1 revertant patient, memory CD8 T cells expressing normal levels of ARPC1B displayed improved T-cell migration. Inherited ARPC1B deficiency therefore alters T-cell cytoskeletal dynamics and functions, contributing to the clinical features of CID.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2018-07-863431DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6265646PMC
November 2018

Neutralizing Anti-Cytokine Autoantibodies Against Interferon-α in Immunodysregulation Polyendocrinopathy Enteropathy X-Linked.

Front Immunol 2018 29;9:544. Epub 2018 Mar 29.

Department of Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, United States.

Anti-cytokine autoantibodies (ACAAs) have been described in a growing number of primary immunodeficiencies with autoimmune features, including autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type I (APS-1), a prototypical disease of defective T cell-mediated central tolerance. Whether defects in peripheral tolerance lead to similar ACAAs is unknown. Immunodysregulation polyendocrinopathy enteropathy X-linked (IPEX) is caused by mutations in , a master regulator of T regulatory cells (T), and consequently results in defective T cell-mediated peripheral tolerance. Unique autoantibodies have previously been described in IPEX. To test the hypothesis that ACAAs are present in IPEX, we designed and fabricated antigen microarrays. We discovered elevated levels of IgG ACAAs against interferon-α (IFN-α) in a cohort of IPEX patients. Serum from IPEX patients blocked IFN-α signaling and blocking activity was tightly correlated with ACAA titer. To show that blocking activity was mediated by IgG and not other serum factors, we purified IgG and showed that blocking activity was contained entirely in the immunoglobulin fraction. We also screened for ACAAs against IFN-α in a second geographically distinct cohort. In these samples, ACAAs against IFN-α were elevated in a analysis. In summary, we report the discovery of ACAAs against IFN-α in IPEX, an experiment of nature demonstrating the important role of peripheral T cell tolerance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.00544DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5885158PMC
May 2019

Disease Evolution and Response to Rapamycin in Activated Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase δ Syndrome: The European Society for Immunodeficiencies-Activated Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase δ Syndrome Registry.

Front Immunol 2018 16;9:543. Epub 2018 Mar 16.

Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité University, Paris, France.

Activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) δ Syndrome (APDS), caused by autosomal dominant mutations in (APDS1) or (APDS2), is a heterogeneous primary immunodeficiency. While initial cohort-descriptions summarized the spectrum of clinical and immunological manifestations, questions about long-term disease evolution and response to therapy remain. The prospective European Society for Immunodeficiencies (ESID)-APDS registry aims to characterize the disease course, identify outcome predictors, and evaluate treatment responses. So far, 77 patients have been recruited (51 APDS1, 26 APDS2). Analysis of disease evolution in the first 68 patients pinpoints the early occurrence of recurrent respiratory infections followed by chronic lymphoproliferation, gastrointestinal manifestations, and cytopenias. Although most manifestations occur by age 15, adult-onset and asymptomatic courses were documented. Bronchiectasis was observed in 24/40 APDS1 patients who received a CT-scan compared with 4/15 APDS2 patients. By age 20, half of the patients had received at least one immunosuppressant, but 2-3 lines of immunosuppressive therapy were not unusual before age 10. Response to rapamycin was rated by physician visual analog scale as good in 10, moderate in 9, and poor in 7. Lymphoproliferation showed the best response (8 complete, 11 partial, 6 no remission), while bowel inflammation (3 complete, 3 partial, 9 no remission) and cytopenia (3 complete, 2 partial, 9 no remission) responded less well. Hence, non-lymphoproliferative manifestations should be a key target for novel therapies. This report from the ESID-APDS registry provides comprehensive baseline documentation for a growing cohort that will be followed prospectively to establish prognostic factors and identify patients for treatment studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.00543DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5863269PMC
May 2019

First Occurrence of Plasmablastic Lymphoma in Adenosine Deaminase-Deficient Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease Patient and Review of the Literature.

Front Immunol 2018 2;9:113. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (SR-TIGET), Pediatric Immunohematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, Scientific Institute San Raffaele (IRCCS), Milan, Italy.

Adenosine deaminase-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency disease (ADA-SCID) is a primary immune deficiency characterized by mutations in the ADA gene resulting in accumulation of toxic compounds affecting multiple districts. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) from a matched donor and hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy are the preferred options for definitive treatment. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is used to manage the disease in the short term, while a decreased efficacy is reported in the medium-long term. To date, eight cases of lymphomas have been described in ADA-SCID patients. Here we report the first case of plasmablastic lymphoma occurring in a young adult with ADA-SCID on long-term ERT, which turned out to be Epstein-Barr virus associated. The patient previously received infusions of genetically modified T cells. A cumulative analysis of the eight published cases of lymphoma from 1992 to date, and the case here described, reveals a high mortality (89%). The most common form is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which predominantly occurs in extra nodal sites. Seven cases occurred in patients on ERT and two after haploidentical HSCT. The significant incidence of immunodeficiency-associated lymphoproliferative disorders and poor survival of patients developing this complication highlight the priority in finding a prompt curative treatment for ADA-SCID.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.00113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801298PMC
March 2019
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