Publications by authors named "Samantha M Walker"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Factors affecting adherence with treatment advice in a clinical trial of patients with severe asthma.

Eur Respir J 2021 Sep 24. Epub 2021 Sep 24.

Centre for Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University, Belfast, UK

Background: Understanding why patients with severe asthma do not follow healthcare provider (HCP) advice to adjust treatment is critical to achieving personalised disease management.

Methods: We reviewed patient choice to follow HCP advice to adjust asthma treatment in a randomised, controlled, single-blind (study participant), multi-centre, parallel group 48-week clinical study comparing biomarker directed treatment adjustment to standard care in severe asthma.

Results: Of 1572 treatment advisories (301 participants), instructions were followed in 1377 cases (87.6%). Patients were more likely to follow advice to remain on treatment (96.7%) than to either reduce (70.3%) or increase (67.1%) their treatment, with 64% of patients following all treatment advice. Multivariate analysis associated belonging to an ethnic minority group (OR: 3.10; 95% CI: 1.68, 5.73) and prior study medication changes (≥2 OR: 2.77, 95% CI: 1.51, 5.10) with failure to follow treatment advice. In contrast, emergency room attendance in the prior year (OR: 0.54, 95% CI: 0.32, 0.92) was associated with following treatment advice. The largest effect was seen with transition onto or off oral corticosteroids (OR: 29.28; 95% CI: 16.07, 53.36) when compared to those requested to maintain treatment. Centre was also an important determinant regarding the likelihood of patients to follow treatment advice.

Conclusions: Belonging to an ethnic minority group and multiple prior treatment adjustments were associated with not following HCP treatment advice. Patients also responded differently to HCP advice across UK specialist centres. These findings have implications for generalisability for models of care in severe asthma and require further focussed studies.
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September 2021

Composite type-2 biomarker strategy versus a symptom-risk-based algorithm to adjust corticosteroid dose in patients with severe asthma: a multicentre, single-blind, parallel group, randomised controlled trial.

Lancet Respir Med 2021 01 8;9(1):57-68. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

Oxford Respiratory NIHR BRC, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Background: Asthma treatment guidelines recommend increasing corticosteroid dose to control symptoms and reduce exacerbations. This approach is potentially flawed because symptomatic asthma can occur without corticosteroid responsive type-2 (T2)-driven eosinophilic inflammation, and inappropriately high-dose corticosteroid treatment might have little therapeutic benefit with increased risk of side-effects. We compared a biomarker strategy to adjust corticosteroid dose using a composite score of T2 biomarkers (fractional exhaled nitric oxide [FENO], blood eosinophils, and serum periostin) with a standardised symptom-risk-based algorithm (control).

Methods: We did a single-blind, parallel group, randomised controlled trial in adults (18-80 years of age) with severe asthma (at treatment steps 4 and 5 of the Global Initiative for Asthma) and FENO of less than 45 parts per billion at 12 specialist severe asthma centres across England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Patients were randomly assigned (4:1) to either the biomarker strategy group or the control group by an online electronic case-report form, in blocks of ten, stratified by asthma control and use of rescue systemic steroids in the previous year. Patients were masked to study group allocation throughout the entirety of the study. Patients attended clinic every 8 weeks, with treatment adjustment following automated treatment-group-specific algorithms: those in the biomarker strategy group received a default advisory to maintain treatment and those in the control group had their treatment adjusted according to the steps indicated by the trial algorithm. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with corticosteroid dose reduction at week 48, in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population. Secondary outcomes were inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) dose at the end of the study; cumulative dose of ICS during the study; proportion of patients on maintenance oral corticosteroids (OCS) at study end; rate of protocol-defined severe exacerbations per patient year; time to first severe exacerbation; number of hospital admissions for asthma; changes in lung function, Asthma Control Questionnaire-7 score, Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire score, and T2 biomarkers from baseline to week 48; and whether patients declined to progress to OCS. A secondary aim of our study was to establish the proportion of patients with severe asthma in whom T2 biomarkers remained low when corticosteroid therapy was decreased to a minimum ICS dose. This study is registered with, NCT02717689 and has been completed.

Findings: Patients were recruited from Jan 8, 2016, to July 12, 2018. Of 549 patients assessed, 301 patients were included in the ITT population and were randomly assigned to the biomarker strategy group (n=240) or to the control group (n=61). 28·4% of patients in the biomarker strategy group were on a lower corticosteroid dose at week 48 compared with 18·5% of patients in the control group (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1·71 [95% CI 0·80-3·63]; p=0·17). In the per-protocol (PP) population (n=121), a significantly greater proportion of patients were on a lower corticosteroid dose at week 48 in the biomarker strategy group (30·7% of patients) compared with the control group (5·0% of patients; aOR 11·48 [95% CI 1·35-97·83]; p=0·026). Patient choice to not follow treatment advice was the principle reason for loss to PP analysis. There was no difference in secondary outcomes between study groups and no loss of asthma control among patients in the biomarker strategy group who reduced their corticosteroid dose.

Interpretation: Biomarker-based corticosteroid adjustment did not result in a greater proportion of patients reducing corticosteroid dose versus control. Understanding the reasons for patients not following treatment advice in both treatment strategies is an important area for future research. The prevalence of T2 biomarker-low severe asthma was low.

Funding: This study was funded, in part, by the Medical Research Council UK.
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January 2021

Long-term tolerance after allergen immunotherapy is accompanied by selective persistence of blocking antibodies.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011 Feb;127(2):509-516.e1-5

Allergy and Clinical Immunology, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, part of the Medical Research Council and Asthma UK Centre for Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma, UK.

Background: Grass pollen immunotherapy for allergic rhinitis is a disease-modifying treatment that results in long-term clinical tolerance lasting years after treatment discontinuation. Active treatment is associated with generation of inhibitory grass pollen-specific IgG antibodies capable of blocking allergen-IgE interactions.

Objectives: We sought to investigate the involvement of IgG-associated inhibitory antibodies with long-term clinical tolerance after discontinuation of grass pollen immunotherapy.

Methods: We conducted a 4-year study in which patients who had moderate-to-severe allergic rhinitis underwent a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled discontinuation of subcutaneous grass pollen immunotherapy. All subjects received grass pollen immunotherapy injections for 2 years (n = 13), followed by a further 2 years of either active (n = 7) or placebo (n = 6) injections. Clinical outcomes included seasonal symptoms and use of rescue medication. Serum specimens were collected at baseline and after 2 and 4 years for quantification of allergen-specific IgG antibodies. Sera were also tested for IgG-dependent inhibitory bioactivity against IgE-allergen binding in cellular assays by using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy to detect binding of IgE-grass pollen allergen complexes to B cells.

Results: Clinical improvement was maintained after 2 years of discontinuation. Although immunotherapy-induced grass pollen-specific IgG1 and IgG4 levels decreased to near-preimmunotherapy levels during discontinuation, inhibitory bioactivity of allergen-specific IgG antibodies was maintained unchanged.

Conclusion: Grass pollen immunotherapy induces a subpopulation of allergen-specific IgG antibodies with potent inhibitory activity against IgE that persists after treatment discontinuation and that could account for long-term clinical tolerance.
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February 2011

Grass pollen immunotherapy induces an allergen-specific IgA2 antibody response associated with mucosal TGF-beta expression.

J Immunol 2007 Apr;178(7):4658-66

Upper Respiratory Medicine, Section of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College, Dovehouse Street, London, U.K.

Allergen immunotherapy (IT) has long-term efficacy in IgE-mediated allergic rhinitis and asthma. IT has been shown to modify lymphocyte responses to allergen, inducing IL-10 production and IgG Abs. In contrast, a putative role for IgA and local TGF-beta-producing cells remains to be determined. In 44 patients with seasonal rhinitis/asthma, serum IgA1, IgA2, and polymeric (J chain-containing) Abs to the major allergen Phl p 5 were determined by ELISA before and after a 2-year double-blind trial of grass pollen (Phleum pratense) injection IT. Nasal TGF-beta expression was assessed by in situ hybridization. Sera from five IT patients were fractionated for functional analysis of the effects of IgA and IgG Abs on IL-10 production by blood monocytes and allergen-IgE binding to B cells. Serum Phl p 5-specific IgA2 Abs increased after a 2-year treatment (approximately 8-fold increase, p = 0.002) in contrast to IgA1. Increases in polymeric Abs to Phl p 5 (approximately 2-fold increase, p = 0.02) and in nasal TGF-beta mRNA (p = 0.05) were also observed, and TGF-beta mRNA correlated with serum Phl p 5 IgA2 (r = 0.61, p = 0.009). Post-IT IgA fractions triggered IL-10 secretion by monocytes while not inhibiting allergen-IgE binding to B cells as observed with IgG fractions. This study shows for the first time that the IgA response to IT is selective for IgA2, correlates with increased local TGF-beta expression, and induces monocyte IL-10 expression, suggesting that IgA Abs could thereby contribute to the tolerance developed in IT-treated allergic patients.
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April 2007

Grass pollen immunotherapy induces mucosal and peripheral IL-10 responses and blocking IgG activity.

J Immunol 2004 Mar;172(5):3252-9

Upper Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College London, National Heart and Lung Institute, London, United Kingdom.

T regulatory cells and IL-10 have been implicated in the mechanism of immunotherapy in patients with systemic anaphylaxis following bee stings. We studied the role of IL-10 in the induction of clinical, cellular, and humoral tolerance during immunotherapy for local mucosal allergy in subjects with seasonal pollinosis. Local and systemic IL-10 responses and serum Ab concentrations were measured before/after a double-blind trial of grass pollen (Phleum pratense, Phl P) immunotherapy. We observed local increases in IL-10 mRNA-positive cells in the nasal mucosa after 2 years of immunotherapy, but only during the pollen season. IL-10 protein-positive cells were also increased and correlated with IL-10 mRNA(+) cells. These changes were not observed in placebo-treated subjects or in healthy controls. Fifteen and 35% of IL-10 mRNA signals were colocalized to CD3(+) T cells and CD68(+) macrophages, respectively, whereas only 1-2% of total CD3(+) cells and 4% of macrophages expressed IL-10. Following immunotherapy, peripheral T cells cultured in the presence of grass pollen extract also produced IL-10. Immunotherapy resulted in blunting of seasonal increases in serum allergen Phl p 5-specific IgE, 60- to 80-fold increases in Phl p 5-specific IgG, and 100-fold increases in Phl p 5-specific IgG4. Post-immunotherapy serum exhibited inhibitory activity, which coeluted with IgG4, and blocked IgE-facilitated binding of allergen-IgE complexes to B cells. Both the increases in IgG and the IgG "blocking" activity correlated with the patients' overall assessment of improvement. Thus, grass pollen immunotherapy may induce allergen-specific, IL-10-dependent "protective" IgG4 responses.
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March 2004

Grass pollen immunotherapy for hayfever is associated with increases in local nasal but not peripheral Th1:Th2 cytokine ratios.

Immunology 2002 Jan;105(1):56-62

Upper Respiratory Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK.

Grass pollen immunotherapy is the only treatment for hayfever that is both effective and confers long-term benefit. Immunotherapy may act by altering the local nasal mucosal T helper type 2 (Th2) to type 1 (Th1) cytokine balance either by down-regulation and/or immune deviation of T-lymphocyte responses. There is controversy as to whether these changes are detectable in peripheral blood. We therefore examined both local nasal and peripheral T-cell responses to allergen exposure in the same subjects before and after immunotherapy. In a double-blind trial of grass pollen immunotherapy, nasal biopsies were obtained at baseline and during the peak pollen season following 2 years of immunotherapy. Placebo-treated patients showed a seasonal increase in CD3(+) T cells (P = 0.02) and in interleukin-5 (IL-5) mRNA(+) cells (P = 0.03) and no change in interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma ) mRNA(+) cells (P = 0.2) in the nasal mucosa. In contrast, in the immunotherapy-treated group, there were no changes in the number of CD3(+) T cells (P = 0.3) and IL-5 mRNA+ cells (P = 0.2) but a significant increase in the number of IFN-gamma mRNA(+) cells (P = 0.03). Furthermore, clinical improvement in the immunotherapy-treated group was accompanied by a seasonal increase in the ratio of IFN-gamma to IL-5 mRNA(+) cells in the nasal mucosa (P = 0.03). In contrast, there were no significant changes in peripheral T-cell proliferative responses or cytokine production for IFN-gamma or IL-5 in response to grass pollen either within or between the two treatment groups. We conclude that successful grass pollen immunotherapy was associated with an increase in the ratio of IFN-gamma to IL-5 mRNA(+) cells in the nasal mucosa, whereas these changes were not reflected by alterations in peripheral blood T-cell proliferative responses or cytokine production before/after treatment.
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January 2002