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Biomarker Study Finds Levels of Novel Cytokine Highly Correlated To COVID-19 Severity and Mortality

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 03 Jun 2020
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A new COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) biomarker study has found that that levels of novel cytokine, LIGHT, were highly correlated with disease severity and mortality.

The study was conducted by Cerecor Inc. (Rockville, MD, USA) and Myriad Genetics Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT, USA). Coronavirus infection triggers a hyperactive immune response leading to cytokine storm and ARDS, which is a leading cause of death in patients who die of COVID-19. LIGHT (homologous to Lymphotoxin, exhibits inducible expression and competes with HSV glycoprotein D for binding to herpesvirus entry mediator, a receptor expressed on T lymphocytes) is a cytokine with inflammatory actions encoded by the TNFSF14 gene. LIGHT has been shown to play a key role in the immune response to viral pneumonia. LIGHT plays an important role in regulating immune responses in the lung, gut and skin. It stimulates T Cell and B Cell response as well as induces the release of other cytokines such as IL1, IL6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF and GM-CSF.

Although this hyperinflammatory process is poorly understood, the data from this study implicates the inflammatory cytokine, LIGHT, as a potential key driver of cytokine storm leading to ARDS and death. LIGHT levels were significantly elevated in the serum of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 versus healthy controls (p value < 0.0001). The highest LIGHT levels were found in patients who required ventilator support, particularly in patients over 60. Importantly, the data demonstrated elevated LIGHT levels were also strongly linked with mortality (p=0.02).

“These data are compelling and demonstrate that the inflammatory cytokine LIGHT may play a key role in cytokine storm associated with COVID-19 ARDS that leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Reducing LIGHT levels might be a key to dampening the cytokine storm in these patients, preventing the need for ventilator support and reducing mortality,” said Dr. David Perlin, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, senior vice president of the Center for Discovery and Innovation, and Professor of Medical Sciences at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.

“As a company, we recognized the impact of cytokine storm-induced ARDS and the need for treatment options for patients in this area of high unmet need. We remain focused on the CERC-002 clinical program and rapidly moving it forward for the treatment of cytokine storm induced ARDS,” said Dr. Garry Neil, M.D. chief scientific officer, Cerecor.

Related Links:
Cerecor Inc.
Myriad Genetics Inc.



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