ROCKVILLE, May 26, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) -- - Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had significantly elevated levels of the inflammatory cytokine LIGHT
- LIGHT was strongly linked with mortality (82%) in patients over 60 years of age
- Decreasing LIGHT levels using CERC-002 (anti-LIGHT mAb) may prevent cytokine storm induced severe ARDS and thereby reduce mortality and the need for ventilation
Cerecor Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201368871/composite CERC +3.04% and Myriad Genetics Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208126816/composite MYGN +2.54% today announced that levels of novel cytokine, LIGHT, were highly correlated with disease severity and mortality in a COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) biomarker study. The biomarker study was conducted using the serum samples of 47 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 30 healthy controls from Hackensack Meridian Health Network.
In April 2020, approximately 1,500 people in the United States died each day from COVID-19. The viral infection triggers a hyperactive immune response leading to cytokine storm and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which is a leading cause of death in patients who die of COVID-19. 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).
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, commented "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."
Dr. Garry Neil, M.D. chief scientific officer, Cerecor commented, "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."
Role of LIGHT in Acute Inflammatory Response
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.
CERC-002 (anti-LIGHT monoclonal antibody)
CERC-002 is a fully human monoclonal antibody with neutralizing action against LIGHT (TNFSF14), for treatment of children with Pediatric Crohn's Disease. Cerecor holds an open IND with FDA and the drug is currently being studied in a Phase I clinical trial for patients with refractory severe Crohn's disease, currently not recruiting due to COVID-19.
Free LIGHT Assay from Myriad RBM
Myriad RBM, a subsidiary of Myriad Genetics, Inc., in collaboration with Cerecor has developed an ultrasensitive assay for the detection of free LIGHT. The assay is validated for serum or plasma samples and has sufficient sensitivity to reliably measure LIGHT from normal and disease subjects.
Myriad Genetics Inc., is a leading personalized medicine company dedicated to being a trusted advisor transforming patient lives worldwide with pioneering molecular diagnostics. Myriad discovers and commercializes molecular diagnostic tests that: determine the risk of developing disease, accurately diagnose disease, assess the risk of disease progression, and guide treatment decisions across six major medical specialties where molecular diagnostics can significantly improve patient care and lower healthcare costs. Myriad is focused on three strategic imperatives: transitioning and expanding its hereditary cancer testing markets, diversifying its product portfolio through the introduction of new products and increasing the revenue contribution from international markets. For more information on how Myriad is making a difference, please visit the Company's website: www.myriad.com .
About Hackensack Meridian Health
Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers - Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children's hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals - Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital - Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals - JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick. Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 34,100 team members, and 6,500 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.
About the Center for Discovery and Innovation