Case Western Reserve University researchers study how the immune system responds to COVID-19

School of Medicine awarded $2.6M; receives two of 13 grants nationally
Case Western Reserve University

Newswise — CLEVELAND—New research funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) aims to boost understanding of how the immune system responds to COVID-19, from the start of infection to recovery. Two projects totaling over $2.6 million are led by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic researchers as part of the NCI’s Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet), which awarded just 13 grants nationally. The network aims to combat the pandemic by improving the ability to test for infection, especially among diverse populations, and speed the development of treatments and vaccines. 

“Case Western Reserve is a leader in emerging infections, immune response and clinical cancer investigation,” said Stan Gerson, MD, interim dean of the School of Medicine and director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the National Center for Regenerative Medicine. “This funding from the National Cancer Institute allows us to pivot existing knowledge and resources to accelerate our understanding of COVID-19 infections to optimize our protections and response to this clinically devastating infection.” 

From the time a person is exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the immune system is hard at work performing early immunological events. Doctors and researchers have been unable to fully understand the immune response to CoV2 and why certain people show symptoms and others remain asymptomatic.

A team of investigators including Adam Burgener, PhD, Mark Cameron, PhD, David Canaday, MD, Jeff Jacobson, MD, Jon Karn, PhD, Christopher L. King, MD, PhD, and Curtis Tatsuoka, PhD at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, acknowledges that a major gap exists in understanding antibody resistance to CoV2 and the series of immunological events that take place after exposure.

The team is focused on discerning how the earliest innate immune responses to CoV2 either positively or negatively affect development of humoral immunity. Their research involves following household contacts of clinical cases of CoV2 to determine innate and adaptive immune events associated with this early viral exposure over a 28-day period. They will track how this impacts the durability of immunity to CoV2 over several years.

“By characterizing the early immune response prior to onset of symptoms we hope to identify features that will predict symptomatic versus asymptomatic cases, disease severity and long-term immunity,” said King, who is helping to coordinate the team’s effort.

Recovery from COVID-19 can put extreme pressure on the immune system, especially for patients with pre-existing complications. Certain individuals, including those with impaired immune function and those with heart disease, appear to be at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19.

David Zidar, MD, an associate professor at the School of Medicine and an interventional cardiologist at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, and Timothy A. Chan, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology at Cleveland Clinic and co-director of the National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve, are investigating differences in immunologic function and risk factors for heart disease, and how these relate to COVID-19. They will also compare which patients develop heart involvement in response to COVID-19 versus those who do not, identifying ways the virus may directly or indirectly attack distant organs such as the heart.

The team’s research could have an impact for all COVID-19 patients with pre-existing conditions, not just those with heart disease.

“We are trying to understand the intrinsic mechanisms that explain why some develop life-threatening disease whereas others are minimally affected,” said Zidar. “We hope to develop strategies to identify and prevent severe illness from developing in those with COVID.”

                                                            ###

This research is supported by National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute grant awards U01CA260539 and U01CA260513.

About Case Western Reserve University

Case Western Reserve University is one of the country's leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,100 undergraduate and 6,700 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit case.edu to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.

 

About Cleveland Clinic Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 67,554 employees worldwide are more than 4,520 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,000 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,026-bed health system that includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 18 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2019, there were 9.8 million total outpatient visits, 309,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 255,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/CCforMedia and twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

 

 




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4573
Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:40 PM EST
Research Links Social Isolation to COVID-19 Protocol Resistance
Humboldt State University

As health officials continue to implore the public to wear masks and practice social distancing, recent research by Humboldt State University Psychology Professor Amber Gaffney provides key insights into connections between social isolation, conspiratorial thinking, and resistance to COVID-19 protocols.

Newswise: Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Released: 15-Jan-2021 5:35 PM EST
Rapid blood test identifies COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe disease
Washington University in St. Louis

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that a relatively simple and rapid blood test can predict which patients with COVID-19 are at highest risk of severe complications or death. The blood test measures levels of mitochondrial DNA, which normally resides inside the energy factories of cells. Mitochondrial DNA spilling out of cells and into the bloodstream is a sign that a particular type of violent cell death is taking place in the body.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:55 PM EST
COVID-19 deaths really are different. But best practices for ICU care should still apply, studies suggest.
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

COVID-19 deaths are indeed different from other lung failure deaths, according to two recent studies, with 56% of COVID-19 patients dying primarily from the lung damage caused by the virus, compared with 22% of those whose lungs fail due to other causes. But, the researchers conclude, the kind of care needed to help sustain people through the worst cases of all forms of lung failure is highly similar, and just needs to be fine-tuned.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 2:50 PM EST
45% of adults over 65 lack online medical accounts that could help them sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

As the vaccination of older adults against COVID-19 begins across the country, new poll data suggests that many of them don’t yet have access to the “patient portal” online systems that could make it much easier for them to schedule a vaccination appointment. In all, 45% of adults aged 65 to 80 had not set up an account with their health provider’s portal system.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 1:30 PM EST
New England Journal of Medicine publishes COVID-19 treatment trial results
University of Texas at San Antonio

A clinical trial involving COVID-19 patients hospitalized at UT Health San Antonio and University Health, among roughly 100 sites globally, found that a combination of the drugs baricitinib and remdesivir reduced time to recovery, according to results published Dec. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:40 PM EST
DNA test can quickly identify pneumonia in patients with severe COVID-19, aiding faster treatment
University of Cambridge

Researchers have developed a DNA test to quickly identify secondary infections in COVID-19 patients, who have double the risk of developing pneumonia while on ventilation than non-COVID-19 patients.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:30 PM EST
Fight CRC To Present Research Findings on The Impact of COVID-19 on the Colorectal Cancer Community at 2021 GI ASCO
Fight Colorectal Cancer

Fight Colorectal Cancer presents abstract at Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium highlighting the need to address the barriers and opportunities for care within the colorectal cancer community during the COVID-19 pandemic

Released: 15-Jan-2021 12:25 PM EST
Technion to Award Honorary Doctorate to Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla
American Technion Society

Israel's Technion will award an honorary doctorate to Pfizer CEO and Chairman Dr. Albert Bourla, for leading the development of the novel vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The honorary doctorate will be conferred at the Technion Board of Governors meeting in November 2021.

Released: 15-Jan-2021 11:30 AM EST
UW researchers develop tool to equitably distribute limited vaccines
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health have developed a tool that incorporates a person’s age and socioeconomic status to prioritize vaccine distribution among people who otherwise share similar risks due to their jobs.


Showing results

110 of 4573

close
1.5352