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Novel Anti-cytokine Therapies: The 2008 Dr. Paul Janssen Award Symposium

Novel Anti-cytokine Therapies
Reported by
Jill U. Adams

Posted October 29, 2008


In the late 1980s, Marc Feldmann and Ravinder Maini made a breakthrough in autoimmune research, reporting that the cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) lay at the heart of the inflammatory response in rheumatoid arthritis. They later made the rare jump from bench research to the clinic by developing an anti-cytokine therapy using monoclonal antibodies against TNF. In recognition of their achievement, Feldmann and Maini were named winners of the 2008 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research.

A symposium in honor of the two scientists took place at the Academy on September 10, 2008. Feldmann and Maini reviewed their work with anti-TNF therapy, first in laboratory-based work, then in clinical studies. Following the awardees' lectures, Lawrence Steinman of Stanford University, Peter Lipsky of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and Peter Barnes of the National Heart and Lung Institute and Imperial College London spoke about anti-cytokine therapies in other autoimmune diseases.


This conference and eBriefing were made possible with support from:

Journal Articles

Marc Feldmann and Ravinder Maini

Brennan FM, Chantry D, Jackson A, et al. 1989. Inhibitory effect of TNF alpha antibodies on synovial cell interleukin-1 production in rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet 2: 244-247.

Brennan FM, Chantry D, Jackson A, et al. 1989. Cytokine production in culture by cells isolated from the synovial membrane. J. Autoimmun. 2 Suppl: 177-176.

Charles P, Elliott MJ, Davis D, et al. 1999. Regulation of cytokines, cytokine inhibitors, and acute-phase proteins following anti-TNF-alpha therapy in rheumatoid arthritis. J. Immunol. 163: 1521-1528.

Elliott MJ, Maini RN, Feldmann M, et al. 1993. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with chimeric monoclonal antibodies to tumor necrosis factor alpha. Arthritis Rheum. 36: 1681-1690.

Elliott MJ, Maini RN, Feldmann M, et al. 1994. Randomised double-blind comparison of chimeric monoclonal antibody to tumour necrosis factor alpha (cA2) versus placebo in rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet 344: 1105-1110.

Lipsky PE, van der Heijde DM, St Clair EW; Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Trial in Rheumatoid Arthritis with Concomitant Therapy Study Group. 2000. Infliximab and methotrexate in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. N. Engl. J. Med. 343: 1594-1602.

Monaco C, Andreakos E, Kiriakidis S, et al. 2004. Canonical pathway of nuclear factor kappa B activation selectively regulates proinflammatory and prothrombotic responses in human atherosclerosis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101: 5634-5639. Full Text

Taylor PC, Peters AM, Paleolog E, et al. 2000. Reduction of chemokine levels and leukocyte traffic to joints by tumor necrosis factor alpha blockade in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 43: 38-47.

Williams RO, Feldmann M, Maini RN. 1992. Anti-tumor necrosis factor ameliorates joint disease in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89: 9784-9788. Full Text

Lawrence Steinman

Feldman M, Steinman L. 2005. Design of effective immunotherapy for human autoimmunity. Nature 354: 942-955.

Ousman SS, Tomooka BH, van Noort JM, et al. 2007. Protective and therapeutic role for alphaB-crystallin in autoimmune demyelination. Nature 448: 421-422.

Steinman L. 2005. Blocking adhesion molecules as therapy for multiple sclerosis: natalizumab. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 4: 510-519.

Peter Lipsky

Furie R, Stohl W, Ginzler EM, Study Group B. 2008. Biologic activity and safety of belimumab, a neutralizing anti-B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) monoclonal antibody: a phase I trial in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Res. Ther. 10: R109.

Hansen A, Lipsky PE, Dömer T. 2007. B-cell lymphoproliferation in chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Nat. Clin. Pract. Rheumatol. 3: 561-569.

Lipsky PE. 2001. Systemic lupus erythematosus: an autoimmune disease of B cell hyperactivity. Nat. Immunol. 2: 764-766.

Peter Barnes

Barnes PJ. Cytokine networks in asthma and chronic obstructivepulmonary disease. J. Clin. Invest. In press.

Barnes PJ. 2008. Immunology of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nat. Rev. Immunol. 8: 183-192.

Barnes PJ. 2008. Role of GATA-3 in allergic diseases. Curr. Mol. Med. 8: 330-334.


Marc Feldmann

Imperial College London
e-mail | web site | publications

Marc Feldmann is a clinical professor at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Imperial College in London. His ongoing research aims to develop treatment for major unresolved medical problems, such as avian flu, post-operative cognitive decline, and atherosclerosis using cytokine blockade. Feldmann has received many honors including the European Inventor of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award and the Curtin Medal of Australian National University. With Maini, Feldmann has received the Crafoord prize in 2000, the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in 2002, and now the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research in 2008.

Feldmann earned his medical degree in Melbourne.

Sir Ravinder Maini

Imperial College London
e-mail | publications

Ravinder Maini is emeritus professor of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Imperial College in London. His lifetime research focus has been the biology of cytokines and antibodies and their role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Maini has received many accolades for his work, included being knighted in 2003. With Feldmann, Maini has received the Crafoord prize in 2000, the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in 2002, and now the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research in 2008.

Maini earned his medical degree at Cambridge University and trained in clinical medicine and research in London. He worked as a physician at Charing Cross Hospital and was on the faculty at the University of London. He directed the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Imperial College London from 1990 until his retirement.

Lawrence Steinman

Stanford University
e-mail | web site | publications

Lawrence Steinman is professor of neurological science, neurology and pediatrics, and Chairman of the interdepartmental program in immunology at the Stanford University School of medicine in Palo Alto, CA. Steinman has taken several therapies from the bench to the bedside, including DNA vaccines for multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes. His current research focuses on what provokes relapses and remissions in multiple sclerosis, the nature of the genes that serve as a break on brain inflammation, and the quest for a vaccine against multiple sclerosis. Steinman’s work published in 1992 led to the development of the drug Tysabri.

Steinman earned his MD from Harvard Medical School.

Peter Lipsky

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

After receiving his medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine, Peter Lipsky became a clinical associate at the National Institutes of Health. From 1975 to 1999, he worked at the University of Texas Medical Center, and was named the Harold C. Simmons Professor in Arthritis Research in 1995. In 1995 he returned to the NIH as director of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and also as the founder and the chief of the Autoimmunity Branch in the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Lipsky is internationally recognized for his research, particularly his work on T cell-macrophage interactions, the mechanisms of immune cell activation, the role of B cells in autoimmune diseases, and for his role in the development of novel therapeutics for rheumatoid arthritis.

Peter Barnes

Imperial College London
e-mail | web site | publications

Peter Barnes is professor of thoracic medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute, and head of respiratory medicine at Imperial College London. Barnes is amongst the top 50 most highly cited researchers in the world, having published more than 1000 peer-reviewed papers on asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and related topics.

Barnes did his medical training at Cambridge and Oxford in the UK.

Jill U. Adams

Jill U. Adams is a scientist-turned-science-writer based in Albany, New York.