Melbourne Medical School Collected Works - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 24
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Infection-induced plasmablasts are a nutrient sink that impairs humoral immunity to malaria
    Vijay, R ; Guthmiller, JJ ; Sturtz, AJ ; Surette, FA ; Rogers, KJ ; Sompallae, RR ; Li, F ; Pope, RL ; Chan, J-A ; Rivera, FDL ; Andrew, D ; Webb, L ; Maury, WJ ; Xue, H-H ; Engwerda, CR ; McCarthy, JS ; Boyle, MJ ; Butler, NS (Nature Research, 2020-05-18)
    Plasmodium parasite–specific antibodies are critical for protection against malaria, yet the development of long-lived and effective humoral immunity against Plasmodium takes many years and multiple rounds of infection and cure. Here, we report that the rapid development of short-lived plasmablasts during experimental malaria unexpectedly hindered parasite control by impeding germinal center responses. Metabolic hyperactivity of plasmablasts resulted in nutrient deprivation of the germinal center reaction, limiting the generation of memory B cell and long-lived plasma cell responses. Therapeutic administration of a single amino acid to experimentally infected mice was sufficient to overcome the metabolic constraints imposed by plasmablasts and enhanced parasite clearance and the formation of protective humoral immune memory responses. Thus, our studies not only challenge the current model describing the role and function of blood-stage Plasmodium-induced plasmablasts but they also reveal new targets and strategies to improve anti-Plasmodium humoral immunity.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Setting Our Sights on Infectious Diseases
    De Rycker, M ; Horn, D ; Aldridge, B ; Amewu, RK ; Barry, CE ; Buckner, FS ; Cook, S ; Ferguson, MAJ ; Gobeau, N ; Herrmann, J ; Herding, P ; Hope, W ; Keiser, J ; Lafuente-Monasterio, MJ ; Leeson, PD ; Leroy, D ; Manjunatha, UH ; McCarthy, J ; Miles, TJ ; Mizrahi, V ; Moshynets, O ; Niles, J ; Overington, JP ; Pottage, J ; Rao, SPS ; Read, KD ; Ribeiro, I ; Silver, LL ; Southern, J ; Spangenberg, T ; Sundar, S ; Taylor, C ; Van Voorhis, W ; White, NJ ; Wyllie, S ; Wyatt, PG ; Gilbert, IH (American Chemical Society, 2020-01-01)
    In May 2019, the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR) at the University of Dundee, UK, held an international conference with the aim of discussing some key questions around discovering new medicines for infectious diseases and a particular focus on diseases affecting Low and Middle Income Countries. There is an urgent need for new drugs to treat most infectious diseases. We were keen to see if there were lessons that we could learn across different disease areas and between the preclinical and clinical phases with the aim of exploring how we can improve and speed up the drug discovery, translational, and clinical development processes. We started with an introductory session on the current situation and then worked backward from clinical development to combination therapy, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) studies, drug discovery pathways, and new starting points and targets. This Viewpoint aims to capture some of the learnings.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging in experimental human malaria to identify organ-specific changes in morphology and glucose metabolism: A prospective cohort study
    Woodford, J ; Gillman, A ; Jenvey, P ; Roberts, J ; Woolley, S ; Barber, BE ; Fernandez, M ; Rose, S ; Thomas, P ; Anstey, NM ; McCarthy, JS ; von Seidlein, L (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2021-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax has been proposed to infect and replicate in the human spleen and bone marrow. Compared to Plasmodium falciparum, which is known to undergo microvascular tissue sequestration, little is known about the behavior of P. vivax outside of the circulating compartment. This may be due in part to difficulties in studying parasite location and activity in life. METHODS AND FINDINGS: To identify organ-specific changes during the early stages of P. vivax infection, we performed 18-F fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (PET/MRI) at baseline and just prior to onset of clinical illness in P. vivax experimentally induced blood-stage malaria (IBSM) and compared findings to P. falciparum IBSM. Seven healthy, malaria-naive participants were enrolled from 3 IBSM trials: NCT02867059, ACTRN12616000174482, and ACTRN12619001085167. Imaging took place between 2016 and 2019 at the Herston Imaging Research Facility, Australia. Postinoculation imaging was performed after a median of 9 days in both species (n = 3 P. vivax; n = 4 P. falciparum). All participants were aged between 19 and 23 years, and 6/7 were male. Splenic volume (P. vivax: +28.8% [confidence interval (CI) +10.3% to +57.3%], P. falciparum: +22.9 [CI -15.3% to +61.1%]) and radiotracer uptake (P. vivax: +15.5% [CI -0.7% to +31.7%], P. falciparum: +5.5% [CI +1.4% to +9.6%]) increased following infection with each species, but more so in P. vivax infection (volume: p = 0.72, radiotracer uptake: p = 0.036). There was no change in FDG uptake in the bone marrow (P. vivax: +4.6% [CI -15.9% to +25.0%], P. falciparum: +3.2% [CI -3.2% to +9.6%]) or liver (P. vivax: +6.2% [CI -8.7% to +21.1%], P. falciparum: -1.4% [CI -4.6% to +1.8%]) following infection with either species. In participants with P. vivax, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelet count decreased from baseline at the time of postinoculation imaging. Decrements in hemoglobin and hematocrit were significantly greater in participants with P. vivax infection compared to P. falciparum. The main limitations of this study are the small sample size and the inability of this tracer to differentiate between host and parasite metabolic activity. CONCLUSIONS: PET/MRI indicated greater splenic tropism and metabolic activity in early P. vivax infection compared to P. falciparum, supporting the hypothesis of splenic accumulation of P. vivax very early in infection. The absence of uptake in the bone marrow and liver suggests that, at least in early infection, these tissues do not harbor a large parasite biomass or do not provoke a prominent metabolic response. PET/MRI is a safe and noninvasive method to evaluate infection-associated organ changes in morphology and glucose metabolism.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Analytical validation of a real-time hydrolysis probe PCR assay for quantifying Plasmodium falciparum parasites in experimentally infected human adults
    Wang, CYT ; Ballard, EL ; Pava, Z ; Marquart, L ; Gaydon, J ; Murphy, SC ; Whiley, D ; O'Rourke, P ; McCarthy, JS (BMC, 2021-04-10)
    BACKGROUND: Volunteer infection studies have become a standard model for evaluating drug efficacy against Plasmodium infections. Molecular techniques such as qPCR are used in these studies due to their ability to provide robust and accurate estimates of parasitaemia at increased sensitivity compared to microscopy. The validity and reliability of assays need to be ensured when used to evaluate the efficacy of candidate drugs in clinical trials. METHODS: A previously described 18S rRNA gene qPCR assay for quantifying Plasmodium falciparum in blood samples was evaluated. Assay performance characteristics including analytical sensitivity, reportable range, precision, accuracy and specificity were assessed using experimental data and data compiled from phase 1 volunteer infection studies conducted between 2013 and 2019. Guidelines for validation of laboratory-developed molecular assays were followed. RESULTS: The reportable range was 1.50 to 6.50 log10 parasites/mL with a limit of detection of 2.045 log10 parasites/mL of whole blood based on a parasite diluted standard series over this range. The assay was highly reproducible with minimal intra-assay (SD = 0.456 quantification cycle (Cq) units [0.137 log10 parasites/mL] over 21 replicates) and inter-assay (SD = 0.604 Cq units [0.182 log10 parasites/mL] over 786 qPCR runs) variability. Through an external quality assurance program, the QIMR assay was shown to generate accurate results (quantitative bias + 0.019 log10 parasites/mL against nominal values). Specificity was 100% after assessing 164 parasite-free human blood samples. CONCLUSIONS: The 18S rRNA gene qPCR assay is specific and highly reproducible and can provide reliable and accurate parasite quantification. The assay is considered fit for use in evaluating drug efficacy in malaria clinical trials.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Retrospective Analysis Using Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Modeling and Simulation Offers Improvements in Efficiency of the Design of Volunteer Infection Studies for Antimalarial Drug Development
    Andrews, KA ; Owen, JS ; McCarthy, J ; Wesche, D ; Gobeau, N ; Grasela, TH ; Mohrle, JJ (WILEY, 2020-12-16)
    Volunteer infection studies using the induced blood stage malaria (IBSM) model have been shown to facilitate antimalarial drug development. Such studies have traditionally been undertaken in single-dose cohorts, as many as necessary to obtain the dose-response relationship. To enhance ethical and logistic aspects of such studies, and to reduce the number of cohorts needed to establish the dose-response relationship, we undertook a retrospective in silico analysis of previously accrued data to improve study design. A pharmacokinetic (PK)/pharmacodynamic (PD) model was developed from initial fictive-cohort data for OZ439 (mixing the data of the three single-dose cohorts as: n = 2 on 100 mg, 2 on 200 mg, and 4 on 500 mg). A three-compartment model described OZ439 PKs. Net growth of parasites was modeled using a Gompertz function and drug-induced parasite death using a Hill function. Parameter estimates for the PK and PD models were comparable for the multidose single-cohort vs. the pooled analysis of all cohorts. Simulations based on the multidose single-cohort design described the complete data from the original IBSM study. The novel design allows for the ascertainment of the PK/PD relationship early in the study, providing a basis for rational dose selection for subsequent cohorts and studies.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Reduced circulating dendritic cells in acute Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium falciparum malaria despite elevated plasma Flt3 ligand levels
    Loughland, JR ; Woodberry, T ; Oyong, D ; Piera, KA ; Amante, FH ; Barber, BE ; Grigg, MJ ; William, T ; Engwerda, CR ; Anstey, NM ; McCarthy, JS ; Boyle, MJ ; Minigo, G (BMC, 2021-02-16)
    BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum malaria increases plasma levels of the cytokine Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Flt3L), a haematopoietic factor associated with dendritic cell (DC) expansion. It is unknown if the zoonotic parasite Plasmodium knowlesi impacts Flt3L or DC in human malaria. This study investigated circulating DC and Flt3L associations in adult malaria and in submicroscopic experimental infection. METHODS: Plasma Flt3L concentration and blood CD141+ DC, CD1c+ DC and plasmacytoid DC (pDC) numbers were assessed in (i) volunteers experimentally infected with P. falciparum and in Malaysian patients with uncomplicated (ii) P. falciparum or (iii) P. knowlesi malaria. RESULTS: Plasmodium knowlesi caused a decline in all circulating DC subsets in adults with malaria. Plasma Flt3L was elevated in acute P. falciparum and P. knowlesi malaria with no increase in a subclinical experimental infection. Circulating CD141+ DCs, CD1c+ DCs and pDCs declined in all adults tested, for the first time extending the finding of DC subset decline in acute malaria to the zoonotic parasite P. knowlesi. CONCLUSIONS: In adults, submicroscopic Plasmodium infection causes no change in plasma Flt3L but does reduce circulating DCs. Plasma Flt3L concentrations increase in acute malaria, yet this increase is insufficient to restore or expand circulating CD141+ DCs, CD1c+ DCs or pDCs. These data imply that haematopoietic factors, yet to be identified and not Flt3L, involved in the sensing/maintenance of circulating DC are impacted by malaria and a submicroscopic infection. The zoonotic P. knowlesi is similar to other Plasmodium spp in compromising DC in adult malaria.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Development and evaluation of a new Plasmodium falciparum 3D7 blood stage malaria cell bank for use in malaria volunteer infection studies
    Woolley, SD ; Fernandez, M ; Rebelo, M ; Llewellyn, SA ; Marquart, L ; Amante, FH ; Jennings, HE ; Webster, R ; Trenholme, K ; Chalon, S ; Moehrle, JJ ; McCarthy, JS ; Barber, BE (BMC, 2021-02-16)
    BACKGROUND: New anti-malarial therapeutics are required to counter the threat of increasing drug resistance. Malaria volunteer infection studies (VIS), particularly the induced blood stage malaria (IBSM) model, play a key role in accelerating anti-malarial drug development. Supply of the reference 3D7-V2 Plasmodium falciparum malaria cell bank (MCB) is limited. This study aimed to develop a new MCB, and compare the safety and infectivity of this MCB with the existing 3D7-V2 MCB, in a VIS. A second bank (3D7-V1) developed in 1995 was also evaluated. METHODS: The 3D7-V2 MCB was expanded in vitro using a bioreactor to produce a new MCB designated 3D7-MBE-008. This bank and 3D7-V1 were then evaluated using the IBSM model, where healthy participants were intravenously inoculated with blood-stage parasites. Participants were treated with artemether-lumefantrine when parasitaemia or clinical thresholds were reached. Safety, infectivity and parasite growth and clearance were evaluated. RESULTS: The in vitro expansion of 3D7-V2 produced 200 vials of the 3D7-MBE-008 MCB, with a parasitaemia of 4.3%. This compares to 0.1% in the existing 3D7-V2 MCB, and < 0.01% in the 3D7-V1 MCB. All four participants (two per MCB) developed detectable P. falciparum infection after inoculation with approximately 2800 parasites. For the 3D7-MBE-008 MCB, the parasite multiplication rate of 48 h (PMR48) using non-linear mixed effects modelling was 34.6 (95% CI 18.5-64.6), similar to the parental 3D7-V2 line; parasitaemia in both participants exceeded 10,000/mL by day 8. Growth of the 3D7-V1 was slower (PMR48 of 11.5 [95% CI 8.5-15.6]), with parasitaemia exceeding 10,000 parasites/mL on days 10 and 8.5. Rapid parasite clearance followed artemether-lumefantrine treatment in all four participants, with clearance half-lives of 4.01 and 4.06 (weighted mean 4.04 [95% CI 3.61-4.57]) hours for 3D7-MBE-008 and 4.11 and 4.52 (weighted mean 4.31 [95% CI 4.16-4.47]) hours for 3D7-V1. A total of 59 adverse events occurred; most were of mild severity with three being severe in the 3D7-MBE-008 study. CONCLUSION: The safety, growth and clearance profiles of the expanded 3D7-MBE-008 MCB closely resemble that of its parent, indicating its suitability for future studies. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials registry numbers: P3487 (3D7-V1): ACTRN12619001085167. P3491 (3D7-MBE-008): ACTRN12619001079134.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Defining the Antimalarial Activity of Cipargamin in Healthy Volunteers Experimentally Infected with Blood-Stage Plasmodium falciparum
    McCarthy, JS ; Abd-Rahman, AN ; Collins, KA ; Marquart, L ; Griffin, P ; Kummel, A ; Fuchs, A ; Winnips, C ; Mishra, V ; Csermak-Renner, K ; Jain, JP ; Gandhi, P (AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2021-02-01)
    The spiroindolone cipargamin, a new antimalarial compound that inhibits Plasmodium ATP4, is currently in clinical development. This study aimed to characterize the antimalarial activity of cipargamin in healthy volunteers experimentally infected with blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum Eight subjects were intravenously inoculated with parasite-infected erythrocytes and received a single oral dose of 10 mg cipargamin 7 days later. Blood samples were collected to monitor the development and clearance of parasitemia and plasma cipargamin concentrations. Parasite regrowth was treated with piperaquine monotherapy to clear asexual parasites, while allowing gametocyte transmissibility to mosquitoes to be investigated. An initial rapid decrease in parasitemia occurred in all participants following cipargamin dosing, with a parasite clearance half-life of 3.99 h. As anticipated from the dose selected, parasite regrowth occurred in all 8 subjects 3 to 8 days after dosing and allowed the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationship to be determined. Based on the limited data from the single subtherapeutic dose cohort, a MIC of 11.6 ng/ml and minimum parasiticidal concentration that achieves 90% of maximum effect of 23.5 ng/ml were estimated, and a single 95-mg dose (95% confidence interval [CI], 50 to 270) was predicted to clear 109 parasites/ml. Low gametocyte densities were detected in all subjects following piperaquine treatment, which did not transmit to mosquitoes. Serious adverse liver function changes were observed in three subjects, which led to premature study termination. The antimalarial activity characterized in this study supports the further clinical development of cipargamin as a new treatment for P. falciparum malaria, although the hepatic safety profile of the compound warrants further evaluation. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under identifier NCT02543086.).
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Safety and feasibility of apheresis to harvest and concentrate parasites from subjects with induced blood stage Plasmodium vivax infection
    Odedra, A ; Mudie, K ; Kennedy, G ; Watts, RE ; Rossignol, E ; Mitchell, H ; Gower, J ; Rebelo, M ; Pava, Z ; Pawliw, R ; Woolley, S ; Lalloo, DG ; Robinson, G ; Lynch, S ; Collins, KA ; Amante, F ; McCarthy, J (BMC, 2021-01-14)
    BACKGROUND: In the absence of a method to culture Plasmodium vivax, the only way to source parasites is ex vivo. This hampers many aspects of P. vivax research. This study aimed to assess the safety of apheresis, a method for selective removal of specific components of blood as a means of extracting and concentrating P. vivax parasites. METHODS: An iterative approach was employed across four non-immune healthy human subjects in single subject cohorts. All four subjects were inoculated with ~ 564 blood stage P. vivax (HMP013-Pv) and subjected to apheresis 10 to 11 days later. Blood samples collected during apheresis (haematocrit layers 0.5% to 11%) were tested for the presence and concentration of P. vivax by microscopy, flow cytometry, 18S rDNA qPCR for total parasites, and pvs25 qRT-PCR for female gametocyte transcripts. Safety was determined by monitoring adverse events. Malaria transmission to mosquitoes was assessed by membrane feeding assays. RESULTS: There were no serious adverse events and no significant safety concerns. Apheresis concentrated asexual parasites by up to 4.9-fold (range: 0.9-4.9-fold) and gametocytes by up to 1.45-fold (range: 0.38-1.45-fold) compared to pre-apheresis densities. No single haematocrit layer contained > 40% of all the recovered P. vivax asexual parasites. Ex vivo concentration of parasites by Percoll gradient centrifugation of whole blood achieved greater concentration of gametocytes than apheresis. Mosquito transmission was enhanced by up to fivefold in a single apheresis sample compared to pre-apheresis. CONCLUSION: The modest level of parasite concentration suggests that the use of apheresis may not be an ideal method for harvesting P. vivax. Trial Registration Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) Trial ID: ACTRN12617001502325 registered on 19th October 2017. https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=373812.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Epidemiology of soil-transmitted helminth infections in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia
    Kurscheid, J ; Laksono, B ; Park, MJ ; Clements, ACA ; Sadler, R ; McCarthy, JS ; Nery, SV ; Soares-Magalhaes, R ; Halton, K ; Hadisaputro, S ; Richardson, A ; Indjein, L ; Wangdi, K ; Stewart, DE ; Gray, DJ ; Chai, J-Y (Public Library of Science, 2020-12-01)
    Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are endemic in Indonesia. However, prevalence data for many parts of the country are incomplete. The aim of this study was to determine human STH prevalence and knowledge and practices relating to STH risk behaviour, to provide a current view of the status of STH infection in rural communities in Central Java. A cross-sectional survey of 16 villages was conducted in Semarang, Central Java in 2015. Demographic and household data together with information about knowledge and practices relating to STH and hygiene were elicited through face-to-face interviews. Stool samples were collected and examined using the flotation method. Children (aged 2–12 years) also had their haemoglobin (Hb) levels, height and weight data collected, and BMI estimated. Data were analysed using univariate logistic regression analysis. A total of 6,466 individuals with a mean age of 33.5 years (range: 2–93) from 2,195 households were interviewed. The overall prevalence of STH was 33.8% with Ascaris lumbricoides (roundworm) the predominant nematode identified (prevalence = 26.0%). Hookworm and Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) were found in 7.9% and 1.8% of participants, respectively. Females were at increased odds of infection with A. lumbricoides (adjusted OR 1.14, 95% CI [1.02–1.29], p = 0.02). Adults in age groups 51–60 and over 60 years had the highest odds of being infected with hookworm (adjusted OR 3.01, 95% CI [1.84–4.91], p<0.001 and adjusted OR 3.79, 95% CI [2.30–6.26], p<0.001, respectively) compared to 6–12 year olds. Farmers also had higher odds of being infected with hookworm (adjusted OR 2.36, 95% CI [1.17–4.76], p = 0.02) compared to other occupation categories. Poverty (OR 2.14, 95% CI [1.77–2.58], p<0.001), overcrowding (OR 1.35, 95% CI [1.27–1.44], p<0.001), goat ownership (OR 1.61, 95% CI [1.10–2.41], p = 0.02) and the presence of dry floor space in the home (OR 0.73, 95% CI [0.58–0.91], p = 0.01) were all household factors significantly associated with an increased odds of infection. Infection with STH was not significantly associated with the gastrointestinal illness (p>0.05), BMI or Hb levels; however, one third of all 2–12 year olds surveyed were found to be anaemic (i.e. Hb concentrations below 110g/l or 115g/l for children under 5 and 5 years or older, respectively), with a greater proportion of school-age children at risk. Knowledge and behaviour related to hygiene and gastrointestinal diseases varied widely and were generally not associated with STH infection. The study revealed that STH infection remains endemic in Central Java despite ongoing deworming programs. Current control efforts would benefit from being re-evaluated to determine a more effective way forward.