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Infectious disease

Influenza virus

Granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF; CSF2)

Mouse studies suggest increasing GM-CSF signaling in airway epithelial cells could help promote recovery from influenza virus infection. In mice infected with a strain of influenza A, isolated airway epithelial cells showed greater Gm-csf expression than cells from mock-infected mice. Mice that only expressed Gm-csf in airway epithelial cells showed higher survival following influenza virus challenge than virus-challenged wild-type mice. Next steps include setting up a pilot study to evaluate nebulized GM-CSF in patients with pneumonia-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Leukine sargramostim, a yeast-derived GM-CSF from Bayer AG and Sanofi, is marketed to treat acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
At least seven other companies have GM-CSF-based compounds in Phase II testing or earlier to treat various cancers or neutropenia.

SciBX 5(38); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.1008
Published online Sept. 27, 2012

Patent status undisclosed; unavailable for licensing

Unkel, B. et al. J. Exp. Med.; published online Sept. 10, 2012;
Contact: Susanne Herold, University of Giessen Lung Center, Giessen, Germany