The severest cases of COVID-19 have been most often marked with a “cytokine storm” – an immune system overreaction to the infection.
A new paper co-authored by David Perlin, Ph.D., the chief scientific officer and senior vice president of the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), points to one of the most prominent possible molecular culprits.
The paper published in the American Society for Microbiology journal mSphere this week identifies the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related cytokine called LIGHT as a potential treatment location.
The runaway inflammation called CRS (cytokine release syndrome) has been attributed to several other potential molecular pathways, including Interleukin (IL)-6, among others.
But in the new paper, Perlin and the other authors assessed the serum of 47 COVID-19 patients from Hackensack University Medical Center, questioning LIGHT’s potential role.
Ultimately, they found elevated levels of LIGHT – which could mean a potential therapeutic target for sick patients.
“LIGHT’s role as an immune modulator and a driver of inflammatory response and its presence in the serum of COVID-19 patients make it a plausible target for intervention,” the paper states.
Three of the other authors work for Cerecor, a pharmaceutical company which has an anti-LIGHT monoclonal antibody called CERC002, which is currently undergoing clinical-trial testing in COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).