Background: Neuroinflammation plays a pathogenic role in Parkinson's disease (PD). Immunotherapies that restore brain homeostasis can mitigate neurodegeneration by transforming T cell phenotypes. Sargramostim has gained considerable attention as an immune transformer through laboratory bench to bedside clinical studies. However, its therapeutic use has been offset by dose-dependent adverse events. Therefore, we performed a reduced drug dose regimen to evaluate safety and to uncover novel disease-linked biomarkers during 5 days/week sargramostim treatments for one year. Methods: Five PD subjects were enrolled in a Phase 1b, unblinded, open-label study to assess safety and tolerability of 3 μg/kg/day sargramostim. Complete blood counts and chemistry profiles, physical examinations, adverse events (AEs), immune profiling, Movement Disorder Society-Sponsored Revision of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) scores, T cell phenotypes/function, DNA methylation, and gene and protein patterns were evaluated. Findings: Sargramostim administered at 3 μg/kg/day significantly reduced numbers and severity of AEs/subject/month compared to 6 μg/kg/day treatment. While MDS-UPDRS Part III score reductions were recorded, peripheral blood immunoregulatory phenotypes and function were elevated. Hypomethylation of upstream FOXP3 DNA elements was also increased. Interpretation: Long-term sargramostim treatment at 3 μg/kg/day is well-tolerated and effective in restoring immune homeostasis. There were decreased numbers and severity of AEs and restored peripheral immune function coordinate with increased numbers and function of Treg. MDS-UPDRS Part III scores did not worsen. Larger patient numbers need be evaluated to assess conclusive drug efficacy (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03790670). Funding: The research was supported by community funds to the University of Nebraska Foundation and federal research support from 5 R01NS034239-25.
- Granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor
- Parkinson's disease
- Regulatory T cells
- Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)