CHRISTIAN MORITZ, PhD
Revealing the autoantigen repertoire of IVIg responders versus non-responders in Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
Lay summary, project of Christian Moritz
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) is an acquired immune-mediated disease of the peripheral nervous system. Patients suffer from a usually disabling and progressively increasing limb weakness and sensory disturbances. Most patients with CIDP successfully respond to intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg) treatment. However, there are about 20% of CIDP patients that do not improve or even worsen upon IVIg treatment (=non-responders). Due to a worldwide shortage and the high costs of IVIg, it would be helpful to predict in advance if a patient would respond to the treatment or not. We assume that antibodies in the blood of patients might may a role, without knowing yet whether these antibodies are pathogenic or natural. Recently we found hints that the number and profile of different antibodies in the patients’ blood may predict treatment response. In this study we are going to use our already established deep-screening method of patient serum (i.e., the parallel analysis of antibodies against 16,000 potential protein targets) to count the antibodies and analyze the pattern of targeted proteins in a systemic way. Apart from this rather holistic approach, we aim to identify and validate single autoantibody biomarkers in the blood of patients that can serve as early indicators to assist the clinicians regarding diagnosis and for treatment decisions. Finding a predictor for treatment response via a simple blood test would help patients to get the best treatment for their individual condition within a prompt delay.
Dr. Christian Moritz is a biomedical researcher at the University Hospital of Saint-Étienne and the Universities of Lyon and Saint-Étienne in France. He’s member of the teams of the neurology professors Dr. Jean-Christophe Antoine, Dr. Jean-Philippe Camdessanché, and Dr. Jérôme Honnorat. His research is focused on the identification and characterization of autoantibodies in CIDP and other peripheral neuropathies. A main goal of his work is to better understand if the repertoire of targeted autoantigens (the “autoantigenome”) is associated with the response of CIDP patients to intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) treatment. Recent efforts in method optimization have led to improved sensitivities and specificities of different immunological methods. He co-discovered Argonaute antibodies as a biomarker for an autoimmune context in neurological diseases. Since 2019 he has published eight first-author publications.