Systems immunology-based drug repurposing framework to target inflammation in atherosclerosis

Nat Cardiovasc Res. 2023 Jun;2(6):550-571. doi: 10.1038/s44161-023-00278-y. Epub 2023 Jun 8.


The development of new immunotherapies to treat the inflammatory mechanisms that sustain atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) is urgently needed. Herein, we present a path to drug repurposing to identify immunotherapies for ASCVD. The integration of time-of-flight mass cytometry and RNA sequencing identified unique inflammatory signatures in peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with ASCVD plasma. By comparing these inflammatory signatures to large-scale gene expression data from the LINCS L1000 dataset, we identified drugs that could reverse this inflammatory response. Ex vivo screens, using human samples, showed that saracatinib-a phase 2a-ready SRC and ABL inhibitor-reversed the inflammatory responses induced by ASCVD plasma. In Apoe-/- mice, saracatinib reduced atherosclerosis progression by reprogramming reparative macrophages. In a rabbit model of advanced atherosclerosis, saracatinib reduced plaque inflammation measured by [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance imaging. Here we show a systems immunology-driven drug repurposing with a preclinical validation strategy to aid the development of cardiovascular immunotherapies.