Recent News

See below for recent news from the CSTL:

CSTL Director, Dr. David Fajgenbaum, has written a paper on Cytokine Storms with Dr. Carl June that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on December 3, 2020! A “cytokine storm” is an immune response that spirals out of control and is characterized by uncontrolled release of proinflammatory cytokines. In this paper, Drs. Fajgenbaum and June developed the first unifying definition of a cytokine storm and highlighted the most up-to-date research into treatment approaches for diseases such as Castleman disease and COVID-19.

To read more information about this paper on the CSTL website, please click here. We have put together a discussion board for anyone who wants to comment about this paper and discuss cytokine storms. If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, please join this discussion board here.
In early spring 2021, we are planning to organize a virtual Cytokine Storm Summit to discuss this paper and important next steps for the field. If you are interested in more details for this event, please contact Amber Cohen at or 215-614-0935

A new paper published in Infectious Diseases & Therapy catalogued every drug used to treat COVID-19 in the medical literature. Researchers found that physicians have reported in the use of 115 different off-label and experimental treatments. The event, called COvid19 Registry of Off-label & New Agents (CORONA), is an attempt to take inventory of what treatments are used as well as identify any evidence of treatments that warrant further investigation in a randomized clinical trial. Researchers reviewed about 2,700 published papers detailing the treatment of COVID-19 and gathered data on 9,152 patients treated with 115 different drugs. 

Check out the PennMedicine Press Release!

A paper recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight seeks to determine what's happening at the cellular level in the immune systems of Castleman Disease patients during a cytokine storm. Researchers took blood samples from iMCD patients who were asymptomatic and from those who were in flare to determine the differences in their immune cells. They discovered a group of cytokines called Type-I Interferons are highly active when patents are in flare and that the JAK pathway seems to be a critical mediator of the cytokine storm. 

Check out the Penn News Release!

A study recently published in Blood is one of the largest research studies of Castleman Disease ever performed. Researchers used 26 samples from iMCD patients to demonstrate that there is increased activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. These findings suggest that patients who do not respond to siltuximab may have another option in an inhibitor drug called sirolimus that blocks this pathway. A clinical trial is underway that tests sirolumus in Il-6 blockade refractory patients. This research also highlights the possibility of drug repurposing for the rare disease community. 

Check out the Penn News Release!