Into the Eye of the COVID-19 Cytokine Storm

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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been observed to set off the cytokine storm syndrome, a hyperactive immune response characterized by the release of cytokines, in some patients with severe infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

In this episode, we get expert perspectives on the immunopathology and management of the cytokine storm in adult and pediatric patients with COVID-19.

Our featured guests are Scott W. Canna, MD, assistant professor of the departments of pediatrics and immunology at the University of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital and Randy Q. Cron, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and director of the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology at Children’s of Alabama.

Featured Guests

Scott Canna, MD, has actively been researching ways to better understand and treat inflammatory disorders for over a decade. His current research focuses on the intersections of autoinflammation and cytokine storm disorders. In particular, his laboratory is interested in how problems with an inflammatory group of proteins called the inflammasome result in a life threatening inflammatory disease called the macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). Dr Canna and his team are dedicated to combining clinical investigation with relevant model systems to push the translational study of systemic inflammation, cultivate new collaborations, and drive drug discovery.

As a secondary faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Immunology, Dr Canna is committed to contributing to the advancement of both the science and clinical practice of immune dysregulation.

Randy Cron, MD, PhD, is a basic, translational, and clinical scientist who studies the MAS. He received his MD from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed his pediatric residency at Stanford, and pediatric rheumatology fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle.

After completing postdoctoral training, Dr Cron held his first faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania/Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia until being recruited in 2007 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to start a pediatric rheumatology division. Prof Cron serves as the Arthritis Foundation, Alabama chapter endowed chair and division director of pediatric rheumatology at UAB. He also developed and now serves as the program director of the Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Program at UAB.

Dr Cron also has a PhD in immunology from the University of Chicago, and his laboratory’s basic research focuses on transcriptional regulation in CD4 T lymphocytes as it relates to both systemic lupus erythematosus and HIV-1/AIDS. His clinical and translational research interests include childhood arthritis-related MAS and temporomandibular joint arthritis.

Dr Cron has published over 190 PubMed-cited manuscripts and 30 textbook chapters, and he is co-editor of the first ever textbook devoted to cytokine storm syndromes.