40 research outputs found

    Extinction and the U.S. Endangered Species Act

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    The U.S. Endangered Species Act is one of the strongest laws of any nation for preventing species extinction, but quantifying the Act’s effectiveness has proven difficult. To provide one measure of effectiveness, we identified listed species that have gone extinct and used previously developed methods to update an estimate of the number of species extinctions prevented by the Act. To date, only four species have been confirmed extinct with another 22 possibly extinct following protection. Another 71 listed species are extinct or possibly extinct, but were last seen before protections were enacted, meaning the Act’s protections never had the opportunity to save these species. In contrast, a total of 39 species have been fully recovered, including 23 in the last 10 years. We estimate the Endangered Species Act has prevented the extinction of roughly 291 species since passage in 1973, and has to date saved more than 99% of species under its protection

    Increased expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in human pituitary tumors

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    PURPOSE: Subsets of pituitary tumors exhibit an aggressive clinical courses and recur despite surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Because modulation of the immune response through inhibition of T-cell checkpoints has led to durable clinical responses in multiple malignancies, we explored whether pituitary adenomas express immune-related biomarkers that could suggest suitability for immunotherapy. Specifically, programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) has emerged as a potential biomarker whose expression may portend more favorable responses to immune checkpoint blockade therapies. We thus investigated the expression of PD-L1 in pituitary adenomas. METHODS: PD-L1 RNA and protein expression were evaluated in 48 pituitary tumors, including functioning and non-functioning adenomas as well as atypical and recurrent tumors. Tumor infiltrating lymphocyte populations were also assessed by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Pituitary tumors express variable levels of PD-L1 transcript and protein. PD-L1 RNA and protein expression were significantly increased in functioning (growth hormone and prolactin-expressing) pituitary adenomas compared to non-functioning (null cell and silent gonadotroph) adenomas. Moreover, primary pituitary adenomas harbored higher levels of PD-L1 mRNA compared to recurrent tumors. Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes were observed in all pituitary tumors and were positively correlated with increased PD-L1 expression, particularly in the functional subtypes. CONCLUSIONS: Human pituitary adenomas harbor PD-L1 across subtypes, with significantly higher expression in functioning adenomas compared to non-functioning adenomas. This expression is accompanied by the presence of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. These findings suggest the existence of an immune response to pituitary tumors and raise the possibility of considering checkpoint blockade immunotherapy in cases refractory to conventional management

    Multiplexed imaging of human tuberculosis granulomas uncovers immunoregulatory features conserved across tissue and blood

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    Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is distinctly characterized by granuloma formation within infected tissues. Granulomas are dynamic and organized immune cell aggregates that limit dissemination, but can also hinder bacterial clearance. Consequently, outcome in TB is influenced by how granuloma structure and composition shift the balance between these two functions. To date, our understanding of what factors drive granuloma function in humans is limited. With this in mind, we used Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging by Time-of-Flight (MIBI-TOF) to profile 37 proteins in tissues from thirteen patients with active TB disease from the U.S. and South Africa. With this dataset, we constructed a comprehensive tissue atlas where the lineage, functional state, and spatial distribution of 19 unique cell subsets were mapped onto eight phenotypically-distinct granuloma microenvironments. This work revealed an immunosuppressed microenvironment specific to TB granulomas with spatially coordinated co-expression of IDO1 and PD-L1 by myeloid cells and proliferating regulatory T cells. Interestingly, this microenvironment lacked markers consistent with T-cell activation, supporting a myeloid-mediated mechanism of immune suppression. We observed similar trends in gene expression of immunoregulatory proteins in a confirmatory transcriptomic analysis of peripheral blood collected from over 1500 individuals with latent or active TB infection and healthy controls across 29 cohorts spanning 14 countries. Notably, PD-L1 gene expression was found to correlate with TB progression and treatment response, supporting its potential use as a blood-based biomarker. Taken together, this study serves as a framework for leveraging independent cohorts and complementary methodologies to understand how local and systemic immune responses are linked in human health and disease

    Whole-cell segmentation of tissue images with human-level performance using large-scale data annotation and deep learning

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    Understanding the spatial organization of tissues is of critical importance for both basic and translational research. While recent advances in tissue imaging are opening an exciting new window into the biology of human tissues, interpreting the data that they create is a significant computational challenge. Cell segmentation, the task of uniquely identifying each cell in an image, remains a substantial barrier for tissue imaging, as existing approaches are inaccurate or require a substantial amount of manual curation to yield useful results. Here, we addressed the problem of cell segmentation in tissue imaging data through large-scale data annotation and deep learning. We constructed TissueNet, an image dataset containing >1 million paired whole-cell and nuclear annotations for tissue images from nine organs and six imaging platforms. We created Mesmer, a deep learning-enabled segmentation algorithm trained on TissueNet that performs nuclear and whole-cell segmentation in tissue imaging data. We demonstrated that Mesmer has better speed and accuracy than previous methods, generalizes to the full diversity of tissue types and imaging platforms in TissueNet, and achieves human-level performance for whole-cell segmentation. Mesmer enabled the automated extraction of key cellular features, such as subcellular localization of protein signal, which was challenging with previous approaches. We further showed that Mesmer could be adapted to harness cell lineage information present in highly multiplexed datasets. We used this enhanced version to quantify cell morphology changes during human gestation. All underlying code and models are released with permissive licenses as a community resource

    The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer statement on best practices for multiplex immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence (IF) staining and validation.

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    OBJECTIVES: The interaction between the immune system and tumor cells is an important feature for the prognosis and treatment of cancer. Multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC) and multiplex immunofluorescence (mIF) analyses are emerging technologies that can be used to help quantify immune cell subsets, their functional state, and their spatial arrangement within the tumor microenvironment. METHODS: The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) convened a task force of pathologists and laboratory leaders from academic centers as well as experts from pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies to develop best practice guidelines for the optimization and validation of mIHC/mIF assays across platforms. RESULTS: Representative outputs and the advantages and disadvantages of mIHC/mIF approaches, such as multiplexed chromogenic IHC, multiplexed immunohistochemical consecutive staining on single slide, mIF (including multispectral approaches), tissue-based mass spectrometry, and digital spatial profiling are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: mIHC/mIF technologies are becoming standard tools for biomarker studies and are likely to enter routine clinical practice in the near future. Careful assay optimization and validation will help ensure outputs are robust and comparable across laboratories as well as potentially across mIHC/mIF platforms. Quantitative image analysis of mIHC/mIF output and data management considerations will be addressed in a complementary manuscript from this task force

    Large expert-curated database for benchmarking document similarity detection in biomedical literature search

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    Document recommendation systems for locating relevant literature have mostly relied on methods developed a decade ago. This is largely due to the lack of a large offline gold-standard benchmark of relevant documents that cover a variety of research fields such that newly developed literature search techniques can be compared, improved and translated into practice. To overcome this bottleneck, we have established the RElevant LIterature SearcH consortium consisting of more than 1500 scientists from 84 countries, who have collectively annotated the relevance of over 180 000 PubMed-listed articles with regard to their respective seed (input) article/s. The majority of annotations were contributed by highly experienced, original authors of the seed articles. The collected data cover 76% of all unique PubMed Medical Subject Headings descriptors. No systematic biases were observed across different experience levels, research fields or time spent on annotations. More importantly, annotations of the same document pairs contributed by different scientists were highly concordant. We further show that the three representative baseline methods used to generate recommended articles for evaluation (Okapi Best Matching 25, Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency and PubMed Related Articles) had similar overall performances. Additionally, we found that these methods each tend to produce distinct collections of recommended articles, suggesting that a hybrid method may be required to completely capture all relevant articles. The established database server located at https://relishdb.ict.griffith.edu.au is freely available for the downloading of annotation data and the blind testing of new methods. We expect that this benchmark will be useful for stimulating the development of new powerful techniques for title and title/abstract-based search engines for relevant articles in biomedical research.Peer reviewe

    The Economic Gains to Colorado of Amendment 66

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    Forum 686 BioScience

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    With few exceptions, the US Endangered Specie