143 research outputs found

    A Two-cohort Phase I Study of Weekly Oxaliplatin and Gemcitabine, Then Oxaliplatin, Gemcitabine, and Erlotinib During Radiotherapy for Unresectable Pancreatic Carcinoma

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    Gemcitabine is a potent radiosensitizer. When combined with standard radiotherapy (XRT) the gemcitabine dose must be reduced to about 10% of its conventional dose. Oxaliplatin and erlotinib also have radiosensitizing properties. In vitro, oxaliplatin and gemcitabine have demonstrated synergy. We aimed to determine the maximum tolerated dose of oxaliplatin and gemcitabine with concurrent XRT, then oxaliplatin, gemcitaibine and erlotinib with XRT in the treatment of locally advanced and low volume metastatic pancreatic or biliary cancer

    A phase I trial of everolimus in combination with 5-FU/LV, mFOLFOX6 and mFOLFOX6 plus panitumumab in patients with refractory solid tumors

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    This phase I study investigated the safety, dose limiting toxicity, and efficacy in three cohorts all treated with the mTOR inhibitor everolimus that was delivered 1) in combination with 5-fluourouracil with leucovorin (5-FU/LV), 2) with mFOLFOX6 (5-FU/LV + Oxaliplatin), and 3) with mFOLFOX6 + panitumumab in patients with refractory solid tumors

    Neoadjuvant therapy reduces cardiopulmunary function in patients undegoing oesophagectomy

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    Neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) for oesophageal cancer may reduce cardiopulmonary function, assessed by cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPEX). Impaired cardiopulmonary function is associated with mortality following esophagectomy. We sought to assess the impact of NAT on cardiopulmonary function using CPEX and assessing the clinical relevance of any change in particular if changes were associated with post-operative morbidity. This was a prospective, cohort study of 40 patients in whom CPEX was performed before and after NAT. Thirty-eight patients underwent surgery and follow-up with perioperative outcomes measured. The primary variables derived from CPEX were the anaerobic threshold (AT) and peak oxygen uptake (V˙Opeak). There were significant reductions in the AT (pre-NAT: 12.4 ± 3.0 vs. post-NAT 10.6 ± 2.0 mL kg.min; p = 0.001). This reduction was also evident for V˙Opeak (pre-NAT: 16.6 ± 3.6 vs. post-NAT 14.9 ± 3.7 mL kg.min; p = 0.004). The relative reduction in V˙Opeak was greater in chemotherapy patients who developed any peri-operative morbidity (p = 0.04). For patients who underwent chemoradiotherapy, there was a significantly greater relative reduction in AT (p = 0.03) for those who encountered a respiratory complication. Cardiopulmonary function significantly declined as a result of NAT prior to oesophagectomy. The reduction in AT and V˙Opeak was similar in both the chemotherapy and chemoradiotherapy groups

    Phase II Open Label Study of Valproic Acid in Spinal Muscular Atrophy

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    UNLABELLED:Preliminary in vitro and in vivo studies with valproic acid (VPA) in cell lines and patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) demonstrate increased expression of SMN, supporting the possibility of therapeutic benefit. We performed an open label trial of VPA in 42 subjects with SMA to assess safety and explore potential outcome measures to help guide design of future controlled clinical trials. Subjects included 2 SMA type I ages 2-3 years, 29 SMA type II ages 2-14 years and 11 type III ages 2-31 years, recruited from a natural history study. VPA was well-tolerated and without evident hepatotoxicity. Carnitine depletion was frequent and temporally associated with increased weakness in two subjects. Exploratory outcome measures included assessment of gross motor function via the modified Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale (MHFMS), electrophysiologic measures of innervation including maximum ulnar compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitudes and motor unit number estimation (MUNE), body composition and bone density via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), and quantitative blood SMN mRNA levels. Clear decline in motor function occurred in several subjects in association with weight gain; mean fat mass increased without a corresponding increase in lean mass. We observed an increased mean score on the MHFMS scale in 27 subjects with SMA type II (p<or=0.001); however, significant improvement was almost entirely restricted to participants <5 years of age. Full length SMN levels were unchanged and Delta7SMN levels were significantly reduced for 2 of 3 treatment visits. In contrast, bone mineral density (p<or=0.0036) and maximum ulnar CMAP scores (p<or=0.0001) increased significantly. CONCLUSIONS:While VPA appears safe and well-tolerated in this initial pilot trial, these data suggest that weight gain and carnitine depletion are likely to be significant confounding factors in clinical trials. This study highlights potential strengths and limitations of various candidate outcome measures and underscores the need for additional controlled clinical trials with VPA targeting more restricted cohorts of subjects. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov

    A phase I trial of sorafenib combined with cisplatin/etoposide or carboplatin/pemetrexed in refractory solid tumor patients

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    Sorafenib has demonstrated single agent activity in non-small cell (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Carboplatin/pemetrexed (CbP) and cisplatin/etoposide (PE) are commonly used in the treatment of these diseases

    Teratology Primer-2nd Edition (7/9/2010)

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    Foreword: What is Teratology? “What a piece of work is an embryo!” as Hamlet might have said. “In form and moving how express and admirable! In complexity how infinite!” It starts as a single cell, which by repeated divisions gives rise to many genetically identical cells. These cells receive signals from their surroundings and from one another as to where they are in this ball of cells —front or back, right or left, headwards or tailwards, and what they are destined to become. Each cell commits itself to being one of many types; the cells migrate, combine into tissues, or get out of the way by dying at predetermined times and places. The tissues signal one another to take their own pathways; they bend, twist, and form organs. An organism emerges. This wondrous transformation from single celled simplicity to myriad-celled complexity is programmed by genes that, in the greatest mystery of all, are turned on and off at specified times and places to coordinate the process. It is a wonder that this marvelously emergent operation, where there are so many opportunities for mistakes, ever produces a well-formed and functional organism. And sometimes it doesn’t. Mistakes occur. Defective genes may disturb development in ways that lead to death or to malformations. Extrinsic factors may do the same. “Teratogenic” refers to factors that cause malformations, whether they be genes or environmental agents. The word comes from the Greek “teras,” for “monster,” a term applied in ancient times to babies with severe malformations, which were considered portents or, in the Latin, “monstra.” Malformations can happen in many ways. For example, when the neural plate rolls up to form the neural tube, it may not close completely, resulting in a neural tube defect—anencephaly if the opening is in the head region, or spina bifida if it is lower down. The embryonic processes that form the face may fail to fuse, resulting in a cleft lip. Later, the shelves that will form the palate may fail to move from the vertical to the horizontal, where they should meet in the midline and fuse, resulting in a cleft palate. Or they may meet, but fail to fuse, with the same result. The forebrain may fail to induce the overlying tissue to form the eye, so there is no eye (anophthalmia). The tissues between the toes may fail to break down as they should, and the toes remain webbed. Experimental teratology flourished in the 19th century, and embryologists knew well that the development of bird and frog embryos could be deranged by environmental “insults,” such as lack of oxygen (hypoxia). But the mammalian uterus was thought to be an impregnable barrier that would protect the embryo from such threats. By exclusion, mammalian malformations must be genetic, it was thought. In the early 1940s, several events changed this view. In Australia an astute ophthalmologist, Norman Gregg, established a connection between maternal rubella (German measles) and the triad of cataracts, heart malformations, and deafness. In Cincinnati Josef Warkany, an Austrian pediatrician showed that depriving female rats of vitamin B (riboflavin) could cause malformations in their offspring— one of the early experimental demonstrations of a teratogen. Warkany was trying to produce congenital cretinism by putting the rats on an iodine deficient diet. The diet did indeed cause malformations, but not because of the iodine deficiency; depleting the diet of iodine had also depleted it of riboflavin! Several other teratogens were found in experimental animals, including nitrogen mustard (an anti cancer drug), trypan blue (a dye), and hypoxia (lack of oxygen). The pendulum was swinging back; it seemed that malformations were not genetically, but environmentally caused. In Montreal, in the early 1950s, Clarke Fraser’s group wanted to bring genetics back into the picture. They had found that treating pregnant mice with cortisone caused cleft palate in the offspring, and showed that the frequency was high in some strains and low in others. The only difference was in the genes. So began “teratogenetics,” the study of how genes influence the embryo’s susceptibility to teratogens. The McGill group went on to develop the idea that an embryo’s genetically determined, normal, pattern of development could influence its susceptibility to a teratogen— the multifactorial threshold concept. For instance, an embryo must move its palate shelves from vertical to horizontal before a certain critical point or they will not meet and fuse. A teratogen that causes cleft palate by delaying shelf movement beyond this point is more likely to do so in an embryo whose genes normally move its shelves late. As studies of the basis for abnormal development progressed, patterns began to appear, and the principles of teratology were developed. These stated, in summary, that the probability of a malformation being produced by a teratogen depends on the dose of the agent, the stage at which the embryo is exposed, and the genotype of the embryo and mother. The number of mammalian teratogens grew, and those who worked with them began to meet from time to time, to talk about what they were finding, leading, in 1960, to the formation of the Teratology Society. There were, of course, concerns about whether these experimental teratogens would be a threat to human embryos, but it was thought, by me at least, that they were all “sledgehammer blows,” that would be teratogenic in people only at doses far above those to which human embryos would be exposed. So not to worry, or so we thought. Then came thalidomide, a totally unexpected catastrophe. The discovery that ordinary doses of this supposedly “harmless” sleeping pill and anti-nauseant could cause severe malformations in human babies galvanized this new field of teratology. Scientists who had been quietly working in their laboratories suddenly found themselves spending much of their time in conferences and workshops, sitting on advisory committees, acting as consultants for pharmaceutical companies, regulatory agencies, and lawyers, as well as redesigning their research plans. The field of teratology and developmental toxicology expanded rapidly. The following pages will show how far we have come, and how many important questions still remain to be answered. A lot of effort has gone into developing ways to predict how much of a hazard a particular experimental teratogen would be to the human embryo (chapters 9–19). It was recognized that animal studies might not prove a drug was “safe” for the human embryo (in spite of great pressure from legislators and the public to do so), since species can vary in their responses to teratogenic exposures. A number of human teratogens have been identified, and some, suspected of teratogenicity, have been exonerated—at least of a detectable risk (chapters 21–32). Regulations for testing drugs before market release have greatly improved (chapter 14). Other chapters deal with how much such things as population studies (chapter 11), post-marketing surveillance (chapter 13), and systems biology (chapter 16) add to our understanding. And, in a major advance, the maternal role of folate in preventing neural tube defects and other birth defects is being exploited (chapter 32). Encouraging women to take folic acid supplements and adding folate to flour have produced dramatic falls in the frequency of neural tube defects in many parts of the world. Progress has been made not only in the use of animal studies to predict human risks, but also to illumine how, and under what circumstances, teratogens act to produce malformations (chapters 2–8). These studies have contributed greatly to our knowledge of abnormal and also normal development. Now we are beginning to see exactly when and where the genes turn on and off in the embryo, to appreciate how they guide development and to gain exciting new insights into how genes and teratogens interact. The prospects for progress in the war on birth defects were never brighter. F. Clarke Fraser McGill University (Emeritus) Montreal, Quebec, Canad

    Developing a community based psychosocial intervention with older people and third sector workers for anxiety and depression: a qualitative study

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    Background: One-in-five people in the UK experience anxiety and/or depression in later life. However, anxiety and depression remain poorly detected in older people, particularly in those with chronic physical ill health. In the UK, a stepped care approach, to manage common mental health problems, is advocated which includes service provision from non-statutory organisations (including third/voluntary sector). However, evidence to support such provision, including the most effective interventions, is limited. The qualitative study reported here constitutes the first phase of a feasibility study which aims to assess whether third sector workers can deliver a psychosocial intervention to older people with anxiety and/or depression. The aim of this qualitative study is to explore the views of older people and third sector workers about anxiety and depression among older people in order to refine an intervention to be delivered by third sector workers. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with participants recruited through purposive sampling from third sector groups in North Staffordshire. Interviews were digitally recorded with consent, transcribed and analysed using principles of constant comparison. Results: Nineteen older people and 9 third sector workers were interviewed. Key themes included: multiple forms of loss, mental health as a personal burden to bear, having courage and providing/receiving encouragement, self- worth and the value of group activities, and tensions in existing service provision, including barriers and gaps. Conclusions: The experience of loss was seen as central to feelings of anxiety and depression among community- dwelling older people. This study contributes to the evidence pointing to the scale and severity of mental health needs for some older people which can arise from multiple forms of loss, and which present a significant challenge to health, social care and third sector services. The findings informed development of a psychosocial intervention and training for third sector workers to deliver the intervention

    Association between DNA methylation and ADHD symptoms from birth to school age : a prospective meta-analysis

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    Attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood disorder with a substantial genetic component. However, the extent to which epigenetic mechanisms play a role in the etiology of the disorder is unknown. We performed epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) within the Pregnancy And Childhood Epigenetics (PACE) Consortium to identify DNA methylation sites associated with ADHD symptoms at two methylation assessment periods: birth and school age. We examined associations of both DNA methylation in cord blood with repeatedly assessed ADHD symptoms (age 4-15 years) in 2477 children from 5 cohorts and of DNA methylation at school age with concurrent ADHD symptoms (age 7-11 years) in 2374 children from 9 cohorts, with 3 cohorts participating at both timepoints. CpGs identified with nominal significance (p <0.05) in either of the EWAS were correlated between timepoints (rho = 0.30), suggesting overlap in associations; however, top signals were very different. At birth, we identified nine CpGs that predicted later ADHD symptoms (p <1 x 10(-7)), including ERC2 and CREB5. Peripheral blood DNA methylation at one of these CpGs (cg01271805 in the promoter region of ERC2, which regulates neurotransmitter release) was previously associated with brain methylation. Another (cg25520701) lies within the gene body of CREB5, which previously was associated with neurite outgrowth and an ADHD diagnosis. In contrast, at school age, no CpGs were associated with ADHD with p <1 x 10(-7). In conclusion, we found evidence in this study that DNA methylation at birth is associated with ADHD. Future studies are needed to confirm the utility of methylation variation as biomarker and its involvement in causal pathways.Peer reviewe

    Acute Activation of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Prevents H2O2-Induced Premature Senescence in Primary Human Keratinocytes

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    We investigated the effects of AMPK on H2O2-induced premature senescence in primary human keratinocytes. Incubation with 50 µM H2O2 for 2 h resulted in premature senescence with characteristic increases in senescence-associated ß-galactosidase (SA-gal) staining 3 days later and no changes in AMPK or p38 MAPK activity. The increase in SA-gal staining was preceded by increases in both p53 phosphorylation (S15) (1 h) and transactivation (6 h) and the abundance of the cyclin inhibitor p21CIP1 (16 h). Incubation with AICAR or resveratrol, both of which activated AMPK, prevented the H2O2-induced increases in both SA-Gal staining and p21 abundance. In addition, AICAR diminished the increase in p53 transactivation. The decreases in SA-Gal expression induced by resveratrol and AICAR were prevented by the pharmacological AMPK inhibitor Compound C, expression of a DN-AMPK or AMPK knock-down with shRNA. Likewise, both knockdown of AMPK and expression of DN-AMPK were sufficient to induce senescence, even in the absence of exogenous H2O2. As reported by others, we found that AMPK activation by itself increased p53 phosphorylation at S15 in embryonic fibroblasts (MEF), whereas under the same conditions it decreased p53 phosphorylation in the keratinocytes, human aortic endothelial cells, and human HT1080 fibrosarcoma cells. In conclusion, the results indicate that H2O2 at low concentrations causes premature senescence in human keratinocytes by activating p53-p21CIP1 signaling and that these effects can be prevented by acute AMPK activation and enhanced by AMPK downregulation. They also suggest that this action of AMPK may be cell or context-specific
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