1,463 research outputs found

    Letter: chronic hepatitis C genotype 3 infection - still a hurdle toward a direct-acting anti-viral-induced HCV cure?

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    Letter: chronic hepatitis C genotype 3 infection – still a hurdle toward a direct-acting anti-viral-induced HCV cur

    Combining depth and intensity images to produce enhanced object detection for use in a robotic colony

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    Robotic colonies that can communicate with each other and interact with their ambient environments can be utilized for a wide range of research and industrial applications. However amongst the problems that these colonies face is that of the isolating objects within an environment. Robotic colonies that can isolate objects within the environment can not only map that environment in de-tail, but interact with that ambient space. Many object recognition techniques ex-ist, however these are often complex and computationally expensive, leading to overly complex implementations. In this paper a simple model is proposed to isolate objects, these can then be recognize and tagged. The model will be using 2D and 3D perspectives of the perceptual data to produce a probability map of the outline of an object, therefore addressing the defects that exist with 2D and 3D image techniques. Some of the defects that will be addressed are; low level illumination and objects at similar depths. These issues may not be completely solved, however, the model provided will provide results confident enough for use in a robotic colony

    First-line erlotinib and fixed dose-rate gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer

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    AIM: To investigate activity, toxicity, and prognostic factors for survival of erlotinib and fixed dose-rate gemcitabine (FDR-Gem) in advanced pancreatic cancer. METHODS: We designed a single-arm prospective, multicentre, open-label phase II study to evaluate the combination of erlotinib (100 mg/d, orally) and weekly FDR-Gem (1000 mg/m2, infused at 10 mg/m2per minute) in a population of previously untreated patients with locally advanced, inoperable, or metastatic pancreatic cancer. Primary endpoint was the rate of progression-free survival at 6 mo (PFS-6); secondary endpoints were overall response rate (ORR), response duration, tolerability, overall survival (OS), and clinical benefit. Treatment was not considered to be of further interest if the PFS-6 was < 20% (p0 = 20%), while a PFS-6 > 40% would be of considerable interest (p1 = 40%); with a 5% rejection error (α = 5%) and a power of 80%, 35 fully evaluable patients with metastatic disease were required to be enrolled in order to complete the study. Analysis of prognostic factors for survival was also carried out. RESULTS: From May 2007 to September 2009, 46 patients were enrolled (male/female: 25/21; median age: 64 years; median baseline carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9): 897 U/mL; locally advanced/metastatic disease: 5/41). PFS-6 and median PFS were 30.4% and 14 wk (95%CI: 10-19), respectively; 1-year and median OS were 20.2% and 26 wk (95%CI: 8-43). Five patients achieved an objective response (ORR: 10.9%, 95%CI: 1.9-19.9); disease control rate was 56.5% (95%CI: 42.2-70.8); clinical benefit rate was 43.5% (95%CI: 29.1-57.8). CA 19-9 serum levels were decreased by > 25% as compared to baseline in 14/23 evaluable patients (63.6%). Treatment was well-tolerated, with skin rash being the most powerful predictor of both longer PFS (P < 0.0001) and OS (P = 0.01) at multivariate analysis (median OS for patients with or without rash: 42 wk vs 15 wk, respectively, Log-rank P = 0.03). Additional predictors of better outcome were: CA 19-9 reduction, female sex (for PFS), and good performance status (for OS). CONCLUSION: Primary study endpoint was not met. However, skin rash strongly predicted erlotinib efficacy, suggesting that a pharmacodynamic-based strategy for patient selection deserves further investigation

    Preliminary Characterisation of Sardinian Red Grape Cultivars (Vitis vinifera L.) According to Their Phenolic Potential

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    Fourteen cultivars and clones, mainly selected from the island of Sardinia (Italy) and grown in a collection field,showed significant quantitative differences in phenolic potential. An extraction method designed to reproducethe winemaking process was used to determine the amounts of extractable polyphenols, anthocyanins, catechinsand proanthocyanidins reactive to vanillin, and the proanthocyanidins in grape skins and seeds. The Sardiniancultivar Nieddera and the Spanish cultivar Graciano had the highest concentrations of extractable polyphenols,anthocyanins, catechins and proanthocyanidins reactive to vanillin. Four clones of the Cannonau cultivar (synonymGrenache) exhibited fairly high variability, with significant differences in berry and seed phenolic contents

    COX-2 targeting in cancer: a new beginning?

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    Cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2), the inducible enzyme catalyzing the rate-limiting step in the conversion of arachidonic acid into eicosanoids, is overexpressed in a wide variety of malignancies and associates with poor prognostic features [1]. Consequently, selective COX-2 inhibitors have been explored as therapeutic or chemopreventive agents in different settings; however, initial enthusiasm was tempered by reports of substantial gastrointestinal toxicity as well as of increased cardiovascular risk, mostly coming from postmarketing use as anti-inflammatory drugs and Cancer Research Campaign (UK) chemoprevention trials and eventually resulting in the withdrawal of rofecoxib from the market [2]

    Is cerebrospinal fluid amyloid-β42 a promising biomarker of response to nusinersen in adult spinal muscular atrophy patients?

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    Introduction: Nusinersen was approved as the first treatment for all types of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), including adults with SMA types 2 and 3. Robust biomarkers of treatment response in SMA adults are lacking. Our aim was to examine cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) amyloid-β40 (Aβ40) and amyloid-β42 (Aβ42) peptides as biomarkers of treatment response. Methods: Eight patients with SMA types 2 and 3 were recruited consecutively in a single-center study. CSF was sampled at baseline, after a loading dose, and after three maintenance doses. Levels of Aβ42 and Aβ40 were evaluated for each CSF sampling. Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank test was used to detect longitudinal changes. Results: CSF levels of Aβ42 increased from baseline to day 420 (95% confidence interval, P =.018), with a significant increase at days 180 and 420 compared with days 0 and 300, respectively (95% confidence interval, P =.012 and P =.018). Discussion: The maintenance and promotion of wellness of residual motor neurons mediated by the restored level of SMN protein due to nusinersen could result in an increased level of amyloid peptides

    Bombyx mori Silk Fibroin Regeneration in Solution of Lanthanide Ions: A Systematic Investigation

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    Silk Fibroin (SF) obtained from Bombyx mori is a very attractive biopolymer that can be useful for many technological applications, from optoelectronics and photonics to biomedicine. It can be processed from aqueous solutions to obtain many scaffolds. SF dissolution is possible only with the mediation of chaotropic salts that disrupt the secondary structure of the protein. As a consequence, recovered materials have disordered structures. In a previous paper, it was shown that, by modifying the standard Ajisawa’s method by using a lanthanide salt, CeCl3, as the chaotropic agent, it is possible to regenerate SF as a fibrous material with a very ordered structure, similar to that of the pristine fiber, and doped with Ce+3 ions. Since SF exhibits a moderate fluorescence which can be enhanced by the incorporation of organic molecules, ions and nanoparticles, the possibility of doping it with lanthanide ions could be an appealing approach for the development of new photonic systems. Here, a systematic investigation of the behavior of degummed SF in the presence of all lanthanide ions, Ln+3, is reported. It has been found that all lanthanide chlorides are chaotropic salts for solubilizing SF. Ln+3 ions at the beginning and the end of the series (La+3, Pr+3, Er+3, Tm+3, Yb+3, Lu+3) favor the reprecipitation of fibrous SF as already found for Ce+3. In most cases, the obtained fiber preserves the morphological and structural features of the pristine SF. With the exception of SF treated with La+3, Tm+3, and Lu+3, for all the fibers re-precipitated a concentration of Ln+3 between 0.2 and 0.4% at was measured, comparable to that measured for Ce+3-doped SF

    E-learning course improves knowledge in tobacco dependence, electronic nicotine delivery systems and heat-not-burn products in Medical School students

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    Background: Adequate training in tobacco, nicotine dependence and treatment is lacking in Medical School education. With the rise in popularity of electronic alternatives to cigarettes, future physicians should also be provided with the more recent scientific evidence on these products during their undergraduate studies. We introduced an e-learning course for Medical School students and assessed its effec-tiveness of increasing knowledge on these topics. Methods: We developed 16 didactic modules divided in 3 courses: tobacco dependence (TDI), treating tobacco dependence (TDII) and electronic products and tobacco control (TDIII). The course was offered to 4th, 5th, and 6th year Medical School students in Italy. To assess learning outcomes, we examined the pre- to post- changes in knowledge scores associated with each course. Paired and independent samples t-tests were performed overall, and among smokers and non-smokers separately. Results: A total of 1318 students completed at least one of the courses; 21% were self-reported smokers. A significant increase in knowledge was observed at the end of TDI (pre-course: 52.1±15.9, post-course: 79.9±13.5, p<0.001), TDII (pre-course: 52.5±13.0, post-course: 66.5±12.0, p<0.001) and TDIII (pre-course: 52.2±15.3, post-course: 76.1±17.7, p<0.001). Smokers showed significantly lower improvements compared to non-smokers. Conclusions: The e-learning course was effective in increasing knowledge about tobacco dependence, treatments, and electronic ni-cotine products in advanced medical students. Given the fundamental role for healthcare practitioners in encouraging and assisting people in quitting smoking, e-learning may be a useful tool in providing up-to-date and standardized training in the area during Medical School

    Identification and antimicrobial activity of most representative secondary metabolites from different plant species

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    Abstract Background The plant kingdom constitutes an enormous reservoir of bioactive molecules, generally used by plants to prevent or to protect themselves from pathogens' attacks. To date, several primary or secondary plant metabolites have been already proven to exert antibiotic activities; nonetheless, researchers are still continuing to lavish great efforts to identify and characterize new natural molecules one by one. Aiming at the replacement of synthetic chemical products, the bioactivity of plant extracts should be assessed case by case, and active substances should be tested as individuals to obtain accurate information on the real usefulness of plant metabolites. In this work major glycoalkaloids obtained from Solanum nigrum, glucosinolates from Armoracia rusticana, and cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa were identified. The antimicrobial activity of crude extracts and pure components against Gram+ (Bacillus cereus (A1I), Bacillus thuringiensis (B7I2), and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (A5TI)) and Gram− bacteria (Pseudomonas orientalis (A14-1II), and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (B9TIII)), employed as model organisms, was tested. Result Major glycoalkaloids, glucosinolates, and cannabinoids were identified in crude plants' extracts using high-resolution LC–ESI-FTICR/MS. From antimicrobial assays useful information towards a few of biological activities of crude extracts and individual components were obtained. Solanum nigrum extracts revealed inhibition activity on all bacteria tested as well as the main active glycoalkaloids, solamargine and solasonine, which were found to be active even when tested individually. At assayed concentrations, A. rusticana extract was active towards a few of the microorganisms tested, confirming that the activity of glucosinolates can be referred only partially to the mother molecules, while biological efficiency of such kind of compounds is mainly due to their enzymatic breaking off, where myrosinase converts them into isothiocyanates and/or thiocyanates. Hemp-type C. sativa extract showed antimicrobial activity only against Gram+ bacteria, but the main individual components tested showed always a limited bioactivity. Conclusion Promising results were obtained, but tests performed in vitro are only the first step of a wider investigation as required for an extensive application. Further research efforts are necessary to demonstrate the efficiency of natural substances in different target environments
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