2,016 research outputs found

    Total nuclear disarmament: ethical and moral issues

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    Moving focus from the geostrategic and political realms to ethical and moral ones can lead to a better understanding of the paradox of “guaranteeing peace” by means of implementing an . infrastructure for the extinction of mankind (i.e. the nuclear weapons industry). A possible way forward is derived from this major paradigm shift. The analysis is contextualized within the broader scope of questioning the implicit legitimization of unrestrained tampering with nature, from matter to life

    Therapy of pancreatic cancer via an EphA2 receptor-targeted delivery of gemcitabine.

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    First line treatment for pancreatic cancer consists of surgical resection, if possible, and a subsequent course of chemotherapy using the nucleoside analogue gemcitabine. In some patients, an active transport mechanism allows gemcitabine to enter efficiently into the tumor cells, resulting in a significant clinical benefit. However, in most patients, low expression of gemcitabine transporters limits the efficacy of the drug to marginal levels, and patients need frequent administration of the drug at high doses, significantly increasing systemic drug toxicity. In this article we focus on a novel targeted delivery approach for gemcitabine consisting of conjugating the drug with an EphA2 targeting agent. We show that the EphA2 receptor is highly expressed in pancreatic cancers, and accordingly, the drug-conjugate is more effective than gemcitabine alone in targeting pancreatic tumors. Our preliminary observations suggest that this approach may provide a general benefit to pancreatic cancer patients and offers a comprehensive strategy for enhancing delivery of diverse therapeutic agents to a wide range of cancers overexpressing EphA2, thereby potentially reducing toxicity while enhancing therapeutic efficacy

    Observational study of sleep-related disorders in Italian patients with Parkinson's disease: usefulness of the Italian version of Parkinson's disease sleep scale.

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    Sleep disturbances are common in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). We aimed to evaluate prevalence and severity of nighttime sleep disturbances in Italian PD patients and to validate the Italian version of the Parkinson's disease sleep scale. A total of 221 PD patients and 57 healthy controls participated in a cross-sectional study with retest. PDSS, Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), and Hoehn and Yahr staging were applied. PDSS total and individual items scores from patients were significantly lower than those in controls. Internal consistency of PDSS scale was satisfactory and intraclass correlation coefficient for test-retest reliability was 0.96 for total PDSS score. A significant negative correlation was found between total PDSS and ESS scores, and between total PDSS and HDRS scores. PDSS scores were also related to UPDRS sections II, III and IV, and H&Y stage. PDSS and ESS scores were not related to levodopa equivalent dose. Daytime sleepiness, depressive symptoms and disease severity correlate with sleep disturbances in Italian PD patients. The PDSS is a valid and reliable tool to evaluate sleep disturbances in Italian patients. © 2011 Springer-Verlag

    Growth hormone response to arginine test distinguishes multiple system atrophyfrom Parkinson's disease and idiopathic late-onset cerebellar ataxia

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    OBJECTIVE: Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is difficult to distinguish from idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) and idiopathic late-onset cerebellar ataxia (ILOCA). This study aimed to evaluate GH response to three different GH stimulation tests in order to establish a reliable test to differentiate these degenerative disorders. DESIGN: Twelve patients with MSA, 10 with PD, eight with ILOCA and 30 healthy controls entered the study. They were submitted to clonidine, arginine, and GH-releasing-hormone (GHRH) + arginine tests in a random manner on three different nonconsecutive days. The peak serum GH response was used as a primary variable for analysis of stimulation tests. By ROC analysis, the optimum cut-off level was considered as the cut-off with the maximal sum of sensitivity and specificity. RESULTS: After clonidine administration, GH peak was significantly lower in patients with MSA than in those with ILOCA (P < 0.05) and in the controls (P < 0.001). At the optimum cut-off level of 5 mU/l, the clonidine test distinguished patients with MSA from those with PD with a sensitivity and specificity of 78%. Moreover, this test distinguished patients with MSA from those with ILOCA with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 75% at a cut-off level of 5 mU/l, and with a sensitivity of 75% and a specificity of 100% at the cut-off level of 7.6 mU/l. After arginine administration, the GH peak was significantly lower in patients with MSA than in those with ILOCA (P = 0.001) and in controls (P < 0.001). At the optimum cut-off level of 5 mU/l, the arginine test distinguished patients with MSA from those with PD with a sensitivity and a specificity of 100%. At a GH peak cut-off value of 3.6 mU/l the arginine test distinguished patients with MSA from those with ILOCA with a sensitivity and specificity of 100%. After GHRH + arginine administration, a significant GH increase was found in all groups of patients and controls. CONCLUSIONS: The GH response to arginine administration is impaired in MSA. Therefore, the arginine test showed the highest diagnostic accuracy to distinguish MSA from both PD and ILOCA, and could be used in the clinical practice of these neurodegenerative diseases

    Structure-guided design and optimization of small molecules targeting the protein-protein interaction between the von hippel-lindau (VHL) E3 ubiquitin ligase and the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) alpha subunit with in vitro nanomolar affinities

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    E3 ubiquitin ligases are attractive targets in the ubiquitin-proteasome system, however, the development of small-molecule ligands has been rewarded with limited success. The von Hippel-Lindau protein (pVHL) is the substrate recognition subunit of the VHL E3 ligase that targets HIF-1α for degradation. We recently reported inhibitors of the pVHL:HIF-1α interaction, however they exhibited moderate potency. Herein, we report the design and optimization, guided by X-ray crystal structures, of a ligand series with nanomolar binding affinities

    RNA analysis of consensus sequence splicing mutations: implications for thediagnosis of Wilson disease

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    Wilson disease (WD) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by a defective function of the copper-transporting ATP7B protein. This results in progressive copper overload and consequent liver, brain, and kidney damage. Approximately 300 WD-causing mutations have been described to date. Missense mutations are largely prevalent, while splice-site mutations are rarer. Of these, only a minority are detected in splicing consensus sequences. Further, few splicing mutations have been studied at the RNA level. In this study we report the RNA molecular characterization of three consensus splice-site mutations identified by DNA analysis in WD patients. One of them, c.51 + 4 A --> T, resides in the consensus sequence of the donor splice site of intron 1; the second, c. 2121 + 3 A --> G, occurred in position + 3 of intron 7; and the c.2447 + 5 G --> A is localized in the consensus sequence of the donor splice site of intron 9. Analysis revealed predominantly abnormal splicing in the samples carrying mutations compared to the normal controls. These results strongly suggest that consensus sequence splice-site mutations result in disease by interfering with the production of the normal WD protein. Our data contribute to understanding the mutational spectrum that affect splicing and improve our capability in WD diagnosis

    Mesonephric-Like Adenocarcinomas a Rare Tumor: The Importance of Diagnosis

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    Mesonephric-like adenocarcinomas (MLA) are rare neoplasms that arise in the uterine body and ovary and have been added to the World Health Organisation’s recent 2020 classification of female genital cancers. The pathogenesis of MLA is unknown and it remains debated whether they represent mesonephric carcinomas (Wolffian) arising in the endometrium/ovary or endometrioid carcinomas (MĂŒllerian) closely mimicking mesonephric carcinomas. Here we report the case of a 57-year-old woman with an initial misdiagnosis of endometrioid adenocarcinoma on diagnostic biopsy. The patient came to our clinical evaluation for the appearance of menometrorrhagia complicated by anemia for several months. Therefore, she underwent pelvic echo-flowmetry, with indication for diagnostic hysteroscopy with endometrial biopsy, which yielded a positive result for endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma. Following staging CT scan and targeted examinations on pulmonary findings, the patient underwent surgery with surprise of definitive diagnosis deponent for endometrial MLA. Our intention is to establish a brief review of the scientific evidence in the literature and the tools available for a correct histological diagnosis, in the light of the scant anatomopathological evidence. Our question gives rise to the motive for the publication: is immunohistochemistry the right way to resolve the diagnostic error at histology, which is usually the only source of diagnostic certainty? This case is intended to alert of diagnostic error that risked having the patient treated as a neoplasm with a favorable prognosis and low degree of aggressiveness instead of for a very aggressive and poor prognosis tumor such as MLA
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