930 research outputs found

    Optimization of a feedforward neural network's architecture for an HVAC system problem

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    Energy management of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems is a main concern in the design and project of buildings. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are very useful in representing highly non-linear problems, such as the HVAC system. Neural networks' correct sizing is important to have a trade-off between model accuracy and computational cost. Therefore, the main idea of this work was to identify the optimal size of the neural network used to model the relationship between temperature and energy demand in HVAC system building. To this, a scholastic building with low and high energy performance levels located in Bolzano, Perugia and Catania was modelled in EnergyPlus environment to obtain thermo-electric profile databases to be employed for the training of the feedforward neural network. To find out the optimal size of hidden layers, different trainings of the ANN were carried out by varying the neurons' number of the first and second hidden layer and, as a pilot study, the optimal sized ANN was used to predict the thermo-electric model of the HVAC scholastic building. The validation error and the standard deviation were calculated for each combination of neurons' number of the first and second hidden layer. Results demonstrated that the validation error was always lower than 0.014 and its minimum value was obtained by increasing the number of neurons of both hidden layer and, therefore, the complexity of the ANN

    BTK and PLCG2 remain unmutated in one-third of patients with CLL relapsing on ibrutinib

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    Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) progressing on ibrutinib constitute an unmet need. Though Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) and PLCG2 mutations are associated with ibrutinib resistance, their frequency and relevance to progression are not fully understood. In this multicenter retrospective observational study, we analyzed 98 patients with CLL on ibrutinib (49 relapsing after an initial response and 49 still responding after ≄1 year of continuous treatment) using a next-generation sequencing (NGS) panel (1% sensitivity) comprising 13 CLL-relevant genes including BTK and PLCG2. BTK hotspot mutations were validated by droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) (0.1% sensitivity). By integrating NGS and ddPCR results, 32 of 49 relapsing cases (65%) carried at least 1 hotspot BTK and/or PLCG2 mutation(s); in 6 of 32, BTK mutations were only detected by ddPCR (variant allele frequency [VAF] 0.1% to 1.2%). BTK/PLCG2 mutations were also identified in 6 of 49 responding patients (12%; 5/6 VAF <10%), of whom 2 progressed later. Among the relapsing patients, the BTK-mutated (BTKmut) group was enriched for EGR2 mutations, whereas BTK-wildtype (BTKwt) cases more frequently displayed BIRC3 and NFKBIE mutations. Using an extended capture-based panel, only BRAF and IKZF3 mutations showed a predominance in relapsing cases, who were enriched for del(8p) (n = 11; 3 BTKwt). Finally, no difference in TP53 mutation burden was observed between BTKmut and BTKwt relapsing cases, and ibrutinib treatment did not favor selection of TP53-aberrant clones. In conclusion, we show that BTK/PLCG2 mutations were absent in a substantial fraction (35%) of a real-world cohort failing ibrutinib, and propose additional mechanisms contributing to resistance

    Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Therapy Guided by Measurable Residual Disease

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    BACKGROUND: The combination of ibrutinib and venetoclax has been shown to improve outcomes in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) as compared with chemoimmunotherapy. Whether ibrutinib-venetoclax and personalization of treatment duration according to measurable residual disease (MRD) is more effective than fludarabine-cyclophosphamide-rituximab (FCR) is unclear. METHODS: In this phase 3, multicenter, randomized, controlled, open-label platform trial involving patients with untreated CLL, we compared ibrutinib-venetoclax and ibrutinib monotherapy with FCR. In the ibrutinib-venetoclax group, after 2 months of ibrutinib, venetoclax was added for up to 6 years of therapy. The duration of ibrutinib-venetoclax therapy was defined by MRD assessed in peripheral blood and bone marrow and was double the time taken to achieve undetectable MRD. The primary end point was progression-free survival in the ibrutinib-venetoclax group as compared with the FCR group, results that are reported here. Key secondary end points were overall survival, response, MRD, and safety. RESULTS: A total of 523 patients were randomly assigned to the ibrutinib-venetoclax group or the FCR group. At a median of 43.7 months, disease progression or death had occurred in 12 patients in the ibrutinib-venetoclax group and 75 patients in the FCR group (hazard ratio, 0.13; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.07 to 0.24; P<0.001). Death occurred in 9 patients in the ibrutinib-venetoclax group and 25 patients in the FCR group (hazard ratio, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.15 to 0.67). At 3 years, 58.0% of the patients in the ibrutinib-venetoclax group had stopped therapy owing to undetectable MRD. After 5 years of ibrutinib-venetoclax therapy, 65.9% of the patients had undetectable MRD in the bone marrow and 92.7% had undetectable MRD in the peripheral blood. The risk of infection was similar in the ibrutinib-venetoclax group and the FCR group. The percentage of patients with cardiac severe adverse events was higher in the ibrutinib-venetoclax group than in the FCR group (10.7% vs. 0.4%). CONCLUSIONS: MRD-directed ibrutinib-venetoclax improved progression-free survival as compared with FCR, and results for overall survival also favored ibrutinib-venetoclax. (Funded by Cancer Research UK and others; FLAIR ISRCTN Registry number, ISRCTN01844152; EudraCT number, 2013-001944-76.)

    Ibrutinib and rituximab versus fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab for patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (FLAIR): interim analysis of a multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase 3 trial

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    Background The approval of Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors in patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) was based on trials which compared ibrutinib with alkylating agents in patients considered unfit for fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab, the most effective chemoimmunotherapy in CLL. We aimed to assess whether ibrutinib and rituximab is superior to fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab in terms of progression-free survival. Methods This study is an interim analysis of FLAIR, which is an open-label, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial in patients with previously untreated CLL done at 101 UK National Health Service hospitals. Eligible patients were between 18 and 75 years of age with a WHO performance status of 2 or less and disease status requiring treatment according to International Workshop on CLL criteria. Patients with greater than 20% of their CLL cells having the chromosome 17p deletion were excluded. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) by means of minimisation (Binet stage, age, sex, and centre) with a random element in a web-based system to ibrutinib and rituximab (ibrutinib administered orally at 420 mg/day for up to 6 years; rituximab administered intravenously at 375 mg/m2 on day 1 of cycle 1 and at 500 mg/m2 on day 1 of cycles 2–6 of a 28-day cycle) or fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab (fludarabine 24 mg/m2 per day orally on day 1–5, cyclophosphamide 150 mg/m2 per day orally on days 1–5; rituximab as above for up to 6 cycles). The primary endpoint was progression-free survival, analysed by intention to treat. Safety analysis was per protocol. This study is registered with ISRCTN, ISRCTN01844152, and EudraCT, 2013-001944-76, and recruiting is complete. Findings Between Sept 19, 2014, and July 19, 2018, of 1924 patients assessed for eligibility, 771 were randomly assigned with median age 62 years (IQR 56–67), 565 (73%) were male, 206 (27%) were female and 507 (66%) had a WHO performance status of 0. 385 patients were assigned to fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab and 386 patients to ibrutinib and rituximab. After a median follow-up of 53 months (IQR 41–61) and at prespecified interim analysis, median progression-free survival was not reached (NR) with ibrutinib and rituximab and was 67 months (95% CI 63–NR) with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab (hazard ratio 0·44 [95% CI 0·32–0·60]; p<0·0001). The most common grade 3 or 4 adverse event was leukopenia (203 [54%] patients in the fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab group and 55 [14%] patients in the ibrutinib and rituximab group. Serious adverse events were reported in 205 (53%) of 384 patients receiving ibrutinib and rituximab compared with 203 (54%) of 378 patients receiving fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab. Two deaths in the fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab group and three deaths in the ibrutinib and rituximab group were deemed to be probably related to treatment. There were eight sudden unexplained or cardiac deaths in the ibrutinib and rituximab group and two in the fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab group. Interpretation Front line treatment with ibrutinib and rituximab significantly improved progression-free survival compared with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab but did not improve overall survival. A small number of sudden unexplained or cardiac deaths in the ibrutinib and rituximab group were observed largely among patients with existing hypertension or history of cardiac disorder

    Low Complexity of Infection Is Associated With Molecular Persistence of Plasmodium falciparum in Kenya and Tanzania

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    Background Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) is a threat to malaria elimination. ACT-resistance in Asia raises concerns for emergence of resistance in Africa. While most data show high efficacy of ACT regimens in Africa, there have been reports describing declining efficacy, as measured by both clinical failure and prolonged parasite clearance times. Methods Three hundred children aged 2–10 years with uncomplicated P. falciparum infection were enrolled in Kenya and Tanzania after receiving treatment with artemether-lumefantrine. Blood samples were taken at 0, 24, 48, and 72 h, and weekly thereafter until 28 days post-treatment. Parasite and host genetics were assessed, as well as clinical, behavioral, and environmental characteristics, and host anti-malarial serologic response. Results While there was a broad range of clearance rates at both sites, 85% and 96% of Kenyan and Tanzanian samples, respectively, were qPCR-positive but microscopy-negative at 72 h post-treatment. A greater complexity of infection (COI) was negatively associated with qPCR-detectable parasitemia at 72 h (OR: 0.70, 95% CI: 0.53–0.94), and a greater baseline parasitemia was marginally associated with qPCR-detectable parasitemia (1,000 parasites/uL change, OR: 1.02, 95% CI: 1.01–1.03). Demographic, serological, and host genotyping characteristics showed no association with qPCR-detectable parasitemia at 72 h. Parasite haplotype-specific clearance slopes were grouped around the mean with no association detected between specific haplotypes and slower clearance rates. Conclusions Identifying risk factors for slow clearing P. falciparum infections, such as COI, are essential for ongoing surveillance of ACT treatment failure in Kenya, Tanzania, and more broadly in sub-Saharan Africa

    The Hydropathy Index of the HCDR3 Region of the B-Cell Receptor Identifies Two Subgroups of IGHV-Mutated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients With Distinct Outcome

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    © 2021 RodrĂ­guez-Caballero, Fuentes Herrero, Oliva Ariza, Criado, Alcoceba, Prieto, PĂ©rez Caro, GarcĂ­a-Montero, GonzĂĄlez DĂ­az, Forconi, Sarmento-Ribeiro, Almeida and Orfao.The HCDR3 sequences of the B-cell receptor (BCR) undergo constraints in length, amino acid use, and charge during maturation of B-cell precursors and after antigen encounter, leading to BCR and antibodies with high affinity to specific antigens. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia consists of an expansion of B-cells with a mixed immature and “antigen-experienced” phenotype, with either a mutated (M-CLL) or unmutated (U-CLL) tumor BCR, associated with distinct patient outcomes. Here, we investigated the hydropathy index of the BCR of 138 CLL patients and its association with the IGHV mutational status and patient outcome. Overall, two clearly distinct subgroups of M-CLL patients emerged, based on a neutral (mean hydropathy index of -0.1) vs. negatively charged BCR (mean hydropathy index of -1.1) with molecular features closer to those of B-cell precursors and peripheral/mature B-cells, respectively. Despite that M-CLL with neutral HCDR3 did not show traits associated with a mature B-cell repertoire, important differences in IGHV gene usage of tumor cells and patient outcome were observed in this subgroup of patients once compared to both U-CLL and M-CLL with negatively charged HCDR3 sequences. Compared to M-CLL with negatively charged HCDR3 sequences, M-CLL with neutral HCDR3 sequences showed predominance of men, more advanced stages of the disease, and a greater frequency of genetic alterations—e.g., del(17p)—together with a higher rate of disease progression and shorter time to therapy (TTT), independently of other prognostic factors. Our data suggest that the hydropathy index of the HCDR3 sequences of CLL cells allows the identification of a subgroup of M-CLL with intermediate prognostic features between U-CLL and the more favorable subgroup of M-CLL with a negatively charged BCR.This work was supported by the following grants: FS/37-2017, from the Fundación Memoria D. Samuel Solórzano, Universidad de Salamanca; FIS PI17/00399-FEDER, from the Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria of Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; 0639_IDIAL_NET_3_E, from cooperative network EPINTERREG V A España Portugal (POCTEP); and ECRIN-M3, Accelerator Award Full, Cancer Research UK, Fundación Cientıfíca de la Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (AECC), Fondazione AIRC per la Ricerca sul Cancro.

    Development of a novel technique for the measurement of neuromuscular junction functionality in isotonic conditions

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    Introduction: The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is a chemical synapse responsible for converting electrical pulses generated by the motor neuron into electrical activity in muscle fibers, and is severely impaired in various diseases, such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Here, we proposed a novel technique to measure, for the first time, NMJ functionality in isotonic conditions, which better reflect muscle physiological activity. Methods: We employed the in-situ testing technique, studied a proper placing of two pairs of wire electrodes for nerve and muscle stimulation, developed an extensive testing protocol, and proposed a novel parameter, the Isotonic Neurotransmission Failure (INF), to properly capture the impairments in neurotransmission during isotonic fatigue. We employed wild-type mice to assess the feasibility of the proposed technique, and the ALS model SOD1G93A mice to demonstrate the validity of the INF. Results: Results confirmed the measurement accuracy in term of average value and coefficient of variation of the parameters measured through nerve stimulation in comparison with the corresponding values obtained for membrane stimulation. The INF values computed for the SOD1G93A tibialis anterior muscles pointed out an impairment of ALS mice during the isotonic fatigue test, whereas, as expected, their resistance to fatigue was higher. Conclusions: In this work we devised a novel technique and a new parameter for a deep assessment of NMJ functionality in isotonic conditions, including fatigue, which is the most crucial condition for the neuronal signal transmission. This technique may be applied to other animal models, to unravel the mechanisms behind muscle-nerve impairments in other neurodegenerative pathologies

    Effects of ROI positioning on the measurement of engineered muscle tissue contractility with an optical tracking method

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    Tissue engineering is a multidisciplinary approach focused on the development of innovative bioartificial substitutes for damaged organs and tissues, as the skeletal muscle one. Since the loss of muscle functionality occurs in several compromised conditions, it results crucial to measure the contractility of muscle engineered tissue for studying muscle functionality in physiological and pathological conditions. Within this context, first we designed and developed an innovative device for the in-vitro measurement of engineered skeletal muscle contractility, with the use of an optical tracking algorithm. The base concept of our contractility measurement was based on the deflection of one of the two pins, designed with specific dimensions and a controlled compliance, that are commonly used to fix the engineered construct. In this work, we focused on the evaluation of the errors introduced on the measurement of contractile force by moving the positioning of the Region of Interest (ROI) from the centre one. To this, to mimic the contractile kinetics of muscle engineered tissue, known displacements of 5 ”m and 10 ”m at a frequency of 10 Hz were imposed through a linear actuator at the end of the elastic pin, and the images were acquired through the use of a high frequency camera mounted on a stereomicroscope for post-processing correlation. The results pointed out that the errors introduced by moving the ROI were always lower than 4% both for the one relative to the centre position and the one relative to the other six ROIs. Higher values of the relative errors occurred for the lowest nominal displacements, thus indicating that for higher displacement the errors were less influent in the positioning of the ROI along the elastic pin for the measurement of the muscle contractility

    The Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet) for COVID-19: Depth and Breadth of Serology Assays and Plans for Assay Harmonization.

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    In October 2020, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet) was established to study the immune response to COVID-19, and "to develop, validate, improve, and implement serological testing and associated technologies" (https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/covid-19/coronavirus-research-initiatives/serological-sciences-network). SeroNet is comprised of 25 participating research institutions partnering with the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) and the SeroNet Coordinating Center. Since its inception, SeroNet has supported collaborative development and sharing of COVID-19 serological assay procedures and has set forth plans for assay harmonization. To facilitate collaboration and procedure sharing, a detailed survey was sent to collate comprehensive assay details and performance metrics on COVID-19 serological assays within SeroNet. In addition, FNLCR established a protocol to calibrate SeroNet serological assays to reference standards, such as the U.S. severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) serology standard reference material and first WHO international standard (IS) for anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin (20/136), to facilitate harmonization of assay reporting units and cross-comparison of study data. SeroNet institutions reported development of a total of 27 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods, 13 multiplex assays, and 9 neutralization assays and use of 12 different commercial serological methods. FNLCR developed a standardized protocol for SeroNet institutions to calibrate these diverse serological assays to reference standards. In conclusion, SeroNet institutions have established a diverse array of COVID-19 serological assays to study the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and vaccines. Calibration of SeroNet serological assays to harmonize results reporting will facilitate future pooled data analyses and study cross-comparisons. IMPORTANCE SeroNet institutions have developed or implemented 61 diverse COVID-19 serological assays and are collaboratively working to harmonize these assays using reference materials to establish standardized reporting units. This will facilitate clinical interpretation of serology results and cross-comparison of research data
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