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Patient experiences of as-needed budesonide-formoterol by Turbuhaler® for treatment of mild asthma; a qualitative study.
BACKGROUND: Combination low-dose budesonide-formoterol, taken as-needed for symptom relief reduces exacerbation risk and is recommended for treatment of mild asthma. The NovelQ qualitative study explored patients' attitudes toward using this novel therapy. METHODS: Adults with mild asthma using reliever-only treatment were randomised to as-needed budesonide-formoterol Turbuhaler® in a multinational, 52-week open-label randomised controlled trial (NovelSTART-ACTRN12615000999538). A subgroup were interviewed to explore their attitudes to use of as-needed budesonide-formoterol after receiving it for ≥10 months. Semi-structured interviews were conducted until saturation, audio-recorded, and thematically analysed. RESULTS: Analysis of 35 participants (66% female; mean age 43.5 [range 18-74]; mean Asthma Control Questionnaire score 1.09 ± SD0.55) interviews identified 5 themes, each including both barriers and facilitators to therapy use. Themes were: 'Treatment effectiveness' i.e. how well symptoms were relieved and/or prevented; 'Lifestyle fit of the regimen' e.g. the extent to which the treatment regimen integrated into the patient's daily life; 'Attitudes toward medication use and safety' e.g. openness for new reliever treatments, beliefs about treatment necessity or side effects; 'Device attributes' e.g. perceived ease of use; and 'Doctor-patient relationship' e.g. impact of health professional support on new treatment acceptance. CONCLUSIONS: A wide range of factors seem to drive the opinions of mild asthma patients on as-needed budesonide-formoterol therapy. Many patients perceived both positive and negative treatment attributes, and their individual evaluation of these attributes determined their likelihood of using it after the study. Supportive patient-physician interactions appear key to addressing patient barriers. Recommendations for patient-centred discussions, developed from this research, are provided.
BACKGROUND:Interferon (IFN) signalling pathways, a key element of the innate immune response, contribute to resistance to conventional chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy, and are often deregulated in cancer. The deubiquitylating enzyme USP18 is a major negative regulator of the IFN signalling cascade and is the predominant human protease that cleaves ISG15, a ubiquitin-like protein tightly regulated in the context of innate immunity, from its modified substrate proteins in vivo. METHODS:In this study, using advanced proteomic techniques, we have significantly expanded the USP18-dependent ISGylome and proteome in a chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)-derived cell line. USP18-dependent effects were explored further in CML and colorectal carcinoma cellular models. RESULTS:Novel ISGylation targets were characterised that modulate the sensing of innate ligands, antigen presentation and secretion of cytokines. Consequently, CML USP18-deficient cells are more antigenic, driving increased activation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and are more susceptible to irradiation. CONCLUSIONS:Our results provide strong evidence for USP18 in regulating antigenicity and radiosensitivity, highlighting its potential as a cancer target.
Inhibition of the SUV4-20 H1 histone methyltransferase increases frataxin expression in Friedreich's ataxia patient cells.
The molecular mechanisms of reduced frataxin (FXN) expression in Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) are linked to epigenetic modification of the FXN locus caused by the disease-associated GAA expansion. Here, we identify that SUV4-20 histone methyltransferases, specifically SUV4-20 H1, play an important role in the regulation of FXN expression and represent a novel therapeutic target. Using a human FXN-GAA-Luciferase repeat expansion genomic DNA reporter model of FRDA, we screened the Structural Genomics Consortium epigenetic probe collection. We found that pharmacological inhibition of the SUV4-20 methyltransferases by the tool compound A-196 increased the expression of FXN by approximately 1.5-fold in the reporter cell line. In several FRDA cell lines and patient-derived primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells A-196 increased FXN expression by up to 2-fold, an effect not seen in wild-type cells. SUV4-20 inhibition was accompanied by a reduction in H4K20me2 and H4K20me3 and an increase in H4K20me1, but only modest (1.4-7.8%) perturbation in genome-wide expression was observed. Finally, based on the structural activity relationship and crystal structure of A-196, novel small molecule A-196 analogues were synthesized and shown to give a 20-fold increase in potency for increasing FXN expression. Overall, our results suggest that histone methylation is important in the regulation of FXN expression, and highlight SUV4-20 H1 as a potential novel therapeutic target for FRDA.
The CCCTC-binding factor CTCF represses hepatitis B virus Enhancer I and regulates viral transcription
ABSTRACT Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is of global importance with over 2 billion people exposed to the virus during their lifetime and at risk of progressive liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. HBV is a member of the hepadnaviridae family that replicates via episomal copies of a covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) genome. The chromatinization of this small viral genome, with overlapping open reading frames and regulatory elements, suggests an important role for epigenetic pathways to regulate viral transcription. The chromatin-organising transcriptional insulator protein CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) has been reported to regulate transcription in a diverse range of viruses. We identified two conserved CTCF binding sites in the HBV genome within Enhancer I and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis demonstrated an enrichment of CTCF binding to integrated or episomal copies of the viral genome. siRNA knockdown of CTCF results in a significant increase in pre-genomic RNA levels in de novo infected HepG2 cells and those supporting episomal HBV DNA replication. Furthermore, mutation of these sites in HBV DNA minicircles abrogated CTCF binding and increased pre-genomic RNA levels, providing evidence of a direct role for CTCF in repressing HBV transcription. IMPORTANCE Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a global cause of liver disease. At least 300 million individuals are chronically infected with HBV, frequently leading to life-threatening liver cirrhosis and cancer. Following viral entry, HBV DNA enters the nucleus and is bound by histones that are subject to epigenetic modification. The HBV genome contains two enhancer elements that stimulate viral transcription but the interplay between the viral enhancers and promoters is not fully understood. We have identified the host cell protein CCCTC binding factor (CTCF) as a repressor of HBV gene expression. CTCF binds to the HBV genome within Enhancer I and represses transcription of pre-genomic RNA. These findings provide new insights into how HBV transcription is regulated and show a new role for CTCF as a transcriptional insulator by associating with the viral genome between Enhancer I and the downstream basal core promoter.
Directly coating an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) onto excipient granules has been a common approach to prepare solid dosage forms. The combination of supercritical anti-solvent (SAS) and fluidized bed (FB) coating technology (SAS-FB) has the advantages of preventing nanoparticles aggregation, oxidation and light exposure. However individual operating parameters and factors which contribute to the overall coating efficiency remain to be defined. Sirolimus is an immunosuppressive agent for preventing the rejection of organ transplants and this drug is sensitive to light exposure and high temperature. Our study used sirolimus as the model API to evaluate parameters including temperature, pressure, drug concentration, mass, material and diameter of carrier, CO2 flow rate and solvent in the SAS-FB process. By optimizing these parameters, we achieved a 3.5-fold enhancement of the coating efficiency over the standard condition. A series of characterizations of the sirolimus coated particles were performed from which scanning electron microscopy and Raman mapping confirmed that the sirolimus particles were uniformly coated on carriers as cuboid particles; X-ray powder diffraction showed that processed sirolimus is crystalline but has lower crystallinity than the API, and fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimeter confirmed that there is no chemical interaction between sirolimus and carriers after SAS-FB processing. Finally compared to sirolimus alone, sirolimus coated particles displayed a faster dissolution and higher bioavailability. Collectively, our optimized operation parameters for SAS-FB coating technique provide a useful guidance for achieving higher efficiency of drug coating and faster release rate of sirolimus pellets, which has the potential to apply to other APIs.
Tumor endothelial specific expression of Robo4 in adults identifies this plasma membrane protein as an anti-cancer target for immunotherapeutic approaches, such as vaccination. In this report, we describe how vaccination against Robo4 inhibits angiogenesis and tumor growth. To break tolerance to the auto-antigen Robo4, mice were immunised with the extracellular domain of mouse Robo4, fused to the Fc domain of human immunoglobulin within an adjuvant. Vaccinated mice show a strong antibody response to Robo4, with no objectively detectable adverse effects on health. Robo4 vaccinated mice showed impaired fibrovascular invasion and angiogenesis in a rodent sponge implantation assay, as well as a reduced growth of implanted syngeneic Lewis lung carcinoma. The anti-tumor effect of Robo4 vaccination was present in CD8 deficient mice but absent in B cell or IgG1 knockout mice, suggesting antibody dependent cell mediated cytotoxicity as the anti-vascular/anti-tumor mechanism. Finally, we show that an adjuvant free soluble Robo4-carrier conjugate can retard tumor growth in carrier primed mice. These results point to appropriate Robo4 conjugates as potential anti-angiogenic vaccines for cancer patients.
A Network Biology Approach Identifies Molecular Cross-Talk between Normal Prostate Epithelial and Prostate Carcinoma Cells.
The advent of functional genomics has enabled the genome-wide characterization of the molecular state of cells and tissues, virtually at every level of biological organization. The difficulty in organizing and mining this unprecedented amount of information has stimulated the development of computational methods designed to infer the underlying structure of regulatory networks from observational data. These important developments had a profound impact in biological sciences since they triggered the development of a novel data-driven investigative approach. In cancer research, this strategy has been particularly successful. It has contributed to the identification of novel biomarkers, to a better characterization of disease heterogeneity and to a more in depth understanding of cancer pathophysiology. However, so far these approaches have not explicitly addressed the challenge of identifying networks representing the interaction of different cell types in a complex tissue. Since these interactions represent an essential part of the biology of both diseased and healthy tissues, it is of paramount importance that this challenge is addressed. Here we report the definition of a network reverse engineering strategy designed to infer directional signals linking adjacent cell types within a complex tissue. The application of this inference strategy to prostate cancer genome-wide expression profiling data validated the approach and revealed that normal epithelial cells exert an anti-tumour activity on prostate carcinoma cells. Moreover, by using a Bayesian hierarchical model integrating genetics and gene expression data and combining this with survival analysis, we show that the expression of putative cell communication genes related to focal adhesion and secretion is affected by epistatic gene copy number variation and it is predictive of patient survival. Ultimately, this study represents a generalizable approach to the challenge of deciphering cell communication networks in a wide spectrum of biological systems.
The circadian clock controls several aspects of mammalian physiology and orchestrates the daily oscillations of biological processes and behavior. Our circadian rhythms are driven by an endogenous central clock in the brain that synchronizes with clocks in peripheral tissues, thereby regulating our immune system and the severity of infections. These rhythms affect the pharmacokinetics and efficacy of therapeutic agents and vaccines. The core circadian regulatory circuits and clock-regulated host pathways provide fertile ground to identify novel antiviral therapies. An increased understanding of the role circadian systems play in regulating virus infection and the host response to the virus will inform our clinical management of these diseases. This review provides an overview of the experimental and clinical evidence reporting on the interplay between the circadian clock and viral infections, highlighting the importance of virus-clock research.
<jats:p>Chronic hepatitis B is one of the world’s unconquered diseases with more than 240 million infected subjects at risk of developing liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis B virus reverse transcribes pre-genomic RNA to relaxed circular DNA (rcDNA) that comprises the infectious particle. To establish infection of a naïve target cell, the newly imported rcDNA is repaired by host enzymes to generate covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), which forms the transcriptional template for viral replication. SAMHD1 is a component of the innate immune system that regulates deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate levels required for host and viral DNA synthesis. Here, we show a positive role for SAMHD1 in regulating cccDNA formation, where KO of SAMHD1 significantly reduces cccDNA levels that was reversed by expressing wild-type but not a mutated SAMHD1 lacking the nuclear localization signal. The limited pool of cccDNA in infected <jats:italic>Samhd1</jats:italic> KO cells is transcriptionally active, and we observed a 10-fold increase in newly synthesized rcDNA-containing particles, demonstrating a dual role for SAMHD1 to both facilitate cccDNA genesis and to restrict reverse transcriptase-dependent particle genesis.</jats:p>
Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) A*1101-Restricted Epstein-Barr Virus-Specific T-cell Receptor Gene Transfer to Target Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.
Infusing virus-specific T cells is effective treatment for rare Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated posttransplant lymphomas, and more limited success has been reported using this approach to treat a far more common EBV-associated malignancy, nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). However, current approaches using EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines to reactivate EBV-specific T cells for infusion take 2 to 3 months of in vitro culture and favor outgrowth of T cells targeting viral antigens expressed within EBV(+) lymphomas, but not in NPC. Here, we explore T-cell receptor (TCR) gene transfer to rapidly and reliably generate T cells specific for the NPC-associated viral protein LMP2. We cloned a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) A*1101-restricted TCR, which would be widely applicable because 40% of NPC patients carry this HLA allele. Studying both the wild-type and modified forms, we have optimized expression of the TCR and demonstrated high-avidity antigen-specific function (proliferation, cytotoxicity, and cytokine release) in both CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells. The engineered T cells also inhibited LMP2(+) epithelial tumor growth in a mouse model. Furthermore, transduced T cells from patients with advanced NPC lysed LMP2-expressing NPC cell lines. Using this approach, within a few days large numbers of high-avidity LMP2-specific T cells can be generated reliably to treat NPC, thus providing an ideal clinical setting to test TCR gene transfer without the risk of autoimmunity through targeting self-antigens.
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death, largely owing to the lack of effective treatments. A tumour vascular targeting strategy presents an attractive alternative; however, the molecular signature of the vasculature in lung cancer is poorly explored. This work aimed to identify novel tumour vascular targets in lung cancer.Enzymatic digestion of fresh tissue followed by endothelial capture with Ulex lectin-coated magnetic beads was used to isolate the endothelium from fresh tumour specimens of lung cancer patients. Endothelial isolates from the healthy and tumour lung tissue were subjected to whole human genome expression profiling using microarray technology.Bioinformatics analysis identified tumour endothelial expression of angiogenic factors, matrix metalloproteases and cell-surface transmembrane proteins. Predicted novel tumour vascular targets were verified by RNA-seq, quantitative real-time PCR analysis and immunohistochemistry. Further detailed expression profiling of STEAP1 on 82 lung cancer patients confirmed STEAP1 as a novel target in the tumour vasculature. Functional analysis of STEAP1 using siRNA silencing implicates a role in endothelial cell migration and tube formation.The identification of cell-surface tumour endothelial markers in lung is of interest in therapeutic antibody and vaccine development.