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1.  Preclinical good laboratory practice-compliant safety study to evaluate biodistribution and tumorigenicity of a cartilage advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) 
Background
The clinical development of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs), a new class of drugs, requires initial safety studies that deviate from standard non-clinical safety protocols. The study provides a strategy to address the safety aspects of biodistribution and tumorigenicity of ATMPs under good laboratory practice (GLP) conditions avoiding cell product manipulation. Moreover, the strategy was applied on a human ATMP for cartilage repair.
Methods
The testing strategy addresses biodistribution and tumorigenicity using a multi-step analysis without any cell manipulation to exclude changes of test item characteristics. As a safeguard measurement for meeting regulatory expectations, the project design and goals were discussed continuously with the regulatory authority using a staggered scientific advice concept. Subsequently, the strategy was applied to co.don chondrosphere® (huChon spheroid), a tissue-engineered matrix-free ATMP of human normal chondrocytes. In both the biodistribution and tumorigenicity studies, huChon spheroids were implanted subcutaneously into 40 immunodeficient mice. Biodistribution was studied 1 month after implantation. A skin disc containing the huChon spheroid, two surrounding skin rings and selected organs were analyzed by validated, gender-specific, highly-sensitive triplex qPCR and by immunohistochemistry (IHC).
Results
No human DNA was detected in distant skin rings and analyzed organs. IHC revealed no direct or indirect indications of cell migration. Tumorigenicity was assessed 6 months after huChon spheroid implantation by palpation, macroscopic inspection, histology and IHC. No mice from the huChon spheroid group developed a tumor at the implantation site. In two mice, benign tumors were detected that were negative for HLA-ABC, suggesting that they were of spontaneous murine origin.
Conclusions
In summary, the presented strategy using a multi-step analysis was confirmed to be suitable for safety studies of ATMPs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-015-0517-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12967-015-0517-x
PMCID: PMC4445304  PMID: 25990108
Biodistribution; Tumorigenicity; Safety; ATMP; Cartilage repair; Chondrocytes
2.  In Vivo Transplantation of Neurosphere-Like Bodies Derived from the Human Postnatal and Adult Enteric Nervous System: A Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93605.
Recent advances in the in vitro characterization of human adult enteric neural progenitor cells have opened new possibilities for cell-based therapies in gastrointestinal motility disorders. However, whether these cells are able to integrate within an in vivo gut environment is still unclear. In this study, we transplanted neural progenitor-containing neurosphere-like bodies (NLBs) in a mouse model of hypoganglionosis and analyzed cellular integration of NLB-derived cell types and functional improvement. NLBs were propagated from postnatal and adult human gut tissues. Cells were characterized by immunohistochemistry, quantitative PCR and subtelomere fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). For in vivo evaluation, the plexus of murine colon was damaged by the application of cationic surfactant benzalkonium chloride which was followed by the transplantation of NLBs in a fibrin matrix. After 4 weeks, grafted human cells were visualized by combined in situ hybridization (Alu) and immunohistochemistry (PGP9.5, GFAP, SMA). In addition, we determined nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-positive neurons and measured hypertrophic effects in the ENS and musculature. Contractility of treated guts was assessed in organ bath after electrical field stimulation. NLBs could be reproducibly generated without any signs of chromosomal alterations using subtelomere FISH. NLB-derived cells integrated within the host tissue and showed expected differentiated phenotypes i.e. enteric neurons, glia and smooth muscle-like cells following in vivo transplantation. Our data suggest biological effects of the transplanted NLB cells on tissue contractility, although robust statistical results could not be obtained due to the small sample size. Further, it is unclear, which of the NLB cell types including neural progenitors have direct restoring effects or, alternatively may act via ‘bystander’ mechanisms in vivo. Our findings provide further evidence that NLB transplantation can be considered as feasible tool to improve ENS function in a variety of gastrointestinal disorders.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093605
PMCID: PMC3974735  PMID: 24699866
3.  Giant intradiploic epidermoid cyst with large osteolytic lesions of the skull: a case report 
Introduction
We report a case of tumor growth over a period of four decades, presenting with large multicentric lytic lesions of the skull and a profound mass effect, without neurological deficits. Clinical and radiological features of a patient with a giant intradiploic epidermoid and its impact on the choice of treatments are discussed.
Case presentation
An 81-year-old Caucasian man, who had first noticed a painless subcutaneous swelling over the left frontal scalp about 40 years ago, presented after a short episode of dizziness, which he experienced after treatment of focal retinal detachment. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations revealed an exceptionally large tumor involving major parts of the skull with extensive destruction of the bone and distinct deformation of the brain. Considering his age and the absence of neurological deficits or pain, the patient refused the option of tumor removal and cranioplasty, yet agreed to a biopsy, which confirmed the suspected diagnosis.
Conclusions
The course of the disease demonstrates that even patients with large tumors, inducing distinct pathomorphological changes, do not necessarily experience significant impairment of their quality of life without surgery. This is an impressive example of the chance to lead a long and satisfying life without specific medical treatment, avoiding the inherent risks of these procedures. Yet, there is a clear indication for surgery of intradiploic epidermoids in most cases described in the literature.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-85
PMCID: PMC3351746  PMID: 22439665
4.  Mosaic chromosomal aberrations in synovial fibroblasts of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other inflammatory joint diseases 
Arthritis Research  2001;3(5):319-330.
Chromosomal aberrations were comparatively assessed in nuclei extracted from synovial tissue, primary-culture (P-0) synovial cells, and early-passage synovial fibroblasts (SFB; 98% enrichment; P-1, P-4 [passage 1, passage 4]) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA; n = 21), osteoarthritis (OA; n = 24), and other rheumatic diseases. Peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) and skin fibroblasts (FB) (P-1, P-4) from the same patients, as well as SFB from normal joints and patients with joint trauma (JT) (n = 4), were used as controls. Analyses proceeded by standard GTG-banding and interphase centromere fluorescence in situ hybridization. Structural chromosomal aberrations were observed in SFB (P-1 or P-4) from 4 of 21 RA patients (19%), with involvement of chromosome 1 [e.g. del(1)(q12)] in 3 of 4 cases. In 10 of the 21 RA cases (48%), polysomy 7 was observed in P-1 SFB. In addition, aneusomies of chromosomes 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 18, and Y were present. The percentage of polysomies was increased in P-4. Similar chromosomal aberrations were detected in SFB of OA and spondylarthropathy patients. No aberrations were detected in i) PBL or skin FB from the same patients (except for one OA patient with a karyotype 45,X[10]/46,XX[17] in PBL and variable polysomies in long-term culture skin FB); or ii) synovial tissue and/or P-1 SFB of normal joints or of patients with joint trauma. In conclusion, qualitatively comparable chromosomal aberrations were observed in synovial tissue and early-passage SFB of patients with RA, OA, and other inflammatory joint diseases. Thus, although of possible functional relevance for the pathologic role of SFB in RA, these alterations probably reflect a common response to chronic inflammatory stress in rheumatic diseases.
PMCID: PMC64845  PMID: 11549374
osteoarthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; spondylarthropathy; synovial fibroblasts; trisomy/polysomy 7

Results 1-4 (4)