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author:("Wu, yukon")
1.  Shigella Isolates From the Global Enteric Multicenter Study Inform Vaccine Development 
Shigella case isolates from the Global Enteric Multicenter Study were serotyped to guide vaccine development. A quadrivalent vaccine that includes O antigens from S. sonnei, S. flexneri 2a, S. flexneri 3a, and S. flexneri 6 should provide broad protection.
Background. Shigella, a major diarrheal disease pathogen worldwide, is the target of vaccine development. The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) investigated burden and etiology of moderate-to-severe diarrheal disease in children aged <60 months and matched controls without diarrhea during 3 years at 4 sites in Africa and 3 in Asia. Shigella was 1 of the 4 most common pathogens across sites and age strata. GEMS Shigella serotypes are reviewed to guide vaccine development.
Methods. Subjects' stool specimens/rectal swabs were transported to site laboratories in transport media and plated onto xylose lysine desoxycholate and MacConkey agar. Suspect Shigella colonies were identified by biochemical tests and agglutination with antisera. Shigella isolates were shipped to the GEMS Reference Laboratory (Baltimore, MD) for confirmation and serotyping of S. flexneri; one-third of isolates were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for quality control.
Results. Shigella dysenteriae and S. boydii accounted for 5.0% and 5.4%, respectively, of 1130 Shigella case isolates; S. flexneri comprised 65.9% and S. sonnei 23.7%. Five serotypes/subserotypes comprised 89.4% of S. flexneri, including S. flexneri 2a, S. flexneri 6, S. flexneri 3a, S. flexneri 2b, and S. flexneri 1b.
Conclusions. A broad-spectrum Shigella vaccine must protect against S. sonnei and 15 S. flexneri serotypes/subserotypes. A quadrivalent vaccine with O antigens from S. sonnei, S. flexneri 2a, S. flexneri 3a, and S. flexneri 6 can provide broad direct coverage against these most common serotypes and indirect coverage against all but 1 (rare) remaining subserotype through shared S. flexneri group antigens.
PMCID: PMC4166982  PMID: 24958238
serotyping; Shigella; shigellosis; vaccines
2.  Extended Safety, Immunogenicity and Efficacy of a Blood-Stage Malaria Vaccine in Malian Children: 24-Month Follow-Up of a Randomized, Double-Blinded Phase 2 Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79323.
The FMP2.1/AS02A candidate malaria vaccine was tested in a Phase 2 study in Mali. Based on results from the first eight months of follow-up, the vaccine appeared well-tolerated and immunogenic. It had no significant efficacy based on the primary endpoint, clinical malaria, but marginal efficacy against clinical malaria in secondary analyses, and high allele-specific efficacy. Extended follow-up was conducted to evaluate extended safety, immunogenicity and efficacy.
A randomized, double-blinded trial of safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of the candidate Plasmodium falciparum apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) vaccine FMP2.1/AS02A was conducted in Bandiagara, Mali. Children aged 1–6 years were randomized in a 1∶1 ratio to receive FMP2.1/AS02A or control rabies vaccine on days 0, 30 and 60. Using active and passive surveillance, clinical malaria and adverse events as well as antibodies against P. falciparum AMA1 were monitored for 24 months after the first vaccination, spanning two malaria seasons.
400 children were enrolled. Serious adverse events occurred in nine participants in the FMP2.1/AS02A group and three in the control group; none was considered related to study vaccination. After two years, anti-AMA1 immune responses remained significantly higher in the FMP2.1/AS02A group than in the control group. For the entire 24-month follow-up period, vaccine efficacy was 7.6% (p = 0.51) against first clinical malaria episodes and 9.9% (p = 0.19) against all malaria episodes. For the final 16-month follow-up period, vaccine efficacy was 0.9% (p = 0.98) against all malaria episodes. Allele-specific efficacy seen in the first malaria season did not extend into the second season of follow-up.
Allele-specific vaccine efficacy was not sustained in the second malaria season, despite continued high levels of anti-AMA1 antibodies. This study presents an opportunity to evaluate correlates of partial protection against clinical malaria that waned during the second malaria season.
Trial Registration NCT00460525 NCT00460525
PMCID: PMC3832522  PMID: 24260195
3.  Quality of Piped and Stored Water in Households with Children Under Five Years of Age Enrolled in the Mali Site of the Global Enteric Multi-Center Study (GEMS) 
Water, sanitation, and hygiene information was collected during a matched case-control study of moderate and severe diarrhea (MSD) among 4,096 children < 5 years of age in Bamako, Mali. Primary use of piped water (conditional odds ratio [cOR] = 0.45; 0.34–0.62), continuous water access (cOR = 0.30; 0.20–0.43), fetching water daily (cOR = 0.77; 0.63–0.96), and breastfeeding (cOR = 0.65; 0.49–0.88) significantly reduced the likelihood of MSD. Fetching water in > 30 minutes (cOR = 2.56; 1.55–4.23) was associated with MSD. Piped tap water and courier-delivered water contained high (> 2 mg/L) concentrations of free residual chlorine and no detectable Escherichia coli. However, many households stored water overnight, resulting in inadequate free residual chlorine (< 0.2 mg/L) for preventing microbial contamination. Coliforms and E. coli were detected in 48% and 8% of stored household water samples, respectively. Although most of Bamako's population enjoys access to an improved water source, water quality is often compromised during household storage.
PMCID: PMC3741239  PMID: 23836570
4.  Health care seeking for Childhood Diarrhea in Developing Countries: Evidence from Seven Sites in Africa and Asia 
We performed serial Health Care Utilization and Attitudes Surveys (HUASs) among caretakers of children ages 0–59 months randomly selected from demographically defined populations participating in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS), a case-control study of moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) in seven developing countries. The surveys aimed to estimate the proportion of children with MSD who would present to sentinel health centers (SHCs) where GEMS case recruitment would occur and provide a basis for adjusting disease incidence rates to include cases not seen at the SHCs. The proportion of children at each site reported to have had an incident episode of MSD during the 7 days preceding the survey ranged from 0.7% to 4.4% for infants (0–11 months of age), from 0.4% to 4.7% for toddlers (12–23 months of age), and from 0.3% to 2.4% for preschoolers (24–59 months of age). The proportion of MSD episodes at each site taken to an SHC within 7 days of diarrhea onset was 15–56%, 17–64%, and 7–33% in the three age strata, respectively. High cost of care and insufficient knowledge about danger signs were associated with lack of any care-seeking outside the home. Most children were not offered recommended fluids and continuing feeds at home. We have shown the utility of serial HUASs as a tool for optimizing operational and methodological issues related to the performance of a large case-control study and deriving population-based incidence rates of MSD. Moreover, the surveys suggest key targets for educational interventions that might improve the outcome of diarrheal diseases in low-resource settings.
PMCID: PMC3748499  PMID: 23629939
5.  Health Care-Seeking Behavior for Childhood Diarrhea in Mirzapur, Rural Bangladesh 
We evaluated patterns of health care use for diarrhea among children 0–59 months of age residing in Mirzapur, Bangladesh, using a baseline survey conducted during May–June 2007 to inform the design of a planned diarrheal etiology case/control study. Caretakers of 7.4% of 1,128 children reported a diarrheal illness in the preceding 14 days; among 95 children with diarrhea, 24.2% had blood in the stool, 12.2% received oral rehydration solution, 27.6% received homemade fluids, and none received zinc at home. Caretakers of 87.9% sought care outside the home; 49.9% from a pharmacy, and 22.1% from a hospital or health center. The primary reasons for not seeking care were maternal perception that the illness was not serious enough (74.0%) and the high cost of treatment (21.9%). To improve management of childhood diarrhea in Mirzapur, Bangladesh, it will be important to address knowledge gaps in caretakers' assessment of illness severity, appropriate home management, and when to seek care in the formal sector. In addition, consideration should be given to inclusion of the diverse care-giving settings in clinical training activities for diarrheal disease management.
PMCID: PMC3748503  PMID: 23629937
6.  Multi-scale agent-based modeling on melanoma and its related angiogenesis analysis 
Recently, melanoma has become the most malignant and commonly occurring skin cancer. Melanoma is not only the major source (75%) of deaths related to skin cancer, but also it is hard to be treated by the conventional drugs. Recent research indicated that angiogenesis is an important factor for tumor initiation, expansion, and response to therapy. Thus, we proposed a novel multi-scale agent-based computational model that integrates the angiogenesis into tumor growth to study the response of melanoma cancer under combined drug treatment.
Our multi-scale agent-based model can simulate the melanoma tumor growth with angiogenesis under combined drug treatment. The significant synergistic effects between drug Dox and drug Sunitinib demonstrated the clinical potential to interrupt the communication between melanoma cells and its related vasculatures. Also, the sensitivity analysis of the model revealed that diffusivity related to the micro-vasculatures around tumor tissues closely correlated with the spread, oscillation and destruction of the tumor.
Simulation results showed that the 3D model can represent key features of melanoma growth, angiogenesis, and its related micro-environment. The model can help cancer researchers understand the melanoma developmental mechanism. Drug synergism analysis suggested that interrupting the communications between melanoma cells and the related vasculatures can significantly increase the drug efficacy against tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3694033  PMID: 23800293
Microenvironment; Drug synergism; Agent-based model; Multi-scale; Melanoma; Anti-angiogenesis
7.  Housefly Population Density Correlates with Shigellosis among Children in Mirzapur, Bangladesh: A Time Series Analysis 
Shigella infections are a public health problem in developing and transitional countries because of high transmissibility, severity of clinical disease, widespread antibiotic resistance and lack of a licensed vaccine. Whereas Shigellae are known to be transmitted primarily by direct fecal-oral contact and less commonly by contaminated food and water, the role of the housefly Musca domestica as a mechanical vector of transmission is less appreciated. We sought to assess the contribution of houseflies to Shigella-associated moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) among children less than five years old in Mirzapur, Bangladesh, a site where shigellosis is hyperendemic, and to model the potential impact of a housefly control intervention.
Stool samples from 843 children presenting to Kumudini Hospital during 2009–2010 with new episodes of MSD (diarrhea accompanied by dehydration, dysentery or hospitalization) were analyzed. Housefly density was measured twice weekly in six randomly selected sentinel households. Poisson time series regression was performed and autoregression-adjusted attributable fractions (AFs) were calculated using the Bruzzi method, with standard errors via jackknife procedure.
Dramatic springtime peaks in housefly density in 2009 and 2010 were followed one to two months later by peaks of Shigella-associated MSD among toddlers and pre-school children. Poisson time series regression showed that housefly density was associated with Shigella cases at three lags (six weeks) (Incidence Rate Ratio = 1.39 [95% CI: 1.23 to 1.58] for each log increase in fly count), an association that was not confounded by ambient air temperature. Autocorrelation-adjusted AF calculations showed that a housefly control intervention could have prevented approximately 37% of the Shigella cases over the study period.
Houseflies may play an important role in the seasonal transmission of Shigella in some developing country ecologies. Interventions to control houseflies should be evaluated as possible additions to the public health arsenal to diminish Shigella (and perhaps other causes of) diarrheal infection.
Author Summary
Whereas previous researchers have noted that seasonal peaks in the numbers of houseflies and patients suffering from Shigella diarrheal infection seemed to coincide, this is the first research to quantify the association using time-series statistical methods. The results show that houseflies could account for approximately 37% of all cases of shigellosis in an area in rural Bangladesh. This research adds to the existing published experimental and observational evidence from other parts of the world implicating houseflies as mechanical transmission vectors for Shigella. The results can be used to advocate for cluster-randomized intervention trials that can demonstrate how much control of housefly density can diminish Shigella disease incidence. This question should be answered because there are currently no licensed Shigella vaccines, and rising antibiotic resistance is limiting treatment options. Control of houseflies using methods such as baited fly traps could be an affordable, effective intervention to add to the public health arsenal for routine use and in the context of disaster response.
PMCID: PMC3688559  PMID: 23818998
8.  Some Epidemiologic, Clinical, Microbiologic, and Organizational Assumptions That Influenced the Design and Performance of the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) 
The overall aim of the Global Enteric Multicenter Study–1 (GEMS-1) is to identify the etiologic agents associated with moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) among children <5 years of age, and thereby the attributable pathogen-specific population-based incidence of MSD, to guide investments in research and public health interventions against diarrheal disease. To accomplish this, 9 core assumptions were vetted through widespread consultation: (1) a limited number of etiologic agents may be responsible for most MSD; (2) a definition of MSD can be crafted that encompasses cases that might otherwise be fatal in the community without treatment; (3) MSD seen at sentinel centers is a proxy for fatal diarrheal disease in the community; (4) matched case/control is the appropriate epidemiologic design; (5) methods across the sites can be standardized and rigorous quality control maintained; (6) a single 60-day postenrollment visit to case and control households creates mini-cohorts, allowing comparisons; (7) broad support for GEMS-1 messages can be achieved by incorporating advice from public health spokespersons; (8) results will facilitate the setting of investment and intervention priorities; and (9) wide acceptance and dissemination of the GEMS-1 results can be achieved.
PMCID: PMC3502315  PMID: 23169935
9.  Statistical Methods in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) 
The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) is an investigation of the burden (number of cases and incidence) of moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) in children <60 months of age at 7 sites in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The population attributable fraction for a putative pathogen, either unadjusted or adjusted for other pathogens, is estimated using the proportion of MSD cases from whom the pathogen was isolated and the odds ratio for MSD and the pathogen from conditional logistic regression modeling. The adjusted attributable fraction, proportion of MSD cases taken to a sentinel health center (SHC), number of cases presenting to an SHC, and the site's population are used to estimate the annual number of MSD cases and MSD incidence rate attributable to a pathogen or group of pathogens. Associations with death and nutritional outcomes, ascertained at follow-up visits to case and control households, are evaluated both in MSD cases and in the population.
PMCID: PMC3502316  PMID: 23169937
10.  A Field Trial to Assess a Blood-Stage Malaria Vaccine 
The New England journal of medicine  2011;365(11):1004-1013.
Blood-stage malaria vaccines are intended to prevent clinical disease. The malaria vaccine FMP2.1/AS02A, a recombinant protein based on apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) from the 3D7 strain of Plasmodium falciparum, has previously been shown to have immunogenicity and acceptable safety in Malian adults and children.
In a double-blind, randomized trial, we immunized 400 Malian children with either the malaria vaccine or a control (rabies) vaccine and followed them for 6 months. The primary end point was clinical malaria, defined as fever and at least 2500 parasites per cubic millimeter of blood. A secondary end point was clinical malaria caused by parasites with the AMA1 DNA sequence found in the vaccine strain.
The cumulative incidence of the primary end point was 48.4% in the malaria-vaccine group and 54.4% in the control group; efficacy against the primary end point was 17.4% (hazard ratio for the primary end point, 0.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63 to 1.09; P = 0.18). Efficacy against the first and subsequent episodes of clinical malaria, as defined on the basis of various parasite-density thresholds, was approximately 20%. Efficacy against clinical malaria caused by parasites with AMA1 corresponding to that of the vaccine strain was 64.3% (hazard ratio, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.86; P = 0.03). Local reactions and fever after vaccination were more frequent with the malaria vaccine.
On the basis of the primary end point, the malaria vaccine did not provide significant protection against clinical malaria, but on the basis of secondary results, it may have strain-specific efficacy. If this finding is confirmed, AMA1 might be useful in a multicomponent malaria vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3242358  PMID: 21916638
11.  Developing a multiscale, multi-resolution agent-based brain tumor model by graphics processing units 
Multiscale agent-based modeling (MABM) has been widely used to simulate Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) and its progression. At the intracellular level, the MABM approach employs a system of ordinary differential equations to describe quantitatively specific intracellular molecular pathways that determine phenotypic switches among cells (e.g. from migration to proliferation and vice versa). At the intercellular level, MABM describes cell-cell interactions by a discrete module. At the tissue level, partial differential equations are employed to model the diffusion of chemoattractants, which are the input factors of the intracellular molecular pathway. Moreover, multiscale analysis makes it possible to explore the molecules that play important roles in determining the cellular phenotypic switches that in turn drive the whole GBM expansion. However, owing to limited computational resources, MABM is currently a theoretical biological model that uses relatively coarse grids to simulate a few cancer cells in a small slice of brain cancer tissue. In order to improve this theoretical model to simulate and predict actual GBM cancer progression in real time, a graphics processing unit (GPU)-based parallel computing algorithm was developed and combined with the multi-resolution design to speed up the MABM. The simulated results demonstrated that the GPU-based, multi-resolution and multiscale approach can accelerate the previous MABM around 30-fold with relatively fine grids in a large extracellular matrix. Therefore, the new model has great potential for simulating and predicting real-time GBM progression, if real experimental data are incorporated.
PMCID: PMC3312859  PMID: 22176732
12.  Using Granger-Geweke causality model to evaluate the effective connectivity of primary motor cortex (M1), supplementary motor area (SMA) and cerebellum 
Currently, Granger-Geweke causality models have been widely applied to investigate the dynamic direction relationships among brain regions. In a previous study, we have found that the right hand finger-tapping task can produce relatively reliable brain response. As an extension of our previous study, we developed an algorithm based on the classical Granger-Geweke causality model to further investigate the effective connectivity of three brain regions (left primary motor cortex (M1), supplementary motor area (SMA) and right cerebellum) that showed the most robust brain activations. Our computational results not only confirm the strong linear feedback among SMA, M1 and right cerebellum, but also demonstrate that M1 is the hub of these three regions indicated by the anatomy research. Moreover, the model predicts the high intermediate node density existing in the area between SMA and M1, which will stimulate the imaging experimentalists to carry out new experiments to validate this postulation.
PMCID: PMC2991070  PMID: 21113332
Granger-Geweke causality model; time series; Computational Neuroscience; fMRI; finger-tapping; hand movement; Math modeling

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