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1.  Augmentation of Antitumor Immunity by Fusions of Ethanol-Treated Tumor Cells and Dendritic Cells Stimulated via Dual TLRs through TGF-β1 Blockade and IL-12p70 Production 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63498.
The therapeutic efficacy of fusion cell (FC)-based cancer vaccine generated with whole tumor cells and dendritic cells (DCs) requires the improved immunogenicity of both cells. Treatment of whole tumor cells with ethanol resulted in blockade of immune-suppressive soluble factors such as transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, vascular endothelial growth factor, and IL-10 without decreased expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and the MUC1 tumor-associated antigen. Moreover, the ethanol-treated tumor cells expressed “eat-me” signals such as calreticulin (CRT) on the cell surface and released immunostimulatory factors such as heat shock protein (HSP)90α and high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1). A dual stimulation of protein-bound polysaccharides isolated from Coriolus versicolor (TLR2 agonist) and penicillin-inactivated Streptococcus pyogenes (TLR4 agonist) led human monocyte-derived DCs to produce HSP90α and multiple cytokines such as IL-12p70 and IL-10. Interestingly, incorporating ethanol-treated tumor cells and TLRs-stimulated DCs during the fusion process promoted fusion efficiency and up-regulated MHC class II molecules on a per fusion basis. Moreover, fusions of ethanol-treated tumor cells and dual TLRs-stimulated DCs (E-tumor/FCs) inhibited the production of multiple immune-suppressive soluble factors including TGF-β1 and up-regulated the production of IL-12p70 and HSP90α. Most importantly, E-tumor/FCs activated T cells capable of producing high levels of IFN-γ, resulting in augmented MUC1-specific CTL induction. Collectively, our results illustrate the synergy between ethanol-treated whole tumor cells and dual TLRs-stimulated DCs in inducing augmented CTL responses in vitro by FC preparations. The alternative system is simple and may provide a platform for adoptive immunotherapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063498
PMCID: PMC3663747  PMID: 23717436
2.  Combined TLR2/4-Activated Dendritic/Tumor Cell Fusions Induce Augmented Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59280.
Induction of antitumor immunity by dendritic cell (DC)-tumor fusion cells (DC/tumor) can be modulated by their activation status. In this study, to address optimal status of DC/tumor to induce efficient antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), we have created various types of DC/tumor: 1) un-activated DC/tumor; 2) penicillin-killed Streptococcus pyogenes (OK-432; TLR4 agonist)-activated DC/tumor; 3) protein-bound polysaccharides isolated from Coriolus versicolor (PSK; TLR2 agonist)-activated DC/tumor; and 4) Combined OK-432- and PSK-activated DC/tumor. Moreover, we assessed the effects of TGF-β1 derived from DC/tumor on the induction of MUC1-specific CTLs. Combined TLR2- and TLR4-activated DC/tumor overcame immune-suppressive effect of TGF-β1 in comparison to those single activated or un-activated DC/tumor as demonstrated by: 1) up-regulation of MHC class II and CD86 expression on DC/tumor; 2) increased fusion efficiency; 3) increased production of fusions derived IL-12p70; 4) activation of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that produce high levels of IFN-γ; 5) augmented induction of CTL activity specific for MUC1; and 6) superior efficacy in inhibiting CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T cell generation. However, DC/tumor-derived TGF-β1 reduced the efficacy of DC/tumor vaccine in vitro. Incorporating combined TLRs-activation and TGF-β1-blockade of DC/tumor may enhance the effectiveness of DC/tumor-based cancer vaccines and have the potential applicability to the field of adoptive immunotherapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059280
PMCID: PMC3598755  PMID: 23555011
3.  Several factors including ITPA polymorphism influence ribavirin-induced anemia in chronic hepatitis C 
AIM: To construct formulae for predicting the likelihood of ribavirin-induced anemia in pegylated interferon α plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C.
METHODS: Five hundred and sixty-one Japanese patients with hepatitis C virus genotype 1b who had received combination treatment were enrolled and assigned randomly to the derivation and confirmatory groups. Single nucleotide polymorphisms at or nearby ITPA were genotyped by real-time detection polymerase chain reaction. Factors influencing significant anemia (hemoglobin concentration < 10.0 g/dL at week 4 of treatment) and significant hemoglobin decline (declining concentrations > 3.0 g/dL at week 4) were analyzed using multiple regression analyses. Prediction formulae were constructed by significantly independent factors.
RESULTS: Multivariate analysis for the derivation group identified four independent factors associated with significant hemoglobin decline: hemoglobin decline at week 2 [P = 3.29 × 10-17, odds ratio (OR) = 7.54 (g/dL)], estimated glomerular filtration rate [P = 2.16 × 10-4, OR = 0.962 (mL/min/1.73 m2)], rs1127354 (P = 5.75 × 10-4, OR = 10.94) and baseline hemoglobin [P = 7.86 × 10-4, OR = 1.50 (g/dL)]. Using the model constructed by these factors, positive and negative predictive values and predictive accuracy were 79.8%, 88.8% and 86.2%, respectively. For the confirmatory group, they were 83.3%, 91.0% and 88.3%. These factors were closely correlated with significant anemia. However, the model could not be constructed, because no patients with rs1127354 minor genotype CA/AA had significant anemia.
CONCLUSION: Reliable formulae for predicting the likelihood of ribavirin-induced anemia were constructed. Such modeling may be useful in developing individual tailoring and optimization of ribavirin dosage.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i41.5879
PMCID: PMC3491594  PMID: 23139603
Chronic hepatitis C virus infection; Ribavirin; Pegylated interferon α; Prediction model; Hemolytic anemia; Single nucleotide polymorphism
4.  Current Immunotherapeutic Approaches in Pancreatic Cancer 
Pancreatic cancer is a highly aggressive and notoriously difficult to treat. As the vast majority of patients are diagnosed at advanced stage of the disease, only a small population is curative by surgical resection. Although gemcitabine-based chemotherapy is typically offered as standard of care, most patients do not survive longer than 6 months. Thus, new therapeutic approaches are needed. Pancreatic cancer cells that develop gemcitabine resistance would still be suitable targets for immunotherapy. Therefore, one promising treatment approach may be immunotherapy that is designed to target pancreatic-cancer-associated antigens. In this paper, we detail recent work in immunotherapy and the advances in concept of combination therapy of immunotherapy and chemotherapy. We offer our perspective on how to increase the clinical efficacy of immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer.
doi:10.1155/2011/267539
PMCID: PMC3172984  PMID: 21922022
5.  Serum type IV collagen level is predictive for esophageal varices in patients with severe alcoholic disease 
AIM: To determine factors predictive for esophageal varices in severe alcoholic disease (SAD).
METHODS: Abdominal ultrasonography (US) was performed on 444 patients suffering from alcoholism. Forty-four patients found to have splenomegaly and/or withering of the right liver lobe were defined as those with SAD. SAD patients were examined by upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy for the presence of esophageal varices. The existence of esophageal varices was then related to clinical variables.
RESULTS: Twenty-five patients (56.8%) had esophageal varices. A univariate analysis revealed a significant difference in age and type IV collagen levels between patients with and without esophageal varices. A logistic regression analysis identified type IV collagen as the only independent variable predictive for esophageal varices (P = 0.017). The area under the curve (AUC) for type IV collagen as determined by the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) for predicting esophageal varices was 0.78.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that the level of type IV collagen has a high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of esophageal varices in SAD.
doi:10.3748/wjg.14.2044
PMCID: PMC2701525  PMID: 18395904
Type IV collagen; Esophageal varice; Alcoholic disease; Abdominal ultrasonography; Alcoholism

Results 1-5 (5)