Background and aims: We have developed a Stress-free Therapy® device wherein “Pinpoint Plantar Long-wavelength Infrared Light Irradiation (PP-LILI)” increases peripheral-deep body temperature and blood flow volume and stabilizes blood pressure as well as significantly reduces stress hormones such as adrenocorticotrophic hormone and cortisol without using drugs. Moreover, we have found this therapy to significantly improve blood glucose and insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. Based on this background of clinical efficacy, we validated changes in cerebral blood flow in patients with metabolic cardiovascular disease and examined the efficacy of Stress-free Therapy® on cerebral blood flow as compared to that in healthy control subjects and placebo-treated patients.
Results: The change in cerebral blood flow volume during 15-minute PP-LILI was 5.1 ± 1.8 mL/min in patients with metabolic cardiovascular disease, showing a significant increase (P<0.05) of 3.1 mL/min as compared with the mean blood flow value after resting for 15 minutes.
Conclusions: Our results suggested Stress-free Therapy® to significantly increase cerebral blood flow, possibly leading to the prevention of metabolic cardiovascular disease.
Decontamination of the radioactive cesium that is widely dispersed owing to a nuclear power station accident and concentrated in fly ash requires an effective elimination system. Radioactive fly ash contains large amounts of water-soluble cesium that can cause severe secondary contamination and represents a serious health risk, yet its complete removal is complicated and difficult. Here it is shown that a new fine-powder formulation can be magnetically guided to eliminate cesium after being mixed with the ash slurry. This formulation, termed MagCE, consists of a ferromagnetic porous structure and alkaline- and salt-resistant nickel ferrocyanide. It has potent cesium-adsorption- and magnetic-separation-properties. Because of its resistance against physical and chemical attack such as with ash particles, as well as with the high pH and salt concentration of the ash slurry, MagCE simplifies the decontamination process without the need of the continued presence of the hazardous water-soluble cesium in the treated ash.
Background and aims: This study was aimed at the development of a novel noninvasive treatment system, “pinpoint plantar long-wavelength infrared light irradiation (PP-LILI)”, which may be able to relieve mental stress and normalize blood glucose level via the reduction of stress hormones in type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus (DM) patients.
Materials (Subjects) and methods: Based on this hypothesis, the present study was undertaken to examine effects of PP-LILI on stress hormones (ACTH and cortisol), blood glucose, HbA1c, and insulin levels in 10 patients with type 2 DM. Each patient received PP-LILI of the foot for 15 minutes once weekly using a stress free apparatus (infrared wavelength, 9,000-12,000 nm/power 30 mW).
Results: In response to this therapy, ACTH (P<0.01) and cortisol (P<0.05) levels decreased significantly. Fasting blood glucose (P<0.05) and insulin (P<0.05) levels also decreased significantly along with a tendency for HbA1c to decrease.
Conclusions: The present data raise the possibility that PP-LILI can normalize blood glucose levels by reducing stress hormones such as cortisol, which aggravate DM, and by improving insulin sensitivity, thereby contributing to prevention and treatment of DM.
Pinpoint plantar long-wavelength infrared light irradiation (PP-LILI); relieving stress; type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus (DM); blood glucose; stress hormones
The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) is on the rise, and the prognosis for patients with recurrent or metastatic disease is extremely poor. Although chemotherapy and radiation therapy can improve survival rates, it is imperative to integrate alternative strategies such as immunotherapy to improve outcomes for patients with advanced CRC. In this review, we will discuss the effect of immunotherapy for inducing cytotoxic T lymphocytes and the major immunotherapeutic approaches for CRC that are currently in clinical trials, including peptide vaccines, dendritic cell-based cancer vaccines, whole tumor cell vaccines, viral vector-based cancer vaccines, adoptive cell transfer therapy, antibody-based cancer immunotherapy, and cytokine therapy. The possibility of combination therapies will also be discussed along with the challenges presented by tumor escape mechanisms.
Colorectal cancer; Cytotoxic T lymphocyte; Dendritic cell; Immunotherapy; Vaccine
The rationale for fusing dendritic cells (DCs) with whole tumor cells to generate anticancer vaccines resides in the fact that the former operate as potent antigen-presenting cells, whereas the latter express a constellation of tumor-associated antigens (TAAs). Although the administration of DC/malignant cell fusions to cancer patients is safe and this immunotherapeutic intervention triggers efficient tumor-specific T-cell responses in vitro, a limited number of objective clinical responses to DC/cancer cell fusions has been reported thus far. This review discusses novel approaches to improve the immunogenicity of DC/malignant cell fusions as anticancer vaccines.
cytotoxic T lymphocyte; dendritic cell; fusion; immunogenicity; whole tumor cell
Background and aims: The current investigation was aimed at the development of a novel non-invasive treatment system, “pinpoint plantar long-wavelength infrared light irradiation (PP-LILI)”, which may be able to relieve mental stress and reduce stress-related hormones.
Materials (Subjects) and methods: We compared the subcutaneous temperature, blood pressure, the degree of secretion of stress hormones before and after pinpoint irradiations (wavelength: 8–11 μm; output: 30mW). The study enrolled 15 subjects (Japanese healthy adults; 8 males, 7 females; average age 47.8 ± 14.6 years). Two parts of the planter region were irradiated for 15 min respectively. The stress markers such as ACTH, salivary amylase and cortisol were measured. As well, core body temperature and blood pressure were analyzed before and after the irradiation.
Results: A series of experiments revealed increased body temperature, decreased levels of blood pressure and stress markers described above after the irradiation.
Conclusions: These results clearly suggest that the PP-LILI system will be quite useful for relieving stress and improvement of homeostatic functions in the body.
Pinpoint plantar long-wavelength light irradiation (PP-LILI); relieving stress; stress hormones; body temperature; blood pressure
Tumor-derived transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) generally abrogates the immunogenicity of dendritic cells (DCs) fused to whole cancer cells. We have recently revealed that ethanol-treated neoplastic cells fused to DCs exposed to 2 Toll-like receptor agonists efficiently induce cytotoxic T lymphocytes via TGFβ1 blockade and the production of interleukin-12.
cytotoxic T lymphocyte; DC/tumor cell fusion vaccine; dendritic cell; immunologic tumor cell death; Toll-like receptor
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.
Various strategies have been developed to deliver tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) to dendritic cells (DCs). Among these, the fusion of DCs and whole cancer cells can process a broad array of TAAs, including hitherto unidentified molecules, and present them in complex with MHC Class I and II molecules and in the context of co-stimulatory signals. DC-cancer cell fusions have been shown to stimulate potent antitumor immune responses in animal models. In early clinical trials, however, the antitumor effects of DC-cancer cell fusions are not as vigorous as in preclinical settings. This mini-review summarizes recent advances in anticancer vaccines based on DC-cancer cell fusions.
anticancer vaccines; dendritic cells; cell fusions
The induction of antitumor immune responses by dendritic cell (DC)/tumor cell fusions can be modulated by their activation status. Our recent work reveals that the combination of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR4 agonists promotes the immunogenicity of DC/tumor cell fusions, allowing them to overcome the immunosuppressive effects of transforming growth factor β1.
cytotoxic T lymphocyte; dendritic cell; fusion cell; Toll-like receptor; whole tumor cell
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.
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.
Chronic hepatitis C virus infection; Ribavirin; Pegylated interferon α; Prediction model; Hemolytic anemia; Single nucleotide polymorphism
Nano-sized FePt capsules with two types of ultrathin shell were fabricated using a template method for use in a nano-scale drug delivery system. One capsule was composed of an inorganic-organic hybrid shell of a water-soluble polymer and FePt nanoparticles, and the other capsule was composed of a network of fused FePt nanoparticles. We demonstrated that FePt nanoparticles selectively accumulated on the polymer molecules adsorbed on the template silica particles, and investigated the morphologies of the particle accumulation by changing the concentration of the polymer solution with which the template particles were treated. Capsular size was reduced from 340 to less than 90 nm by changing the size of the silica template particles, and the shell thickness was controlled by changing the amount of FePt nanoparticles adsorbed on the template particles. The hybrid shell was maintained by the connection of FePt nanoparticles and polymer molecules, and the shell thickness was 10 nm at the maximum. The FePt network shell was fabricated by hydrothermal treatment of the FePt/polymer-modified silica composite particles. The FePt network shell was produced from only the FePt alloy, and the shell thickness was 3 nm. Water-soluble anti-cancer drugs could be loaded into the hollow space of FePt network capsules, and lipid-coated FePt network capsules loaded with anti-cancer drugs showed cellular toxicity. The nano-sized capsular structure and the ultrathin shell suggest applicability as a drug carrier in magnetically guided drug delivery systems.
hydrothermal treatment; magnetic hollow sphere; magnetically guided drug delivery system; nano-scale drug delivery system; organic-inorganic magnetic material; porous capsule; size-controllable
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.
Although dendritic cell (DC)- based cancer vaccines induce effective antitumor activities in murine models, only limited therapeutic results have been obtained in clinical trials. As cancer vaccines induce antitumor activities by eliciting or modifying immune responses in patients with cancer, the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) and WHO criteria, designed to detect early effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy in solid tumors, may not provide a complete assessment of cancer vaccines. The problem may, in part, be resolved by carrying out immunologic cellular monitoring, which is one prerequisite for rational development of cancer vaccines. In this review, we will discuss immunologic monitoring of cellular responses for the evaluation of cancer vaccines including fusions of DC and whole tumor cell.
There are cases of hepatitis involving occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in which, even though the HB surface antigen (HBsAg) is negative, HBV-DNA is detected by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We conducted a sequence analysis of the entire HBV region in a case of non-B non-C chronic hepatitis in a 46-year-old female. A diagnosis of non-B non-C chronic hepatitis was made. Although HBV markers, such as HBs antibody (anti-HBs), anti-HBc, HBeAg and anti-HBe, were negative, HBV-DNA was positive. Nested PCR was performed to amplify the precore region of HBV-DNA and all remaining regions by long nested PCR. Sequence analysis of the two obtained bands was conducted by direct sequencing. Compared with the control strains, the ATG (Methionine) start codon in the X region had mutated to GTG (Valine). It is assumed that a mutation at the start codon in the X region may be the reason why HBV markers are negative in some cases of hepatitis that involve occult HBV infection.
Hepatitis B virus; X region; Mutation; Non-B non-C chronic hepatitis; Occult infection
Pegylated interferon α (IFNα) in combination with ribavirin is currently recommended as a standard-of-care treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This combination therapy has drastically improved the rate of sustained virological response, specifically in difficult-to-treat patients. Recently, individualized treatment, such as response-guided therapy, is being developed based on host-, HCV- and treatment-related factors. Furthermore, modified regimens with currently available medications, novel modified IFNα and ribavirin or combinations with specifically targeted antiviral therapy for HCV agents, are currently being investigated. The purpose of this review is to address some issues and epoch-making topics in the treatment of chronic HCV infection, and to discuss more optimal and highly individualized therapeutic strategies for HCV-infected patients.
Pegylated interferon α; Ribavirin; Chronic hepatitis C virus infection; Difficult-to-treat patient; Individualized treatment; Response-guided therapy; Specifically targeted antiviral therapy for hepatitis C virus
The goal of cancer vaccines is to induce antitumor immunity that ultimately will reduce tumor burden in tumor environment. Several strategies involving dendritic cells- (DCs)- based vaccine incorporating different tumor-associated antigens to induce antitumor immune responses against tumors have been tested in clinical trials worldwide. Although DCs-based vaccine such as fusions of whole tumor cells and DCs has been proven to be clinically safe and is efficient to enhance antitumor immune responses for inducing effective immune response and for breaking T-cell tolerance to tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), only a limited success has occurred in clinical trials. This paper reviews tumor immune escape and current strategies employed in the field of tumor/DC fusions vaccine aimed at enhancing activation of TAAs-specific cytotoxic T cells in tumor microenvironment.
The aim of cancer vaccines is induction of tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) that can reduce the tumor mass. Dendritic cells (DCs) are potent antigen-presenting cells and play a central role in the initiation and regulation of primary immune responses. Thus, DCs-based vaccination represents a potentially powerful strategy for induction of antigen-specific CTLs. Fusions of DCs and whole tumor cells represent an alternative approach to deliver, process, and subsequently present a broad spectrum of antigens, including those known and unidentified, in the context of costimulatory molecules. Once DCs/tumor fusions have been infused back into patient, they migrate to secondary lymphoid organs, where the generation of antigen-specific polyclonal CTL responses occurs. We will discuss perspectives for future development of DCs/tumor fusions for CTL induction.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are potent antigen-presenting cells and play a central role in the initiation and regulation of primary immune responses. Therefore, their use for the active immunotherapy against cancers has been studied with considerable interest. The fusion of DCs with whole tumor cells represents in many ways an ideal approach to deliver, process, and subsequently present a broad array of tumor-associated antigens, including those yet to be unidentified, in the context of DCs-derived costimulatory molecules. DCs/tumor fusion vaccine stimulates potent antitumor immunity in the animal tumor models. In the human studies, T cells stimulated by DC/tumor fusion cells are effective in lysis of tumor cells that are used as the fusion partner. In the clinical trials, clinical and immunological responses were observed in patients with advanced stage of malignant tumors after being vaccinated with DC/tumor fusion cells, although the antitumor effect is not as vigorous as in the animal tumor models. This review summarizes recent advances in concepts and techniques that are providing new impulses to DCs/tumor fusions-based cancer vaccination.
AIM: To assess the efficacy and advantages of 4-wk pegylated interferon α-2a (peg-IFN-α2a) monotherapy for chronic hepatitis C patients with strong predictors of sustained virologic response (SVR).
METHODS: Patients (n = 33) with genotype 2 and low viral load (< 100 KIU/mL), who became HCV RNA negative after 1 wk of IFN treatment, were randomly allocated to receive a 4- or 12-wk treatment course at a ratio of 2:1, respectively, with a subsequent 24-wk follow-up period. Peg-IFN-α2a was administered subcutaneously at a dose of 180 μg or 90 μg once weekly. SVR was defined as absence of serum HCV RNA at the end of the follow-up period.
RESULTS: All patients completed the treatment schedule, and more than half were symptom-free during the treatment. In the 4-wk treatment group, 20 of 22 (91%) patients achieved SVR. Two patients relapsed, but achieved SVR following re-treatment with peg-IFN-α2a alone. In the 12-wk treatment group, 11 of 11 (100%) patients attained SVR.
CONCLUSION: Our results show that a 4-wk course of peg-IFN-α2a monotherapy can achieve a high SVR rate in “IFN-sensitive” patients, without negatively affecting outcome.
Chronic hepatitis C; Pegylated interferon alpha-2a monotherapy; Genotype 2; Low viral load; Randomized pilot study
Human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells express WT1 and/or carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) as potential targets for the induction of antitumor immunity. In this study, generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and regulatory T cells (Treg) by fusions of dendritic cells (DCs) and HCC cells was examined.
HCC cells were fused to DCs either from healthy donors or the HCC patient and investigated whether supernatants derived from the HCC cell culture (HCCsp) influenced on the function of DCs/HCC fusion cells (FCs) and generation of CTL and Treg.
FCs coexpressed the HCC cells-derived WT1 and CEA antigens and DCs-derived MHC class II and costimulatory molecules. In addition, FCs were effective in activating CD4+ and CD8+ T cells able to produce IFN-γ and inducing cytolysis of autologous tumor or semiallogeneic targets by a MHC class I-restricted mechanism. However, HCCsp induced functional impairment of DCs as demonstrated by the down-regulation of MHC class I and II, CD80, CD86, and CD83 molecules. Moreover, the HCCsp-exposed DCs failed to undergo full maturation upon stimulation with the Toll-like receptor 4 agonist penicillin-inactivated Streptococcus pyogenes. Interestingly, fusions of immature DCs generated in the presence of HCCsp and allogeneic HCC cells promoted the generation of CD4+ CD25high Foxp3+ Treg and inhibited CTL induction in the presence of HCCsp. Importantly, up-regulation of MHC class II, CD80, and CD83 on DCs was observed in the patient with advanced HCC after vaccination with autologous FCs. In addition, the FCs induced WT1- and CEA-specific CTL that were able to produce high levels of IFN-γ.
The current study is one of the first demonstrating the induction of antigen-specific CTL and the generation of Treg by fusions of DCs and HCC cells. The local tumor-related factors may favor the generation of Treg through the inhibition of DCs maturation; however, fusion cell vaccination results in recovery of the DCs function and induction of antigen-specific CTL responses in vitro. The present study may shed new light about the mechanisms responsible for the generation of CTL and Treg by FCs.
AIM: To investigate the roles of Bax and p53 proteins in photosensitivity of human colon cancer cells by using lysosome-localizing photosensitizer, ATX-S10Na (II).
METHODS: HCT116 human colon cancer cells and Bax-null or p53-null isogenic derivatives were irradiated with a diode laser. Early apoptosis and cell death in response to photodynamic therapy were determined by MTT assays, annexin V assays, transmission electron microscopy assays, caspase assays and western blotting.
RESULTS: Induction of early apoptosis and cell death was Bax- and p53-dependent. Bax and p53 were required for caspase-dependent apoptosis. The levels of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins, Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, were decreased in Bax- and p53-independent manner.
CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that early apoptosis and cell death of human colon cancer cells induced by photodynamic therapy with lysosome-localizing photosensitizer ATX-S10Na (II) are mediated by p53-Bax network and low levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL proteins. Our results might help in formulating new therapeutic approaches in photodynamic therapy.
Photodynamic therapy; ATX-S10Na (II); Apoptosis; Bax; p53