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1.  In vitro immunotoxicity assessment of culture-derived extracellular vesicles in human monocytes 
Journal of immunotoxicology  2016;13(5):652-665.
The potential to engineer extracellular vesicles (EV) that target specific cells and deliver a therapeutic payload has propelled a growing interest in their development as promising therapeutics. These EV are often produced from cultured cells. Very little is known about the interaction of cell culture-derived EV with cells of the immune system and their potential immunomodulatory effects. The present study evaluated potential immunotoxic effects of HEK293T-derived EV on the human monocytic cell lines THP-1 and U937. Incubation of cells with different doses of EV for 16–24 h was followed by assessment of cytotoxicity and cell function by flow cytometry. Changes in cell functionality were evaluated by the capacity of cells to phagocytize fluorescent microspheres. In addition, the internalization of labeled EV in THP-1 and U937 cells was evaluated. Exposure to EV did not affect the viability of THP-1 or U937 cells. Although lower doses of the EV increased phagocytic capacity in both cell lines, phagocytic efficiency of individual cells was not affected by EV exposure at any of the doses evaluated. This study also demonstrated that THP-1 and U937 monocytic cells are highly permissive to EV entry in a dose-response manner. These results suggest that, although HEK293T-derived EV are efficiently internalized by human monocytic cells, they do not exert a cytotoxic effect or alter phagocytic efficiency on the cell lines evaluated.
PMCID: PMC4972675  PMID: 27075513
Extracellular vesicles; exosomes; microvesicles; immunotoxicity; in vitro assay
2.  Preparation and Evaluation of a Novel Class of Amphiphilic Amines as Antitumor Agents and Nanocarriers for Bioactive Molecules 
Pharmaceutical Research  2016;33(11):2722-2735.
We describe a novel class of antitumor amphiphilic amines (RCn) based on a tricyclic amine hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic linear alkyl tail of variable length.
We tested the lead compound, RC16, for cytotoxicity and mechanism of cell death in several cancer cell lines, anti tumor efficacy in mouse tumor models, and ability to encapsulate chemotherapy drugs.
These compounds displayed strong cytotoxic activity against cell lines derived from both pediatric and adult cancers. The IC50 of the lead compound, RC16, for normal cells including human keratinocytes, human fibroblasts and human umbilical vein endothelial cells was tenfold higher than for tumor cells. RC16 exhibited significant antitumor effects in vivo using several human xenografts and a metastatic model of murine neuroblastoma by both intravenous and oral administration routes. The amphiphilic character of RC16 triggered a spontaneous molecular self-assembling in water with formation of micelles allowing complexation of Doxorubicin, Etoposide and Paclitaxel. These micelles significantly improved the in vitro antitumor activity of these drugs as the enhancement of their aqueous solubility also improved their biologic availability.
RC16 and related amphiphilic amines may be useful as a novel cancer treatment.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11095-016-1999-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5040747  PMID: 27457066
antitumor activity; encapsulation of bioactive molecules in micelles; formation of micelles in water; novel amphiphilic amines; pharmacokinetics and biodistribution
3.  Phase I Dose Escalation Trial of the Novel Proteasome Inhibitor Carfilzomib in Patients with Relapsed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma 
Leukemia & lymphoma  2015;56(10):2834-2840.
The proteasome complex degrades proteins involved in a variety of cellular processes and is a powerful therapeutic target in several malignancies. Carfilzomib is a potent proteasome inhibitor which induces rapid CLL cell apoptosis in vitro. We conducted a phase I dose-escalation trial to determine safety and tolerability of carfilzomib in relapsed/refractory CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). Nineteen patients were treated with carfilzomib initially at 20 mg/m2, then escalated in 4 cohorts (27, 36, 45 and 56 mg/m2) on days 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16 of 28-day cycles. Therapy was generally well-tolerated, and no dose-limiting-toxicities were observed. The most common hematologic toxicities were thrombocytopenia and neutropenia. All patients evaluable for response had stable disease, including patients with del17p13 and fludarabine-resistant disease. This trial shows acceptable tolerability and limited preliminary efficacy of carfilzomib in CLL and SLL.
PMCID: PMC4835239  PMID: 25669927
Proteasome inhibitor; Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia; carfilzomib
4.  Reduced Occurrence of Tumor Flare with Flavopiridol Followed by Combined Flavopiridol and Lenalidomidein Patients with Relapsed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) 
American journal of hematology  2015;90(4):327-333.
Flavopiridol and lenalidomide have activity in refractory CLL without immunosuppression or opportunistic infections seen with other therapies. We hypothesized that flavopiridol treatment could adequately de-bulk disease prior to lenalidomide therapy, decreasing the incidence of tumor flare with higher doses of lenalidomide. In this Phase I study, the maximum tolerated dose was not reached with treatment consisting of flavopiridol 30 mg/m2 intravenous bolus (IVB) + 30 mg/m2 continuous intravenous infusion (CIVI) cycle (C) 1 day (D) 1 and 30 mg/m2 IVB + 50 mg/m2 CIVI C1 D8,15 and C2-8 D3,10,17 with lenalidomide 15 mg orally daily C2-8 D1-21. There was no unexpected toxicity seen, including no increased tumor lysis, tumor flare (even at higher doses of lenalidomide) or opportunistic infection. Significant clinical activity was demonstrated, with a 51% response rate in this group of heavily pretreated patients. Biomarker testing confirmed association of mitochondrial priming of the BH3 only peptide Puma with response.
PMCID: PMC4552311  PMID: 25639448
chronic lymphocytic leukemia; flavopiridol; lenalidomide; tumor flare; tumor lysis mitochondrial profiling
5.  Registered report: Coding-independent regulation of the tumor suppressor PTEN by competing endogenous mRNAs 
eLife  null;147:344-357.
The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology seeks to address growing concerns about reproducibility in scientific research by conducting replications of selected experiments from a number of high-profile papers in the field of cancer biology. The papers, which were published between 2010 and 2012, were selected on the basis of citations and Altmetric scores (Errington et al., 2014). This Registered Report describes the proposed replication plan of key experiments from “Coding-Independent Regulation of the Tumor Suppressor PTEN by Competing Endogenous 'mRNAs' by Tay and colleagues, published in Cell in 2011 (Tay et al., 2011). The experiments to be replicated are those reported in Figures 3C, 3D, 3G, 3H, 5A and 5B, and in Supplemental Figures 3A and B. Tay and colleagues proposed a new regulatory mechanism based on competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs), which regulate target genes by competitive binding of shared microRNAs. They test their model by identifying and confirming ceRNAs that target PTEN. In Figure 3A and B, they report that perturbing expression of putative PTEN ceRNAs affects expression of PTEN. This effect is dependent on functional microRNA machinery (Figure 3G and H), and affects the pathway downstream of PTEN itself (Figures 5A and B). The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology is a collaboration between the Center for Open Science and Science Exchange, and the results of the replications will be published by eLife.
PMCID: PMC4786421  PMID: 26943900
reproducibility project: cancer biology; methodology; microRNA; PTEN; Human
6.  Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry assay for the simultaneous quantification of simvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin, and their major metabolites in human plasma 
Millions of individuals are treated with a variety of statins that are metabolized to a variety of active metabolites. A single assay capable of simultaneously quantifying commonly used statins and their major metabolites has not been previously reported. Herein we describe the development and validation of a novel and robust liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry assay for simultaneously quantifying simvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin, and their metabolites, simvastatin acid, lovastatin acid, para-hydroxy atorvastatin, and ortho-hydroxy atorvastatin in human plasma. Plasma samples were processed with a simple protein precipitation technique using acetonitrile, followed by chromatographic separation using an Agilent Zorbax Extend C18 column. A 12.0 minute linear gradient elution was used at a flow rate of 400 µL/minute with a mobile phase of water and methanol, both modified with 2 mM ammonium formate and 0.2% formic acid. The analytes and internal standard, hesperetin, were detected using the selected reaction monitoring mode on a TSQ Quantum Discovery mass spectrometer with positive electrospray ionization. The assay exhibited a linear range of 1–1000 nM for simvastatin acid and lovastatin acid, and a linear range of 0.1–100 nM for the other analytes in human plasma. The accuracy and the within- and between-day precisions of the assay were within acceptable ranges, and the method was successfully utilized to quantify the statins and their metabolites in human plasma samples collected from an ongoing pharmacokinetic study.
PMCID: PMC4324004  PMID: 25612772
Statin; LC-MS/MS; Validation; Metabolite; Human plasma
7.  Quantification of OSU-2S, a novel derivative of FTY720, in mouse plasma by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry 
OSU-2S is a novel anti-cancer and immune modulatory agent designed specifically to avert the immunosuppressive effects and related toxicities observed in clinical studies with its predecessor analog, FTY720. To characterize its preclinical pharmacokinetics, a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method was developed and validated for the quantification of OSU-2S in mouse plasma. Ethyl acetate extraction of samples containing OSU-2S and the internal standard, Sph-17, was followed by separation with a 6 minute gradient (water/0.1% formic acid and methanol/0.1% formic acid) on a reverse-phase C18 column at room temperature. Selected reaction monitoring was used for detection on a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer with positive ionization. The assay was linear over the concentration range 3–3000 ng/mL with accuracy ranging from 103 to 111%, and both within- and between-run precision (CV%) ≤11%. All stability samples were within ±15% of nominal values, and replicates were within 15% CV. The assay was successfully applied to a mouse pharmacokinetic study of OSU-2S with intravenous and intraperitoneal administration. OSU-2S non-compartmental pharmacokinetic parameters, area under the concentration-time curve, clearance, and elimination half-life were estimated at 1522 hr*μg/L, 3.06 L/hr/kg and 15.6 hr, respectively, for intravenous injection. Systemic availability after intraperitoneal injection was approximately 46%. These data demonstrate the OSU-2S compound displays acceptable pharmacokinetic properties for further in vivo pharmacologic evaluation, which can be facilitated by the validated LC-MS/MS assay.
PMCID: PMC4180035  PMID: 24927402
OSU-2S; FTY720; liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry; mouse; pharmacokinetics
8.  Erlotinib in African Americans with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Prospective Randomized Study with Genetic and Pharmacokinetic Analysis 
Prospective studies focusing on EGFR inhibitors in African Americans with NSCLC have not been previously performed. In this phase II randomized study, 55 African Americans with NSCLC received erlotinib 150mg/day or a body weight adjusted dose with subsequent escalations to the maximum allowable, 200mg/day, to achieve rash. Erlotinib and OSI-420 exposures were lower compared to previous reports, consistent with CYP3A pharmacogenetics implying higher metabolic activity. Tumor genetics revealed only two EGFR mutations, EGFR amplification in 17/47 samples, 8 KRAS mutations and 5 EML4-ALK translocations. Although absence of rash was associated with shorter time to progression (TTP), disease control rate, TTP, and 1-year survival were not different between the two dose groups, indicating the dose-to-rash strategy failed to increase clinical benefit. Observed low incidence of toxicity and low erlotinib exposure suggest standardized and maximum allowable dosing may be suboptimal in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC4180036  PMID: 24781527
EGFR; Erlotinib; African American; Pharmacokinetics; Pharmacogenetics
9.  Tumor antigen ROR1 targeted drug delivery mediated selective leukemic but not normal B cell cytotoxicity in chronic lymphocytic leukemia 
Leukemia  2014;29(2):346-355.
Selective cytotoxicity to cancer cells without compromising their normal counterparts pose a huge challenge for traditional drug design. Here we developed a tumor antigen targeted delivery of immunonanoparticle carrying a novel non-immunosuppressive FTY720 derivative OSU-2S with potent cytotoxicity against leukemic B cells. OSU-2S induces activation of protein phosphatase 2A, phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of SHP1S591 and deregulation of multiple cellular processes in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) resulting in potent cytotoxicity. To preclude OSU-2S mediated effects on these ubiquitous phosphatases in unintended cells and avoid potential adverse effects we developed a OSU-2S targeted delivery immunonanoparticles (2A2-OSU-2S-ILP), that mediated selective cytotoxicity of CLL but not normal B cells through targeting receptor tyrosine kinase ROR1 expressed in leukemic but not normal B cells. Developing a novel spontaneous CLL mouse model expressing human ROR1 (hROR1) in all leukemic B cells, we demonstrate the therapeutic benefit of enhanced survival with 2A2-OSU-2S-ILP in-vivo. The newly developed non-immunosuppressive OSU-2S, its delivery using human CLL directed immunonanoparticles and the novel transgenic mouse model of CLL that expresses hROR1 exclusively in leukemic B cell surface are highly innovative and can be applied to CLL and other ROR1+ malignancies including mantle cell lymphoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
PMCID: PMC4272672  PMID: 24947019
CLL; OSU-2S; phosphatases; ROR1; immunonanoparticle; ROR1 transgenic mice
10.  Results of an abbreviated phase-II study with the Akt Inhibitor MK-2206 in Patients with Advanced Biliary Cancer 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:12122.
Biliary cancers (BC) are rare, chemoresistant and are associated with a poor prognosis. Targeting the Akt pathway is of significance in BC. We hypothesized that the allosteric inhibitor MK-2206 will be active in BC. This was a multi-institutional phase II study of MK-2206 given to patients with advanced, refractory BC. The primary end point was overall response rate. We also characterized pharmacokinetic profiles of MK-2206 in these patients and explored its potential correlation with clinical outcomes. Eight patients were enrolled prior to early termination of the trial. All patients had received prior systemic therapy. The best response observed was stable disease, exceeding 12 weeks in two patients. Toxicities were mild and tolerable. MK-2206 exhibited a pharmacokinetic profile with an apparent slow absorption followed by biphasic elimination in these patients with BC. No significant association was observed between the pharmacokinetic properties of MK-2206 and clinical outcomes. MK-2206 as a single-agent in BC is tolerable with pharmacokinetic properties similar to patients with other solid tumors. No clinical activity was observed in this limited population. Further development of Akt inhibitors may need to focus on combinations with other molecular targeted agents, conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy and prospective patient selection.
PMCID: PMC4894406  PMID: 26161813
11.  A dose escalation feasibility study of lenalidomide for treatment of symptomatic, relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia☆ 
Leukemia research  2014;38(9):1025-1029.
Adequate dosing of lenalidomide in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) remains unclear. This study determined maximum tolerated dose (MTD) in relapsed CLL patients (Cohort A) and patients achieving a partial response (PR) or better to recent therapy (Cohort B). Thirty-seven patients were enrolled. MTD was 2.5 mg followed by 5.0 mg continuous. In Cohort A, tumor flare grade 1–2 occurred in 15 patients (50%) and grade 3 in 1 patient (3%). Cohort A had 19 of 23 evaluable (83%) patients, 4 PR (17%) and 15 (65%) stable disease (SD), Cohort B had 6 of 7 patients (86%) with SD. Despite overall response rate not being high, many patients remained on therapy several months with SD.
PMCID: PMC4312491  PMID: 25082342
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia; Relapse; Lenalidomide; Tumor flare; Maintenance
12.  Sensitive Liquid Chromatography/mass Spectrometry Methods for Quantification of Pomalidomide in Mouse Plasma and Brain Tissue 
Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis  2013;88:10.1016/j.jpba.2013.08.036.
Pomalidomide was recently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies. As pomalidomide is increasingly evaluated in other diseases and animal disease models, this manuscript presents development and validation of a sensitive liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry assay for quantification of pomalidomide in mouse plasma and brain tissue to fill a gap in published preclinical pharmacokinetic and analytical data with this agent. After acetonitrile protein precipitation, pomalidomide and internal standard, hesperitin, were separated with reverse phase chromatography on a C-18 column with a gradient mobile phase of water and acetonitrile with 0.1% fomic acid. Positive atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry with selected reaction monitoring mode was applied to achieve 0.3–3000 nM (0.082–819.73 ng/mL) linear range in mouse plasma and 0.6–6000 pmol/g in brain tissue. The within- and between-batch accuracy and precision were less than 15% for both plasma and brain tissue. The method was applied to measure pomalidomide concentrations in plasma and brain tissue in a pilot mouse pharmacokinetic study with an intravenous dose of 0.5 mg/kg. This assay can be applied for thorough characterization of pomalidomide pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution in mice.
PMCID: PMC3860284  PMID: 24095801
Pomalidomide; Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry; Mouse; Plasma; Brain; Pharmacokinetics
13.  Reovirus-associated reduction of microRNA-let-7d is related to the increased apoptotic death of cancer cells in clinical samples 
We analyzed the in situ molecular correlates of infection from cancer patients treated with reovirus. Melanoma, colorectal, and ovarian cancer samples from such patients showed variable infection of the cancer cells but not the intermingled benign cells. RT in situ PCR showed most cancer cells contained the viral genome with threefold less having productive viral infection as documented by either tubulin or reoviral protein co-expression. Productive infection in the cancer cells was strongly correlated with co-expression of p38 and caspase-3 as well as apoptosis-related death (P<0.001). The cancer cell apoptotic death was due to a marked viral-induced inhibition of microRNA-let-7d that, in turn, upregulated caspase-3 activity. In summary, reovirus shows a striking tropism to cancer cells in clinical samples. A rate-limiting factor of reovirus-induced cancer cell death is productive viral infection that operates via the marked reduction of microRNA-let-7d and concomitant elevated caspase-3 expression.
PMCID: PMC4275064  PMID: 22699519
apoptosis; caspase-3; microRNA-let-7d; PKR; Ras; reovirus
14.  Flavopiridol Can Be Safely Administered Using a Pharmacologically Derived Schedule and Demonstrates Activity in Relapsed and Refractory Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 
American journal of hematology  2013;89(1):19-24.
Flavopiridol is a broad cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CDKI) that induces apoptosis of malignant lymphocytes in vitro and in murine lymphoma models. We conducted a phase I dose-escalation study to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) for single-agent flavopiridol administered on a pharmacokinetically derived hybrid dosing schedule to patients with relapsed and refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Dose was escalated independently in one of four cohorts: indolent B-cell (cohort 1), mantle cell (cohort 2), intermediate grade B-cell including transformed lymphoma (cohort 3), and T-/NK-cell excluding primary cutaneous disease (cohort 4). Forty-six patients were accrued. Grade 3 or 4 leukopenia was observed in the majority of patients (60%), but infection was infrequent. Common non-hematologic toxicties included diarrhea and fatigue. Biochemical tumor lysis was observed in only 2 patients, and no patients required hemodialysis for its management. Dose escalation was completed in two cohorts (indolent and aggressive B-cell). Dose-limiting toxicities were not observed, and the MTD was not reached in either cohort at the highest dose tested (50 mg/m2 bolus + 50 mg/m2 continuous infusion weekly for 4 consecutive weeks of a 6 week cycle). Clinical benefit was observed in 26% of 43 patients evaluable for response, including 14% with partial responses (2 mantle cell, 3 indolent B-cell, and 1 diffuse large B-cell). The single-agent activity of this first-generation CDKI suggests that other agents in this class merit further study in lymphoid malignancies, both alone and in combination.
PMCID: PMC4150545  PMID: 23959599
flavopiridol; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors; phase 1 trial; pharmacokinetics
15.  A novel liposomal formulation of FTY720 (Fingolimod) for promising enhanced targeted delivery 
We describe here the development and characterization of the physicochemical and pharmacokinetic properties of a novel liposomal formulation for FTY720 delivery, LP-FTY720. The mean diameter of LP-FTY720 was ~157 nm, and the FTY720 entrapment efficiency was ~85%. The liposomal formulation protected FTY720 from degradation in aqueous buffer and showed toxicity in CLL patient B cells comparable to that of free FTY720. Following intravenous injection in ICR mice, LP-FTY720 had an increased elimination phase half-life (~28 vs. ~19 hr) and decreased clearance (235 vs. 778 mL/h/kg) compared to the free drug. Antibodies against CD19, CD20 and CD37 were incorporated into LP-FTY720, which provided targeted delivery to CLL patient B cells and thus achieved higher killing efficacy. The novel liposomal carrier of FTY720 demonstrated improved pharmacokinetic properties, comparable activity, and a potential platform for targeted delivery to CLL by overcoming the limited application of free FTY720 to B malignancy treatment.
PMCID: PMC4134520  PMID: 23969101
FTY720; Liposome; Leukemia; Drug delivery; CD37; Nanotechnology
16.  Standard Pentostatin Dose Reductions in Renal Insufficiency are not Adequate: Selected Patients with Steroid-Refractory Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease 
Clinical pharmacokinetics  2013;52(8):705-712.
Background and Objective
Pentostatin is an irreversible inhibitor of adenosine deaminase and has been used to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and to treat both acute and chronic GVHD. Dose reduction equations for patients with renal insufficiency are based on few patients with limited pharmacokinetic and clinical results. This phase II study (NCT00201786) was conducted to assess pentostatin efficacy and infectious complications seen from our previous phase I study in steroid-refractory acute GVHD (aGVHD).
Patients and Methods
Hospitalized patients with steroid-refractory aGVHD were given pentostatin 1.5 mg/m2/day intravenously on days 1–3 of each 14 day cycle. Prior to each dose, dose modifications were based on Cockcroft-Gault estimated creatinine clearance (eCrCL) with 30–50 ml/min/1.73m2 leading to a 50% dose reduction and eCrCL< 30 ml/min/1.73m2 leading to study removal. Plasma pentostatin area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) and incidence of infectious complications were evaluated.
Two of the eight patients treated demonstrated excessive pentostatin exposure as determined by measurement of AUC. One of these patients had renal impairment while the other patient demonstrated borderline renal function. Despite dose reduction to 0.75 mg/m2, AUCs were significantly increased compared to the other patients in this study. Seven of eight patients treated with pentostatin had cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia after pentostatin treatment; however none developed proven CMV disease.
A 50% dose reduction in patients with eCrCL 30–50 ml/min/1.73m2 seems reasonable. However, the eCrCL should be interpreted with extreme cautions in patients who are critically ill and/or with poor performance status. Renal function assessment based on the Cockcroft-Gault method could be significantly overestimated thus risking pentostatin over-dosing. These results imply a need to closely monitor pentostatin exposure in patients with renal insufficiency.
PMCID: PMC3720841  PMID: 23588536
17.  Establishing a clinical pharmacology fellowship program for physicians, pharmacists, and pharmacologists: a newly accredited interdisciplinary training program at the Ohio State University 
Studying the effect of drugs on humans, clinical pharmacologists play an essential role in many academic medical and research teams, within the pharmaceutical industry and as members of government regulatory entities. Clinical pharmacology fellowship training programs should be multidisciplinary and adaptable, and should combine didactics, applied learning, independent study, and one-on-one instruction. This article describes a recently developed 2 year clinical pharmacology fellowship program – one of only nine accredited by the American Board of Clinical Pharmacology – that is an integrative, multi faceted, adaptable method for training physicians, pharmacists, and scientists for leadership roles in the pharmaceutical industry, in academia, or with regulatory or accreditation agencies. The purpose of this article is to provide information for academic clinicians and researchers interested in designing a similar program, for professionals in the field of clinical pharmacology who are already affiliated with a fellowship program and may benefit from supplemental information, and for clinical researchers interested in clinical pharmacology who may not be aware that such training opportunities exist. This article provides the details of a recently accredited program, including design, implementation, accreditation, trainee success, and future directions.
PMCID: PMC4075108  PMID: 25018660
clinical pharmacology education; clinical pharmacology fellowship
18.  A phase I study of prolonged infusion of triapine in combination with fixed dose rate gemcitabine in patients with advanced solid tumors 
Investigational new drugs  2012;31(3):685-695.
Prolonged exposure of cancer cells to triapine, an inhibitor of ribonucleotide reductase, followed by gemcitabine enhances gemcitabine activity in vitro. Fixed-dose-rate gemcitabine (FDR-G) has improved efficacy compared to standard-dose. We conducted a phase I trial to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacodynamics (PD), and preliminary efficacy of prolonged triapine infusion followed by FDR-G.
Experimental Design
Triapine was given as a 24-hour infusion, immediately followed by FDR-G (1000 mg/m2 over 100-minute). Initially, this combination was administered days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle (Arm A, triapine starting dose 120 mg); but because of myelosuppression, it was changed to days 1 and 15 of a 28-day cycle (Arm B, starting dose of triapine 75 mg). Triapine steady-state concentrations (Css) and circulating ribonucleotide reductase M2-subunit (RRM2) were measured.
Thirty-six patients were enrolled. The MTD was determined to be triapine 90 mg (24-hour infusion) immediately followed by gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 (100-minute infusion), every 2 weeks of a 4-week cycle. DLTs included grade 4 thrombocytopenia, leukopenia and neutropenia. The treatment was well tolerated with fatigue, nausea/vomiting, fever, transaminitis, and cytopenias being the most common toxicities. Among 30 evaluable patients, 1 had a partial response and 15 had stable disease. Triapine PK was similar, although more variable, compared to previous studies using doses normalized to body-surface-area. Steady decline in circulating levels of RRM2 may correlate with outcome.
This combination was well tolerated and showed evidence of preliminary activity in this heavily pretreated patient population, including prior gemcitabine failure.
PMCID: PMC3646991  PMID: 22847785
Triapine; Gemcitabine; Phase I; Clinical Trial
19.  Comparative cellular pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of siRNA delivery by SPANosomes and by cationic liposomes 
Mechanistic understanding of intracellular trafficking is important for the development of small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery vehicles. Here, we describe a novel methodology to quantitatively analyze nanocarrier-mediated disposition of siRNA. Cellular uptake and cytoplasmic release of siRNA over time were quantified by measuring the fluorescence intensities of fluorescently-labeled siRNAs and molecular beacons using flow cytometry. This method was used to investigate the cellular pharmacokinetics (PK) of siRNA delivery by SPANosomes (SP) and by cationic liposomes (CL). The results showed that the superior pharmacodynamic (PD) response of SP was because it enhanced transport of siRNA into the cytoplasm compared to the CL. The divergent cellular pharmacokinetic profiles of the two formulations were associated with different cellular entry pathways. These findings can facilitate the rational design of more efficient siRNA delivery vehicles in the future.
PMCID: PMC3633702  PMID: 23117046
RNA interference; siRNA; Nanoparticle; Cellular pharmacokinetics; Intracellular trafficking
20.  A Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Model of Tumor Lysis Syndrome in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients Treated with Flavopiridol 
Flavopiridol, the first clinically evaluated cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor, demonstrates activity in patients with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia, but prevalent and unpredictable tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) presents a major barrier to its broad clinical use. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between pretreatment risk factors, drug pharmacokinetics, and TLS.
Experimental Design
A population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model linking drug exposure and TLS was developed. Plasma data of flavopiridol and its glucuronide metabolite (flavo-G) were obtained from 111 patients treated in early phase trials with frequent sampling following initial and/or escalated doses. TLS grading was modeled with logistic regression as a pharmacodynamic endpoint. Demographics, baseline disease status, and blood chemistry variables were evaluated as covariates.
Gender was the most significant pharmacokinetic covariate, with females displaying higher flavo-G exposure than males. Glucuronide metabolite exposure was predictive of TLS occurrence, and bulky lymphadenopathy was identified as a significant covariate on TLS probability. The estimated probability of TLS occurrence in patients with baseline bulky lymphadenopathy < 10 cm or > 10 cm during the first two treatments was 0.111 (SE% 13.0%) and 0.265, (SE% 17.9%) respectively, when flavo-G area under the plasma concentration vs. time curve was at its median value in whole patient group.
This is the first population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model of TLS. Further work is needed to explore potential mechanisms and to determine if the associations between TLS, gender and glucuronide metabolites are relevant in CLL patients treated with other cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3845832  PMID: 23300276
chronic lymphocytic leukemia; flavopiridol; tumor lysis syndrome; population pharmacokinetics; glucuronide metabolite; logistic regression model
21.  Cyclophosphamide, Alvocidib (Flavopiridol), and Rituximab, a Novel Feasible Chemoimmunotherapy Regimen for Patients with High-Risk Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia 
Leukemia research  2013;37(10):1195-1199.
Alvocidib has demonstrated efficacy in high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients. In this phase I study, we combined cyclophosphamide, alvocidib and rituximab (CAR) in a schema designed to mitigate tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) seen previously with alvocidib. Nine nucleoside analog-naïve, high-risk patients received escalating doses of CAR therapy. Dose limiting toxicity was not experienced. No instances of TLS were observed. Patient responses included three complete remissions and four partial remissions. CAR was tolerable and active in high-risk CLL patients without TLS toxicity. With continued monitoring of toxicities, a phase Ib/II study of this combination as frontline therapy is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3934299  PMID: 23867058
chronic lymphocytic leukemia; flavopiridol; high-risk cytogenetics; cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor; chemoimmunotherapy; alvocidib; del(17p); del(11q)
22.  REO-10: A Phase I Study of Intravenous Reovirus and Docetaxel in Patients with Advanced Cancer 
REOLYSIN (Oncolytics Biotech) consists of a wild-type oncolytic reovirus, which has selective cytotoxicity for tumor cells while sparing normal cells. In a phase I study as a single agent, repeated infusions of reovirus were safe with evidence of antitumor activity. Preclinical studies indicate potential for synergy between reovirus and chemotherapeutic agents. A multicenter, phase I dose escalation study was designed to assess the safety of combining reovirus with docetaxel chemotherapy in patients with advanced cancer.
Experimental Design
Patients received 75 mg/m2 docetaxel (day 1) and escalating doses of reovirus up to 3 × 1010 TCID50 (days 1-5) every 3 weeks.
Twenty-five patients were enrolled, and 24 patients were exposed to treatment, with 23 completing at least one cycle and 16 suitable for response assessment. Dose-limiting toxicity of grade 4 neutropenia was seen in one patient, but the maximum tolerated dose was not reached. Antitumor activity was seen with one complete response and three partial responses. A disease control rate (combined complete response, partial response, and stable disease) of 88% was observed. Immunohistochemical analysis of reovirus protein expression was observed in posttreatment tumor biopsies from three patients.
The combination of reovirus and docetaxel is safe, with evidence of objective disease response, and warrants further evaluation in a phase II study at a recommended schedule of docetaxel (75 mg/m2, three times weekly) and reovirus (3 × 1010 TCID50, days 1-5, every 3 weeks).
PMCID: PMC3934355  PMID: 20926400
23.  Milatuzumab-Conjugated Liposomes as Targeted Dexamethasone Carriers for Therapeutic Delivery in CD74+ B-cell Malignancies 
Corticosteroids are widely used for the treatment of B-cell malignancies, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and acute lymphoblastic leukemia; however, this class of drug is associated with undesirable off-target effects. Herein, we developed novel milatuzumab-conjugated liposomes as a targeted dexamethasone carrier for therapeutic delivery in CD74+ B-cell malignancies and explored its effect against the disease.
Experimental Design:
The targeting efficiency of milatuzumab-targeted liposomes to CD74+ cells was evaluated in vitro. The effect of CD74-targeted liposomal dexamethasone was compared with free dexa-methasone in primary CLL cells and cell lines in vitro. The therapeutic efficacy of CD74-targeted liposomal dexamethasone was evaluated in a Raji-severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) xenograft model in vivo.
Milatuzumab-targeted liposomes promoted selective incorporation of carrier molecules into transformed CD74-positive B cells as compared with CD74-negative T-cells. The CD74-dexamethasone-targeted liposomes (CD74-IL-DEX) promoted and increased killing in CD74-positive tumor cells and primary CLL cells. Furthermore, the targeted drug liposomes showed enhanced therapeutic efficacy against a CD74-positive B-cell model as compared with free, or non-targeted, liposomal dexamethasone in SCID mice engrafted with Raji cells in vivo.
These studies provide evidence and support for a potential use of CD74-targeted liposomal dexamethasone as a new therapy for B-cell malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3793126  PMID: 23209030
24.  Pharmacokinetics and Dose Escalation of the Heat Shock Protein Inhibitor 17-AAG in Combination with Bortezomib in Relapsed or Refractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
Leukemia & lymphoma  2013;54(9):10.3109/10428194.2012.760733.
This phase I study was conducted to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and dose limiting toxicities (DLT) of the heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) inhibitor 17-allyamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG) in combination with bortezomib, and to provide pharmacokinetic data in relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Eleven patients were enrolled. The MTD was 17-AAG 150mg/m2 and bortezomib 0.7mg/m2. Hepatic toxicity and cardiac toxicity were dose limiting. Co-administration on day 4 led to a decrease in clearance (p=0.005) and increase in AUC (p=.032) of 17-amino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AG) not observed when 17-AAG was administered alone. Pharmacokinetic parameters of patients who developed toxicities and those who did not were not different. The combination of 17-AAG and bortezomib led to toxicity without measurable response in patients with relapsed or refractory AML. Pharmacokinetic data provide insight for studies of related agents in AML; next generation HSP90 inhibitors are appealing for further development in this area.
PMCID: PMC3860322  PMID: 23256542
Relapsed AML; bortezomib; 17-AAG; heat shock protein inhibition
25.  Development and Validation of Sensitive Liquid Chromatography/Tandem Mass Spectrometry Methods for Quantification of Bendamustine in Mouse Brain Tissue 
A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for quantification of bendamustine in mouse brain tissue was developed and fully validated. Methanol was used to precipitate proteins in brain tissue. Bendamustine and internal standard (chlorambucil) were separated with reverse phase chromatography on a C-18 column with a gradient of water and 95% methanol in 0.1% formic acid. Positive mode electrospray ionization was applied with selected reaction monitoring to achieve 5 ng/ml lower limits of quantitation in mouse brain tissue. The calibration curve for bendamustine in mouse brain was linear between 5 and 2000 ng/ml. The within- and between- batch accuracy and precision of the assay were within 15% at 10, 100 and 1000 ng/ml. The recovery and matrix effect of bendamustine in mouse brain tissue ranged from 41.1% to 51.6% and 107.4% to 110.3%, respectively. Validated the method was then applied to quantitate bendamustine in an animal study. Results indicate the assay can be applied to evaluate bendamustine disposition in mouse brain tissue. This assay will be applied in the future to detect and quantify bendamustine in human brain tissue samples.
PMCID: PMC3856370  PMID: 22925718
Bendamustine; Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry; LC-MS/MS; Brain

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