Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common degenerative condition that afflicts more
than 70% of the population between 55 and 77 years of age (1). Although its prevalence is rising
globally with aging of the population, current therapy is limited to symptomatic
relief and in severe cases, joint replacement surgery. Here we report
intra-articular expression of proteoglycan 4 (Prg4) in mice
protects against development of osteoarthritis. Long-term Prg4 expression under
the type II collagen promoter (Col2a1) does not adversely
affect skeletal development but protects from developing signs of age-related
osteoarthritis. The protective effect is also shown in a model of post-traumatic
osteoarthritis created by cruciate ligament transection (CLT)(2). Moreover, intra-articular injection of
helper-dependent adenoviral virus (HDV) expressing Prg4 protected against the
development of post-traumatic osteoarthritis when administered either before or
after injury. Gene expression profiling of mouse articular cartilage and
in vitro cell studies show that Prg4 expression inhibits
the transcriptional programs that promote cartilage catabolism and hypertrophy
through the up-regulation of hypoxia inducible factor 3α
(HIF3α). Analyses of available human OA datasets are consistent with the
predictions of this model. Hence, our data provide insight into the mechanisms
for OA development and offer a potential chondroprotective approach to its
Since the introduction of serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening twenty-five years ago, prostate cancer diagnosis and management have been guided by this biomarker. Yet, PSA has proven controversial as a diagnostic assay due to its limitations. The next wave of prostate cancer biomarkers has emerged, introducing new assays in serum and urine that may supplement or, in time, replace PSA due to higher cancer specificity. This expanding universe of biomarkers has been facilitated, in large part, by new genomic technologies that have enabled an unbiased look at cancer biology. Such efforts have produced several notable success stories, moving biomarkers from the bench to the clinic rapidly. However, biomarker research has centered on disease diagnostics, rather than prognosis and prediction, which could work toward disease prevention—an important focus moving forward. We review the current state of prostate cancer biomarker research, including the PSA revolution, its impact on early prostate cancer detection, the recent advances in biomarker discovery, and the future efforts that promise to improve clinical management of this disease.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are shed into the bloodstream from primary and metastatic tumor deposits. Their isolation and analysis hold great promise for the early detection of invasive cancer and the management of advanced disease, but technological hurdles have limited their broad clinical utility. We describe an inertial focusing–enhanced microfluidic CTC capture platform, termed “CTC-iChip,” that is capable of sorting rare CTCs from whole blood at 107 cells/s. Most importantly, the iChip is capable of isolating CTCs using strategies that are either dependent or independent of tumor membrane epitopes, and thus applicable to virtually all cancers. We specifically demonstrate the use of the iChip in an expanded set of both epithelial and nonepithelial cancers including lung, prostate, pancreas, breast, and melanoma. The sorting of CTCs as unfixed cells in solution allows for the application of high-quality clinically standardized morphological and immunohistochemical analyses, as well as RNA-based single-cell molecular characterization. The combination of an unbiased, broadly applicable, high-throughput, and automatable rare cell sorting technology with generally accepted molecular assays and cytology standards will enable the integration of CTC-based diagnostics into the clinical management of cancer.
Adults with relapsed B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have a dismal prognosis. Only those patients able to achieve a second remission with no minimal residual disease (MRD−) have a hope for long-term survival in the context of a subsequent allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). We have treated 5 relapsed B-ALL subjects with autologous T cells expressing a CD19-specific CD28/CD3ζ second generation dual-signaling chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) termed 19-28z. All patients with persistent morphological disease or MRD+ disease upon T cell infusion demonstrated rapid tumor eradication and achieved MRD-negative complete remissions as assessed by deep sequencing PCR. Therapy was well tolerated although significant cytokine elevations, specifically observed in those patients with morphologic evidence of disease at the time of treatment, required lymphotoxic steroid therapy to ameliorate cytokine-mediated toxicities. Significantly, cytokine elevations directly correlated to tumor burden at the time of CAR modified T cell infusions. Tumor cells from one patient with relapsed disease after CAR modified T cell therapy, ineligible for additional allo-HSCT therapy, exhibited persistent expression of CD19 and sensitivity to autologous 19-28z T cell mediated cytotoxicity suggesting potential clinical benefit of additional CAR modified T cell infusions. These results demonstrate the marked anti-tumor efficacy of 19-28z CAR modified T cells in patients with relapsed/refractory B-ALL and the reliability of this novel therapy to induce profound molecular remissions, an ideal bridge to potentially curative therapy with subsequent allo-HSCT.
Mitsugumin 53 (MG53), a muscle-specific TRIM family protein, is an essential component of the cell membrane repair machinery. Here we examined the translational value of targeting MG53 function in tissue repair and regenerative medicine. Although native MG53 protein is restricted to skeletal and cardiac muscle tissues, beneficial effects that protect against cellular injuries are present in non-muscle cells with overexpression of MG53. In addition to the intracellular action of MG53, injury to the cell membrane exposes a signal that can be detected by MG53, allowing recombinant MG53 protein to repair membrane damage when provided in the extracellular space. Recombinant human MG53 (rhMG53) protein purified from Escherichia coli fermentation provided dose-dependent protection against chemical, mechanical, or UV-induced damage to both muscle and non-muscle cells. Injection of rhMG53 through multiple routes decreased muscle pathology in the mdx dystrophic mouse model. Our data support the concept of targeted cell membrane repair in regenerative medicine, and present MG53 protein as an attractive biological reagent for restoration of membrane repair defects in human diseases.
Graft rejection by the immune system is a major cause of transplant failure. Lifelong immunosuppression decreases the incidence of graft rejection; however, nonspecific immunosuppression results in increased susceptibly to infection and cancer. Regulatory T cells (Tregs), which suppress the activation of the immune system and induce tolerance, are currently under evaluation for use in clinical transplantation. Ex vivo expanded polyclonal Tregs that are introduced into transplant recipients alter the balance of T effector cells to Tregs; however, experimental data suggest that alloantigen-specific Tregs would be more effective at preventing graft rejection. We have developed a method to enrich alloantigen-specific human Tregs based on the coexpression of activation markers, CD69 and CD71. These Tregs could be readily expanded in vitro and demonstrated potent antigen-specific suppression. In a humanized mouse model of alloimmune-mediated injury of human skin grafts, alloantigen-specific Tregs resulted in a significant reduction in clinically relevant indicators of dermal tissue injury when compared with polyclonal Tregs, restoring a histology comparable to healthy skin. This method of human allospecific Treg selection should be scalable to the clinic. The improved in vivo efficacy of alloantigen-specific Tregs over polyclonal Tregs shown here suggests that generating “customized” Tregs with defined anti-donor allospecificities may improve current practice in clinical immunotherapy.
Recent studies have indicated that a significant survival advantage is conferred to patients with gliomas whose lesions harbor mutations in the genes isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (IDH1/2). IDH1/2 mutations result in aberrant enzymatic production of the potential oncometabolite D-2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG). Here, we report on the ex vivo detection of 2HG in IDH1-mutated tissue samples from patients with recurrent low-grade gliomas using the nuclear magnetic resonance technique of proton high-resolution magic angle spinning spectroscopy. Relative 2HG levels from pathologically confirmed mutant IDH1 tissues correlated with levels of other ex vivo metabolites and histopathology parameters associated with increases in mitotic activity, relative tumor content, and cellularity. Ex vivo spectroscopic measurements of choline-containing species and in vivo magnetic resonance measurements of diffusion parameters were also correlated with 2HG levels. These data provide extensive characterization of mutant IDH1 lesions while confirming the potential diagnostic value of 2HG as a surrogate marker of patient survival. Such information may augment the ability of clinicians to monitor therapeutic response and provide criteria for stratifying patients to specific treatment regimens.
Two decades ago, the pharmaceutical industry—long dominated by small-molecule drugs—was revolutionized by the the advent of biologics. Today, biomedicine sits on the cusp of a new revolution: the use of microbial and human cells as versatile therapeutic engines. Here, we discuss the promise of this “third pillar” of therapeutics in the context of current scientific, regulatory, economic, and perceptual challenges. History suggests that the advent of cellular medicines will require the development of a foundational cellular engineering science that provides a systematic framework for safely and predictably altering and regulating cellular behaviors.
A declining pipeline of clinically useful antibiotics has made it imperative to develop more effective antimicrobial therapies, particularly against difficult-to-treat Gram-negative pathogens. Silver has been used as an antimicrobial since antiquity, yet its mechanism of action remains unclear. Here, we show that silver disrupts multiple bacterial cellular processes, including disulfide bond formation, metabolism and iron homeostasis. These changes lead to increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and increased membrane permeability of Gram-negative bacteria, that can potentiate the activity of a broad range of antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria in different metabolic states, as well as restore antibiotic susceptibility to a resistant bacterial strain. We show both in vitro and in a mouse model of urinary tract infection that the ability of silver to induce oxidative stress can be harnessed to potentiate antibiotic activity. Additionally, we demonstrate in vitro and in two different mouse models of peritonitis that silver sensitizes Gram-negative bacteria to the Gram-positive specific antibiotic, vancomycin, thereby expanding the antibacterial spectrum of this drug. Finally, we used silver and antibiotic combinations in vitro to eradicate bacterial persister cells, and show both in vitro and in a mouse biofilm infection model, that silver can enhance antibacterial action against biofilms. This work shows that silver can be used to enhance the action of existing antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria thus strengthening the antibiotic arsenal for fighting bacterial infections.
Lapatinib, a HER2/EGFR inhibitor, is a recently approved targeted therapy for metastatic breast cancer. As lapatinib enhances the efficacy of the antimetabolite capecitabine in breast cancer patients, we lapatinib also enhance the activity of anti-cancer agents in colorectal cancer. We found that lapatinib the pro-apoptotic effects of Tumor necrosis factor-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) and TRAIL receptor antibodies mapatumumab and lexatumumab. Tumors from mice treated with lapatinibTRAIL exhibited more immunostaining for cleaved caspase-8, the extrinsic cell death pathway, tumors from mice treated with lapatinib or TRAIL alone. Furthermore, combination therapy suppressed tumor growth more effectively than treatment. apatinib up-the proapoptotic TRAIL death receptors DR4 and DR5, leading to more efficient induction of apoptosis in the presence of TRAIL receptor agonistsThis activity was independent of EGFR and HER2 off-target induction of DR5 by lapatinib activation of the JNK/c-Jun signaling axis. This activity of lapatinib on TRAIL death receptor expression and signaling may confer therapeutic benefit when increased doses of lapatinib are used in combination with TRAIL-receptor-activating agents.
The primary objective of radiation oncology is to exploit the biological interaction of radiation within tissue to promote tumor death while minimizing damage to surrounding normal tissue. The clinical delivery of radiation relies on principles of radiation physics that define how radiation energy is deposited in the body, as well as technology that facilitates accurate tumor targeting. This review will summarize the current landscape of recent biological and technological advances in radiation oncology, describe the challenges that exist, and offer potential avenues for improvement.
Radiation oncology; radiobiology; radiation physics; radiosensitizers; novel treatments; prognostic factors
The senescent immune system responds poorly to new stimuli; thymic involution, accumulation of memory cells against other specificities, and general refractoriness to antigen signaling all may contribute to poor resistance to infection. These same changes may pose a significant clinical barrier to organ transplantation, as transplantation tolerance requires thymic participation and integrated, tolerance-promoting responses to novel antigens. We found that after the age of 12 months, mice became resistant to the tolerance-inducing capacity of the monoclonal antibody therapy anti-CD45RB. This resistance to tolerance to cardiac allografts could be overcome by surgical castration of male mice, a procedure that led to thymic regeneration and long-term graft acceptance. The potential for clinical translation of this endocrine-immune interplay was confirmed by the ability of Lupron Depot injections, which temporarily disrupt gonadal function, to restore tolerance in aged mice. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the restoration of tolerance after surgical or chemical castration depended on thymic production of regulatory T cells (Tregs); thymectomy or Treg depletion abrogated tolerance restoration. The aging of the immune system (“immune senescence”) is a significant barrier to immune tolerance, but this barrier can be overcome by targeting sex steroid production with commonly used clinical therapeutics.
More than 7000 new HIV infections are documented each day worldwide. In this Perspective, we dissect new results from a large clinical trial showing that genital and plasma HIV-1 RNA loads predict the risk of heterosexual transmission and that genital tract viral RNA load does so independently of plasma viral load. Furthermore, beyond its defined study end points, this well-conducted trial identified new research directions that should be pursued in smaller intensive basic and translational studies.
The rigorous testing of hypotheses on suitable sample cohorts is a major limitation in translational research. This is particularly the case for the validation of protein biomarkers where the lack of accurate, reproducible and sensitive assays for most proteins has precluded the systematic assessment of hundreds of potential marker proteins described in the literature.
Here, we describe a high throughput method for the development and refinement of selected reaction monitoring (SRM) assays for human proteins. The method was applied to generate such assays for more than 1000 cancer-associated proteins, which are functionally related to candidate cancer driver mutations. We used the assays to determine the detectability of the target proteins in two clinically relevant samples, plasma and urine. 182 proteins were detected in depleted plasma, spanning five orders of magnitude in abundance and reaching below a concentration of 10 ng/mL. The narrower concentration range of proteins in urine allowed the detection of 408 proteins. Moreover, we demonstrate that these SRM assays allow the reproducible quantification of 34 biomarker candidates across 84 patient plasma samples. Through public access to the entire assay library, which will also be expandable in the future, researchers will be able to target their cancer-associated proteins of interest in any sample type using the detectability information in plasma and urine as a guide. The generated reference map of SRM assays for cancer-associated proteins is a valuable resource for accelerating and planning biomarker verification studies.
Urea, the toxic end-product of protein catabolism, is elevated in end-stage renal disease (ESRD), although it is unclear whether or how it contributes to disease. Urea can promote the carbamylation of proteins on multiple lysine side chains, including human albumin, which has a predominant carbamylation site on lysine 549. The proportion of serum albumin carbamylated on Lys-549 (%C-Alb) correlated with time-averaged blood urea concentrations and was twice as high in ESRD patients than in non-uremic subjects (0.90% vs. 0.42%, P<0.0001). Baseline %C-Alb was higher in ESRD subjects who died within 1-year than in those who survived longer than 1 year (1.01% vs. 0.77%, P<0.001) and was associated with an increased risk of death within 1 year (HR of 3.76, 95% CI: 2.20–6.43, P<0.0001). These findings were validated in an independent cohort of diabetic ESRD subjects (HR 3.73, 95% CI: 2.00–6.96, P<0.001). Decreased concentrations of serum amino acids correlated with higher %C-Alb in ESRD patients, and mice with diet-induced amino acid deficiencies exhibited greater susceptibility to albumin carbamylation than did chow-fed mice. In vitro studies showed that amino acids such as cysteine, histidine, arginine, lysine, as well as other nucleophiles such as taurine, inhibited cyanate-induced C-Alb formation at physiologic pH and temperature. Together, these results suggest that chronically elevated urea promotes carbamylation of proteins in ESRD, and that serum amino acid concentrations may modulate this protein modification. In summary, we have identified serum %C-Alb as a risk factor for mortality in patients with ESRD and propose that this risk factor may be modifiable with supplemental amino acid therapy.
Aggregation of amyloid-β (Aβ) in the brain begins to occur years prior to the clinical onset of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Prior to Aβ aggregation, levels of extracellular, soluble interstitial fluid (ISF) Aβ, which are regulated by neuronal activity and the sleep-wake cycle, correlate with the amount of Aβ deposition in the brain seen later. The amount and quality of sleep declines with aging and to a greater extent in AD. How sleep quality amount as well as the diurnal fluctuation in Aβ change with age and Aβ aggregation are not well understood. We report that a normal sleep-wake cycle and diurnal fluctuation of ISF Aβ is present in the brain of APPswe/PS1δE9 mice before Aβ plaque formation. Following plaque formation, the sleep-wake cycle markedly deteriorated and diurnal fluctuation of ISF Aβ dissipated. As in mice, diurnal fluctuation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ in young adult humans with presenilin mutations was also markedly attenuated with Aβ plaque formation. Virtual elimination of Aβ deposits in the mouse brain by active immunization with Aβ42 normalized the sleep-wake cycle and the diurnal fluctuation of ISF Aβ. These data suggest that Aβ aggregation disrupts the sleep-wake cycle and diurnal fluctuation of Aβ. Sleep-wake behavior and diurnal fluctuation of Aβ in the central nervous system appear to be functional and biochemical markers respectively of Aβ-associated pathology that should be explored in humans diagnostically prior to and following symptom onset and in response to treatment.
A large fraction of human tumors carry p53 mutations, which allow tumor initiation and progression; furthermore, it is now clear that restoration or reactivation of wild-type p53 function prompts rapid elimination of tumors. The discovery and design of compounds that reactivate or enhance the p53 pathway has resulted in the identification of promising drug candidates that have now entered clinical trials for anti-cancer strategies. However, some of these agents appear to elicit undesirable toxic effects on normal cells and tissues and therefore are restricted in the dose that can be applied in tumors. In this Review, we discuss the concerns about and promise of these p53 activators and propose ways to expand and optimize screening strategies to identify such molecules.
After a half-century of mouse-dominated research, human immunology is making a comeback. Informed by mouse studies and powered by new techniques, human immune research is both advancing disease treatment and providing new insights into basic biology.
The role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in human colon cancer (CC) remains controversial: high densities of tumor-infiltrating Tregs can correlate with better or worse clinical outcomes depending on the study. In mouse models of cancer, Tregs have been reported to suppress inflammation and protect the host, suppress T cells and protect the tumor, or even have direct cancer-promoting attributes. These different effects may result from the presence of different Treg subsets. We report the preferential expansion of a Treg subset in human CC with potent T cell–suppressive, but compromised anti-inflammatory, properties; these cells are distinguished from Tregs present in healthy donors by their coexpression of Foxp3 and RORγt. Tregs with similar attributes were found to be expanded in mouse models of hereditary polyposis. Indeed, ablation of the RORγt gene in Foxp3+ cells in polyp-prone mice stabilized Treg anti-inflammatory functions, suppressed inflammation, improved polyp-specific immune surveillance, and severely attenuated polyposis. Ablation of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-23, IL-17, or tumor necrosis factor–α in polyp-prone mice reduced polyp number but not to the same extent as loss of RORγt. Surprisingly, loss of IL-17A had a dual effect: IL-17A–deficient mice had fewer polyps but continued to have RORγt+ Tregs and developed invasive cancer. Thus, we conclude that RORγt has a central role in determining the balance between protective and pathogenic Tregs in CC and that Treg subtype regulates inflammation, potency of immune surveillance, and severity of disease outcome.
Prolonged antibiotic treatment can lead to detrimental side effects in patients, including ototoxicity, nephrotoxicity, and tendinopathy, yet the mechanisms underlying the effects of antibiotics in mammalian systems remain unclear. It has been suggested that bactericidal antibiotics induce the formation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) in bacteria. We show that clinically relevant doses of bactericidal antibiotics—quinolones, aminoglycosides, and β-lactams—cause mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS overproduction in mammalian cells. We demonstrate that these bactericidal antibiotic–induced effects lead to oxidative damage to DNA, proteins, and membrane lipids. Mice treated with bactericidal antibiotics exhibited elevated oxidative stress markers in the blood, oxidative tissue damage, and up-regulated expression of key genes involved in antioxidant defense mechanisms, which points to the potential physiological relevance of these antibiotic effects. The deleterious effects of bactericidal antibiotics were alleviated in cell culture and in mice by the administration of the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine or prevented by preferential use of bacteriostatic antibiotics. This work highlights the role of antibiotics in the production of oxidative tissue damage in mammalian cells and presents strategies to mitigate or prevent the resulting damage, with the goal of improving the safety of antibiotic treatment in people.
Papanicolaou (Pap) smears have revolutionized the management of patients with cervical cancers by permitting the detection of early, surgically curable tumors and their precursors. In recent years, the traditional Pap smear has been replaced by a liquid-based method, which allows not only cytologic evaluation but also collection of DNA for detection of human papillomavirus, the causative agent of cervical cancer. We reasoned that this routinely collected DNA could be exploited to detect somatic mutations present in rare tumor cells that accumulate in the cervix once shed from endometrial or ovarian cancers. A panel of genes that are commonly mutated in endometrial and ovarian cancers was assembled with new whole-exome sequencing data from 22 endometrial cancers and previously published data on other tumor types. We used this panel to search for mutations in 24 endometrial and 22 ovarian cancers and identified mutations in all 46 samples. With a sensitive massively parallel sequencing method, we were able to identify the same mutations in the DNA from liquid Pap smear specimens in 100% of endometrial cancers (24 of 24) and in 41% of ovarian cancers (9 of 22). Prompted by these findings, we developed a sequence-based method to query mutations in 12 genes in a single liquid Pap smear specimen without previous knowledge of the tumor’s genotype. When applied to 14 samples selected from the positive cases described above, the expected tumor-specific mutations were identified. These results demonstrate that DNA from most endometrial and a fraction of ovarian cancers can be detected in a standard liquid-based Pap smear specimen obtained during routine pelvic examination. Although improvements need to be made before applying this test in a routine clinical manner, it represents a promising step toward a broadly applicable screening methodology for the early detection of gynecologic malignancies.
Prevailing opinion suggests that only substances up to 64 nm in diameter can move at appreciable rates through the brain extracellular space (ECS). This size range is large enough to allow diffusion of signaling molecules, nutrients, and metabolic waste products, but too small to allow efficient penetration of most particulate drug delivery systems and viruses carrying therapeutic genes, thereby limiting effectiveness of many potential therapies. We analyzed the movements of nanoparticles of various diameters and surface coatings within fresh human and rat brain tissue ex vivo and mouse brain in vivo. Nanoparticles as large as 114-nm in diameter diffused within the human and rat brain, but only if they were densely coated with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). Using these minimally adhesive PEG-coated particles, we estimated that human brain tissue ECS has some pores larger than 200 nm, and that more than one-quarter of all pores are ≥100 nm. These findings were confirmed in vivo in mice, where 40- and 100-nm, but not 200-nm, nanoparticles, spread rapidly within brain tissue, only if densely coated with PEG. Similar results were observed in rat brain tissue with paclitaxel-loaded biodegradable nanoparticles of similar size (85 nm) and surface properties. The ability to achieve brain penetration with larger nanoparticles is expected to allow more uniform, longer-lasting, and effective delivery of drugs within the brain, and may find use in the treatment of brain tumors, stroke, neuroinflammation, and other brain diseases where the blood-brain barrier is compromised or where local delivery strategies are feasible.
The lack of plasticity of the medical profession and health care system in the face of new technology and information is about to be challenged on two major fronts in digital medicine: wireless technologies and genomics. These two areas have been characterized by unprecedented innovation and discovery at a breakneck pace. Whereas the 2000s saw the introduction of digital life-style devices, the 2010s will probably be known as the era of digital medical devices. These devices have exceptional promise for changing the future of medicine because of their ability to produce exquisitely detailed individual biological and physiological data.