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1.  Successful treatment of conversion chemotherapy for initially unresectable synchronous colorectal liver metastasis 
A 72-year-old woman with a sigmoid colon cancer and a synchronous colorectal liver metastasis (CRLM), which involved the right hepatic vein (RHV) and the inferior vena cava (IVC), was referred to our hospital. The metastatic lesion was diagnosed as initially unresectable because of its invasion into the confluence of the RHV and IVC. After she had undergone laparoscopic sigmoidectomy for the original tumor, she consequently had 3 courses of modified 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (mFOLFOX6) plus cetuximab. Computed tomography revealed a partial response, and the confluence of the RHV and IVC got free from cancer invasion. After 3 additional courses of mFOLFOX6 plus cetuximab, preoperative percutaneous transhepatic portal vein embolization (PTPE) was performed to secure the future remnant liver volume. Finally, a right hemihepatectomy was performed. The postoperative course was uneventful. The patient was discharged from the hospital on postoperative day 13. She had neither local recurrence nor distant metastasis 18 mo after the last surgical intervention. This multidisciplinary strategy, consisting of conversion chemotherapy using FOLFOX plus cetuximab and PTPE, could contribute in facilitating curative hepatic resection for initially unresectable CRLM.
PMCID: PMC4323478
Initially unresectable; Colorectal liver metastasis; Conversion chemotherapy; Cetuximab; Percutaneous transhepatic portal vein embolization
2.  Prognostic phenotypic and genotypic factors associated with photodynamic therapy response in patients with age-related macular degeneration 
This study aimed to demonstrate the phenotypic and genotypic factors associated with photodynamic therapy (PDT) for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The study included 149 patients with exudative AMD treated by PDT. Eight phenotypic factors and ten genotypic factors for three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; rs800292, rs1061170, rs1410996) in the complement factor H (CFH) gene, rs 11200638-SNP in the high temperature requirement A-1 (HTRA1) gene, two SNPs (rs699947, rs2010963) in the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene, and four SNPs (rs12948385, rs12150053, rs9913583, rs1136287) in the pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) gene were evaluated.
A significant association with best-corrected visual acuity change was demonstrated in the greatest linear dimension, presence or absence of pigment epithelial detachment, and HTRA1-rs11200638 genotype statistically (P=3.67×10−4, 1.95×10−2, 1.24×10−3, respectively). Best-corrected visual acuity in patients with AA genotype of HTRA1-rs11200638 significantly decreased compared with that in patients with GG genotype (P=1.33×10−3). Logistic regression analyses demonstrated HTRA1-rs11200638 genotype was most strongly associated with best-corrected visual acuity outcome from baseline at 12 months after photodynamic therapy (P=4.60×10−3; odds ratio 2.363; 95% confidence interval 1.303–4.285).
The HTRA1-rs11200638 variant showed the most significant association. Therefore, this variant may be used as a prognostic factor to estimate the PDT response with significant predictive power.
PMCID: PMC4266424  PMID: 25525324
age-related macular degeneration; photodynamic therapy; phenotypic and genotypic factors; high temperature requirement A-1; greatest linear dimension; pigment epithelial detachment
3.  Short Hairpin RNA Library-Based Functional Screening Identified Ribosomal Protein L31 That Modulates Prostate Cancer Cell Growth via p53 Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108743.
Androgen receptor is a primary transcription factor involved in the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. Thus, hormone therapy using antiandrogens, such as bicalutamide, is a first-line treatment for the disease. Although hormone therapy initially reduces the tumor burden, many patients eventually relapse, developing tumors with acquired endocrine resistance. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying endocrine resistance is therefore a fundamental issue for the understanding and development of alternative therapeutics for advanced prostate cancer. In the present study, we performed short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated functional screening to identify genes involved in bicalutamide-mediated effects on LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Among such candidate genes selected by screening using volcano plot analysis, ribosomal protein L31 (RPL31) was found to be essential for cell proliferation and cell-cycle progression in bicalutamide-resistant LNCaP (BicR) cells, based on small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown experiments. Of note, RPL31 mRNA is more abundantly expressed in BicR cells than in parental LNCaP cells, and clinical data from ONCOMINE and The Cancer Genome Altas showed that RPL31 is overexpressed in prostate carcinomas compared with benign prostate tissues. Intriguingly, protein levels of the tumor suppressor p53 and its targets, p21 and MDM2, were increased in LNCaP and BicR cells treated with RPL31 siRNA. We observed decreased degradation of p53 protein after RPL31 knockdown. Moreover, the suppression of growth and cell cycle upon RPL31 knockdown was partially recovered with p53 siRNA treatment. These results suggest that RPL31 is involved in bicalutamide-resistant growth of prostate cancer cells. The shRNA-mediated functional screen in this study provides new insight into the molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targets of advanced prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4186824  PMID: 25285958
4.  A Case of Early Gastric Cancer Arising from Gastritis Cystica Profunda Treated by Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2014;8(3):270-275.
Gastritis cystica profunda (GCP) consists of hyperplasia and cystic dilatation of the gastric glands extending into the submucosa. It occurs in the residual stomach post surgery and in the unoperated stomach. GCP is considered a benign lesion, but there is controversy about its malignant potential. We report a case of early gastric cancer arising from GCP treated by endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) in a 55-year-old unoperated man. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy revealed a 15-mm diameter submucosal tumor (SMT) in the upper corpus of the stomach. The surface had angiotelectasia and slight depression covered with normal mucosa. Neither ulceration nor erosion was seen. Narrow-band imaging endoscopy showed no abnormalities suggesting gastric cancer. Endoscopic ultrasonography visualized the internally low-echoic SMT, harboring tiny cystic lesions, mainly within the second and third layers of the gastric wall. The SMT was removed by ESD to avoid retention and allow for comprehensive diagnosis. It was diagnosed as GCP with partial well-differentiated adenocarcinoma without involvement of the lateral and deep margins, lymphatic invasion, vascular invasion and perineural invasion. The gastric epithelium comprised normal mucosa without dysplasia. ESD seems to be useful for the diagnosis of SMT, including GCP harboring gastric cancer, and avoids unnecessary surgical procedures.
PMCID: PMC4209264  PMID: 25408629
Endoscopic submucosal dissection; Endoscopic ultrasonography; Gastric cancer; Gastritis cystica profunda; Submucosal tumor
5.  Polymalic Acid-based Nano Biopolymers for Targeting of Multiple Tumor Markers: An Opportunity for Personalized Medicine? 
Tumors with similar grade and morphology often respond differently to the same treatment because of variations in molecular profiling. To account for this diversity, personalized medicine is developed for silencing malignancy associated genes. Nano drugs fit these needs by targeting tumor and delivering antisense oligonucleotides for silencing of genes. As drugs for the treatment are often administered repeatedly, absence of toxicity and negligible immune response are desirable. In the example presented here, a nano medicine is synthesized from the biodegradable, non-toxic and non-immunogenic platform polymalic acid by controlled chemical ligation of antisense oligonucleotides and tumor targeting molecules. The synthesis and treatment is exemplified for human Her2-positive breast cancer using an experimental mouse model. The case can be translated towards synthesis and treatment of other tumors.
PMCID: PMC4118553  PMID: 24962356
Chemistry; Issue 88; Cancer treatment; personalized medicine; polymalic acid; nanodrug; biopolymer; targeting; host compatibility; biodegradability
6.  Large-scale analysis reveals a functional single-nucleotide polymorphism in the 5′-flanking region of PRDM16 gene associated with lean body mass 
Aging Cell  2014;13(4):739-743.
Genetic factors are important for the development of sarcopenia, a geriatric disorder characterized by low lean body mass. The aim of this study was to search for novel genes that regulate lean body mass in humans. We performed a large-scale search for 250K single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with bone mineral density (BMD) using SNP arrays in 1081 Japanese postmenopausal women. We focused on an SNP (rs12409277) located in the 5′-flanking region of the PRDM16 (PRD1-BF-1-RIZ1 homologous domain containing protein 16) gene that showed a significant P value in our screening. We demonstrated that PRDM16 gene polymorphisms were significantly associated with total body BMD in 1081 postmenopausal Japanese women. The rs12409277 SNP affected the transcriptional activity of PRDM16. The subjects with one or two minor allele(s) had a higher lean body mass than the subjects with two major alleles. Genetic analyses uncovered the importance of the PRDM16 gene in the regulation of lean body mass.
PMCID: PMC4326941  PMID: 24863034
aging; body lean mass; genetics; genome-wide association study; PRDM16; single-nucleotide polymorphism
7.  Disease modifying effect of adiponectin in model of α-synucleinopathies 
Growing evidence suggests that neurodegenerative diseases are associated with metabolic disorders, but the mechanisms are still unclear. Better comprehension of this issue might provide a new strategy for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. We investigated possible roles of adiponectin (APN), the antidiabetes protein, in the pathogenesis of α-synucleinopathies.
Using biochemical and histological methods, we investigated autopsy brain of α-synucleinopathies including Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and analyzed the effects of APN in cellular and in mouse models of α-synucleinopathies.
We observed that APN is localized in Lewy bodies derived from α-synucleinopathies, such as Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. In neuronal cells expressing α-synuclein (αS), aggregation of αS was suppressed by treatment with recombinant APN in an AdipoRI-AMP kinase pathway-dependent manner. Concomitantly, phosphorylation and release of αS were significantly decreased by APN, suggesting that APN may be antineurodegenerative. In transgenic mice expressing αS, both histopathology and movement disorder were significantly improved by intranasal treatment with globular APN when the treatment was initiated in the early stage of the disease. In a mouse model, reduced levels of guanosine and inosine monophosphates, both of which are potential stimulators of aggregation of αS, might partly contribute to suppression of aggregation of αS by APN.
Taken together, APN may suppress neurodegeneration through modification of the metabolic pathway, and could possess a therapeutic potential against α-synucleinopathies.
PMCID: PMC4128281  PMID: 25126588
8.  Usefulness of the Endotoxin Activity Assay to Evaluate the Degree of Lung Injury 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2014;55(4):975-979.
It has been reported that the Pulse Contour Cardiac Output (PiCCO) is very useful mainly in the field of intensive care and treatment to grasp the pathophysiological conditions of pulmonary edema because of its capability of obtaining data such as Pulmonary Vascular Permeability Index (PVPI) and Extra Vascular Lung Water (EVLW). Furthermore, a high degree of usability of various markers has been reported for better understanding of the pathological conditions in cases with septicemia.
Materials and Methods
The correlation between the cardiorespiratory status based upon the PiCCO monitor (EVLW and PVPI) and inflammatory markers including C reactive protein, procalcitonin (PC), and Endotoxin Activity Assay (EAA) were evaluated in 11 severe cases that required treatment with a respirator in an intensive care unit.
The EAA values were significantly higher in patients with abnormal EVLW at 0.46±0.20 compared to the normal EVLW group at 0.21±0.19 (p=0.0064). In a similar fashion, patients with abnormal PVPI values tended to have higher PC levels at 18.9±21.8 compared to normal PVPI cases at 2.4±2.2 (p=0.0676). On the other hand, PVPI was significantly higher in the abnormal EAA group at 3.55±0.48 in comparison with the normal EAA group at 1.99±0.68 (p=0.0029). The abnormal EAA group tended to have higher PVPI values than the normal EAA group.
The EAA is a measurement method designed to estimate the activity of endotoxins in the whole blood. Our results suggest that the EAA value, which had the greatest correlation with lung disorders diagnosed by the PiCCO monitoring, reflects inflammatory reactions predominantly in the lungs.
PMCID: PMC4075402  PMID: 24954326
Pulse Contour Cardiac Output (PiCCO); CRP; procalcitonin; Endotoxin Activity Assay (EAA)
9.  Polymalic Acid-based Nano Biopolymers for Targeting of Multiple Tumor Markers: An Opportunity for Personalized Medicine? 
Tumors with similar grade and morphology often respond differently to the same treatment because of variations in molecular profiling. To account for this diversity, personalized medicine is developed for silencing malignancy associated genes. Nano drugs fit these needs by targeting tumor and delivering antisense oligonucleotides for silencing of genes. As drugs for the treatment are often administered repeatedly, absence of toxicity and negligible immune response are desirable. In the example presented here, a nano medicine is synthesized from the biodegradable, non-toxic and non-immunogenic platform polymalic acid by controlled chemical ligation of antisense oligonucleotides and tumor targeting molecules. The synthesis and treatment is exemplified for human Her2-positive breast cancer using an experimental mouse model. The case can be translated towards synthesis and treatment of other tumors.
PMCID: PMC4118553  PMID: 24962356
Chemistry; Issue 88; Cancer treatment; personalized medicine; polymalic acid; nanodrug; biopolymer; targeting; host compatibility; biodegradability
10.  Toxicity and efficacy evaluation of multiple targeted polymalic acid conjugates for triple-negative breast cancer treatment 
Journal of drug targeting  2013;21(10):956-967.
Engineered nanoparticles are widely used for delivery of drugs but frequently lack proof of safety for cancer patient's treatment. All-in-one covalent nanodrugs of the third generation have been synthesized based on a poly(β-L-malic acid) (PMLA) platform, targeting human triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). They significantly inhibited tumor growth in nude mice by blocking synthesis of epidermal growth factor receptor, and α4 and β1 chains of laminin-411, the tumor vascular wall protein and angiogenesis marker. PMLA and nanodrug biocompatibility and toxicity at low and high dosages were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The dual-action nanodrug and single-action precursor nanoconjugates were assessed under in vitro conditions and in vivo with multiple treatment regimens (6 and 12 treatments). The monitoring of TNBC treatment in vivo with different drugs included blood hematologic and immunologic analysis after multiple intravenous administrations. The present study demonstrates that the dual-action nanoconju-gate is highly effective in preclinical TNBC treatment without side effects, supported by hematologic and immunologic assays data. PMLA-based nanodrugs of the Polycefin™ family passed multiple toxicity and efficacy tests in vitro and in vivo on preclinical level and may prove to be optimized and efficacious for the treatment of cancer patients in the future.
PMCID: PMC4043297  PMID: 24032759
Hematologic; immunogenicity; in vivo treatment; nanoconjugate drugs; polymalic acid; toxicity; triple-negative breast cancer
11.  Polymalic acid nanobioconjugate for simultaneous inhibition of tumor growth and immunostimulation in HER2/neu-positive breast cancer✩ 
Breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. The breast cancer prognosis is particularly poor in case of tumors overexpressing the oncoprotein HER2/neu. A new nanobioconjugate of the Polycefin family of anti-cancer drugs based on biodegradable and non-toxic polymalic acid (PMLA) was engineered for a multi-pronged attack on HER2/neu-positive breast cancer cells. An antibody cytokine fusion protein consisting of the immunostimulatory cytokine interleukin-2 (IL-2) genetically fused to an antibody specific for human HER2/neu [anti-HER2/neu IgG3-(IL-2)] was covalently attached to the PMLA backbone to target HER2/neu expressing tumors and ensuring the delivery of IL-2 to the tumor microenvironment. Antisense oligonucleotides (AON) were conjugated to the nanodrug to inhibit the expression of vascular tumor protein laminin-411 in order to block tumor angiogenesis. It is shown that the nanobioconjugate was capable of specifically binding human HER2/neu and retaining the biological activity of IL-2. We also showed the uptake of the nanobioconjugate by HER2/neu-positive breast cancer cells and enhanced tumor targeting in vivo. In addition, the nanobioconjugate was capable of eliciting anti-tumor activity in immunocompetent mice bearing D2F2/E2 murine mammary tumors that express human HER2/neu. Both IgG1 and IgG2a levels were significantly increased in animals treated with the PMLA-fusion nanobioconjugate compared to animals treated with the antibody–cytokine fusion protein alone or control animals, indicative of the induction of a humoral (TH2) and cell-mediated (TH1) immune responses. Animal survival in vivo was significantly longer after treatment with leading nanobioconjugate with fusion [anti-HER2/neu IgG3-(IL-2)] antibody, p < 0.05. The combination of these molecules on a single polymeric platform is expected to act through direct elimination of cancer cells, inhibition of tumor angiogenesis, and orchestration of a potent immune response against tumor.
PMCID: PMC3971991  PMID: 23770212
Polymalic acid; Nanobioconjugate; Nanopolymer; HER2/neu; Antibody fusion protein; IL-2; Laminin-411; Breast cancer
12.  Liver-Specific γ-Glutamyl Carboxylase-Deficient Mice Display Bleeding Diathesis and Short Life Span 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88643.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays important roles in blood coagulation and bone metabolism. One of its functions is as a co-factor for γ-glutamyl carboxylase (Ggcx). Conventional knockout of Ggcx causes death shortly after birth in homozygous mice. We created Ggcx-floxed mice by inserting loxP sequences at the sites flanking exon 6 of Ggcx. By mating these mice with albumin-Cre mice, we generated Ggcx-deficient mice specifically in hepatocytes (GgcxΔliver/Δliver mice). In contrast to conventional Ggcx knockout mice, GgcxΔliver/Δliver mice had very low activity of Ggcx in the liver and survived several weeks after birth. Furthermore, compared with heterozygous mice (Ggcx+/Δliver), GgcxΔliver/Δliver mice had shorter life spans. GgcxΔliver/Δliver mice displayed bleeding diathesis, which was accompanied by decreased activity of coagulation factors II and IX. Ggcx-floxed mice can prove useful in examining Ggcx functions in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3919827  PMID: 24520408
13.  A Novel Acylaminoimidazole Derivative, WN1316, Alleviates Disease Progression via Suppression of Glial Inflammation in ALS Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87728.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an adult-onset motor neuron degenerative disease. Given that oxidative stress and resulting chronic neuronal inflammation are thought to be central pathogenic, anti-oxidative agents and modulators of neuronal inflammation could be potential therapies for ALS. We report here that the novel small molecular compound, 2-[mesityl(methyl)amino]-N-[4-(pyridin-2-yl)-1H-imidazol-2-yl] acetamide trihydrochloride (WN1316) selectively suppresses oxidative stress-induced cell death and neuronal inflammation in the late-stage ALS mice. WN1316 has high blood-brain-barrier permeability and water solubility, and boosts both neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein (NAIP) and NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) which governed glutathione (GSH)-related anti-oxidation pathway protecting motor neurons against oxidative injuries. Post-onset oral administration of low dose (1–100 µg/kg/day) WN1316 in ALS(SOD1H46R) and ALS(SOD1G93A) mice resulted in sustained improved motor function and post onset survival rate. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed less DNA oxidative damage and motor neuronal inflammation as well as repression of both microgliosis and astrocytosis, concomitant down regulation of interleukin-1β and inducible nitric oxide synthase, and preservation of the motoneurons in anterior horn of lumbar spinal cord and skeletal muscle (quadriceps femoris). Thus, WN1316 would be a novel therapeutic agent for ALS.
PMCID: PMC3909264  PMID: 24498180
14.  BRCA1 interacts with Nrf2 to regulate antioxidant signaling and cell survival 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2013;210(8):1529-1544.
BRCA1 deficiency results in impaired Nrf2-mediated antioxidant responses followed by cell death, with estradiol rescuing the effect by inducing Nrf2 stabilization.
Oxidative stress plays an important role in cancer development and treatment. Recent data implicate the tumor suppressor BRCA1 in regulating oxidative stress, but the molecular mechanism and the impact in BRCA1-associated tumorigenesis remain unclear. Here, we show that BRCA1 regulates Nrf2-dependent antioxidant signaling by physically interacting with Nrf2 and promoting its stability and activation. BRCA1-deficient mouse primary mammary epithelial cells show low expression of Nrf2-regulated antioxidant enzymes and accumulate reactive oxygen species (ROS) that impair survival in vivo. Increased Nrf2 activation rescues survival and ROS levels in BRCA1-null cells. Interestingly, 53BP1 inactivation, which has been shown to alleviate several defects associated with BRCA1 loss, rescues survival of BRCA1-null cells without restoring ROS levels. We demonstrate that estrogen treatment partially restores Nrf2 levels in the absence of BRCA1. Our data suggest that Nrf2-regulated antioxidant response plays a crucial role in controlling survival downstream of BRCA1 loss. The ability of estrogen to induce Nrf2 posits an involvement of an estrogen-Nrf2 connection in BRCA1 tumor suppression. Lastly, BRCA1-mutated tumors retain a defective antioxidant response that increases the sensitivity to oxidative stress. In conclusion, the role of BRCA1 in regulating Nrf2 activity suggests important implications for both the etiology and treatment of BRCA1-related cancers.
PMCID: PMC3727320  PMID: 23857982
15.  Bat Lyssaviruses, Northern Vietnam 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(1):161-163.
PMCID: PMC3884725  PMID: 24377728
bats; rabies; lyssaviruses; viruses; serology; Vietnam
16.  MiR-424/503-Mediated Rictor Upregulation Promotes Tumor Progression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80300.
mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) signaling is upregulated in multiple types of human cancer, but the molecular mechanisms underlying its activation and regulation remain elusive. Here, we show that microRNA-mediated upregulation of Rictor, an mTORC2-specific component, contributes to tumor progression. Rictor is upregulated via the repression of the miR-424/503 cluster in human prostate and colon cancer cell lines that harbor c-Src upregulation and in Src-transformed cells. The tumorigenicity and invasive activity of these cells were suppressed by re-expression of miR-424/503. Rictor upregulation promotes formation of mTORC2 and induces activation of mTORC2, resulting in promotion of tumor growth and invasion. Furthermore, downregulation of miR-424/503 is associated with Rictor upregulation in colon cancer tissues. These findings suggest that the miR-424/503–Rictor pathway plays a crucial role in tumor progression.
PMCID: PMC3823661  PMID: 24244675
19.  Studies on Therapeutic Effects and Pathological Features of an Antithrombin Preparation in Septic Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation Patients 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2013;54(3):686-689.
Few reports have been made on the therapeutic effects as well as pathological features of an antithrombin preparation in patients diagnosed with septic disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) by the diagnostic criteria for acute DIC.
Materials and Methods
A total of 88 sepsis patients who had received inpatient hospital care during the period from January 2000 through December 2008 were divided into two groups, an antithrombin group and a non-antithrombin group, to study the outcomes. Furthermore, the relationship between sepsis-related factors and DIC in 44 patients was studied.
The antithrombin group contained 34 patients, and the non-antithrombin group contained 54 patients. The outcomes were significantly better in the antithrombin group. The levels of protein C were low in DIC patients.
Our results suggest that early administration of antithrombin might improve outcomes of septic DIC patients in the diagnostic criteria for Japanese Association for Acute Medicine acute DIC.
PMCID: PMC3635623  PMID: 23549815
Antithrombin; sepsis; DIC
20.  Clinical Significance of Amyloid Precursor Protein in Patients with Testicular Germ Cell Tumor 
Advances in Urology  2013;2013:348438.
Introduction. The biological role of amyloid precursor protein (APP) is not well understood, especially in testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs). Therefore, we aimed to investigate the immunoreactivity (IR) and expression of APP in TGCTs and evaluated its clinical relevance. Materials and Methods. We performed an analysis of immunohistochemistry and mRNA expression of APP in 64 testicular specimens and 21 snap-frozen samples obtained from 1985 to 2004. We then evaluated the association between APP expression and clinicopathological status in TGCTs. Results. Positive APP IR was observed in 9.8% (4/41) of seminomatous germ cell tumors (SGCTs) and 39.1% (9/23) of nonseminomatous germ cell tumors (NGCTs). NGCTs showed significantly more cases of positive IR (P = 0.00870) and a higher mRNA expression level compared with those of SGCTs (P = 0.0140). Positive APP IR was also significantly associated with α-fetoprotein (αFP) elevation (P = 0.00870) and venous invasion (P = 0.0414). Conclusion. We observed an elevated APP expression in TGCTs, especially in NGCTs. APP may be associated with a more aggressive cancer in TGCTs.
PMCID: PMC3639667  PMID: 23662100
21.  Genetic Diversity and Geographic Distribution of Genetically Distinct Rabies Viruses in the Philippines 
Rabies continues to be a major public health problem in the Philippines, where 200–300 human cases were reported annually between 2001 and 2011. Understanding the phylogeography of rabies viruses is important for establishing a more effective and feasible control strategy.
We performed a molecular analysis of rabies viruses in the Philippines using rabied animal brain samples. The samples were collected from 11 of 17 regions, which covered three island groups (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao). Partial nucleoprotein (N) gene sequencing was performed on 57 samples and complete glycoprotein (G) gene sequencing was performed on 235 samples collected between 2004 and 2010.
The Philippine strains of rabies viruses were included in a distinct phylogenetic cluster, previously named Asian 2b, which appeared to have diverged from the Chinese strain named Asian 2a. The Philippine strains were further divided into three major clades, which were found exclusively in different island groups: clades L, V, and M in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, respectively. Clade L was subdivided into nine subclades (L1–L9) and clade V was subdivided into two subclades (V1 and V2). With a few exceptions, most strains in each subclade were distributed in specific geographic areas. There were also four strains that were divided into two genogroups but were not classified into any of the three major clades, and all four strains were found in the island group of Luzon.
We detected three major clades and two distinct genogroups of rabies viruses in the Philippines. Our data suggest that viruses of each clade and subclade evolved independently in each area without frequent introduction into other areas. An important implication of these data is that geographically targeted dog vaccination using the island group approach may effectively control rabies in the Philippines.
Author Summary
Rabies continues to be a major public health problem in the Philippines. We conducted a molecular epidemiological study of rabies using the complete glycoprotein (G) gene from 235 animal brain samples collected in the Philippines between 2004 and 2010. We identified three major clades and two distinct genogroups in the Philippines. The three major clades L, V, and M were found specifically in the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao island groups, respectively. Additionally, two minor genogroups were located in the Luzon island group. These data suggest that although human mediated transmission may have occurred, these virus clades evolved independently after a single introduction into each island group. All of the analyzed Philippine strains were clustered into Asian 2b, which diverged from the Chinese strain Asian 2a. No recent introduction of rabies into the Philippines from other countries was apparent. The elimination of rabies by 2020 is a national goal in the Philippines, necessitating urgent development of a more effective and feasible strategy for controlling rabies. Our findings indicate that a geographically targeted dog vaccination campaign may effectively control rabies in island nations such as the Philippines.
PMCID: PMC3617229  PMID: 23593515
22.  Altered specificity of single-chain antibody fragments bound to pandemic H1N1-2009 influenza virus after conversion of the phage-bound to the soluble form 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:483.
In 2009, a novel influenza A/H1N1 virus (H1N1pdm) quickly spread worldwide and co-circulated with then-existing seasonal H1N1 virus (sH1N1). Distinguishing between these 2 viruses was necessary to better characterize the epidemiological properties of the emergent virus, including transmission patterns, pathogenesis, and anti-influenza drug resistance. This situation prompted us to develop a point-of-care virus differentiation system before entering the 2009–2010 influenza season. Aiming to establish H1N1pdm-specific detection tools rapidly, we employed phage display libraries to select H1N1pdm-specific single-chain variable fragments (scFvs).
Human single-fold scFv libraries (Tomlinson I + J) underwent selection for the ability to bind H1N1pdm virus particles. Three rounds of panning brought 1152 phage-bound scFvs, of which 58 clones reacted with H1N1pdm specifically or preferentially over sH1N1 in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). After conversion of the scFvs to soluble form, 7 clones demonstrating high/stable expression were finally obtained. However, all the soluble scFvs except No. 29 were found to have lost their specificity/preference for H1N1pdm in ELISA. The specificity/preference of No. 29 was also confirmed by immunofluorescence assay and immunoprecipitation, and the viral nucleoprotein was identified by ELISA as its target protein. The change in specificity associated with scFv conversion from phage-bound to soluble form could be due to loss of phage scaffold pIII protein, which likely provides structural support for the scFv antigen-binding site. It is also possible that the similar antigenic properties of H1N1pdm and sH1N1 led to the observed alterations in scFv specificity.
Using a phage display library, we obtained 7 soluble scFv clones reactive against H1N1pdm; however, only 1 showed specificity/preference toward H1N1pdm. Our results confirmed that using phage display libraries was highly advantageous for the rapid development of molecules to detect target antigens. However, our results also indicated that this strategy might not have been effective for selecting H1N1pdm-specific antibodies during the 2009 pandemic, where the co-circulating sH1N1 virus shared similar antigenic properties. This suggests that it might be advisable to use a synthetic scFv phage display library by strategically considering the characteristics of target antigens and the potential situations.
PMCID: PMC3492028  PMID: 22943792
Influenza; Pandemic; Diagnosis; Single-chain variable fragment (scFv); Altered specificity
23.  Polymalic Acid–Based Nanobiopolymer Provides Efficient Systemic Breast Cancer Treatment by Inhibiting both HER2/neu Receptor Synthesis and Activity 
Cancer research  2011;71(4):1454-1464.
Biodegradable nanopolymers are believed to offer great potential in cancer therapy. Here, we report the characterization of a novel, targeted, nanobiopolymeric conjugate based on biodegradable, nontoxic, and nonimmunogenic PMLA [poly(β-l-malic acid)]. The PMLA nanoplatform was synthesized for repetitive systemic treatments of HER2/neu-positive human breast tumors in a xenogeneic mouse model. Various moieties were covalently attached to PMLA, including a combination of morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (AON) directed against HER2/neu mRNA, to block new HER2/neu receptor synthesis; anti-HER2/neu antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin), to target breast cancer cells and inhibit receptor activity simultaneously; and transferrin receptor antibody, to target the tumor vasculature and mediate delivery of the nanobiopolymer through the host endothelial system. The results of the study showed that the lead drug tested significantly inhibited the growth of HER2/neu-positive breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo by enhanced apoptosis and inhibition of HER2/neu receptor signaling with suppression of Akt phosphorylation. In vivo imaging analysis and confocal microscopy demonstrated selective accumulation of the nanodrug in tumor cells via an active delivery mechanism. Systemic treatment of human breast tumor-bearing nude mice resulted in more than 90% inhibition of tumor growth and tumor regression, as compared with partial (50%) tumor growth inhibition in mice treated with trastuzumab or AON, either free or attached to PMLA. Our findings offer a preclinical proof of concept for use of the PMLA nanoplatform for combination cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3428373  PMID: 21303974
24.  In Vitro Activity of E1210, a Novel Antifungal, against Clinically Important Yeasts and Molds▿ 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(10):4652-4658.
E1210 is a new antifungal compound with a novel mechanism of action and broad spectrum of antifungal activity. We investigated the in vitro antifungal activities of E1210 compared to those of fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, amphotericin B, and micafungin against clinical fungal isolates. E1210 showed potent activities against most Candida spp. (MIC90 of ≤0.008 to 0.06 μg/ml), except for Candida krusei (MICs of 2 to >32 μg/ml). E1210 showed equally potent activities against fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida strains. E1210 also had potent activities against various filamentous fungi, including Aspergillus fumigatus (MIC90 of 0.13 μg/ml). E1210 was also active against Fusarium solani and some black molds. Of note, E1210 showed the greatest activities against Pseudallescheria boydii (MICs of 0.03 to 0.13 μg/ml), Scedosporium prolificans (MIC of 0.03 μg/ml), and Paecilomyces lilacinus (MICs of 0.06 μg/ml) among the compounds tested. The antifungal action of E1210 was fungistatic, but E1210 showed no trailing growth of Candida albicans, which has often been observed with fluconazole. In a cytotoxicity assay using human HK-2 cells, E1210 showed toxicity as low as that of fluconazole. Based on these results, E1210 is likely to be a promising antifungal agent for the treatment of invasive fungal infections.
PMCID: PMC3186989  PMID: 21825291
25.  Efficacy of Oral E1210, a New Broad-Spectrum Antifungal with a Novel Mechanism of Action, in Murine Models of Candidiasis, Aspergillosis, and Fusariosis▿ 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(10):4543-4551.
E1210 is a first-in-class, broad-spectrum antifungal with a novel mechanism of action—inhibition of fungal glycosylphosphatidylinositol biosynthesis. In this study, the efficacies of E1210 and reference antifungals were evaluated in murine models of oropharyngeal and disseminated candidiasis, pulmonary aspergillosis, and disseminated fusariosis. Oral E1210 demonstrated dose-dependent efficacy in infections caused by Candida species, Aspergillus spp., and Fusarium solani. In the treatment of oropharyngeal candidiasis, E1210 and fluconazole each caused a significantly greater reduction in the number of oral CFU than the control treatment (P < 0.05). In the disseminated candidiasis model, mice treated with E1210, fluconazole, caspofungin, or liposomal amphotericin B showed significantly higher survival rates than the control mice (P < 0.05). E1210 was also highly effective in treating disseminated candidiasis caused by azole-resistant Candida albicans or Candida tropicalis. A 24-h delay in treatment onset minimally affected the efficacy outcome of E1210 in the treatment of disseminated candidiasis. In the Aspergillus flavus pulmonary aspergillosis model, mice treated with E1210, voriconazole, or caspofungin showed significantly higher survival rates than the control mice (P < 0.05). E1210 was also effective in the treatment of Aspergillus fumigatus pulmonary aspergillosis. In contrast to many antifungals, E1210 was also effective against disseminated fusariosis caused by F. solani. In conclusion, E1210 demonstrated consistent efficacy in murine models of oropharyngeal and disseminated candidiasis, pulmonary aspergillosis, and disseminated fusariosis. These data suggest that further studies to determine E1210's potential for the treatment of disseminated fungal infections are indicated.
PMCID: PMC3187015  PMID: 21788462

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