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author:("vannucci, S")
1.  Fc-fusion technology and recombinant FVIII and FIX in the management of the hemophilias 
Prophylaxis with regular infusions of factor VIII (FVIII)- or factor IX (FIX)- containing products is the mainstay of modern hemophilia care. However, this therapeutic regimen is inconvenient, requiring repeated intravenous injections from childhood. Approaches meant to prolong the half-life of FVIII and FIX in plasma have been developed in order to improve the feasibility and acceptability of replacement therapy, extending protection from bleeding, reducing infusion frequency and hence the need for venous access devices in young children. Several strategies have been implemented to enhance the pharmacokinetics of clotting factors, including conjugation with polyethylene glycol and the production by genetic engineering of fusion proteins containing the coagulation factors linked to a long-lived plasma protein such as albumin or the Fc fragment of immunoglobulin (Ig)G. The latter technology is one of the most promising, since the prolongation of FVIII and FIX half-life is obtained by exploiting the physiological binding of the Fc domain to the neonatal Fc receptor. Fc fusion monomers have been obtained with both recombinant FVIII (rFVIIIFc) and FIX (rFIXFc), and data from preclinical and clinical studies showed improved pharmacokinetics for both factors, which are produced in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells, thus ensuring full human post-translational modifications. In Phase I/IIa studies, rFVIIIFc and rFIXFc showed 1.5–1.7 fold and 3.0–4.0 fold longer elimination half-life, respectively. Similar data have been obtained in the Phase III clinical studies with rFVIIIFc and rFIX-Fc published recently. Both drugs were satisfactorily safe, particularly with respect to immunogenicity, and no serious adverse event was observed.
PMCID: PMC3974692
factor VIII; factor IX; long-acting molecules
2.  Prophylactic efficacy and pharmacokinetically guided dosing of a von Willebrand factor/factor VIII concentrate in adults and children with von Willebrand's disease undergoing elective surgery: a pooled and comparative analysis of data from USA and European Union clinical trials 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(4):533-540.
Surgical intervention may pose significant risk of life-threatening bleeding in patients with von Willebrand's disease; prophylactic treatment with von Willebrand factor/factor VIII concentrate is generally indicated for von Willebrand's disease characterized by moderate to severe qualitative and quantitative deficiencies of Willebrand factor to raise and maintain both Willebrand factor and FVIII at haemostatic levels for surgical prophylaxis.
Materials and methods
Since prospective clinical data in such situations were lacking, two recent, prospective, multicentre studies evaluated the prophylactic perioperative use of the on Willebrand factor/ factor VIII concentrates, Humate-P® and Haemate P. Despite some differences in the two studies, one conducted in the USA (n =35) and one in the European Union (n =27), the designs were similar enough to allow for a limited pooled analysis of data. In both studies, preoperative loading doses and subsequent maintenance doses were calculated using individual subject-derived incremental in vivo recovery values, although von Willebrand factor:ristocetin cofactor and FVIII:coagulation activity target levels differed between the protocols. Efficacy was rated daily by the investigator as excellent, good, moderate, or poor.
Overall haemostatic efficacy (rating of excellent/good), assessed 24 hours after the last infusion (USA) or taken as the worst rating between surgery and day 14 (EU), was achieved in 95% of the pooled population of 62 adults and children. Efficacy did not appear to be affected by dosing variations. The rate of possibly related adverse events was low (8 subjects; 13%); one of these events was considered serious (pulmonary embolism).
This pooled analysis of a relatively large number of patients for a rare disease confirms the feasibility of pharmacokinetically guided dosing of von Willebrand factor/factor VIII concentrate and highlights its efficacy and safety in the prevention of excessive perioperative bleeding.
PMCID: PMC3827397  PMID: 23736911
von Willebrand's disease; factor VIII; prophylaxis; elective surgery
3.  Recombinant factor VIIa as haemostatic therapy in advanced liver disease 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(4):487-490.
PMCID: PMC3827390  PMID: 23114524
recombinant factor VIIa; tranexamic acid; liver cirrhosis; liver transplantation; hepatectomy
4.  Psychopathology and Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion in Type 1 Diabetes 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:672729.
Aim. Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) is used as an option in patients with diabetes failing to multiple daily injections (MDI). Psychological factors may play a relevant role in the failure to attain therapeutic goals in patients on MDI. This could lead to an overrepresentation of psychopathology in patients treated with CSII. Methods. A consecutive series of 100 patients with type 1 diabetes was studied, collecting main clinical parameters and assessing psychopathology with the self-reported questionnaire Symptom Checklist 90-revised. Patients on CSII were then compared with those on MDI. Results. Of the 100 enrolled patients, 44 and 56 were on CSII and MDI, respectively. Among men, those on CSII were younger than those on MDI; conversely, no difference in age was observed in women. Women on CSII showed higher scores on most Symptom Checklist 90 subscales than those on MDI, whereas no differences were observed in men. Conclusion. Women with type 1 diabetes treated with CSII display higher levels of psychopathology than those on MDI. This is probably the consequence of the fact that patients selected for CSII are those failing to MDI. Higher levels of psychopathology could represent a limit for the attainment and maintenance of therapeutic goals with CSII.
PMCID: PMC3793584  PMID: 24170982
5.  Plasma-derived medicinal products: demand and clinical use 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(Suppl 4):s2-s5.
PMCID: PMC3853983  PMID: 24333309
6.  Present and future challanges in the treatment of haemophilia: a clinician’s perspective 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(Suppl 4):s77-s81.
PMCID: PMC3853988  PMID: 24333317
haemophilia; factor VIII; factor IX; inhibitors; recombinant technology
7.  The demand for factor VIII and for factor IX and the toll fractionation product surplus management 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(Suppl 4):s64-s76.
PMCID: PMC3853991  PMID: 24333316
plasma-derived medicinal products; factor VIII; factor IX; demand; surplus management
The New England journal of medicine  2011;364(24):2305-2315.
Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a well defined clinico-pathological entity whose underlying genetic lesion is still obscure.
We searched for HCL-associated mutations by massively parallel sequencing of the whole exome of leukemic and matched normal mononuclear cells purified from the peripheral blood of one patient with HCL.
Whole exome sequencing identified 5 missense somatic clonal mutations that were confirmed at Sanger sequencing, including a heterozygous V600E mutation involving the BRAF gene. Since the BRAF V600E mutation is oncogenic in other tumors, further analyses were focused on this genetic lesion. Sanger sequencing detected mutated BRAF in 46/46 additional HCL patients (47/47 including the index case; 100%). None of the 193 peripheral B-cell lymphomas/leukemias other than HCL that were investigated carried the BRAF V600E mutation, including 36 cases of splenic marginal zone lymphomas and unclassifiable splenic lymphomas/leukemias. Immunohistological and Western blot studies showed that HCL cells express phospho-MEK and phospho-ERK (the downstream targets of the BRAF kinase), indicating a constitutive activation of the RAF-MEK-ERK mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in HCL. In vitro incubation of BRAF-mutated primary leukemic cells from 5 HCL patients with PLX-4720, a specific inhibitor of active BRAF, led to marked decrease of phosphorylated ERK and MEK.
The BRAF V600E mutation was present in all HCL patients investigated. This finding may have relevant implications for the pathogenesis, diagnosis and targeted therapy of HCL (Funded by the Associazione Italiana Ricerca Cancro and others).
PMCID: PMC3689585  PMID: 21663470
9.  Role of Insulin in the Type 2 Diabetes Therapy: Past, Present and Future 
Since 2006 a relevant number of therapeutical algorithms for the management of type 2 diabetes have been proposed, generating a lively debate in the scientific community, particularly on the ideal timing for introduction of insulin therapy and on which drug should be preferred as add-on therapy in patients failing to metformin. At the moment, there is no real consensus. The aim of the present review is to summarize established knowledge and areas for debate with respect to insulin therapy in type 2 diabetes.
Evidence Acquisition
In type 2 diabetic patients, insulin represents a therapy with a long and well-established history, but, considering the modern insulin therapy, several points must be carefully examined. The role played by the introduction of insulin analogues, the choice of insulin regimens, the ongoing debate on insulin and cancer, the cardiovascular effects of insulin, the role of insulin on β-cell protection and the actual clinical perspective in the treatment of the disease. Nevertheless, still many exciting expectations exist: the new insulin analogues, the technological options, the inhaled and oral insulin and the issue of transplantation.
Although insulin is the more potent hypoglicemic agent, the availability of a wider spectrum of therapeutic agents, many of which are better tolerated than insulin, has reduced the field of application for insulin treatment; presently, insulin is used only in those who cannot maintain an adequate glycemic control with other drugs. Furthermore, a lively research activity is currently ongoing, in order to make insulin therapy even safer and simpler for patients.
PMCID: PMC3860110  PMID: 24348585
Insulin Therapy; Type 2 Diabetes; Cancer; Cardiovascular Effects
10.  Treatment of Oral Mucositis in Hematologic Patients Undergoing Autologous or Allogeneic Transplantation of Peripheral Blood Stem Cells: a Prospective, Randomized Study with a Mouthwash Containing Camelia Sinensis Leaf Extract 
Hematology Reports  2013;5(1):21-25.
Oral mucositis is an important side effect of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCST), mainly due to toxicity of conditioning regimens. It produces significant pain and morbidity. The present study reports a prospective, randomized, non-blinded study testing the efficacy of a new mouthwash, called Baxidil Onco® (Sanitas Farmaceutici Srl, Tortona, Italy) in 60 hematologic patients undergoing HCST (28 autologous, 32 allogeneic). Baxidil Onco®, used three times a day from Day -1 to Day +30, in addition to standard prophylactic schedules, was administered to 14 patients undergoing autologous and 14 patients undergoing allogeneic HCST. The remaining 32 patients (14 autologous and 18 HCST) were treated only with standard prophylactic schedules and served as control. In our study, the overall incidence of oral mucositis, measured according to the World Health Organization 0-4 scale, was 50% in the Baxidl Onco® group versus 82% in the control group (P=0.022). In addition, a significant reduction in scale 2-4 oral mucositis was observed in the Baxidil Onco® group (25% vs 56.2%; P=0.0029). The results obtained indicate that incidence, severity and duration of oral mucositis induced by conditioning regimens for HCST can be significantly reduced by oral rinsing with Baxidil Onco®, in addition to the standard prophylaxis scheme. Since Camelia Sinensin extract, which is used to produce green tea, is the main agent in this mouthwash, we hypothesize that the anti-oxidative properties of polyphenolic compounds of tea might exert protective effects on oral mucosa.
PMCID: PMC3719109  PMID: 23888242
Camelia Sinensis; mucositis; transplantation
11.  Research and Development for Botanical Products in Medicinals and Food Supplements Market 
Botanical products sold in the health area are generally intended as drugs, medicinal products, food supplements or substances for therapeutic use. Use of botanicals for improving or to care human health has evolved independently in different countries worldwide. Regulatory issues regarding botanical products designed for the food supplements or medicinal market and their influence on research and development are discussed. European Union (EU) and United States (US) policies regulating these products are focused with comments on the legislations delivered during the last ten years and differences existing in rules between these countries are emphasized. Research and development on botanical products nowdays strongly influenced by the product destination in the market. Addressed and differentiated research for either food supplements or medicinal markets is necessary to purchase data really useful for assessment of safe and effective use for both the categories. The main objective is to catalyze interest of academic and companies' researchers on crucial aspects to be taken into account in the research for the development of botanical products.
PMCID: PMC3625613  PMID: 23606886
12.  Liver disease, coagulopathies and transfusion therapy 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(1):32-36.
PMCID: PMC3557474  PMID: 23058863
liver disease; coagulopathy; transfusion therapy
14.  Adiponectin, diabetes and ischemic heart failure: a challenging relationship 
Several peptides, named adipokines, are produced by the adipose tissue. Among those, adiponectin (AD) is the most abundant. AD promotes peripheral insulin sensitivity, inhibits liver gluconeogenesis and displays anti-atherogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Lower levels of AD are related to a higher risk of myocardial infarction and a worse prognosis in patients with coronary artery disease. However, despite a favorable clinical profile, AD increases in relation to worsening heart failure (HF); in this context, higher adiponectinemia is reliably related to poor prognosis. There is still little knowledge about how certain metabolic conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, modulate the relationship between AD and HF.
We evaluated the level of adiponectin in patients with ischemic HF, with and without type 2 diabetes, to elucidate whether the metabolic syndrome was able to influence the relationship between AD and HF.
We demonstrated that AD rises in patients with advanced HF, but to a lesser extent in diabetics than in non-diabetics. Diabetic patients with reduced systolic performance orchestrated a slower rise of AD which began only in face of overt HF. The different behavior of AD in the presence of diabetes was not entirely explained by differences in body mass index. In addition, NT-proBNP, the second strongest predictor of AD, did not differ significantly between diabetic and non-diabetic patients. These data indicate that some other mechanisms are involved in the regulation of AD in patients with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.
AD rises across chronic heart failure stages but this phenomenon is less evident in type 2 diabetic patients. In the presence of diabetes, the progressive increase of AD in relation to the severity of LV dysfunction is hampered and becomes evident only in overt HF.
PMCID: PMC3558365  PMID: 23249664
Adiponectin; Diabetes; Coronary artery disease; Heart failure
15.  Insulin Therapy and Cancer in Type 2 Diabetes 
ISRN Endocrinology  2012;2012:240634.
Despite the availability of many other agents, insulin is widely used as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. In vitro, insulin stimulates the growth of cancer cells, through the interaction with insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) receptors and its own receptors. In observational surveys on type 2 diabetes, insulin therapy is associated with an increased incidence of several forms of cancer, although it is difficult to discriminate the effect of confounders from that of insulin itself. Randomized trials do not confirm the increased risk associated with insulin therapy, although they do not allow to rule out some negative effects on specific forms of cancer, at least at higher doses. Among insulin analogues, glargine has a higher affinity for the IGF-1 receptor and a greater mitogenic potency in vitro than human insulin, but it is extensively metabolized in vitro to products with low IGF-1 receptor affinity. Overall, epidemiological studies suggest a possible increase of risk with glargine, with respect to human insulin, only at high doses and for some forms of cancer (i.e., breast). Data from clinical trials do not confirm, but are still insufficient to totally exclude, such increased risk. However, beneficial effects of insulin outweigh potential cancer risks.
PMCID: PMC3504371  PMID: 23209929
16.  Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 Inhibitors and Bone Fractures 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(11):2474-2476.
Thiazolidinediones and insulin are associated with a higher risk of fractures in type 2 diabetic patients. Incretin hormones increase bone density in experimental models, but the effect of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors on bone fractures has not been reported so far.
A meta-analysis was performed including all randomized clinical trials with a duration of at least 24 weeks, enrolling patients with type 2 diabetes, comparing DPP-4 inhibitors with placebo or active drugs.
Twenty-eight trials enrolling 11,880 and 9,175 patients for DPP-4 inhibitors and comparators, respectively, were included, reporting 63 fractures. DPP-4 inhibitors, compared with placebo or other treatments, were associated with a reduced risk of fractures (Mantel–Haenszel odds ratio [MH-OR] 0.60, 95% CI 0.37–0.99, P = 0.045), even after the exclusion of comparisons with thiazolidinediones or sulfonylureas (MH-OR 0.56, 0.33–0.93, P = 0.026).
The present meta-analysis suggests that treatment with DPP-4 inhibitors could be associated with a reduced risk of bone fractures.
PMCID: PMC3198283  PMID: 22025784
17.  Hypercoagulability in congenital haemolytic anaemias 
Blood Transfusion  2012;10(4):423-427.
PMCID: PMC3496237  PMID: 22044960
thalassaemia; sickle cell anaemia; thrombosis; therapy
18.  Plasma HDL cholesterol and risk of myocardial infarction: a mendelian randomisation study 
Voight, Benjamin F | Peloso, Gina M | Orho-Melander, Marju | Frikke-Schmidt, Ruth | Barbalic, Maja | Jensen, Majken K | Hindy, George | Hólm, Hilma | Ding, Eric L | Johnson, Toby | Schunkert, Heribert | Samani, Nilesh J | Clarke, Robert | Hopewell, Jemma C | Thompson, John F | Li, Mingyao | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Newton-Cheh, Christopher | Musunuru, Kiran | Pirruccello, James P | Saleheen, Danish | Chen, Li | Stewart, Alexandre FR | Schillert, Arne | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Thorgeirsson, Gudmundur | Anand, Sonia | Engert, James C | Morgan, Thomas | Spertus, John | Stoll, Monika | Berger, Klaus | Martinelli, Nicola | Girelli, Domenico | McKeown, Pascal P | Patterson, Christopher C | Epstein, Stephen E | Devaney, Joseph | Burnett, Mary-Susan | Mooser, Vincent | Ripatti, Samuli | Surakka, Ida | Nieminen, Markku S | Sinisalo, Juha | Lokki, Marja-Liisa | Perola, Markus | Havulinna, Aki | de Faire, Ulf | Gigante, Bruna | Ingelsson, Erik | Zeller, Tanja | Wild, Philipp | de Bakker, Paul I W | Klungel, Olaf H | Maitland-van der Zee, Anke-Hilse | Peters, Bas J M | de Boer, Anthonius | Grobbee, Diederick E | Kamphuisen, Pieter W | Deneer, Vera H M | Elbers, Clara C | Onland-Moret, N Charlotte | Hofker, Marten H | Wijmenga, Cisca | Verschuren, WM Monique | Boer, Jolanda MA | van der Schouw, Yvonne T | Rasheed, Asif | Frossard, Philippe | Demissie, Serkalem | Willer, Cristen | Do, Ron | Ordovas, Jose M | Abecasis, Gonçalo R | Boehnke, Michael | Mohlke, Karen L | Daly, Mark J | Guiducci, Candace | Burtt, Noël P | Surti, Aarti | Gonzalez, Elena | Purcell, Shaun | Gabriel, Stacey | Marrugat, Jaume | Peden, John | Erdmann, Jeanette | Diemert, Patrick | Willenborg, Christina | König, Inke R | Fischer, Marcus | Hengstenberg, Christian | Ziegler, Andreas | Buysschaert, Ian | Lambrechts, Diether | Van de Werf, Frans | Fox, Keith A | El Mokhtari, Nour Eddine | Rubin, Diana | Schrezenmeir, Jürgen | Schreiber, Stefan | Schäfer, Arne | Danesh, John | Blankenberg, Stefan | Roberts, Robert | McPherson, Ruth | Watkins, Hugh | Hall, Alistair S | Overvad, Kim | Rimm, Eric | Boerwinkle, Eric | Tybjaerg-Hansen, Anne | Cupples, L Adrienne | Reilly, Muredach P | Melander, Olle | Mannucci, Pier M | Ardissino, Diego | Siscovick, David | Elosua, Roberto | Stefansson, Kari | O'Donnell, Christopher J | Salomaa, Veikko | Rader, Daniel J | Peltonen, Leena | Schwartz, Stephen M | Altshuler, David | Kathiresan, Sekar
Lancet  2012;380(9841):572-580.
High plasma HDL cholesterol is associated with reduced risk of myocardial infarction, but whether this association is causal is unclear. Exploiting the fact that genotypes are randomly assigned at meiosis, are independent of non-genetic confounding, and are unmodified by disease processes, mendelian randomisation can be used to test the hypothesis that the association of a plasma biomarker with disease is causal.
We performed two mendelian randomisation analyses. First, we used as an instrument a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the endothelial lipase gene (LIPG Asn396Ser) and tested this SNP in 20 studies (20 913 myocardial infarction cases, 95 407 controls). Second, we used as an instrument a genetic score consisting of 14 common SNPs that exclusively associate with HDL cholesterol and tested this score in up to 12 482 cases of myocardial infarction and 41 331 controls. As a positive control, we also tested a genetic score of 13 common SNPs exclusively associated with LDL cholesterol.
Carriers of the LIPG 396Ser allele (2·6% frequency) had higher HDL cholesterol (0·14 mmol/L higher, p=8×10−13) but similar levels of other lipid and non-lipid risk factors for myocardial infarction compared with non-carriers. This difference in HDL cholesterol is expected to decrease risk of myocardial infarction by 13% (odds ratio [OR] 0·87, 95% CI 0·84–0·91). However, we noted that the 396Ser allele was not associated with risk of myocardial infarction (OR 0·99, 95% CI 0·88–1·11, p=0·85). From observational epidemiology, an increase of 1 SD in HDL cholesterol was associated with reduced risk of myocardial infarction (OR 0·62, 95% CI 0·58–0·66). However, a 1 SD increase in HDL cholesterol due to genetic score was not associated with risk of myocardial infarction (OR 0·93, 95% CI 0·68–1·26, p=0·63). For LDL cholesterol, the estimate from observational epidemiology (a 1 SD increase in LDL cholesterol associated with OR 1·54, 95% CI 1·45–1·63) was concordant with that from genetic score (OR 2·13, 95% CI 1·69–2·69, p=2×10−10).
Some genetic mechanisms that raise plasma HDL cholesterol do not seem to lower risk of myocardial infarction. These data challenge the concept that raising of plasma HDL cholesterol will uniformly translate into reductions in risk of myocardial infarction.
US National Institutes of Health, The Wellcome Trust, European Union, British Heart Foundation, and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
PMCID: PMC3419820  PMID: 22607825
19.  Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 induces expression of the cellular microRNA hsa-miR-127 and impairing B-cell differentiation in EBV-infected memory B cells. New insights into the pathogenesis of Burkitt lymphoma 
Blood Cancer Journal  2012;2(8):e84-.
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is a γ-herpesvirus that infects >90% of the human population. Although EBV persists in its latent form in healthy carriers, the virus is also associated with several human cancers. EBV is strongly associated with Burkitt lymphoma (BL), even though there is still no satisfactory explanation of how EBV participates in BL pathogenesis. However, new insights into the interplay between viruses and microRNAs (miRNAs) have recently been proposed. In particular, it has been shown that B-cell differentiation in EBV-positive BL is impaired at the post-transcriptional level by altered expression of hsa-miR-127. Here, we show that the overexpression of hsa-miR-127 is due to the presence of the EBV-encoded nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) and give evidence of a novel mechanism of direct regulation of the human miRNA by this viral product. Finally, we show that the combinatorial expression of EBNA1 and hsa-miR-127 affects the expression of master B-cell regulators in human memory B cells, confirming the scenario previously observed in EBV-positive BL primary tumors and cell lines. A good understanding of these mechanisms will help to clarify the complex regulatory networks between host and pathogen, and favor the design of more specific treatments for EBV-associated malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3432484  PMID: 22941339
Epstein-Barr virus; microRNAs; Burkitt lymphoma
20.  Sustained Exendin-4 Secretion through Gene Therapy Targeting Salivary Glands in Two Different Rodent Models of Obesity/Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40074.
Exendin-4 (Ex-4) is a Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist approved for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM), which requires daily subcutaneous administration. In T2DM patients, GLP-1 administration is reported to reduce glycaemia and HbA1c in association with a modest, but significant weight loss. The aim of present study was to characterize the site-specific profile and metabolic effects of Ex-4 levels expressed from salivary glands (SG) in vivo, following adeno-associated virus-mediated (AAV) gene therapy in two different animal models of obesity prone to impaired glucose tolerance and T2DM, specifically, Zucker fa/fa rats and high fed diet (HFD) mice. Following percutaneous injection of AAV5 into the salivary glands, biologically active Ex-4 was detected in the blood of both animal models and expression persisted in salivary gland ductal cell until the end of the study. In treated mice, Ex-4 levels averaged 138.9±42.3 pmol/L on week 6 and in treated rats, mean circulating Ex-4 levels were 238.2±72 pmol/L on week 4 and continued to increase through week 8. Expression of Ex-4 resulted in a significant decreased weight gain in both mice and rats, significant improvement in glycemic control and/or insulin sensitivity as well as visceral adipose tissue adipokine profile. In conclusion, these results suggest that sustained site-specific expression of Ex-4 following AAV5-mediated gene therapy is feasible and may be useful in the treatment of obesity as well as trigger improved metabolic profile.
PMCID: PMC3396615  PMID: 22808093
21.  Bone: Incretin Hormones Perceiver or Receiver? 
Experimental Diabetes Research  2012;2012:519784.
Novel incretin-based drugs, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4i), have been last introduced in the pharmacological treatment of type 2 diabetes. In the last few years, the interest on the relationship of gut hormones with bone metabolism in diabetes has been increasing. The aim of present paper is to examine in vitro and in vivo evidence on the connections between incretin hormones and bone metabolism. We also discuss results of clinical trials and metaanalysis, explore the effects of incretin drugs in vitro on osteogenic cells and osteoclasts, and speculate on the possibility of different effects of GLP-1 RA and DPP-4i on the risk of bone fractures risk in humans. Although existing preliminary evidence suggests a protective effect on the bone, at least for DPP-4i, further controlled, long-term studies with measurement of bone markers, bone density, and clinical fractures rates are needed to substantiate and confirm those findings.
PMCID: PMC3385656  PMID: 22761607
22.  Effects of Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists on Body Weight: A Meta-Analysis 
Experimental Diabetes Research  2012;2012:672658.
Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs), approved as glucose-lowering drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, have also been shown to reduce body weight. An extensive Medline, Cochrane database, and Embase search for “exenatide,” “liraglutide,” “albiglutide,” “semaglutide,” and “lixisenatide” was performed, collecting all randomized clinical trials on humans up to December 15, 2011, with a duration of at least 24 weeks, comparing GLP-1 receptor agonists with either placebo or active drugs. Twenty two (7,859 patients) and 7 (2,416 patients) trials with available results on body weight at 6 and 12 months, respectively, were included. When compared with placebo, GLP-1RAs determine a reduction of BMI at 6 months of −1.0 [−1.3; −0.6] kg/m2. Considering the average BMI at baseline (32.4 kg/m2) these data means a weight reduction of about 3% at 6 months. This result could seem modest from a clinical standpoint; however, it could be affected by many factors contributing to an underestimation of the effect of GLP-1RA on body weight, such as non adequate doses, inclusion criteria, efficacy of GLP-1RA on reducing glycosuria, and association to non-pharmacological interventions not specifically aimed to weight reduction.
PMCID: PMC3362858  PMID: 22675341
23.  Past, present and future of hemophilia: a narrative review 
Over the past forty years the availability of coagulation factor replacement therapy has greatly contributed to the improved care of people with hemophilia. Following the blood-borne viral infections in the late 1970s and early 1980, caused by coagulation factor concentrates manufactured using non-virally inactivated pooled plasma, the need for safer treatment became crucial to the hemophilia community. The introduction of virus inactivated plasma-derived coagulation factors and then of recombinant products has revolutionized the care of these people. These therapeutic weapons have improved their quality of life and that of their families and permitted home treatment, i.e., factor replacement therapy at regular intervals in order to prevent both bleeding and the resultant joint damage (i.e. primary prophylaxis). Accordingly, a near normal lifestyle and life-expectancy have been achieved. The main current problem in hemophilia is the onset of alloantibodies inactivating the infused coagulation factor, even though immune tolerance regimens based on long-term daily injections of large dosages of coagulation factors are able to eradicate inhibitors in approximately two-thirds of affected patients. In addition availability of products that bypass the intrinsic coagulation defects have dramatically improved the management of this complication. The major challenges of current treatment regimens, such the short half life of hemophilia therapeutics with need for frequent intravenous injections, encourage the current efforts to produce coagulation factors with more prolonged bioavailability. Finally, intensive research is devoted to gene transfer therapy, the only way to ultimately obtain cure in hemophilia.
PMCID: PMC3502605  PMID: 22551339
FVIII; FIX; Plasma-derived factor concentrates; Recombinant factor concentrates; Gene therapy
24.  EBV Reactivation and Chromosomal Polysomies: Euphorbia tirucalli as a Possible Cofactor in Endemic Burkitt Lymphoma 
Advances in Hematology  2012;2012:149780.
Burkitt lymphoma is endemic in the Equatorial Belt of Africa, its molecular hallmark is an activated, MYC gene mostly due to a chromosomal translocation. Especially in its endemic clinical variant, Burkitt lymphoma is associated with the oncogenic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and holoendemic malaria acts as an amplifier. Environmental factors may also cooperate in Burkitt lymphomagenesis in the endemic regions, such as plants used as traditional herbal remedies. Euphorbia tirucalli, a plant known to possess EBV-activating substances, has a similar geographical distribution to endemic Burkitt's Lymphoma and is used as a hedge, herbal remedy and toy in the Lymphoma BeltI. In this study we aimed at determining if exposure to Euphorbia tirucalli could contribute to lymphomagenesis, and at which extent. Lymphoblastoid and cord blood-derived cell lines were treated with plant extracts, and the expression of EBV-coded proteins was checked, to assess EBV reactivation. The occurrence of chromosomal translocations was then investigated by FISH. Our preliminary results suggest that E. tirucalli is able to reactivate EBV and determine chromosomal alterations, which leads to c-MYC altered expression. The existence of genomic alterations might determine the accumulation of further genetic alteration, which could eventually lead to a transformed phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3347697  PMID: 22593768
25.  Prophylaxis for adults with haemophilia: towards a personalised approach? 
Blood Transfusion  2012;10(2):123-124.
PMCID: PMC3320771  PMID: 22337279

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