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1.  Identification of Breast Cancer-Associated Lipids in Scalp Hair 
A correlation between the presence of breast cancer and a change in the synchrotron-generated X-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern of hair has been reported in several publications by different groups, and on average XRD-based assays detect around 75% of breast cancer patients in blinded studies. To date, the molecular mechanisms leading to this alteration are largely unknown. We have determined that the alteration is likely to be due to the presence of one or more breast cancer-associated phospholipids. Further characterization of these lipids could be used to develop a novel, sensitive and specific screening test for breast cancer, based on hair initially, and potentially extendable to other biological samples.
PMCID: PMC3411328  PMID: 22872787
hair; breast cancer; lipids; phospholipids; hair
2.  Gene silencing of IL-12 in dendritic cells inhibits autoimmune arthritis 
We have previously demonstrated that immune modulation can be accomplished by administration of gene silenced dendritic cells (DC) using siRNA. In this study, we demonstrate the therapeutic utilization of shRNA-modified DC as an antigen-specific tolerogenic vaccine strategy for autoimmune arthritis.
A shRNA that specifically targets IL-12 p35 was designed and cloned into a plasmid vectors (IL-12 shRNA). Bone marrow-derived DC from DBA/1 mice were transfected with the IL-12 shRNA construct in vitro. Mice with collagen II (CII)-induced arthritis (CIA) were treated with the modified DCs expressing the shRNA. Recall response and disease progression were assessed.
After gene silencing of IL-12 in DC, DC were shown to selectively inhibit T cell proliferation on recall responses and in an MLR. In murine CIA, we demonstrated that administration of IL-12 shRNA-expressing DC that were pulsed with CII inhibited progression of arthritis. The therapeutic effects were evidenced by decreased clinical scores, inhibition of inflammatory cell infiltration in the joint, and suppression of T cell and B cell responses to CII.
We demonstrate a novel tolerance-inducing protocol for the treatment of autoimmune inflammatory joint disease in which the target antigen is known, utilizing DNA-directed RNA interference.
PMCID: PMC3293054  PMID: 22289162
shRNA; IL-12; Dendritic cells; Autoimmunity; Collagen-induced arthritis
3.  Characterization of a Test for Invasive Breast Cancer Using X-ray Diffraction of Hair—Results of a Clinical Trial 
To assess the performance of a test for breast cancer utilizing synchrotron x-ray diffraction analysis of scalp hair from women undergoing diagnostic radiology assessment.
Design and Setting:
A double-blinded clinical trial of women who attended diagnostic radiology clinics in Australia.
1796 women referred for diagnostic radiology, with no previous history of cancer.
Main Outcome Measures:
Sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the hair test analysis compared to the gold standard of imaging followed by biopsy where indicated.
The hair-based assay had an overall accuracy of >77% and a negative predictive value of 99%. For all women, the sensitivity of both mammography and X-ray diffraction alone was 64%, but when used together the sensitivity rose to 86%. The sensitivity of the hair test for women under the age of 70 was 74%.
In this large population trial the association between the presence of breast cancer and an altered hair fibre X-ray diffraction pattern previously reported has been confirmed. It appears that mammography and X-ray diffraction of hair detect different populations of breast cancers, and are synergistic when used together.
PMCID: PMC3086309  PMID: 21556251
X-ray diffraction; hair; breast cancer; randomized clinical trial; synchrotron

Results 1-3 (3)