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Latest Articles on Gene Therapy

Overview of latest articles and publications on gene therapy in PubMed, including Human Gene Therapy, Journal of Molecular Medicine and Journal of Gene Medicine. PubMed is a service of the US National Library of Medicine that includes over 18 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals.


  • Therapeutic approaches for treating hemophilia A using embryonic stem cells.
    Kasuda S, Tatsumi K, Sakurai Y, et al. Therapeutic approaches for treating hemophilia A using embryonic stem cells. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Hematol Oncol Stem Cell Ther 2016 Apr 22.Hemophilia A is an X-linked rescessive bleeding disorder that results from F8 gene aberrations. Previously, we established embryonic stem (ES) cells (tet-226aa/N6-Ainv18) that secrete human factor VIII (hFVIII) by introducing the human F8 gene in mouse Ainv18 ES cells. Here, we explored the potential of cell transplantation therapy for hemophilia A using the ES cells. Transplant tet-226aa/N6-Ainv18 ES cells were injected into the spleens of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice, carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-pretreated wild-type mice, and CCl4-pretreated hemophilia A mice. F8 expression was induced by doxycycline in drinking water, and hFVIII-antigen production was assessed in all cell transplantation experiments. Injecting the ES cells into SCID mice resulted in an enhanced expression of the hFVIII antigen; however, teratoma generation was confirmed in the spleen. Transplantation of ES cells into wild-type mice after CCl4-induced liver injury facilitated survival and engraftment of transplanted cells without teratoma formation, resulting in hFVIII production in the plasma. Although CCl4 was lethal to most hemophilia A mice, therapeutic levels of FVIII activity, as well as the hFVIII antigen, were detected in surviving hemophilia A mice after cell transplantation. Immunolocalization results for hFVIII suggested that transplanted ES cells might be engrafted at the periportal area in the liver. Although the development of a safer induction method for liver regeneration is required, our results suggested the potential for developing an effective ES-cell transplantation therapeutic model for treating hemophilia A in the future.

  • Avoiding Severe Toxicity From Combined BRAF Inhibitor and Radiation Treatment: Consensus Guidelines from the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG).
    Anker CJ, Grossmann KF, Atkins MB, et al. Avoiding Severe Toxicity From Combined BRAF Inhibitor and Radiation Treatment: Consensus Guidelines from the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG). [REVIEW, JOURNAL ARTICLE]Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2016 Jun 1; 95(2):632-646.BRAF kinase gene V600 point mutations drive approximately 40% to 50% of all melanomas, and BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) have been found to significantly improve survival outcomes. Although radiation therapy (RT) provides effective symptom palliation, there is a lack of toxicity and efficacy data when RT is combined with BRAFi, including vemurafenib and dabrafenib. This literature review provides a detailed analysis of potential increased dermatologic, pulmonary, neurologic, hepatic, esophageal, and bowel toxicity from the combination of BRAFi and RT for melanoma patients described in 27 publications. Despite 7 publications noting potential intracranial neurotoxicity, the rates of radionecrosis and hemorrhage from whole brain RT (WBRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), or both do not appear increased with concurrent or sequential administration of BRAFis. Almost all grade 3 dermatitis reactions occurred when RT and BRAFi were administered concurrently. Painful, disfiguring nondermatitis cutaneous reactions have been described from concurrent or sequential RT and BRAFi administration, which improved with topical steroids and time. Visceral toxicity has been reported with RT and BRAFi, with deaths possibly related to bowel perforation and liver hemorrhage. Increased severity of radiation pneumonitis with BRAFi is rare, but more concerning was a potentially related fatal pulmonary hemorrhage. Conversely, encouraging reports have described patients with leptomeningeal spread and unresectable lymphadenopathy rendered disease free from combined RT and BRAFi. Based on our review, the authors recommend holding RT ≥3 days before and after fractionated RT and ≥1 day before and after SRS. No fatal reactions have been described with a dose <4 Gy per fraction, and time off systemic treatment should be minimized. Future prospective data will serve to refine these recommendations.

  • Integrative Biomarker Analyses Indicate Etiological Variations in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
    Zhu AX, Chen D, He W, et al. Integrative Biomarker Analyses Indicate Etiological Variations in Hepatocellular Carcinoma. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]J Hepatol 2016 Apr 26.The purpose of this study was to determine whether biomarkers from baseline plasma and archival tissue specimens collected from patients enrolled in the EVOLVE-1 trial - a randomized phase 3 study of everolimus in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) - were associated with prognosis, etiology or ethnicity.Circulating plasma levels of bFGF, PLGF, VEGF, VEGF-D, c-Kit, collagen IV, sVEGFR1 and VEGFR2 were measured by ELISA (N=503). Protein levels of IGF-1R, c-Met, mTOR, Tsc2 were assayed by immunohistochemistry (N=125). Genomic DNA sequencing was conducted on a panel of 287 cancer-related genes (N=69).Patients with baseline plasma concentrations of VEGF or sVEGFR1 above the cohort median had significantly shorter overall survival. These plasma biomarkers retained prognostic significance in a multivariate Cox regression model with geographic region, macroscopic vascular invasion and AFP levels. Membranous c-Met protein levels were significantly lower for Asian patients, as well as for hepatitis B viral etiology. The prevalence of genetic changes were similar to previous reports, along with a trend towards higher PTEN and TSC2 mutations among Asians.The angiogenesis biomarkers VEGF and sVEGFR1 were independent prognostic predictors of survival in patients with advanced HCC. Potential differences in c-Met and mTOR pathway activation between Asian and non-Asian patients should be considered in future clinical trials.Our study demonstrates that circulating angiogenesis biomarkers can predict the survival outcome in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma independent of the clinical variables. There is etiology and ethnicity variation in molecular pathway activation in hepatocellular carcinoma, which should be considered for future clinical trial design of targeted therapy.

  • The KCC2 Cotransporter and Human Epilepsy: Getting Excited About Inhibition.
    Kahle KT, Khanna AR, Duan J, et al. The KCC2 Cotransporter and Human Epilepsy: Getting Excited About Inhibition. [REVIEW, JOURNAL ARTICLE]Neuroscientist 2016 Apr 29.The cation-Cl(-) cotransporter KCC2, encoded by SLC12A5, is required for the emergence and maintenance of GABAergic fast synaptic inhibition in organisms across evolution. These findings have suggested that KCC2 deficiency might play a role in the pathogenesis human epilepsy, but this has only recently been substantiated by two lines of genetic evidence. The first is the discovery of heterozygous missense polymorphisms in SLC12A5, causing decreased KCC2-dependent Cl(-) extrusion capacity, in an Australian family with inherited febrile seizures and in a French-Canadian cohort with severe genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE). The second is the discovery of recessive loss-of-function mutations in SLC12A5 in patients with a severe, early-onset Mendelian disease termed "epilepsy of infancy with migrating focal seizures" (EIMFS). These findings collectively support the paradigm that precisely regulated KCC2 activity is required for synaptic inhibition in humans, and that genetically encoded impairment of KCC2 function, due to effects on gene dosage, intrinsic activity, or extrinsic regulation, can influence epilepsy phenotypes in patients. Accordingly, KCC2 could be a target for a novel antiepileptic strategies that aims to restore GABA inhibition by facilitating Cl(-) extrusion. Such drugs could have relevance for pharmaco-resistant epilepsies and possibly other diseases characterized by synaptic hyperexcitability, such as the spectrum autism disorders.

  • Matrigel and Activin A promote cell-cell contact and anti-apoptotic activity in cultured human retinal pigment epithelium cells.
    Guo X, Zhu D, Lian R, et al. Matrigel and Activin A promote cell-cell contact and anti-apoptotic activity in cultured human retinal pigment epithelium cells. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Exp Eye Res 2016 Apr 26.Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness among the aging population. Currently, replacement of diseased retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells with transplanted healthy RPE cells could be a feasible approach for AMD therapy. However, maintaining cell-cell contact and good viability of RPE cells cultured in vitro is difficult and fundamentally determines the success of RPE cell transplantation. This study was conducted to examine the role of Matrigel and Activin A (MA) in regulating cell-cell contact and anti-apoptotic activity in human RPE (hRPE) cells, as assessed by atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscope (SEM), immunofluorescence staining, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis, Annexin V/propidium iodide (PI) analysis, mitochondrial membrane potential (△Ψ m) assays, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) assays and Western blotting. hRPE cells cultured in vitro could maintain their epithelioid morphology after MA treatment over at least 4 passages. The contact of N-cadherin to the lateral cell border was promoted in hRPE cells at P2 by MA. MA treatment also enhanced the expression of tight junction-associated genes and proteins, such as Claudin-1, Claudin-3, Occludin and ZO-1, as well as polarized ZO-1 protein distribution and barrier function, in cultured hRPE cells. Moreover, MA treatment decreased apoptotic cells, ROS and Bax and increased △Ψ m and Bcl2 in hRPE cells under serum withdrawal-induced apoptosis. In addition, MA treatment elevated the protein expression levels of β-catenin and its target proteins, including Cyclin D1, c-Myc and Survivin, as well as the gene expression levels of ZO-1, β-catenin, Survivin and TCF-4, all of which could be down-regulated by the Wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitor XAV-939. Taken together, MA treatment could effectively promote cell-cell contact and anti-apoptotic activity in hRPE cells, partly involving the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. This study will benefit the understanding of hRPE cells and future cell therapy.

  • Metabolic Liver Disease: When to Suspect and How to Diagnose?
    Alam S, Sood V Metabolic Liver Disease: When to Suspect and How to Diagnose? [REVIEW, JOURNAL ARTICLE]Indian J Pediatr 2016 Apr 29.Metabolic liver diseases are still considered by many as a 'rare' diagnosis, though scenario has definitely changed in recent times. With recent advances and wider availablility of newer techniques, many of these are now amenable to diagnosis and optimum management. Though the logistics involved are still out of reach of a significant proportion of our population, a stepwise and methodological approach with simple diagnostic tests can help point towards a probable diagnosis (with resultant directed investigations), helping to avoid unnecessary and costly workup. This review focuses on diagnostic protocol-based approach to common metabolic liver diseases encountered frequently in pediatric hepatology.

  • Monocyte/macrophage lineage commitment and distribution are affected by the lack of regulatory T cells in scurfy mice.
    Skuljec J, Cabanski M, Surdziel E, et al. Monocyte/macrophage lineage commitment and distribution are affected by the lack of regulatory T cells in scurfy mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Eur J Immunol 2016 Apr 30.Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells play a pivotal role in maintaining immunological tolerance. Loss-of-function mutations in the Foxp3 gene result in multi-organ inflammation known as IPEX syndrome in humans and scurfy (Sf) disease in mice. While the impact of missing Treg cells on adaptive immune cells is well documented, their role in regulation of myeloid cells remains unclear. Here we report that Sf mice exhibit an altered composition of stem and progenitor cells, characterized by increased numbers of myeloid precursors and higher efficiency of macrophage generation ex vivo. The proportion of monocytes/macrophages in the bone marrow, blood and spleen was significantly elevated in Sf mice, which was accompanied with tissue-specific monocyte expression of homing receptor and phagocytic activity. Sf mice displayed high levels of M-CSF and other inflammatory cytokines, including monocyte-recruiting chemokines. Adoptive transfer of wild type CD4(+) cells and in vivo neutralization of M-CSF normalized frequencies of monocyte subsets and their progenitors and reduced high levels of monocyte-related cytokines in Sf mice, while Treg cell transfer to RAG2(-/-) mice had no effect on myelopoiesis and monocyte/macrophage counts. Our findings illustrate that deregulated myelopoiesis in Sf mice is mainly caused by the inflammatory reaction resulting from the lack of Treg cells. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  • Neutrophil elastase enhances antigen presentation by upregulating human leukocyte antigen class I expression on tumor cells.
    Chawla A, Alatrash G, Philips AV, et al. Neutrophil elastase enhances antigen presentation by upregulating human leukocyte antigen class I expression on tumor cells. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Cancer Immunol Immunother 2016 Apr 29.Neutrophil elastase (NE) is an innate immune cell-derived inflammatory mediator that we have shown increases the presentation of tumor-associated peptide antigens in breast cancer. In this study, we extend these observations to show that NE uptake has a broad effect on enhancing antigen presentation by breast cancer cells. We show that NE increases human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I expression on the surface of breast cancer cells in a concentration and time-dependent manner. HLA class I upregulation requires internalization of enzymatically active NE. Western blots of NE-treated breast cancer cells confirm that the expression of total HLA class I as well as the antigen-processing machinery proteins TAP1, LMP2, and calnexin does not change following NE treatment. This suggests that NE does not increase the efficiency of antigen processing; rather, it mediates the upregulation of HLA class I by stabilizing and reducing membrane recycling of HLA class I molecules. Furthermore, the effects of NE extend beyond breast cancer since the uptake of NE by EBV-LCL increases the presentation of HLA class I-restricted viral peptides, as shown by their increased sensitivity to lysis by EBV-specific CD8+ T cells. Together, our results show that NE uptake increases the responsiveness of breast cancer cells to adaptive immunity by broad upregulation of membrane HLA class I and support the conclusion that the innate inflammatory mediator NE enhances tumor cell recognition and increases tumor sensitivity to the host adaptive immune response.

  • Genetic prediction of the effectiveness of biologics for psoriasis treatment.
    Nishikawa R, Nagai H, Bito T, et al. Genetic prediction of the effectiveness of biologics for psoriasis treatment. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]J Dermatol 2016 Apr 30.Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α therapy is used for the treatment of psoriasis, with varying outcomes. However, the specific cause of inadequate response or treatment failure remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to identify useful clinical biomarkers for predicting therapeutic responses or to serve as new drug targets for refractory psoriasis cases. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 65 psoriasis patients who were prospectively followed after beginning anti-TNF-α therapy using Human Omni Express-8 v1.2 Beadchips. Patients were enrolled at the dermatology departments of Kobe University Hospital and six collaborative hospitals. Associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and changes in the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) after 12 weeks of treatment were evaluated. After genome data collection and quality control, a total of 731 442 SNPs were identified in 65 Asian psoriasis patients who were treated with adalimumab or infliximab. Here, we present 10 SNPs, such as those in JAG2 and ADRA2A, that were associated with treatment responses to anti-TNF-α agents (strongest effect, P < 7.11E-06). This is the first GWAS to examine SNP associated with treatment responses in psoriasis patients. In addition, we identified other SNP that exhibited potential associations with anti-TNF-α treatment response, which merit further study. Of these, rs11096957 on TLR10, which is associated with increased TNF-α production, was previously reported to be associated with treatment responses to TNF-α inhibitors.

  • Significant improvement in Fabry disease podocytopathy after 3 years of treatment with agalsidase beta.
    Ito S, Ogura M, Kamei K, et al. Significant improvement in Fabry disease podocytopathy after 3 years of treatment with agalsidase beta. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Pediatr Nephrol 2016 Apr 29.Fabry disease is an X-linked lysosomal disorder caused by decreased activity of α-galactosidase A (GLA). Consequent accumulation of globotriaosylceramide (GL-3) in lysosomes results in damage to a variety of organs, including the kidneys. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is an effective treatment, but whether it should be started before organ damage is evident is a matter of debate.A 10-year-old boy who complained of severe sole pain for 3 years had been misdiagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Further investigations revealed decreased GLA activity and a M1T mutation in the GLA gene causing protein truncation, suggestive of Fabry disease. Despite normal renal function and urinalysis, renal biopsy showed abnormal structure, with marked accumulation of GL-3 in podocytes, partial effacement of foot processes and irregularly reduced expression of nephrin in the slit diaphragm. After 1 year of ERT with 1 mg/kg agalsidase beta once every 2 weeks, his pain had resolved with ERT combined with carbamazepine and pregabalin. After 3 years of the ERT, repeat biopsy showed little renal GL-3 deposition, resolution of foot process effacement, and a dramatic improvement in nephrin expression.There may be a window of opportunity in which pain and renal injury can be addressed in the early stages of Fabry disease. Early initiation of ERT should therefore be considered for children with Fabry disease.

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