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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.


  • The Study to Understand the Genetics of the Acute Response to Metformin and Glipizide in Humans (SUGAR-MGH): Design of a pharmacogenetic Resource for Type 2 Diabetes.
    Walford GA, Colomo N, Todd JN, et al. The Study to Understand the Genetics of the Acute Response to Metformin and Glipizide in Humans (SUGAR-MGH): Design of a pharmacogenetic Resource for Type 2 Diabetes. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]PLoS One 2015; 10(3):e0121553.Genome-wide association studies have uncovered a large number of genetic variants associated with type 2 diabetes or related phenotypes. In many cases the causal gene or polymorphism has not been identified, and its impact on response to anti-hyperglycemic medications is unknown. The Study to Understand the Genetics of the Acute Response to Metformin and Glipizide in Humans (SUGAR-MGH, NCT01762046) is a novel resource of genetic and biochemical data following glipizide and metformin administration. We describe recruitment, enrollment, and phenotyping procedures and preliminary results for the first 668 of our planned 1,000 participants enriched for individuals at risk of requiring anti-diabetic therapy in the future.All individuals are challenged with 5 mg glipizide × 1; twice daily 500 mg metformin × 2 days; and 75-g oral glucose tolerance test following metformin. Genetic variants associated with glycemic traits and blood glucose, insulin, and other hormones at baseline and following each intervention are measured.Approximately 50% of the cohort is female and 30% belong to an ethnic minority group. Following glipizide administration, peak insulin occurred at 60 minutes and trough glucose at 120 minutes. Thirty percent of participants experienced non-severe symptomatic hypoglycemia and required rescue with oral glucose. Following metformin administration, fasting glucose and insulin were reduced. Common genetic variants were associated with fasting glucose levels.SUGAR-MGH represents a viable pharmacogenetic resource which, when completed, will serve to characterize genetic influences on pharmacological perturbations, and help establish the functional relevance of newly discovered genetic loci to therapy of type 2 diabetes.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01762046.

  • Acetylbritannilactone Modulates microRNA-155-Mediated Inflammatory Response in Ischemic Cerebral Tissues.
    Wen Y, Zhang X, Dong L, et al. Acetylbritannilactone Modulates microRNA-155-Mediated Inflammatory Response in Ischemic Cerebral Tissues. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Mol Med 2015 Mar 18.Inflammatory responses play a critical role in ischemic brain injury. MicroRNA-155 (miR-155) induces the expression of inflammatory cytokines, and acetylbritannilactone (ABL) exerts potent anti-inflammatory actions by inhibiting expression of inflammation-related genes. However, the functions of miR-155 and actual relationship between ABL and miR-155 in ischemia-induced cerebral inflammation remain unclear. In this study, cerebral ischemia of wild-type (WT) and miR-155(-/-) mice was induced by permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). pAd-miR-155 was injected into lateral cerebral ventricle 24 hours before MCAO to induce miR-155 overexpression. MCAO mice and oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD)-treated BV2 cells were used to examine the effects of ABL and miR-155 overexpression or deletion on the expression of proinflammatory cytokines. We demonstrated that ABL treatment significantly reduced neurological deficits and cerebral infarct volume by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) expression in ischemic cerebral tissue and OGD-treated BV2 cells. Mechanistic studies suggested that the observed decrease in TNF-α and IL-1β expression was attributable to the ABL induced suppression of the expression of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). We further found that miR-155 promoted TNF-α and IL-1β expression by upregulating TLR4 and downregulating the expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) and myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), while ABL exerted an inhibitory effect on miR-155-mediated gene expression. In conclusion, miR-155 mediates inflammatory responses in ischemic cerebral tissue by modulating TLR4/MyD88 and SOCS1 expression, and ABL exerts its anti-inflammatory action by suppressing miR-155 expression, suggesting a novel miR-155-based therapy for ischemic stroke.

  • Intermittent Hypoxia Selects for Genotypes and Phenotypes That Increase Survival, Invasion, and Therapy Resistance.
    Verduzco D, Lloyd M, Xu L, et al. Intermittent Hypoxia Selects for Genotypes and Phenotypes That Increase Survival, Invasion, and Therapy Resistance. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]PLoS One 2015; 10(3):e0120958.Hypoxia in tumors correlates with greater risk of metastases, increased invasiveness, and resistance to systemic and radiation therapy. The evolutionary dynamics that links specific adaptations to hypoxia with these observed tumor properties have not been well investigated. While some tumor populations may experience fixed hypoxia, cyclical and stochastic transitions from normoxia to hypoxia are commonly observed in vivo. Although some phenotypic adaptations to this cyclic hypoxia are likely reversible, we hypothesize that some adaptations may become fixed through mutations promoted by hypoxia-induced genomic instability. Here we seek to identify genetic alterations and corresponding stable phenotypes that emerge following cyclic hypoxia. Although these changes may originate as adaptations to this specific environmental stress, their fixation in the tumor genome may result in their observation in tumors from regions of normoxia, a condition known as pseudohypoxia. We exposed several epithelial cell lines to 50 cycles of hypoxia-normoxia, followed by culture in normoxia over a period of several months. Molecular analyses demonstrated permanent changes in expression of several oncogenes and tumor-suppressors, including p53, E-cadherin, and Hif-1α. These changes were associated with increased resistance to multiple cytotoxins, increased survival in hypoxia and increased anchorage-independent growth. These results suggest cycles of hypoxia encountered in early cancers can select for specific and stable genotypic and phenotypic properties that persist even in normoxic conditions, which may promote tumor progression and resistance to therapy.

  • Control of Middle Ear Inflammatory and Ion Homeostasis Genes by Transtympanic Glucocorticoid and Mineralocorticoid Treatments.
    Lighthall JG, Kempton JB, Hausman F, et al. Control of Middle Ear Inflammatory and Ion Homeostasis Genes by Transtympanic Glucocorticoid and Mineralocorticoid Treatments. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]PLoS One 2015; 10(3):e0119228.Transtympanic steroid treatment will induce changes in ion homeostasis and inflammatory gene expression to decrease middle ear inflammation due to bacterial inoculation.Otitis media is common, but treatment options are limited to systemic antibiotic therapy or surgical intervention. Systemic glucocorticoid treatment of mice decreases inflammation and improves fluid clearance. However, transtympanic delivery of glucocorticoids or mineralocorticoid has not been explored to determine if direct steroid application is beneficial.Balb/c mice received transtympanic inoculation of heat-killed Haemophilus influenzae (H flu), followed by transtympanic treatment with either prednisolone or aldosterone. Mice given PBS instead of steroid and untreated mice were used as controls. Four hours after steroid treatment, middle ears were harvested for mRNA extraction and 24 hours after inoculation middle ears were harvested and examined for measures of inflammation.H flu inoculation caused the increased expression of nearly all inflammatory cytokine genes and induced changes in expression of several genes related to cellular junctions and transport channels. Both steroids generally reversed the expression of inflammatory genes and caused ion and water regulatory genes to return to normal or near normal levels. Histologic evaluation of middle ears showed improved fluid and inflammatory cell clearance.Improvement in middle ear inflammation was noted with both the glucocorticoid prednisolone and the mineralocorticoid aldosterone. This was due to reversal of inflammation-induced changes in middle ear cytokine genes, as well as those involved in ion and water homeostasis. Because glucocorticoids bind to the mineralocorticoid receptor, but not the reverse, it is concluded that much of the reduction of fluid and other inflammation measures was due to these steroids impact on ion and water transport channels. Further research is necessary to determine if this alternative mineralocorticoid treatment for otitis media will be clinically effective with fewer side effects than glucocorticoids.

  • Genomic profiling in locally advanced and inflammatory breast cancer and its link to DCE-MRI and overall survival.
    Siamakpour-Reihani S, Owzar K, Jiang C, et al. Genomic profiling in locally advanced and inflammatory breast cancer and its link to DCE-MRI and overall survival. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Int J Hyperthermia 2015 Mar 26.:1-10.We have previously reported that dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) perfusion patterns obtained from locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) patients prior to neoadjuvant therapy predicted pathologic clinical response. Genomic analyses were also independently conducted on the same patient population. This retrospective study was performed to test two hypotheses: (1) gene expression profiles are associated with DCE-MRI perfusion patterns, and (2) association between long-term overall survival data and gene expression profiles can lead to the identification of novel predictive biomarkers.We utilised RNA microarray and DCE-MRI data from 47 LABC patients, including 13 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) patients. Association between gene expression profile and DCE-MRI perfusion patterns (centrifugal and centripetal) was determined by Wilcoxon rank sum test. Association between gene expression level and survival was assessed using a Cox rank score test. Additional genomic analysis of the IBC subset was conducted, with a period of follow-up of up to 11 years. Associations between gene expression and overall survival were further assessed in The Cancer Genome Atlas Data Portal.Differences in gene expression profiles were seen between centrifugal and centripetal perfusion patterns in the sulphotransferase family, cytosolic, 1 A, phenol-preferring, members 1 and 2 (SULT1A1, SULT1A2), poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, member 6 (PARP6), and metastasis tumour antigen1 (MTA1). In the IBC subset our analyses demonstrated that differential expression of 45 genes was associated with long-term survival.Here we have demonstrated an association between DCE-MRI perfusion patterns and gene expression profiles. In addition we have reported on candidate prognostic biomarkers in IBC patients, with some of the genes being significantly associated with survival in IBC and LABC.

  • Plants as an alternative source of therapeutic proteins.
    Łucka M, Kowalczyk T, Szemraj J, et al. Plants as an alternative source of therapeutic proteins. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online) 2015; 69(0):362-373.In recent years, there has been an increased interest of researchers in developing efficient plant heterologous expression systems of proteins for a wide range of applications. It represents an alternative to the traditional strategy utilizing bacterial, yeast, insect or mammalian cells. New techniques of identification and characterization and effective methods of plant genetic transformation allow the range of recombinant protein products to be expanded. Great expectations are associated with the use of plants as bioreactors for the production of specific proteins of therapeutic interest. This strategy offers a number of advantages, the most important being: the possibility of a significant reduction in production costs, the safety of the products obtained and full eukaryotic post-translational modifications of proteins. A group of proteins of special interest is pharmaceuticals, and a number of successful experiments have confirmed the possibility of obtaining heterogeneous proteins with therapeutic potential: monoclonal antibodies, vaccine antigens, and a variety of cytokines. This work is focused on selected recombinant proteins belonging to those groups expression of which was achieved in plant cells. These proteins may be used in the future for therapy or prevention of viral, bacterial or cancer diseases.

  • Endo-Lysosomal Dysfunction in Human Proximal Tubular Epithelial Cells Deficient for Lysosomal Cystine Transporter Cystinosin.
    Ivanova EA, De Leo MG, Van Den Heuvel L, et al. Endo-Lysosomal Dysfunction in Human Proximal Tubular Epithelial Cells Deficient for Lysosomal Cystine Transporter Cystinosin. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]PLoS One 2015; 10(3):e0120998.Nephropathic cystinosis is a lysosomal storage disorder caused by mutations in the CTNS gene encoding cystine transporter cystinosin that results in accumulation of amino acid cystine in the lysosomes throughout the body and especially affects kidneys. Early manifestations of the disease include renal Fanconi syndrome, a generalized proximal tubular dysfunction. Current therapy of cystinosis is based on cystine-lowering drug cysteamine that postpones the disease progression but offers no cure for the Fanconi syndrome. We studied the mechanisms of impaired reabsorption in human proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTEC) deficient for cystinosin and investigated the endo-lysosomal compartments of cystinosin-deficient PTEC by means of light and electron microscopy. We demonstrate that cystinosin-deficient cells had abnormal shape and distribution of the endo-lysosomal compartments and impaired endocytosis, with decreased surface expression of multiligand receptors and delayed lysosomal cargo processing. Treatment with cysteamine improved surface expression and lysosomal cargo processing but did not lead to a complete restoration and had no effect on the abnormal morphology of endo-lysosomal compartments. The obtained results improve our understanding of the mechanism of proximal tubular dysfunction in cystinosis and indicate that impaired protein reabsorption can, at least partially, be explained by abnormal trafficking of endosomal vesicles.

  • Correlation between Genetic Variations and Serum Level of Interleukin 28B with Virus Genotypes and Disease Progression in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection.
    Al-Qahtani A, Al-Anazi M, Abdo AA, et al. Correlation between Genetic Variations and Serum Level of Interleukin 28B with Virus Genotypes and Disease Progression in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection. [Journal Article]J Immunol Res 2015.:768470.Recent studies have demonstrated that polymorphisms near the interleukin-28B (IL-28B) gene could predict the response to Peg-IFN-a/RBV combination therapy in HCV-infected patients. The aim of the study was to correlate the serum level of IL28B in HCV-infected patients with virus genotype/subgenotype and disease progression. IL28B serum level was detected and variations at five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in IL28B gene region were genotyped and analyzed. The variation of IL28B genetic polymorphisms was found to be strongly associated with HCV infection when healthy control group was compared to HCV-infected patients with all P values <0.0001. Functional analysis revealed that subjects carrying rs8099917-GG genotype had higher serum level of IL28B than those with GT or TT genotypes (P = 0.04). Also, patients who were presented with cirrhosis (Cirr) only or with cirrhosis plus hepatocellular carcinoma (Cirr+HCC) had higher levels of serum IL28B when compared to chronic HCV-infected patients (P = 0.005 and 0.003, resp.). No significant association was found when serum levels of IL28B were compared to virus genotypes/subgenotypes. This study indicates that variation at SNP rs8099917 could predict the serum levels of IL28B in HCV-infected patients. Furthermore, IL28B serum level may serve as a useful marker for the development of HCV-associated sequelae.

  • In silico and in vitro studies of cytotoxic activity of different peptides derived from vesicular stomatitis virus G protein.
    Ghandehari F, Behbahani M, Pourazar A, et al. In silico and in vitro studies of cytotoxic activity of different peptides derived from vesicular stomatitis virus G protein. [Journal Article]Iran J Basic Med Sci 2015 Jan; 18(1):47-52.This study aims at exploring cytotoxic activity of different peptides derived from VSVG protein against MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines and human embryonic kidney normal cell (HEK 293).The ANTICP web server was used to predict anticancer peptides. The cytotoxic activity of peptides with high score (P26, P7) and low score (P19) was examined by MTT and DNA fragmentation assays.The results obtained from ANTICP web server demonstrated that 4 out of 48 peptides (P26, P7, P10, and P16) had anticancer activity. P26 and P7 peptides of these 4 peptides were detected to have high cytotoxic activity against MCF-7 cells with CC50 values of 98,280 µg/ml and MDA-MB231 cells with CC50 100,550 µg/ml, respectively. In addition, the results showed that amino acid residues of these 4 peptides were located near fusion domain.The results confirmed that P26 and P7 peptides might induce membrane damage and initiate apoptosis. The present study suggested that P26 and P7 peptides could be appropriate candidates for further studies as cytotoxic agents and modifications in the residue at positions 70-280 might potentially produce a more efficient VSVG protein in gene therapy.

  • Adoptive cellular therapy: A race to the finish line.
    June CH, Riddell SR, Schumacher TN Adoptive cellular therapy: A race to the finish line. [REVIEW]Sci Transl Med 2015 Mar 25; 7(280):280ps7.Adoptive T cell transfer for cancer, chronic infection, and autoimmunity is an emerging field that shows promise in recent trials. Using the principles of synthetic biology, advances in cell culture and genetic engineering have made it possible to generate human T cells that display desired specificities and enhanced functionalities compared with the natural immune system. The prospects for widespread availability of engineered T cells have changed dramatically, given the recent entry of the pharmaceutical industry to this arena. Here, we discuss some of the challenges-such as regulatory, cost, and manufacturing-and opportunities, including personalized gene-modified T cells, that face the field of adoptive cellular therapy.