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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 Molecular Landscape of Recurrent and Metastatic Head and Neck Cancers: Insights From a Precision Oncology Sequencing Platform.
    Morris LG, Chandramohan R, West L, et al. The Molecular Landscape of Recurrent and Metastatic Head and Neck Cancers: Insights From a Precision Oncology Sequencing Platform. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]JAMA Oncol 2016 Jul 21.AbstractPublisher Full TextRecurrent and/or metastatic head and neck cancer is usually incurable. Implementation of precision oncology for these patients has been limited by incomplete understanding of the molecular alterations underlying advanced disease. At the same time, the molecular profiles of many rare head and neck cancer types are unknown. These significant gaps in knowledge need to be addressed to rationally devise new therapies.To illuminate the distinct biology of recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancers and review implementation of precision oncology for patients with advanced disease.After exclusions, 151 patients with advanced, treatment-resistant head and neck tumors, including squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC), and other salivary and cutaneous cancers, whose tumors were sequenced between January 2014 and July 2015 at Memorial Sloan Kettering were recruited. Next-generation sequencing of tumors as part of clinical care included high-depth (median 600×) exonic coverage of 410 cancer genes and whole-genome copy number analysis.Next-generation sequencing of tumors and matched normal DNA.Feasibility, the frequency of actionable molecular alterations, the effect on decision making, and identification of alterations associated with recurrent and metastatic disease.Overall, 151 patients (95 men and 56 women; mean [range] age, 61.8 [17-100] years) were included in the study. Next-generation sequencing ultimately guided therapy in 21 of 151 patients (14%) (13 of 53 [25%] of patients with HNSCC) by refining diagnoses and matching patients to specific therapies, in some cases with dramatic responses on basket studies. Molecular alterations were potentially actionable in 28 of 135 patients (21%). The genetic profiles of recurrent and metastatic tumors were often distinct from primary tumors. Compared to primary human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive tumors, many recurrent and metastatic HPV-positive tumors exhibited a molecular profile more similar to HPV-negative tumors, including enriched frequencies of TP53 mutation (3 of 20 tumors [15%]), whole genome duplication (5 of 20 tumors [25%]), and 3p deletion (11 of 20 tumors [55%]). There were high rates of TERT promoter mutation in recurrent and metastatic HPV-negative HNSCC (13 of 30 tumors [43%]), cutaneous SCC (11 of 21 tumors [52%]), basal cell carcinoma (3 of 4 tumors [75%]), and ACC (5 of 36 tumors [14%]). Activating NOTCH1 mutations were enriched in metastatic ACCs (8 of 36 tumors [22%]).These findings reveal the molecular landscape of advanced disease and rare cancer subtypes, both predominant challenges in head and neck oncology. To understand the repertoire of targetable alterations in advanced cancers, it is necessary to sequence recurrent and metastatic tumors. These data are important first steps toward implementation of precision head and neck oncology.

  • Steroid Resistant Nephrotic Syndrome-Genetic Consideration.
    Tasic V, Gucev Z, Polenakovic M Steroid Resistant Nephrotic Syndrome-Genetic Consideration. [Journal Article]Pril (Makedon Akad Nauk Umet Odd Med Nauki) 2015; 36(3):5-12.AbstractPublisher Full TextNephrotic syndrome is defined as the association of massive proteinuria, hypoalbuminaemia, edema, and hyperlipidemia. It is separated to steroid-sensitive or steroid-resistant (SRNS) forms in respect to the response to intensive steroid therapy. SRNS usually progresses to end-stage renal failure. According to the North American Pediatric Renal Trials and Collaborative Studies SRNS constitutes the second most frequent cause of ESRD in the first two decades of life. Unfortunately, there is no curative treatment for majority of patients. Majority of the SRNS patients have the histologic picture of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Interestingly, the risk of recurrence in the kidney graft in patients with hereditary SRNS is lower than in those who do not have genetic background. The etiology and pathogenesis of SRSN has remained enigma for decades. The discovery of 39 dominant or recessive SRNS genes enabled better understanding of the function of the glomerular podocytes and slit membrane. Hildebrandt's group has shown that 85% of the SRNS cases with onset by 3 months of age and 66% with onset by 1 year of age can be explained by recessive mutations in one of four genes only (NPHS1, NPHS2, LAMB2, or WT1). The same group used modern diagnostic techniques such as the next generation sequencing and tested a large international cohort of SRNS patients (n = 1783 families). The diagnostic panel included 21 genes with a recessive mode of inheritance and 6 genes with a dominant mode of inheritance. Single-gene cause was detected in 29.5% (526 of 1783) of the families with SRNS that manifested before 25 years of age. The identification of causative single-gene mutations may have important therapeutic consequences in some cases. This is very important for patients who carry mutations in a gene of coenzyme Q10 biosynthesis (COQ2, COQ6, ADCK4, or PDSS2). In these patients the treatment with coenzyme Q10 may be indicated. Also, patients with recessive mutations in PLCE1 may respond fully to the treatment with steroids or cyclosporine A. The patients with CUBN may benefit the treatment with vitamin B12. The detection of causative mutations may also be very important for familial genetic counseling and for prenatal diagnosis.

  • Oncolytic vaccinia virus inhibits human hepatocellular carcinoma MHCC97-H cell proliferation via endoplasmic reticulum stress, autophagy and Wnt pathways.
    Jia X, Chen Y, Zhao X, et al. Oncolytic vaccinia virus inhibits human hepatocellular carcinoma MHCC97-H cell proliferation via endoplasmic reticulum stress, autophagy and Wnt pathways. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]J Gene Med 2016 Jul 21.AbstractPublisher Full TextHepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly lethal malignancy. Vaccinia virus (VV) has been shown possessing many inherent advantages to be engineered vectors for cancer gene therapy, but the mechanism of action remains to be further explored.We constructed a thymidine kinase (TK) gene insertional inactivated VV, named VV-Onco, tested the effect on cell viability, apoptosis and colony formation ability of a highly metastatic human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line MHCC97-H, and investigated the potential cell signal pathways involved in this action.VV-Onco induced strong cytotoxicity, apoptosis and inhibited the colony formation of MHCC97-H cells. The tumor cell apoptosis induced by VV-Onco is likely mediated via endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, autophagy and Wnt signaling pathways. The downregulation of survivin and c-Myc may also play a role in VV-Onco induced cell death.Our results may provide new insight into the mechanisms of VV-induced tumor cell death. The engineered recombinant VV containing optimized therapeutic transgenes may provide a new avenue for cancer gene therapy.

  • Distinct Gene Expression Patterns Defining Human Osteoblasts' Response to BMP2 Treatment: Is the Therapeutic Success All a Matter of Timing?
    Ehnert S, Aspera-Werz RH, Freude T, et al. Distinct Gene Expression Patterns Defining Human Osteoblasts' Response to BMP2 Treatment: Is the Therapeutic Success All a Matter of Timing? [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Eur Surg Res 2016 Jul 22; 57(3-4):197-210.AbstractPublisher Full TextBone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play a key role in bone formation. Local application of BMP2 (Dibotermin alfa) supports bone formation when applied to complex fractures. However, up to 33% of patients do not respond to this therapy.Aiming to investigate whether inter-individual responses to BMP2 treatment can be predicted by gene expression patterns, we investigated the effect of BMP2 on primary human osteoblasts and THP-1 cell-derived osteoclasts from 110 donors.Osteoblasts were obtained by collagenase digestion of spongy bone tissues. Osteoclasts were differentiated from THP-1 cells using the conditioned media of the osteoblasts. Viability was determined by resazurin conversion. As functional characteristics AP and Trap5B activity were measured. Gene expression levels were determined by RT-PCR in 21 of the 110 evaluated donors and visualized by electrophoresis.Based on our data, we could classify three response groups: (i) In 51.8% of all donors, BMP2 treatment induced osteoblast function. These donors strongly expressed the BMP2 inhibitor Noggin (NOG), the alternative BMP2 receptors repulsive guidance molecule B (RGMb) and activin receptor-like kinase 6 (Alk6), as well as the Wnt inhibitor sclerostin (SOST). (ii) In 17.3% of all donors, BMP2 treatment induced viability. In these donors, the initial high SOST expression significantly dropped with BMP2 treatment. (iii) 30.9% of all donors were not directly affected by BMP2 treatment. These donors expressed high levels of the pseudoreceptor BMP and activin membrane-bound inhibitor (BAMBI) and lacked SOST expression. In all donors, SOST expression correlated directly with receptor activator of NF-x03BA;B ligand (RANKL) expression, defining the cells' potential to stimulate osteoclastogenesis.Our data identified three donor groups profiting from BMP2 treatment either directly via stimulation of osteoblast function or viability and/or indirectly via inhibition of osteoclastogenesis, depending on their expression of BAMBI, SOST, NOG, and RANKL. On the basis of patients' respective expression profiles, the clinical application of BMP2 as well as its timing might be modified in order to better fit the patients' needs to promote bone formation or to inhibit bone resorption.

  • Genetic progression of Barrett's oesophagus to oesophageal adenocarcinoma.
    Gregson EM, Bornschein J, Fitzgerald RC Genetic progression of Barrett's oesophagus to oesophageal adenocarcinoma. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Br J Cancer 2016 Jul 21.AbstractPublisher Full TextBarrett's oesophagus (BE) is the premalignant condition associated with the development of oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC). Diagnostically, p53 immunohistochemistry remains the only biomarker recommended clinically to aid histopathological diagnosis. The emerging mutational profile of BE is one of highly heterogeneous lesions at the genomic level with many mutations already occurring in non-dysplastic tissue. As well as point mutations, larger scale copy-number changes appear to have a key role in the progression to OAC and clinically applicable assays for the reliable detection of aneuploidy will be important to incorporate into future clinical management of patients. For some patients, the transition to malignancy may occur rapidly through a genome-doubling event or chromosomal catastrophe, termed chromothripsis, and detecting these patients may prove especially difficult. Given the heterogeneous nature of this disease, sampling methods to overcome inherent bias from endoscopic biopsies coupled with the development of more objective biomarkers than the current reliance on histopathology will be required for risk stratification. The aim of this approach will be to spare low-risk patients unnecessary procedures, as well as to provide endoscopic therapy to the patients at highest risk, thereby avoiding the burden of incurable metastatic disease.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 21 July 2016; doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.219 www.bjcancer.com.

  • Pilot Study of a Telehealth-Delivered Medication-Augmented Exposure Therapy Protocol for PTSD.
    Olden M, Wyka K, Cukor J, et al. Pilot Study of a Telehealth-Delivered Medication-Augmented Exposure Therapy Protocol for PTSD. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]J Nerv Ment Dis 2016 Jul 21.AbstractPublisher Full TextPosttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition, with certain occupations at increased risk due to greater trauma exposure. These same individuals face multiple barriers to care. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of conducting a research trial with exposure therapy delivered via videoconferencing. Eleven adults working in occupations at risk with PTSD enrolled and seven completed 12 to 15 sessions. Individuals were randomized to receive the cognitive enhancer D-cycloserine or placebo, and participants provided saliva samples for genetic analysis. Treatment completers demonstrated decreases in PTSD and depressive symptomatology (measured by CAPS [p < 0.001, d = 2.79] and BDI-II [p = 0.004, d = 0.92]). Participants reported high therapeutic alliance, treatment satisfaction, and telehealth satisfaction. There were no significant technical, medication, or safety issues, and no clinical emergencies. The results suggest that it may be feasible to conduct clinical research using telehealth for PTSD and to use telehealth to increase access to care.

  • Ajwa Date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Extract Inhibits Human Breast Adenocarcinoma (MCF7) Cells In Vitro by Inducing Apoptosis and Cell Cycle Arrest.
    Khan F, Ahmed F, Pushparaj PN, et al. Ajwa Date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Extract Inhibits Human Breast Adenocarcinoma (MCF7) Cells In Vitro by Inducing Apoptosis and Cell Cycle Arrest. [Journal Article]PLoS One 2016; 11(7):e0158963.AbstractPublisher Full TextPhoenix dactylifera L (Date palm) is a native plant of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and other Middle Eastern countries. Ajwa date has been described in the traditional and alternative medicine to provide several health benefits including anticholesteremic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective and anticancer effects, but most remains to be scientifically validated. Herein, we evaluated the anticancer effects of the Methanolic Extract of Ajwa Date (MEAD) on human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF7) cells in vitro.MCF7 cells were treated with various concentrations (5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 mg/ml) of MEAD for 24, 48 and 72 h and changes in cell morphology, cell cycle, apoptosis related protein and gene expression were studied.Phase contrast microscopy showed various morphological changes such as cell shrinkage, vacuolation, blebbing and fragmentation. MTT (2-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay demonstrated statistically significant dose-dependent inhibitions of MCF7 cell proliferation from 35% to 95%. Annexin V-FITC and TUNEL assays showed positive staining for apoptosis of MCF7 cells treated with MEAD (15 mg and 25 mg for 48 h). Flow cytometric analyses of MCF7 cells with MEAD (15 mg/ml and 20 mg/ml) for 24 h demonstrated cell cycle arrest at 'S' phase; increased p53, Bax protein expression; caspase 3activation and decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). Quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis showed up-regulation of p53, Bax, Fas, and FasL and down-regulation of Bcl-2.MEAD inhibited MCF7 cells in vitro by the inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Our results indicate the anticancer effects of Ajwa dates, which therefore may be used as an adjunct therapy with conventional chemotherapeutics to achieve a synergistic effect against breast cancer.

  • Hypoxia regulates Notch-3 mRNA and receptor activation in prostate cancer cells.
    Meunier A, Flores AN, McDermott N, et al. Hypoxia regulates Notch-3 mRNA and receptor activation in prostate cancer cells. [Journal Article]Heliyon 2016 May; 2(5):e00104.The Notch-3 receptor is a recognized key regulator of vascular responses and is increasingly associated with tumorigenesis. Hypoxia-inducible factors activate specific signaling pathways such as Notch in a number of cellular models. This study aimed to evaluate the regulation of Notch-3 by hypoxia in prostate cancer cells. Notch-3 gene and protein expression was established in a panel of aerobic and hypoxic prostate cell lines in vitro, the CWR22 xenograft model and RNA extracted from low grade (Gleason score < = 6); high grade (Gleason score > = 7); non-hypoxic (low HIF, low VEGF); hypoxic (high HIF, high VEGF) patient FFPE specimens. NOTCH-3 was upregulated in PC3 (3-fold), 22Rv1 (4.1-fold) and DU145 (3.8-fold) but downregulated in LnCaP (12-fold) compared to the normal cell lines. NOTCH-3 expression was modified following hypoxic exposure in these cells. NOTCH-3 was upregulated (2.2-fold) in higher grade and hypoxic tumors, when compared to benign and aerobic pools. In the CWR22 xenograft model, Notch-3 expression was restored in castrate resistant tumors. Nuclear translocation of the Notch-3 intracellular domain was no longer detected following exposure of cells to hypoxia but not associated with a change in expression of HES-1. Our data further identifies Notch-3 as a potentially key hypoxic-responsive member of the Notch pathway in prostate tumorigenesis.

  • Tyrosine triple mutated AAV2-BDNF gene therapy in a rat model of transient IOP elevation.
    Igarashi T, Miyake K, Kobayashi M, et al. Tyrosine triple mutated AAV2-BDNF gene therapy in a rat model of transient IOP elevation. [Journal Article]Mol Vis 2016.:816-26.AbstractPMC Free Full TextWe examined the neuroprotective effects of exogenous brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which provides protection to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in rodents, in a model of transient intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation using a mutant (triple Y-F) self-complementary adeno-associated virus type 2 vector encoding BDNF (tm-scAAV2-BDNF).The tm-scAAV2-BDNF or control vector encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP; tm-scAAV2-GFP) was intravitreally administered to rats, which were then divided into four groups: control, ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury only, I/R injury with tm-scAAV2-GFP, and tm-scAAV2-BDNF. I/R injury was then induced by transiently increasing IOP, after which the rats were euthanized to measure the inner retinal thickness and cell counts in the RGC layer.Intravitreous injection of tm-scAAV2-BDNF resulted in high levels of BDNF expression in the neural retina. Histological analysis showed that the inner retinal thickness and cell numbers in the RGC layer were preserved after transient IOP elevation in eyes treated with tm-scAAV2-BDNF but not in the other I/R groups. Significantly reduced glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunostaining after I/R injury in the rats that received tm-scAAV2-BDNF indicated reduced retinal stress, and electroretinogram (ERG) analysis confirmed preservation of retinal function in the tm-scAAV2-BDNF group.These results demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of neuroprotective gene therapy using tm-scAAV2-BDNF to protect the inner retina from transiently high intraocular pressure. An in vivo gene therapeutic approach to the clinical management of retinal diseases in conditions such as glaucoma, retinal artery occlusion, hypertensive retinopathy, and diabetic retinopathy thus appears feasible.

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