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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.


  • Gene Therapy Corrects Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells and Fibroblasts from Coq9R239X Mice.
    Barriocanal-Casado E, Cueto-Ureña C, Benabdellah K, et al. Gene Therapy Corrects Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells and Fibroblasts from Coq9R239X Mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]PLoS One 2016; 11(6):e0158344.Recent clinical trials have shown that in vivo and ex vivo gene therapy strategies can be an option for the treatment of several neurological disorders. Both strategies require efficient and safe vectors to 1) deliver the therapeutic gene directly into the CNS or 2) to genetically modify stem cells that will be used as Trojan horses for the systemic delivery of the therapeutic protein. A group of target diseases for these therapeutic strategies are mitochondrial encephalopathies due to mutations in nuclear DNA genes. In this study, we have developed a lentiviral vector (CCoq9WP) able to overexpress Coq9 mRNA and COQ9 protein in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) from Coq9R239X mice, an animal model of mitochondrial encephalopathy due to primary Coenzyme Q (CoQ) deficiency. Ectopic over-expression of Coq9 in both cell types restored the CoQ biosynthetic pathway and mitochondrial function, improving the fitness of the transduced cells. These results show the potential of the CCoq9WP lentiviral vector as a tool for gene therapy to treat mitochondrial encephalopathies.

  • BRAF-Directed Therapy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.
    Korphaisarn K, Kopetz S BRAF-Directed Therapy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Cancer J 2016 May-Jun; 22(3):175-178.Activating BRAF (V-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B) mutations occur in approximately 5% to 10% of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, mostly V600E mutation, and it is associated with distinct clinical and pathological features. To date, there are no approved treatments to target this mutation. BRAF inhibitor monotherapy has limited efficacy, in contrast to metastatic melanoma. Combination strategies that block not only BRAF mutated kinase but other alternative pathways are ongoing and have demonstrated improved activity. This review aims to provide data about new strategies to target to BRAF gene mutation in metastatic colorectal cancer.

  • Spectrum of Gene Mutations in Colorectal Cancer: Implications for Treatment.
    Dienstmann R, Tabernero J Spectrum of Gene Mutations in Colorectal Cancer: Implications for Treatment. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Cancer J 2016 May-Jun; 22(3):149-155.Gene mutations acquired during colorectal carcinogenesis remain drivers of cancer progression in the metastatic setting. KRAS and NRAS mutations define a population refractory to anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antibodies, either as single agents or in combination with standard chemotherapy. High-sensitivity extended RAS testing is currently a requirement to select anti-EGFR therapy irrespective of treatment line, thus limiting unnecessary exposure and expense in patients unlikely to respond. Multiple genetic alterations driving resistance to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies have been described, with significant overlap in primary and acquired resistance mechanisms, in line with a clonal selection process. Some of them have been validated as targets for therapeutic intervention in clinical trials, such as ERBB2 amplifications. With advances in drug development and better understanding of the dynamics of target inhibition, additional gene alterations are now promising positive predictive markers for matched targeted therapies in CRC, including BRAF V600E and RNF43 mutations. Furthermore, the microsatellite instable hypermutated colorectal cancer population is particularly sensitive to immune checkpoint inhibitors. In this article, we review the expanding landscape of druggable gene alterations in metastatic colorectal cancer.

  • Acid sphingomyelinase promotes endothelial stress response in systemic inflammation and sepsis.
    Chung HY, Hupe DC, Otto GP, et al. Acid sphingomyelinase promotes endothelial stress response in systemic inflammation and sepsis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Mol Med 2016 Jun 15.The pathophysiology of sepsis involves activation of acid sphingomyelinase (SMPD1) with subsequent generation of the bioactive mediator ceramide. We herein evaluated the hypothesis that the enzyme exerts biological effects in endothelial stress response. Plasma-secreted sphingomyelinase activity, ceramide generation and lipid raft formation were measured in human microcirculatory endothelial cells (HMEC-1) stimulated with serum obtained from sepsis patients. Clustering of receptors relevant for signal transduction was studied by immuno staining. The role of SMPD1 for macrodomain formation was tested by pharmacological inhibition. To confirm the involvement of the stress enzyme, direct inhibitors (amino bisphosphonates) and specific downregulation of the gene was tested with respect to ADAMTS13 expression and cytotoxicity. Plasma activity and amount of SMPD1 were increased in septic patients dependent on clinical severity. Increased breakdown of sphingomyelin to ceramide in HMECs was observed following stimulation with serum from sepsis patients in vitro. Hydrolysis of sphingomyelin, clustering of receptor complexes, such as the CD95L/Fas-receptor, as well as formation of ceramide enriched macrodomains was abrogated using functional inhibitors (desipramine and NB6). Strikingly, the stimulation of HMECs with serum obtained from sepsis patients or mixture of proinflammatory cytokines resulted in cytotoxicity and ADAMTS13 downregulation which was abrogated using desipramine, amino bisphosphonates and genetic inhibitors. SMPD1 is involved in the dysregulation of ceramide metabolism in endothelial cells leading to macrodomain formation, cytotoxicity and downregulation of ADAMTS13 expression. Functional inhibitors, such as desipramine, are capable to improve endothelial stress response during sepsis and might be considered as a pharmacological treatment strategy to favor the outcome.

  • Donor-Recipient Matching for KIR Genotypes Reduces Chronic GVHD and Missing Inhibitory KIR Ligands Protect against Relapse after Myeloablative, HLA Matched Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.
    Faridi RM, Kemp TJ, Dharmani-Khan P, et al. Donor-Recipient Matching for KIR Genotypes Reduces Chronic GVHD and Missing Inhibitory KIR Ligands Protect against Relapse after Myeloablative, HLA Matched Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]PLoS One 2016; 11(6):e0158242.Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) can be curative for many hematologic diseases. However, complications such as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and relapse of primary malignancy remain significant and are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Effects of killer Ig-like receptors (KIR)-influenced NK cells on HCT outcomes have been extensively pursued over the last decade. However, the relevance of the reported algorithms on HLA matched myeloablative HCT with rabbit antithymocyte globulin (ATG) is used for GVHD prophylaxis remains elusive. Here we examined the role of KIR and KIR-ligands of donor-recipient pairs in modifying the outcomes of ATG conditioned HLA matched sibling and unrelated donor HCT.The study cohort consisted of 281 HLA matched sibling and unrelated donor-recipient pairs of first allogeneic marrow or blood stem cell transplantation allocated into 'discovery' (135 pairs) and 'validation' (146 pairs) cohorts. High resolution HLA typing was obtained from the medical charts and KIR gene repertoires were obtained by a Luminex® based SSO method. All surviving patients were followed-up for a minimum of two years. KIR and HLA class I distributions of HCT pairs were stratified as per applicable definitions and were tested for their association with cause specific outcomes [acute GVHD grade II-IV (aGVHD), chronic GVHD needing systemic therapy (cGVHD) and relapse] using a multivariate competing risks regression model as well as with survival outcomes [relapse-free survival (RFS), cGVHD & relapse free survival (cGRFS) and overall survival (OS)] by multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression model. A significant association between KIR genotype mismatching (KIR-B/x donor into KIR-AA recipient or vice versa) and cGVHD was found in both discovery (p = 0.001; SHR = 2.78; 95%CI: 1.50-5.17) and validation cohorts (p = 0.005; SHR = 2.61; 95%CI: 1.33-5.11). High incidence of cGVHD associated with KIR genotype mismatching was applicable to both sibling and unrelated donors and was specific to recipients who had one or two C1 bearing HLA-C epitopes (HLA-C1/x, p = 0.001; SHR = 2.40; 95%CI: 1.42-4.06). When compared with KIR genotype mismatched transplants, HLA-C1/x patients receiving grafts from KIR genotype matched donors had a significantly improved cGRFS (p = 0.013; HR = 1.62; 95%CI: 1.11-2.39). Although there was no effect of KIR genotype matching on survival outcomes, a significantly reduced incidence of relapse (p = 0.001; SHR = 0.22; 95%CI: 0.10-0.54) and improved relapse-free survival (p = 0.038; HR = 0.40; 95%CI: 0.17-0.95) was observed with one or more missing ligands for donor inhibitory KIR among the recipients of unrelated donor transplants.The present study for the first time presents the beneficial effects of KIR genotype matching in reducing cGVHD in myeloablative transplant setting using HLA matched (sibling and unrelated) donors. The findings offer a clinically applicable donor selection strategy that can help control cGVHD without affecting the risk of relapse and/or identify patients at a high risk of developing cGVHD as potential candidates for preemptive therapy. The findings also affirm the beneficial effect of one or more missing inhibitory KIR ligands in the recipient in reducing relapse and improving a relapse free survival in unrelated donor transplants.

  • Current advances in orthodontic pain.
    Long H, Wang Y, Jian F, et al. Current advances in orthodontic pain. [REVIEW, JOURNAL ARTICLE]Int J Oral Sci 2016 Jun 24.Orthodontic pain is an inflammatory pain that is initiated by orthodontic force-induced vascular occlusion followed by a cascade of inflammatory responses, including vascular changes, the recruitment of inflammatory and immune cells, and the release of neurogenic and pro-inflammatory mediators. Ultimately, endogenous analgesic mechanisms check the inflammatory response and the sensation of pain subsides. The orthodontic pain signal, once received by periodontal sensory endings, reaches the sensory cortex for pain perception through three-order neurons: the trigeminal neuron at the trigeminal ganglia, the trigeminal nucleus caudalis at the medulla oblongata and the ventroposterior nucleus at the thalamus. Many brain areas participate in the emotion, cognition and memory of orthodontic pain, including the insular cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, locus coeruleus and hypothalamus. A built-in analgesic neural pathway-periaqueductal grey and dorsal raphe-has an important role in alleviating orthodontic pain. Currently, several treatment modalities have been applied for the relief of orthodontic pain, including pharmacological, mechanical and behavioural approaches and low-level laser therapy. The effectiveness of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief has been validated, but its effects on tooth movement are controversial. However, more studies are needed to verify the effectiveness of other modalities. Furthermore, gene therapy is a novel, viable and promising modality for alleviating orthodontic pain in the future.International Journal of Oral Science advance online publication, 24 June 2016; doi:10.1038/ijos.2016.24.

  • Wnt Signaling Regulates Airway Epithelial Stem Cells in Adult Murine Submucosal Glands.
    Lynch TJ, Anderson PJ, Xie W, et al. Wnt Signaling Regulates Airway Epithelial Stem Cells in Adult Murine Submucosal Glands. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Stem Cells 2016 Jun 24.Wnt signaling is required for lineage commitment of glandular stem cells (SCs) during tracheal submucosal gland (SMG) morphogenesis from the surface airway epithelium (SAE). Whether similar Wnt-dependent processes coordinate SC expansion in adult SMGs following airway injury remains unknown. We found that two Wnt-reporters in mice (BAT-gal and TCF/Lef:H2B-GFP) are co-expressed in actively cycling SCs of primordial glandular placodes and in a small subset of adult SMG progenitor cells that enter the cell cycle 24 hrs following airway injury. At homeostasis, these Wnt reporters showed non-overlapping cellular patterns of expression in the SAE and SMGs. Following tracheal injury, proliferation was accompanied by dynamic changes in Wnt-reporter activity and the analysis of 56 Wnt-related signaling genes revealed unique temporal changes in expression within proximal (gland-containing) and distal (gland-free) portions of the trachea. Wnt stimulation in vivo and in vitro promoted epithelial proliferation in both SMGs and the SAE. Interestingly, slowly cycling nucleotide label-retaining cells (LRCs) of SMGs were spatially positioned near clusters of BAT-gal positive serous tubules. Isolation and culture of tet-inducible H2B-GFP LRCs demonstrated that SMG LRCs were more proliferative than SAE LRCs and culture expanded SMG-derived progenitor cells outcompeted SAE-derived progenitors in regeneration of tracheal xenograft epithelium using a clonal analysis competition assay. SMG-derived progenitors were also multipotent for cell types in the surface airway epithelium and formed gland-like structures in xenografts. These studies demonstrate the importance of Wnt signals in modulating SC phenotypes within tracheal niches and provide new insight into phenotypic differences of SMG and SAE SCs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  • Angiogenic factors are increased in circulating granulocytes and CD34(+) cells of myeloproliferative neoplasms.
    Subotički T, Ajtić OM, Beleslin-Čokić BB, et al. Angiogenic factors are increased in circulating granulocytes and CD34(+) cells of myeloproliferative neoplasms. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Mol Carcinog 2016 Jun 24.It has been shown that angiogenesis and inflammation play an important role in development of most hematological malignancies including the myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). The aim of this study was to investigate and correlate the levels of key angiogenic molecules such as hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in peripheral blood and bone marrow cells of MPN patients, along with JAK2V617F mutation allele burden and effects of therapy. HIF-1α and VEGF gene expression were decreased, while eNOS mRNA levels were increased in granulocytes of MPN patients. Furthermore, positively correlated and increased VEGF and eNOS protein levels were in negative correlation with HIF-1α levels in granulocytes of MPN patients. According to immunoblotting, the generally augmented angiogenic factors demonstrated JAK2V617F allele burden dependence only in granulocytes of PMF. The angiogenic factors were largely reduced after hydroxyurea therapy in granulocytes of MPN patients. Levels of eNOS protein expression were stimulated by Calreticulin mutations in granulocytes of essential thrombocythemia. Immunocytochemical analyses of CD34(+) cells showed a more pronounced enhancement of angiogenic factors than in granulocytes. Increased gene expression linked to the proinflammatory TGFβ and MAPK signaling pathways were detected in CD34(+) cells of MPN patients. In conclusion, the angiogenesis is increased in several cell types of MPN patients supported by the transcriptional activation of inflammation-related target genes, and is not limited to bone marrow stroma cells. It also appears that some of the benefit of hydroxyurea therapy of the MPN is mediated by effects on angiogenic factors. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  • Heterodimeric BMP-2/7 for nucleus pulposus regeneration - in vitro and ex vivo studies.
    Li Z, Lang G, Karfeld-Sulzer LS, et al. Heterodimeric BMP-2/7 for nucleus pulposus regeneration - in vitro and ex vivo studies. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]J Orthop Res 2016 Jun 24.Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is the leading trigger of low back pain, which causes disability and leads to enormous healthcare toll worldwide. Biological treatment with growth factors has evolved as potential therapy for IVD regeneration. Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) and BMP-7 have shown promise in this regard. In the current study, we evaluated the effect of BMP-2/7 heterodimer for disc regeneration both in vitro and in organ culture. Nucleus pulposus (NP) cells isolated from bovine caudal disc were cultured in a fibrin-hyaluronan (FBG-HA) hydrogel for up to 14 days. BMP-2/7 heterodimer covalently incorporated within the hydrogel up-regulated the aggrecan and type II collagen gene expression, and glycosaminoglycan synthesis of NP cells. The activity of the BMP-2/7 heterodimer was dose dependent. The higher dose of BMP-2/7 was further assessed in an IVD whole organ system. After 14 days of culture with cyclic dynamic load, the BMP-2/7 heterodimer delivered into the nucleotomized region showed potential to stimulate the gene expression and synthesis of proteoglycan in the remaining NP tissue after partial nucleotomy. The gene expression level of type I collagen and alkaline phosphatase in the native disc tissue were not affected by BMP-2/7 treatment, indicating no adverse fibroblastic or osteogenic effect on the disc tissue. Intradiscal delivery of BMP-2/7 heterodimer may be a promising therapeutic approach for NP regeneration. The current IVD whole organ partial nucleotomy model may be utilized for screening of other biomaterials or drugs to treat early degenerative disc disorders. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  • ST6Gal-I modulates docetaxel sensitivity in human hepatocarcinoma cells via the p38 MAPK/caspase pathway.
    Chen X, Wang L, Zhao Y, et al. ST6Gal-I modulates docetaxel sensitivity in human hepatocarcinoma cells via the p38 MAPK/caspase pathway. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Oncotarget 2016 Jun 21.The β-galactoside α2-6-sialyltransferase 1 (ST6Gal-I) is the principal sialyltransferase responsible for the addition of α2-6-sialic acid to the termini N-glycans on cell surface. Although ST6Gal-I in cancer cell resistance to chemotherapeutics agents has been previously reported, the role of ST6Gal-I in clinical drug resistance of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is not fully understood. In this study, we found that knockdown of ST6Gal-I increased the sensitivity of hepatocarcinoma MHCC97-H cells to docetaxel treatment by instigating the process of apoptosis. Silencing ST6Gal-I expression decreased the survival rate of MHCC97-H cells after docetaxel treatment. Importantly, ST6Gal-I silencing resulted in an increasing of phospho-p38, Bax, Bad, cytochrome c and the cleaved caspase-9, 3 and PARP, while a decreasing of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. In addition, we found that p38 MAPK and caspase-3 inhibitors can reduce the enhanced apoptosis levels of MHCC97-H cells resulted by either ST6Gal-I silencing or docetaxel treatment. Conversely, exogenous expression of ST6Gal-I in hepatocarcinoma Huh7 cells inhibited apoptotic cell death and prevented docetaxel-induced apoptosis by inhibiting p38 MAPK mediated mitochondrial-dependent pathway. Taken together, these results indicate that ST6Gal-I might play a positive role in mediating the survival of human hepatocarcinoma cells and could be a potential target for gene and antitumor drugs therapy.

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