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Biomedicines, Volume 5, Issue 4 (December 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) This confocal image shows a vessel in green (Flk1-GFP transgenic mice) coming from a muscle and [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview Histology of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers: An Update
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040071
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
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Abstract
Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in humans. Several different non-melanoma skin cancers have been reported in the literature, with several histologic variants that frequently cause important differential diagnoses with other cutaneous tumors basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the
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Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in humans. Several different non-melanoma skin cancers have been reported in the literature, with several histologic variants that frequently cause important differential diagnoses with other cutaneous tumors basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common malignant skin tumor, with different histologic variants that are associated with a greater or less aggressive behavior and that usually may be confused with other primitive skin tumors. Actinic keratosis, Bowen’s disease, keratoacanthoma, and invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) correspond to the other line of NMSC, that may have only local tumoral behavior, easy to treat and with local management (as in the case of actinic keratosis (AK), Bowen’s disease, and keratoacanthoma) or a more aggressive behavior with a potential metastatic spread, as in case of invasive SCC. Therefore, histopathology serves as the gold standard during daily clinical practice, in order to improve the therapeutical approaches to patients with NMSC and to understand the distinct histopathological features of NMSC. Here, we reported the main pathological features of different non-melanoma skin cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photodynamic Therapy in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Therapeutic Effects of Plant-Extract Synthesized and Traditionally Synthesized Gold Nanoparticles on Alcohol-Induced Inflammatory Activity in SH-SY5Y Cells In Vitro
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040070
Received: 21 November 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 7 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
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Abstract
The present study describes potential beneficial and adverse effects of plant-extract synthesized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) on ethanol toxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. Although kudzu root extract (K), edible-gum extract (G), alone or in combination (KG), reduced Au3+ into AuNPs, the extract’s composition and
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The present study describes potential beneficial and adverse effects of plant-extract synthesized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) on ethanol toxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. Although kudzu root extract (K), edible-gum extract (G), alone or in combination (KG), reduced Au3+ into AuNPs, the extract’s composition and the reaction temperature determined their size (AuNPKG(90<50<37) << AuNPK (90,50<37) < AuNPG (90<50); the subscript KG, K, or G is extract identification and numerical vales are reaction temperature in Celsius) and biological properties (AuNPKG (90,50>37) << AuNPK (90,50>37) < AuNPG (90,50)). The surface of each AuNP contained the extract’s active ingredients, that were analyzed and confirmed using laser desorption ionization (LDI)) and low-matrix laser desorption-ionization (LMALDI). AuNPKG-50 was (i) least toxic to SH-SY5Y cells, but most effective in suppressing the adverse effects of ethanol on SH-SY5Y cells, and (ii) more effective than a combination of free kudzu and gum extracts. The beneficial and adverse effects of AuNPs may have been modified by the formation of proteins corona. This study provides a proof of concept for possible application of plant-extract synthesized AuNPs in mitigating ethanol toxicity. Full article
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Open AccessReview Photodynamic Therapy for Eye Cancer
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040069
Received: 22 October 2017 / Revised: 26 November 2017 / Accepted: 4 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract
Photodynamic therapy is well-established as a treatment for a number of conditions in ophthalmology, principally in the field of medical retina, but less so in ocular oncology. Cancer of the eye is rare, the commonest lesions to affect the globe being choroidal melanoma
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Photodynamic therapy is well-established as a treatment for a number of conditions in ophthalmology, principally in the field of medical retina, but less so in ocular oncology. Cancer of the eye is rare, the commonest lesions to affect the globe being choroidal melanoma (as a primary malignancy) and choroidal metastases (a secondary malignancy). The mainstay of treatment of such lesions remains radiotherapy in various forms, however, photodynamic therapy does have a useful role to play in the management of such patients. In this article, I hope to review the current indications, treatment regimes, and the risks and benefits of photodynamic therapy (PDT) as a treatment for eye cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photodynamic Therapy in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle The Modulation of NMDA and AMPA/Kainate Receptors by Tocotrienol-Rich Fraction and Α-Tocopherol in Glutamate-Induced Injury of Primary Astrocytes
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040068
Received: 25 September 2017 / Revised: 15 November 2017 / Accepted: 28 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
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Abstract
Astrocytes are known as structural and supporting cells in the central nervous system (CNS). Glutamate, as a main excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system, can be excitotoxic, playing a key role in many chronic neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of
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Astrocytes are known as structural and supporting cells in the central nervous system (CNS). Glutamate, as a main excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system, can be excitotoxic, playing a key role in many chronic neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of the current study was to elucidate the potential of vitamin E in protecting glutamate-injured primary astrocytes. Hence, primary astrocytes were isolated from mixed glial cells of C57BL/6 mice by applying the EasySep® Mouse CD11b Positive Selection Kit, cultured in Dulbecco’s modified Eagle medium (DMEM) and supplemented with special nutrients. The IC20 and IC50 values of glutamate, as well as the cell viability of primary astrocytes, were assessed with 100 ng/mL, 200 ng/mL, and 300 ng/mL of tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) and alpha-tocopherol (α-TCP), as determined by an 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) detected in primary astrocytes was assessed with the same concentrations of TRF and α-TCP. The expression levels of the ionotropic glutamate receptor genes (Gria2, Grin2A, GRIK1) were independently determined using RT-PCR. The purification rate of astrocytes was measured by a flow-cytometer as circa 79.4%. The IC20 and IC50 values of glutamate were determined as 10 mM and 100 mM, respectively. Exposure to 100 mM of glutamate in primary astrocytes caused the inhibition of cell viability of approximately 64.75% and 61.10% in pre- and post-study, respectively (p < 0.05). Both TRF and α-TCP (at the lowest and highest concentrations, respectively) were able to increase the MMP to 88.46% and 93.31% pre-treatment, and 78.43% and 81.22% post-treatment, respectively. Additionally, the findings showed a similar pattern for the expression level of the ionotropic glutamate receptor genes. Increased extracellular calcium concentrations were also observed, indicating that the presence of vitamin E altered the polarization of astrocytes. In conclusion, α-TCP showed better recovery and prophylactic effects as compared to TRF in the pre-treatment of glutamate-injured primary astrocytes. Full article
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Open AccessReview The Role of Anti-Thymocyte Globulin or Alemtuzumab-Based Serotherapy in the Prophylaxis and Management of Graft-Versus-Host Disease
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040067
Received: 7 August 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 29 November 2017
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Abstract
Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant is an established treatment modality for hematologic and non-hematologic diseases. However, it is associated with acute and long-term sequelae which can translate into mortality. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains a glaring obstacle, especially with the advent of reduced-intensity conditioning.
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Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant is an established treatment modality for hematologic and non-hematologic diseases. However, it is associated with acute and long-term sequelae which can translate into mortality. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains a glaring obstacle, especially with the advent of reduced-intensity conditioning. Serotherapy capitalizes on antibodies which target T cells and other immune cells to mitigate this effect. This article focuses on the utility of two such agents: anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) and alemtuzumab. ATG has demonstrated benefit in prophylaxis against GVHD, especially in the chronic presentation. However, there is limited impact of ATG on overall survival and it has little utility in the treatment context. There may be an initial improvement, particularly in skin manifestations, but no substantial benefit has been elicited. Alemtuzumab has shown benefit in both prophylaxis and treatment of GVHD, but at the consequence of a more profound immunosuppressive phase, mandating aggressive viral prophylaxis. There remains heterogeneity in the doses and regimens of the agents, with no standardized protocol in place. Furthermore, it seems that once steroid-refractory GVHD has been established, there is little that can be offered to offset the ultimately dismal outcome. Here we present a systematic overview of ATG- or alemtuzumab-based serotherapy in the prophylaxis and management of GVHD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Therapy for the Treatment of GVHD)
Open AccessCommunication Evaluation of Posaconazole Pharmacokinetics in Adult Patients with Invasive Fungal Infection
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040066
Received: 23 October 2017 / Revised: 9 November 2017 / Accepted: 17 November 2017 / Published: 20 November 2017
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Abstract
Mortality and morbidity due to invasive fungal infections have increased over the years. Posaconazole is a second-generation triazole agent with an extended spectrum of activity, which shows a high interindividual variability in its plasma levels, rendering dosing in many patients inconsistent or inadequate.
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Mortality and morbidity due to invasive fungal infections have increased over the years. Posaconazole is a second-generation triazole agent with an extended spectrum of activity, which shows a high interindividual variability in its plasma levels, rendering dosing in many patients inconsistent or inadequate. Hence, posaconazole therapeutic drug monitoring, which is easily available in clinical practice, may improve treatment success and safety. The aim of the study was to describe posaconazole pharmacokinetics, and to evaluate the utility of therapeutic drug monitoring for therapy and prophylaxis in a cohort of adult patients. A fully validated chromatographic method was used to quantify posaconazole concentration in plasma collected from adult patients at the end of the dosing interval. Associations between variables were tested using the Pearson test. The Mann-Whitney test was used to probe the influence of categorical variables on continuous ones. A high inter-individual variability was shown. Of the 172 enrolled patients, among those receiving the drug by the oral route (N = 170), gender significantly influenced drug exposure: males showed greater posaconazole concentration than females (p = 0.028). This study highlights the importance of therapeutic drug monitoring in those with invasive fungal infections and its significant clinical implications; moreover we propose, for the first time, the possible influence of gender on posaconazole exposure. Full article
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Open AccessReview Pancreatic Cancer: Molecular Characterization, Clonal Evolution and Cancer Stem Cells
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040065
Received: 2 October 2017 / Revised: 5 November 2017 / Accepted: 8 November 2017 / Published: 18 November 2017
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Abstract
Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death and is the most lethal of common malignancies with a five-year survival rate of <10%. PDAC arises from different types of non-invasive precursor lesions: intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, mucinous cystic
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Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death and is the most lethal of common malignancies with a five-year survival rate of <10%. PDAC arises from different types of non-invasive precursor lesions: intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, mucinous cystic neoplasms and pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia. The genetic landscape of PDAC is characterized by the presence of four frequently-mutated genes: KRAS, CDKN2A, TP53 and SMAD4. The development of mouse models of PDAC has greatly contributed to the understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms through which driver genes contribute to pancreatic cancer development. Particularly, oncogenic KRAS-driven genetically-engineered mouse models that phenotypically and genetically recapitulate human pancreatic cancer have clarified the mechanisms through which various mutated genes act in neoplasia induction and progression and have led to identifying the possible cellular origin of these neoplasias. Patient-derived xenografts are increasingly used for preclinical studies and for the development of personalized medicine strategies. The studies of the purification and characterization of pancreatic cancer stem cells have suggested that a minority cell population is responsible for initiation and maintenance of pancreatic adenocarcinomas. The study of these cells could contribute to the identification and clinical development of more efficacious drug treatments. Full article
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Open AccessReview Site-Specific Antibody Conjugation for ADC and Beyond
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040064
Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 4 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
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Abstract
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have become a promising class of antitumor agents with four conjugates being approved by regulatory agencies for treating cancer patients. To improve the conventional conjugations that are currently applied to generate these heterogeneous products, various site-specific approaches have been developed.
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Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) have become a promising class of antitumor agents with four conjugates being approved by regulatory agencies for treating cancer patients. To improve the conventional conjugations that are currently applied to generate these heterogeneous products, various site-specific approaches have been developed. These methods couple cytotoxins or chemotherapeutic drugs to specifically defined sites in antibody molecules including cysteine, glutamine, unnatural amino acids, short peptide tags, and glycans. The ADCs produced showed high homogeneity, increased therapeutic index, and strong antitumor activities in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, there are recent trends in using these next generation technologies beyond the cytotoxin-conjugated ADC. These site-specific conjugations have been applied for the generation of many different immunoconjugates including bispecific Fab or small molecule–antibody conjugates, immunosuppressive antibodies, and antibody–antibiotic conjugates. Thus, it is likely that additional technologies and related site-specific conjugates will emerge in the near future, with various chemicals or small molecular weight proteins in addition to cytotoxin for better treatment of many challenging diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunoconjugates)
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Open AccessArticle In Vitro and In Vivo Biological Activities of Cissus adnata (Roxb.)
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040063
Received: 9 October 2017 / Revised: 25 October 2017 / Accepted: 26 October 2017 / Published: 30 October 2017
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Abstract
This study was conducted to evaluate the in vitro polyphenol content, antioxidant, cytotoxic, antibacterial, anthelmintic properties, and in vivo antinociceptive activity of the ethanol extract of Cissus adnata leaves (EECA) in different experimental models. Polyphenol contents were investigated using spectrophotometric techniques. Antioxidant activity
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This study was conducted to evaluate the in vitro polyphenol content, antioxidant, cytotoxic, antibacterial, anthelmintic properties, and in vivo antinociceptive activity of the ethanol extract of Cissus adnata leaves (EECA) in different experimental models. Polyphenol contents were investigated using spectrophotometric techniques. Antioxidant activity was determined by 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH) radical-scavenging, ferric reducing power, and total antioxidant capacity assays. Cytotoxicity was determined by brine shrimp lethality bioassay and disc diffusion method was used for the antibacterial activity. Anthelmintic activity was studied using aquarium worm (Tubifex tubifex) whereas antinociceptive activity was evaluated in mice by acetic acid and formalin test. Phytochemical screening of EECA revealed the presence of alkaloids, carbohydrates, flavonoids, phenols, terpenoids, saponins, and tannins. EECA showed strong antioxidant activity with high polyphenol contents. It was observed that EECA possessed significant antibacterial activity with a low toxicity profile. EECA also demonstrated dose-dependent and statistically significant anthelmintic and antinociceptive activities. Our study shows that ethanol extract of C. adnata leaves possess strong antioxidant, antibacterial, anthelmintic and antinociceptive activities with lower toxicity. Further studies are needed to identify bioactive phytomolecules and to understand the mechanism of such actions better. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Derived Biomedicines)
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Open AccessReview Muscle–Bone Crosstalk: Emerging Opportunities for Novel Therapeutic Approaches to Treat Musculoskeletal Pathologies
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040062
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
Osteoporosis and sarcopenia are age-related musculoskeletal pathologies that often develop in parallel. Osteoporosis is characterized by a reduced bone mass and an increased fracture risk. Sarcopenia describes muscle wasting with an increasing risk of injuries due to falls. The medical treatment of both
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Osteoporosis and sarcopenia are age-related musculoskeletal pathologies that often develop in parallel. Osteoporosis is characterized by a reduced bone mass and an increased fracture risk. Sarcopenia describes muscle wasting with an increasing risk of injuries due to falls. The medical treatment of both diseases costs billions in health care per year. With the impact on public health and economy, and considering the increasing life expectancy of populations, more efficient treatment regimens are sought. The biomechanical interaction between both tissues with muscle acting on bone is well established. Recently, both tissues were also determined as secretory endocrine organs affecting the function of one another. New exciting discoveries on this front are made each year, with novel signaling molecules being discovered and potential controversies being described. While this review does not claim completeness, it will summarize the current knowledge on both the biomechanical and the biochemical link between muscle and bone. The review will highlight the known secreted molecules by both tissues affecting the other and finish with an outlook on novel therapeutics that could emerge from these discoveries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone Cells and Related Interactions)
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Open AccessReview The Role of B Cell Targeting in Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040061
Received: 21 August 2017 / Revised: 20 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a leading cause of late morbidity and mortality following allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Current therapies, including corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors, are only effective in roughly 50% of cases; therefore, new treatment strategies are under investigation. What was previously
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Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a leading cause of late morbidity and mortality following allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Current therapies, including corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors, are only effective in roughly 50% of cases; therefore, new treatment strategies are under investigation. What was previously felt to be a T cell disease has more recently been shown to involve activation of both T and B cells, as well as a number of cytokines. With a better understanding of its pathophysiology have come more expansive preclinical and clinical trials, many focused on B cell signaling. This report briefly reviews our current understanding of cGVHD pathophysiology and reviews clinical and preclinical trials with B cell-targeted agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Therapy for the Treatment of GVHD)
Open AccessReview A Critical Appraisal of Extracorporeal Photopheresis as a Treatment Modality for Acute and Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040060
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
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Abstract
Although significant advances have been made in the biologic understanding of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and its treatment options, GVHD remains the single most challenging obstacle to the success of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) due to high risk of disabling morbidity and mortality.
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Although significant advances have been made in the biologic understanding of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and its treatment options, GVHD remains the single most challenging obstacle to the success of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) due to high risk of disabling morbidity and mortality. Extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) has promising effects in controlling steroid-refractory GVHD, both acute and chronic, and it has been studied extensively. Its putative immunomodulatory mechanisms, while not immunosuppressive, position ECP as an attractive treatment strategy for GVHD patients who are already receiving global immunosuppression. However, ECP is relatively underutilized due in part to limited access and time commitment. Here, we review the recent findings on the ECP efficacy in both acute and chronic GVHD, primarily for steroid-refractory status, and we critically appraise its benefits. We also explore salient considerations on the optimal use of ECP in the treatment of refractory GVHD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Therapy for the Treatment of GVHD)
Open AccessReview Restoration of DAP Kinase Tumor Suppressor Function: A Therapeutic Strategy to Selectively Induce Apoptosis in Cancer Cells Using Immunokinase Fusion Proteins
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040059
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 4 October 2017
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Abstract
Targeted cancer immunotherapy is designed to selectively eliminate tumor cells without harming the surrounding healthy tissues. The death-associated protein kinases (DAPk) are a family of proapoptotic proteins that play a vital role in the regulation of cellular process and have been identified as
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Targeted cancer immunotherapy is designed to selectively eliminate tumor cells without harming the surrounding healthy tissues. The death-associated protein kinases (DAPk) are a family of proapoptotic proteins that play a vital role in the regulation of cellular process and have been identified as positive mediators of apoptosis via extrinsic and intrinsic death-regulating signaling pathways. Tumor suppressor activities have been shown for DAPk1 and DAPk2 and they are downregulated in e.g., Hodgkin’s (HL) and B cell lymphoma (CLL), respectively. Here, we review a targeted therapeutic approach which involves reconstitution of DAPks by the generation of immunokinase fusion proteins. These recombinant proteins consist of a disease-specific ligand fused to a modified version of DAPk1 or DAPk2. HL was targeted via CD30 and B-CLL via CD22 cell surface antigens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immuno-Active Cancer Therapeutics)
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Open AccessReview Innovative Disease Model: Zebrafish as an In Vivo Platform for Intestinal Disorder and Tumors
Biomedicines 2017, 5(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines5040058
Received: 13 September 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 29 September 2017 / Published: 29 September 2017
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Abstract
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the world’s most common cancers and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, causing more than 50,000 estimated deaths each year. Several risk factors are highly associated with CRC, including being overweight, eating a diet high
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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the world’s most common cancers and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, causing more than 50,000 estimated deaths each year. Several risk factors are highly associated with CRC, including being overweight, eating a diet high in red meat and over-processed meat, having a history of inflammatory bowel disease, and smoking. Previous zebrafish studies have demonstrated that multiple oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes can be regulated through genetic or epigenetic alterations. Zebrafish research has also revealed that the activation of carcinogenesis-associated signal pathways plays an important role in CRC. The biology of cancer, intestinal disorders caused by carcinogens, and the morphological patterns of tumors have been found to be highly similar between zebrafish and humans. Therefore, the zebrafish has become an important animal model for translational medical research. Several zebrafish models have been developed to elucidate the characteristics of gastrointestinal diseases. This review article focuses on zebrafish models that have been used to study human intestinal disorders and tumors, including models involving mutant and transgenic fish. We also report on xenograft models and chemically-induced enterocolitis. This review demonstrates that excellent zebrafish models can provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal diseases and help facilitate the evaluation of novel anti-tumor drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Biomarkers and Targets in Digestive Organs)
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