Pharmaceuticals2015, 8(2), 196-220; doi:10.3390/ph8020196 - published 16 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT), a treatment option in hematologic malignancies and bone marrow failure syndromes, is frequently complicated by Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The primary treatment for GVHD involves immune suppression by glucocorticoids. However, patients are often refractory to the steroid therapy, and this results in a poor prognosis. Therefore alternative therapies are needed to treat GVHD. Here, we review data supporting the clinical investigation of a novel cellular therapy using Wharton’s jelly (WJ)-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) as a potentially safe and effective therapeutic strategy in the management of GVHD. Adult-derived sources of MSCs have demonstrated signals of efficacy in the management of GVHD. However, there are limitations, including: limited proliferation capacity; heterogeneity of cell sources; lengthy expansion time to clinical dose; expansion failure in vitro; and a painful, invasive, isolation procedure for the donor. Therefore, alternative MSC sources for cellular therapy are sought. The reviewed data suggests MSCs derived from WJ may be a safe and effective cellular therapy for GVHD. Laboratories investigated and defined the immune properties of WJ-MSCs for potential use in cellular therapy. These cells represent a more uniform cell population than bone marrow-derived MSCs, displaying robust immunosuppressive properties and lacking significant immunogenicity. They can be collected safely and painlessly from individuals at birth, rapidly expanded and stored cryogenically for later clinical use. Additionally, data we reviewed suggested licensing MSCs (activating MSCs by exposure to cytokines) to enhance effectiveness in treating GVHD. Therefore, WJCs should be tested as a second generation, relatively homogeneous allogeneic cell therapy for the treatment of GVHD.
Pharmaceuticals2015, 8(2), 186-195; doi:10.3390/ph8020186 - published 16 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Amifostine is added to chemoradiation regimens in the treatment of many cancers on the basis that, by reducing the metabolic rate, it protects normal cells from toxic effects of therapy. We tested this hypothesis by measuring the metabolic rate (by gas exchange) over 255 min in 6 healthy subjects, at two doses (500 mg and 1000 mg) of amifostine infused over 15 min at the start of the protocol. We also assessed the ventilatory response to six 1 min exposures to isocapnic hypoxia mid-protocol. There was no change in metabolic rate with amifostine as measured by oxygen uptake (p = 0.113). However in carbon dioxide output and respiratory quotient, we detected a small decline over time in control and drug protocols, consistent with a gradual change from carbohydrate to fat metabolism over the course of the relatively long study protocol. A novel result was that amifostine (1000 mg) increased the mean ± SD acute hypoxic ventilatory response from 12.4 ± 5.1 L/min to 20.3 ± 11.9 L/min (p = 0.045). In conclusion, any cellular protective effects of amifostine are unlikely due to metabolic effects. The stimulatory effect on hypoxic ventilatory responses may be due to increased levels of hypoxia inducible factor, either peripherally in the carotid body, or centrally in the brain.
Pharmaceuticals2015, 8(2), 176-185; doi:10.3390/ph8020176 - published 2 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Edaravone, a clinical drug used to treat strokes, protects against neuronal cell death and memory loss in the ischemic brains of animal models through its antioxidant activity. In the present study, we subcutaneously administrated edaravone to mice (3 mg/kg/day) for three days immediately after bilateral common carotid artery occlusion, and revealed through an immunohistochemical analysis that edaravone (1) accelerated increases in the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus; (2) increased the number of doublecortin-positive neuronal precursor cells in the dentate gyrus subgranular zone; and (3) suppressed the ischemia-induced inactivation of calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II in the hippocampus. We also revealed through a Western blotting analysis that edaravone (4) induced the phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding (CREB), a transcription factor that regulates BDNF gene expression; and (5) induced the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2, an upstream signal factor of CREB. These results suggest that the neuroprotective effects of edaravone following brain ischemia were mediated not only by the elimination of oxidative stress, but also by the induction of BDNF production.
Pharmaceuticals2015, 8(2), 151-175; doi:10.3390/ph8020151 - published 2 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Excessive free radical generation, especially reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to oxidative stress in the biological system, has been implicated in the pathogenesis and pathological conditions associated with diverse human inflammatory diseases (HIDs). Although inflammation which is considered advantageous is a defensive mechanism in response to xenobiotics and foreign pathogen; as a result of cellular damage arising from oxidative stress, if uncontrolled, it may degenerate to chronic inflammation when the ROS levels exceed the antioxidant capacity. Therefore, in the normal resolution of inflammatory reactions, apoptosis is acknowledged to play a crucial role, while on the other hand, dysregulation in the induction of apoptosis by enhanced ROS production could also result in excessive apoptosis identified in the pathogenesis of HIDs. Apparently, a careful balance must be maintained in this complex environment. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been proposed in this review as an excellent candidate capable of playing prominent roles in maintaining this balance. Consequently, in novel drug design for the treatment and management of HIDs, AMPs are promising candidates owing to their size and multidimensional properties as well as their wide spectrum of activities and indications of reduced rate of resistance.
Pharmaceuticals2015, 8(1), 123-150; doi:10.3390/ph8010123 - published 23 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article highlights new members, novel mechanisms of action, new functions, and interesting applications of antimicrobial peptides reported in 2014. As of December 2014, over 100 new peptides were registered into the Antimicrobial Peptide Database, increasing the total number of entries to 2493. Unique antimicrobial peptides have been identified from marine bacteria, fungi, and plants. Environmental conditions clearly influence peptide activity or function. Human α-defensin HD-6 is only antimicrobial under reduced conditions. The pH-dependent oligomerization of human cathelicidin LL-37 is linked to double-stranded RNA delivery to endosomes, where the acidic pH triggers the dissociation of the peptide aggregate to release its cargo. Proline-rich peptides, previously known to bind to heat shock proteins, are shown to inhibit protein synthesis. A model antimicrobial peptide is demonstrated to have multiple hits on bacteria, including surface protein delocalization. While cell surface modification to decrease cationic peptide binding is a recognized resistance mechanism for pathogenic bacteria, it is also used as a survival strategy for commensal bacteria. The year 2014 also witnessed continued efforts in exploiting potential applications of antimicrobial peptides. We highlight 3D structure-based design of peptide antimicrobials and vaccines, surface coating, delivery systems, and microbial detection devices involving antimicrobial peptides. The 2014 results also support that combination therapy is preferred over monotherapy in treating biofilms.
Pharmaceuticals2015, 8(1), 107-122; doi:10.3390/ph8010107 - published 17 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: To assess clinical utility of the 21-gene assay (Oncotype DX® Recurrence Score®), we determined whether women with HER2(−)/ER+ pN1mi breast cancer with low (<18) Recurrence Scores results are given adjuvant chemotherapy in a lower proportion than those with high scores (≥31). This was a multicenter chart review of ≥18 year old women with pN1mi breast cancer, HER2(−)/ER+ tumors, ductal/lobular/mixed histology, with the assay ordered on or after 1 January 2007. One hundred and eighty one patients had a mean age of 60.7 years; 82.9% had ECOG performance status 0; 33.7% had hypertension, 22.7% had osteoporosis, 18.8% had osteoarthritis, and 8.8% had type-2 diabetes. Mean Recurrence Score was 17.8 (range: 0–50). 48.6% had a mastectomy; 55.8% had a lumpectomy. 19.8% of low-risk group patients were recommended chemotherapy vs. 57.9% in the intermediate-risk group and 100% in the high-risk group (p < 0.001). A total of 80.2% of the low-risk group were recommended endocrine therapy alone, while 77.8% of the high-risk group were recommended both endocrine and chemotherapy (p < 0.001). The Oncotype DX Recurrence Score result provides actionable information that can be incorporated into treatment planning for women with HER2(−)/ER+ pN1mi breast cancer. The Recurrence Score result has clinical utility in treatment planning for HER2(−)/ER+ pN1mi breast cancer patients.