Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Zika / 04.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Charlan D. Kroelinger, PhD Division of Reproductive Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as absent or poorly developed brain structures, defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Increased access to birth control may lead to reductions in unintended pregnancies, which may result in fewer adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes in the context of a Zika virus outbreak. A new report from CDC estimates that use of highly effective, reversible forms of birth control, called long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), which includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, remains lower than use of moderate or less effective methods such as oral contraceptive pills and condoms, although contraception use varied across states and by age group and race/ethnicity. CDC scientists used data from four state-based surveillance systems to estimate contraception use for non-pregnant and postpartum women at risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually active female high school students who live in states with the potential for local Zika virus transmission. Less than one in four sexually active women of reproductive age and fewer than one in 10 sexually active female high school students reported using LARC. A higher percentage of postpartum women reported LARC use. Moderately effective and less effective contraceptive methods, including pills, patches, rings, injections, condoms and other barrier methods, were used more frequently than highly effective methods. These estimates are of concern because the most commonly used methods of contraception are not as effective at preventing unintended pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Lancet, Methamphetamine, OBGYNE, STD / 29.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: N. Saman Wijesooriya Public Health Advisor/Technical Advisor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The article Global burden of maternal and congenital syphilis in 2008 and 2012: a health systems modeling study by Wijesooriya, et al published in the August 2016 issue of The Lancet Global Health (Open source - http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30135-8) estimates the incidence and prevalence of maternal and congenital syphilis for both time periods and identifies gaps antenatal care access and syphilis testing and treatment services to assess progress in the global elimination of congenital syphilis, or mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, as a public health problem. Untreated maternal syphilis is understood to be transmitted from mother-to-child in utero in 50% of cases resulting in tragic adverse pregnancy outcomes, or congenital syphilis infections, including early fetal death, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birthweight, neonatal death, and congenital infections in infants. Since most maternal syphilis infections are asymptomatic, it is recommended that screening for syphilis use a combination of serological tests for pregnant women and treatment of syphilis seropositive women with at least 2.4 million units of benzathine penicillin intramuscularly early in pregnancy to prevent most congenital syphilis infections. In 2007, the World Health Organization responded to estimates indicating 2 million maternal and 1.5 congenital syphilis infections would occur annually without treatment and launched the global initiative for the Elimination of Congenital Syphilis (ECS). The strategy includes reducing the prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women and mother-to-child transmission of syphilis. The objective is for countries to achieve high performing antenatal care systems providing access to antenatal care to more than 95% of pregnant women, syphilis testing for more than 95% of pregnant women, and treatment for more than 95% of seropositive women to attain a congenital syphilis rate of 50 or fewer cases per 100,000 live births. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, PNAS / 27.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adam Hayward PhD Impact Research Fellow University of Stirling MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Adult life expectancies in industrialized countries have increased dramatically in the last 150 years, even once we’ve accounted for the fact that previously common deaths in childhood and now very rare. One hypothesis seeking to explain this increase is that childhood infections cause chronic inflammation, which are then linked with heart disease and stroke in later life, reducing lifespan. Since such childhood infections were previously common but are now, thanks to vaccine and sanitation, much rarer, chronic inflammation should be lower and people should live longer and be less likely to die from early-onset heart disease. If this hypothesis is correct, we should see that higher exposure to infections in early life leads to increased adult mortality and deaths from heart disease and stroke. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA / 25.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ane Uranga MD Department of Pneumology, Galdakao-Usansolo Hospital Galdakao, Bizkaia, Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Despite clear benefits of shorter antibiotic treatments, reducing the duration of treatment remains challenging in daily clinical practice. Actually, IDSA/ATS recommendations for Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP) suggested a minimum of 5 days of treatment based on clinical stability criteria. However, in our study the median of duration of antibiotic treatment in the control group was as high as 10 days. The main finding is that receiving 5 days antibiotic treatment in hospitalized patients suffering from CAP is not inferior to arbitrary treatment schedules in terms of clinical success. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV / 22.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zhe Yuan MS. MS. PhD Candidate Nebraska Center for Virology University of Nebraska-Lincoln MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: AIDS causes millions of infections and deaths each year. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of this detrimental disease of humans. Just like Ebola and Zika, AIDS is also a zoonotic disease at the beginning. For the origins of HIV, people believed that HIV originated from simian immunodeficiency virus from wild chimpanzees (SIVcpz). But until now, there has been no direct in vivo evidence for this assumption. Further, people cannot explain why only certain SIVcpz strains are thought to be the ancestors of already discovered HIV strains in humans. There is also a need to clarify what transmission risks might exist for those SIVcpz strains that have not already been found to infect humans. The answers to these questions are essential for a better understanding of cross-species transmission and predicting the likelihood of additional cross-species transmission events of SIV into humans. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 20.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Andrea Endimiani, MD, PhD Institute for Infectious Diseases University of Bern MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The spread of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria represents a serious issue for the healthcare system worldwide because our antibiotic armamentarium is becoming too limited. These «superbugs» may cause serious infections with high morbidity and mortality rates – there are already 700,000 estimated deaths per year worldwide because common antimicrobial therapies have become ineffective. In this scenario, colistin has represented the last active antibiotic option able to cure many infected people. Unfortunately, in November 2015 a new mechanism of resistance against colistin was found with a high prevalence in Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae strains detected in China among humans, food animals, and chicken meat; more recently, it has also been found in other countries. This mechanism is encoded by a gene (named mcr-1) that is plasmid-mediated, thus assuring its great ability to mobilize and spread between different enterobacteria, including those normally present in the human and animal intestinal tracts. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, NEJM, Vaccine Studies / 20.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicole E. Basta, PhD MPhil Assistant Professor Division of Epidemiology and Community Health School of Public Health University of Minnesota MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Meningococcal disease is a serious and often life-threatening condition. In the past several years, multiple outbreaks caused by meningococcal serogroup B (MenB) have occurred on college campuses in the US. Recently, a new meningococcal B vaccine known as 4CMenB or Bexsero was developed. The FDA granted special approval to use the vaccine to control an outbreak at a University in New Jersey prior to its licensure. We took advantage of this unique opportunity to investigate the impact of Bexsero during the outbreak. In doing so, we conducted the first clinical study of Bexsero among teens and young adults in the US. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Infections, Technology / 19.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kerry Zang Founder of the Arizona Institute of Footcare and Dr. Robert Sullivan Clinical Director, Midleton Foot Clinic MedicalResearch.com Editor's note: Dr. Zang and Dr. Sullivan discuss the recent announcement of FDA approval of the Lunula Laser for the treatment of Onychomycosis. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this new technology? Response: “For two decades, Erchonia Corporation studied the clinical utility of low-level laser devices for the treatment of numerous medical ailments. Dr. Sullivan and I worked with Erchonia on the Lunula laser to revolutionize the way the medical community treats onychomycosis. Lunula underwent four independent clinical investigations for the treatment of onychomycosis. More than 500 subjects participated with increasingly effective results and each completed without a single adverse event.” - Dr. Kerry Zang Response: “There has never been a non-pharmaceutical treatment for onychomycosis. When I became aware that there was a small study completed by Dr. Zang, I became interested in the potential of this new technology. Erchonia was very helpful in bringing me up to speed with what this technology may do. The results of my extended study were unbelievable.” -Robert Sullivan (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Technology / 18.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For the past 5 years or so, my collaborators and I have been working on several issues leading to the realization of the so-called “Windows to the Brain (WttB)” platform. WttB are transparent nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized-zirconia (nc-YSZ) cranial implants capable of replacing portions of the skull to allow non-invasive optical interrogation of the brain on an ongoing recurring basis. This new technological advancement could eventually afford for: a) advancing understanding of the brain, by facilitating the clinical translation of emerging optogenetic neurotechnologies; and b) facilitating the diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of brain pathologies and neurological disorders, such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, brain cancer, and others. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Zika / 16.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Martin Cetron, MD Director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: According to the Brazilian Tourism Board, approximately 350,000 – 500,000 international visitors and athletes from 207 countries are expected to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This travel volume represents a very small fraction – less than 0.25% – of the total estimated 2015 travel volume to Zika-affected countries. CDC conducted a risk analysis to predict those countries at risk for Zika virus importation exclusively attributable to the Games. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, HPV, OBGYNE, STD / 12.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dejan R. Nonato, MD, PhD Institute of Tropical Pathology and Public Health School of Medicine Federal University of Goiás Goiânia, GO, Brazil MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) share the same route of sexual transmission and possess similar risk factors, indicating that co-infection may act synergistically in the induction of epithelial cell abnormalities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 12.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jenny A. K. Ekberg Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, School of Medical Science, Griffith University Queensland, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Melioidosis is a tropical bacterial infection that causes around 90,000 deaths world-wide each year. It is caused by the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei which can cause pneumonia and a serious flu-like illness which can cause death, however if the brain is infected, which happens in particular with the Australian variant of the disease, the mortality is particularly high (~25 %). The route by which the bacteria invade and progress through the central nervous system is to date largely unknown. We have now shown in an animal model that the bacteria can penetrate the trigeminal nerve within the nasal cavity and then rapidly invade the brainstem and spinal cord only 24 hours after intranasal inoculation. By migrating along the trigeminal nerve, the bacteria bypasses the blood-brain barrier.This study constitutes the first characterization of the path by which B. pseudomallei bacteria migrate all the way from the nasal cavity into the spinal cord. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 11.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hemilä Harri Hemilä, MD, PhD Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our meta-analysis of 3 randomized controlled trials on zinc acetate lozenges was motivated by an early trial which indicated that zinc lozenges might be more effective for patients with allergies. We found that allergy, sex, age, and ethnic bacground did not influence the effect of zinc acetate lozenges. Thus, the average effect of 3 day reduction in colds seems to be applicable for a wide range of common cold patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, CDC, HPV, Vaccine Studies / 09.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura J. Viens, MD Division of cancer prevention and control CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We analyzed the most recent available data from 2008–2012 from CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program for HPV-associated cancers.
  • These data cover 99% of the US population.
  • These data represent the official federal statistics on cancer incidence (new cases).
  • Every year between 2008 and 2012, about 39,000 men and women were diagnosed with cancers associated with HPV, an overall increase when compared with the 33,000 cancers associated with HPV between 2004 and 2008.
  • 23,000 (13.5 per 100,000 population) among females and 15,793 (9.7 per 100,000 population) among males.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Herpes Viruses, Infections, PLoS / 09.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Roberta Rizzo PhD Department of Medical Sciences Section of Microbiology University of Ferrara Ferrara, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Infertility affects approximately 6% of 15-44 year old women or 1.5 million women in the US, according to the CDC. Approximately 25% of female infertility cases are unexplained, leaving women with few options other than expensive fertility treatments. Researchers are trying to identify factors and mechanisms at the basis of this condition. (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, JAMA, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 07.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marta C. Nunes, PhD DST/NRF:Vaccine Preventable Diseases Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit University of Witwatersrand Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital Soweto, South Africa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Young infants are at increased risk for influenza infection and hospitalizations associated with influenza infection. While active annual influenza vaccination is the most efficient mode for the prevention of influenza infection, current vaccines are poorly immunogenic and not licensed for use in infants (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Microbiome, Pulmonary Disease / 06.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Genevieve Marchand Ph.D., RMCCM SCCM(Env) Microbiologiste agréée & Biochimiste Chercheure, Prévention des risques chimiques et biologiques IRSST MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It is well known that Health Care Workers (HCWs) are at risk of occupationally acquired infections. Some procedures, such as bronchoscopies, are recognized to be high-risk tasks. Most researches that have linked infectious risk to specific task in healthcare settings did not measure the real bioaerosol exposure. Those link where mostly made from epidemiology observations. The aim of this study was to qualify and quantify the real bioaerosol concentrations found during bronchoscopy procedures in order to estimate the true occupational risk. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Infections / 05.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Louise Bruun Østergaard MD. Ph.D student Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Engineering and Science Aalborg University Department of Cardiology, Gentofte Hospital Hellerup MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia strikes people of all ages resulting in devastating consequence even in young and healthy individuals. Animal studies have shown that the susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus differs among different genetic strains in mice, suggesting that genetic differences could influence the susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus in other spices. As a first step in determining whether genetics influence risk of Staphylococcus aureus infections we aimed to study whether a family history of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia in first-degree relatives was associated with risk of the disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, NEJM, Vaccine Studies / 29.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip Bejon, Ph.D. Professor of Tropical Medicine, Director of the Wellcome-KEMRI-Oxford Collaborative Research Programme, Group Head / PI, Consultant Physician and Unit Director Kilifi, Kenya MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates more than 400,000 people died from malaria in 2015, with over 90% of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority who die are children under 5, and almost all cases are caused by the P. falciparum strain of malaria transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes. RTS,S, which protects only against P. falciparum, was developed by GlaxoSmithKline with support from the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) and with grant funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to MVI. In July 2015, it received a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency. Earlier this year, the WHO recommended further evaluation of the four-dose regimen of RTS,S in a pilot implementation programme in sub-Saharan Africa, to address several knowledge gaps before the vaccine might be rolled out more widely. (more…)
Author Interviews, Beth Israel Deaconess, Nature, Vaccine Studies, Zika / 28.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dan Barouch, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard Director, Center for Virology and Vaccine Research Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We showed that two vaccines, a DNA vaccine and a purified inactivated virus vaccine, both provided complete protection against Zika virus challenge in mice. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of Zika vaccine protection in any animal model. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Primary Care / 28.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jochen Gensichen, MD, MSc, MPH Institute of General Practice and Family Medicine Konrad Reinhart, MD Center of Sepsis Control and Care Jena University Hospital Friedrich-Schiller-University School of Medicine Jena, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Sepsis survivors face multiple long-term sequelae which result in increased primary care needs as a basic support in medication, physiotherapy or mental health. Process of care after discharge from the intensive care unit often is fragmented. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Sexual Health, STD / 28.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Andrew Amato-Gauci MD Head of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Programme on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections and viral hepatitis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our surveillance data (http://bit.ly/1sXdbVv) show that between 2008 and 2014, the overall rate of officially reported gonorrhoea infections has more than doubled across Europe, going up from 8 per 100 000 population to 20 cases per 100 000 persons. In total, 66 413 gonorrhoea cases were reported in 27 countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) in 2014 – which constitutes an increase of 25% compared with 2013. The majority of gonorrhoea infections were diagnosed among young adults aged 15–24 years who accounted for 38% of cases; followed by the 25–34-year-olds (34%). For the first time since 2010, the number of cases among women was higher than the number of cases among heterosexual men. Given the risk of reproductive tract complications, e.g. pelvic inflammatory disease or, if untreated, infertility, as well as possible transmission from mother to child, this trend among women is of particular concern. (more…)
Author Interviews, NEJM, OBGYNE, University Texas, Zika / 26.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Abigail R.A. Aiken, MD, MPH, PhD Assistant Professor LBJ School of Public Affairs University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX, 78713 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As Zika began to emerge as an epidemic in Latin America and its links with microcephaly began to be realized, we were aware that women in the region who were already pregnant or who would become pregnant would have a very limited set of reproductive options. Research and media attention about the possible biological effects of Zika in pregnancy began to appear rapidly. But much less attention was been paid to the impacts of Zika on women. We followed the responses of governments and health organizations and when they began to issue advisories warning women to avoid pregnancy, we knew it would be important to investigate the impacts of those advisories. A country-wide policy that is impossible to follow if you are pregnant or cannot avoid pregnancy is an unusual and important public issue. Accurate data on abortion are very difficult to obtain in Latin America because in most countries, abortion is highly restricted. We wanted to provide a window on the issue of how women were responding to the risks of Zika and its associated advisories, so we worked with Women on Web (WoW), an online non-profit telemedicine initiative that provides safe medical abortion to women in countries where safe, legal abortion is not universally available. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Pharmacology, Urinary Tract Infections / 25.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amanda Paschke, MD Director, Infectious Disease Clinical Research Merck Research Laboratories MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Relebactam is an investigational beta-lactamase inhibitor being developed as a fixed-dose combination with imipenem/cilastatin, which is a broad-spectrum antibiotic in the carbapenem class. In preclinical studies, this combination demonstrated antibacterial activity against a broad range of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, including those producing extended-spectrum beta-lactamases such as Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Enterobacteriaceae and AmpC-producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Many of the most concerning infections caused by “superbugs” are caused by Gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria have evolved to be resistant to commonly used antibacterials, and even to antibacterials used as “last resort” treatment, which is why finding ways to treat them has become urgent. The addition of relebactam to imipenem is designed to restore activity of imipenem against certain imipenem-resistant strains of Gram-negative bacteria known to cause serious infections among people who often have other underlying medical conditions, which complicates treatment. This was a Phase 2, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, non-inferiority study. The study looked at the use of relebactam plus imipenem versus imipenem alone for the treatment of adult patients with complicated urinary tract infections. The primary endpoint for the trial was microbiological response at the completion of IV study therapy. The study met its primary endpoint, demonstrating that the combination of relebactam with imipenem was as at least as effective as imipenem alone for the treatment of complicated urinary tract infections. The trial also demonstrated that the combination of relebactam plus imipenem is well-tolerated, with a safety profile similar to that of imipenem alone in this patient. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dengue, Infections, Inflammation, Zika / 22.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Clive McKimmie PhD Research Fellow, Virus Host Interaction Team (VHIT), University of Leeds St James’ University Hospital Leeds UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: With the rapid spread of Zika in the Americas, attention has been drawn to this group of neglected mosquito-borne viral infections. The Zika virus is not alone in causing problems, others such as dengue and chikungunya viruses are infecting millions of people each year. Yet there’s little doctors can do to help people who get sick. When mosquitoes bite you they can transmit these disease causing viruses. We don’t understand what happens during the early stages of infection very well. However, it is known that the mosquito bite itself somehow helps the virus to infect your body. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Infections / 21.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Psoriasis is associated with a number of potential risk factors for developing serious infections, including impaired skin-barrier function, immune dysregulation, use of systemic immunosuppressant and biologic treatments. We hypothesized that adults with psoriasis have higher rates of serious infections. We examined data from the 2002-2012 National Inpatient Sample, which contains a representative 20% sample of all hospitalizations in the United States. We found that psoriasis was associated with multiple serious infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, cellulitis, herpes simplex virus infection, infectious arthritis, osteomyelitis, meningitis, encephalitis and tuberculosis. Rates of serious infections increased over all time. Significant predictors of serious infections in patients with psoriasis included non-white race, lower estimated income quartile, and Medicaid, Medicare, or self-pay insurance status. These findings suggest that poor access to adequate dermatologic care may be associated with higher rates of infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, Sexual Health, Technology / 15.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. James M. Smith Ph.D Laboratory Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Smith: Our laboratory has been developing a macaque model for testing drug release, safety and efficacy of intravaginal rings (IVR) for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV for several years. The initial studies involved both matrix rings, where the drug is dispersed in the silicone matrix of the device, and reservoir rings, which are essentially a polymer tube filled with drug. In collaboration with the Oak Crest Institute of Science and Auritec Pharmaceuticals, Inc., we began testing a new type of intravaginal ring, the pod-IVR. In this innovative design the ring itself is a scaffold that contains compressed polymer-coated drug tablets, or pods, within the ring. Each pod is separate, allowing for a customizable release rate for each drug by varying the number and diameter of the drug release ports for each individual pod. The macaque pod-IVR can accommodate up to six pods whereas the human pod-IVR can accommodate up to 10 pods. The IVR design was developed to allow the delivery of drug combinations and for simple, cost-effective manufacturing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hematology, HIV, Stem Cells, Transplantation / 15.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph Alvarnas, MD Associate clinical professor Department of hematology and Director of value-based analytics City of Hope National Medical Center Duarte, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Alvarnas: Patients with HIV infection have a significantly increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma. Prior to the availability of effective anti-retroviral therapy, HIV-infected patients with lymphoma had very poor treatment outcomes. Following the availability of effective anti-HIV therapy, patient outcomes for HIV-infected patients now parallel those of non-infected patients. Historically, however, HIV infection has been used as a criterion for not offering patients autologous blood stem cell transplantation outside of centers with unique expertise. The purpose of this trial was to evaluate outcomes, complication rates, and immunological reconstitution of HIV-infected patients following autologous blood stem cell transplantation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Infections, Technology, University of Pittsburgh / 13.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donald S. Burke, M.D. Dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Burke: At the University of Pittsburgh we developed a unique method for detecting antibodies in the blood of patients in a proof-of-principle study that opens the door to development of simple diagnostic tests for diseases for which no microbial cause is known, including auto-immune diseases, cancers and other conditions. We used a technique pioneered by co-author Thomas Kodadek, Ph.D., of the Scripps Research Institute, that synthesizes random molecular shapes called “peptoids” hooked onto microscopic plastic beads. The technique can produce millions of molecular shapes. The peptoids are not organic, but if they match to the corresponding shape on an antibody, that antibody will connect to them, allowing the scientist to pull out that bead and examine that peptoid and its corresponding antibody. My team chemically generated a huge library of random molecular shapes. Then, using blood from HIV-infected patients and from non-infected people, we screened a million of these random molecular shapes to find the ones that bound only to antibodies present in the blood of HIV-infected patients, but not the healthy controls. No HIV proteins or structures were used to construct or select the peptoids, but the approach, nonetheless, successfully led to selection of the best molecular shapes to use in screening for HIV antibodies. We then resynthesized that HIV-antibody-targeting peptoid in mass and tested it by screening hundreds of samples from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), a confidential research study of the natural history of treated and untreated HIV/AIDS in men who have sex with men (supported by the National Institutes of Health). Study co-author Charles Rinaldo, Ph.D., chair of Pitt Public Health’s Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and director of the Pittsburgh arm of the MACS, selected the samples, but blinded the testers to which samples were HIV-positive or -negative. The test distinguished between the samples of HIV-positive blood and HIV-negative blood with a high degree of accuracy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 10.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jesper Smit, MD Department of Clinical Microbiology Aalborg University Hospital Aalborg, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Smit: Use of glucocorticoids have been suggested to be associated with increased risk of blood infections by Staphylococcus aureus, but the existing evidence is sparse. Therefore, we conducted a large case-control study to investigate this topic in detail. We found that the risk of staphylococcal blood infections was more than doubled in users of systemic glucocorticoids compared with non-users and that the risk of infection escalated with increasing dose. (more…)