First Potential Treatment For Brain Damage From Cosmic Radiation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Space Shuttle Model” by terren in Virginia is licensed under CC BY 2.0Susanna Rosi, PhD
Director of Neurocognitive Research
Brain and Spinal Injury Center
Professor in the departments of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and of Neurological Surgery
UCSF

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: NASA and private space companies like SpaceX plan to send humans to the red planet within the next 15 years — but among the major challenges facing future crewed space missions is how to protect astronauts from the dangerous cosmic radiation of deep space.

In this study we identified the first potential treatment for the brain damage caused by exposure to cosmic rays — a treatment can be given after exposure and that prevents memory impairment in mice exposed to simulated space radiation.

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End of Honeymoon Period Means Whooping Cough Can Resurge

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

This Gram-stained photomicrograph depicts numbers of Bordetella pertussis bacteria, which is the etiologic pathogen for pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

This Gram-stained photomicrograph depicts numbers of Bordetella pertussis bacteria, which is the etiologic pathogen for pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
CDC image

Matthieu Domenech de Cellès PhD
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Biostatistics, Biomathematics, Pharmacoepidemiology, and Infectious Diseases Unit
Institut Pasteur, Inserm,
University of Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines,
Versailles, France.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

 

Response: Our main motivation was to elucidate an apparent paradox: Why has the US experienced a resurgence of pertussis (whooping cough) since the mid-1970s, despite persistently high vaccine coverage? A variety of hypotheses have been proposed to explain this resurgence, but most attention has focused on the potential shortcomings of the new generation of pertussis vaccines (called acellular pertussis vaccines). However, there remains considerable uncertainty about the degree and the mechanisms of protection conferred by pertussis vaccines.

Via a collaboration with the local department of public health, we used detailed surveillance data in the state of Massachusetts to test a number of hypotheses about pertussis vaccines. We found that, although pertussis vaccines are imperfect (in the sense that they do not provide lifelong, 100% protection to 100% of children vaccinated), they are still highly efficacious. Specifically, we estimated that vaccine protection wanes over time, but slowly, with about 85% of children still protected 10 years after vaccination. Despite this high vaccine efficacy, we showed that the resurgence of pertussis was, in fact, to be expected. What happens is that the introduction of routine vaccination leads to an overall reduction in transmission, not only in vaccinated children but also in the population at large. Accordingly, those who escaped vaccination as children (as a consequence of incomplete vaccine coverage or imperfect vaccine protection) increasingly age having also avoided natural infection. As a result, the number of individuals susceptible to contract pertussis gradually increases. Because such people are the “fuel” of epidemics, this sets the stage for pertussis’ resurgence, with increasing incidence among older individuals.

This overall effect is called the “end-of-honeymoon” and means that resurgence is therefore a predictable consequence of incomplete vaccination with efficacious, but imperfect, vaccines. Importantly, these results show that recent trends do not necessarily reflect recent changes in the epidemiology of pertussis. Rather, they may be interpreted as a legacy of past immunization practices, with long-to-manifest effects. This is a significant shift of perspective about pertussis epidemiology.  Continue reading

Obesity Fuels Resistance To Anti-VEGF Therapy in Breast Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Fukumura

Dr. Fukumura

Dai Fukumura, M.D., Ph.D
Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology
Harvard Medical School
Deputy Director, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory,
Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 

 

 

Joao Incio

Dr. Incio

Dr. Joao Incio PhD
Post-Doc, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Rakesh K. Jain PhD

Dr. Jain

Dr. Rakesh K. Jain PhD
Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Tumor Biology and director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology
Rradiation oncology department
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Based on promising data from preclinical studies and subsequent increase in progression-free survival in patients, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy received accelerated approval for metastatic breast cancer. However, this approval was withdrawn in the United States based on the lack of overall survival benefit in several subsequent phase III studies in metastatic and adjuvant settings. Potential mechanisms of resistance to anti-VEGF therapy include the upregulation of alternative angiogenic and pro-inflammatory factors. Production of some of these factors has been shown to increase in obesity specifically in hypoxic adipose tissues including the breast. Given that up to 70% of breast cancer (BC) patients in the United States are overweight or obese, we addressed one simple but important question in this study: Is obesity contributing to anti-VEGF treatment resistance in breast cancer?

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Dietary Fiber Promotes Beneficial Bacteria, Improving Glucose Control in Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Liping Zhao PhD, Professor Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Rutgers University-New Brunswick NJ

Dr. Zhao

Liping Zhao PhD, Professor
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology
School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Rutgers University-New Brunswick NJ

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Microbes in the human gut (collectively known as the gut microbiota) provide many functions that are important for human health. A notable example is that some gut bacteria are able to ferment non-digestible carbohydrates in our diet, e.g. dietary fibers, to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs nourish our gut epithelial cells, reduce inflammation, and play a role in appetite control. Deficiency of SCFAs has been associated with many diseases including type 2 diabetes. Many gut bacteria have the genes (and therefore the capacity) to produce SCFAs from carbohydrate fermentation. However, we know little about how these bacteria, as individual strains and as a group, actually respond to an increased supply of carbohydrates. This is key to improve clinical efficacy of dietary fiber interventions to improve human health. Continue reading

Babies Can Understand When The Effort Might Be Worth The Reward

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shari Liu Dept Psychology Harvard University Cambridge, MA 02138 

Shari Liu -image by Kris Brewer.

Shari Liu
Dept Psychology
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Every day, we look out into the social world and see more than pixels changing across our retinas, or bodies moving in space. We see people brimming with desires, governed by their beliefs about the world and concerned about the costs of their actions and the potential rewards those actions may bring. Reasoning about these mental variables, while observing only people’s overt behaviors, is at the heart of commonsense psychology. Continue reading

Small Cell Lung Cancers Form Chemotherapy-Resistant Circulating Tumor Spheres

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Gerhard Hamilton Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical University of Vienna 

Prof. Hamilton

Prof. Gerhard Hamilton
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Medical University of Vienna

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a highly aggressive tumor (15 % of all lung cancers) mainly of patients with high tobacco consumption which shows an extremely poor survival (< 5% 2-year survival rate). Unfortunately the
low survival rates of advanced SCLC cases has not improved significantly during the last decades, with platinum drugs/etoposide and topotecan employed for first- and second-line chemotherapy, respectively. All kinds of new chemotherapeutics, targeted drugs and immunotherapies either failed or resulted in prolongation of survival of several months at best. SCLC responds well to first-line therapy but relapses within a short time as chemoradioresistant tumor. The failure of hundreds of registered studies seem to be linked to the lack of knowledge of the mechanism of resistance of SCLCs and proper ways to reverse the refractoriness.

Small cell lung cancer is distinguished by excessive numbers of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in advanced stages. CTCs contain the founder of metastasis and seem to constitute a highly chemoresistant cell population. Thus, we ware able to establish a panel of permanent CTC lines in vitro for the first time (8 SCLC lines so far from blood samples). Although CTCs were considered to be chemoresistant we detected that they are chemosensitive in vitro in form of single cell suspensions. However, all CTC lines developed spontaneously into large multicellular aggregates, termed tumorospheres, which grow up to 1-2 mm in size and exhibit high chemoradioresistance due to limited drug perfusion as well as content of quiescent and hypoxic cells. Resistance to irradiation seems to be caused by lack of oxygen, such limiting the generation of oxygen radicals. High resistance mediated by the occurrence of tumorospheres easily explains the failure of a large number of drugs – if one is not able to achieve a sufficient concentration of a drug in cancer cells and the cells are quiescent, the respective compounds will not be able to destroy the target cells, regardless of their chemical nature.

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Methylene Blue Has Potential As Anti-Aging Agent in Skin Care Products

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kan Cao PhD Associate professor of cell biology and molecular genetics University of Maryland

Dr. Kan Cao

Kan Cao PhD
Associate professor of cell biology and molecular genetics
University of Maryland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In 2015, our group demonstrated a surprising positive effect of methylene blue in treating fibroblast cells from progeria patients, a severe premature aging disease. Interestingly, we also noticed a beneficial effect of methylene blue in protecting normal skin cells.

In this study, we followed the initial observation, compared methylene blue with other popular antioxidants, and conducted further analysis of the effects of methylene blue in 3d reconstructed skin.

The take home message is that we believe methylene blue has a great anti-aging potential. As it is also super safe, we suggest it a potent ingredient for skin care products.

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Drug For Diabetic Neuropathy May Also Target an Aggressive Form of Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chenfang Dong
Department of Pathology and Pathophysiology
Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Disease Proteomics
Zhejiang University School of Medicine
Hangzhou China 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Basal-like breast cancer (BLBC), which generally falls into the triple-negative breast cancer subtype, is associated with an aggressive clinical history, early recurrence, distant metastasis and shorter survival. The treatment of BLBC is an unmet medical need due to the absence of effective targeted therapies and poor response to standard chemotherapy. Therefore, elucidating the determinants of aggressiveness and identifying the relevant targets in BLBC are urgently needed. In this study, we report that aldo-keto reductase 1 member B1 (AKR1B1) overexpression occurs specifically in BLBC and predicts poor prognosis in breast cancer patients.

Our data reveal that AKR1B1 as a key modulator of tumor aggressiveness provides tumorigenic and metastatic advantage in basal-like breast cancer through a positive regulatory feedback loop that activates the EMT program and enhances CSC-like properties. Interestingly, epalrestat, the only AKR1B1 inhibitor that has been approved in Japan for the targeted treatment of diabetic complications, significantly inhibited cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro, suppressed tumorigenicity and metastasis of BLBC cells in mice models, displaying potent efficacy against BLBC.

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Intestinal E. coli Linked to Arthritis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Randy Longman, M.D. / Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Jill Roberts Center and Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Weill Cornell Medicine Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine Department of Microbiology and Immunology New York, NY 10021

Dr. Randy Longman

Randy Longman, M.D. / Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Jill Roberts Center and Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Weill Cornell Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
New York, NY 10021 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Inflammatory bowel disease is not limited to intestinal inflammation.  Up to 1/3 of patients with active disease suffer from extra-intestinal manifestations.

The most common extra-intestinal manifestations in IBD is joint inflammation or spondyloarthritis.  Peripheral joint spondyloarthritis  carries a prevalence of 20% in Crohn’s Disease and 10% in Ulcerative Colitis, predominantly affecting joints of the lower limbs.  It has long been suggested that gut bacteria can drive this systemic joint inflammation, but microbial targets have not been characterized.

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Reduced Stem Cells Link Congenital Heart Disease To Impaired Brain Growth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Childrens National Research Team

Children’s National Research Team

Paul D. Morton, Ph.D.
Research PostDoc and lead study author of “Abnormal Neurogenesis and Cortical Growth in Congenital Heart Disease.”
Children’s National Health System Washington, DC

Nobuyuki Ishibashi, M.D.
Director of the Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory at Children’s National Health System and co-senior study author.

Vittorio Gallo, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Neuroscience Research at Children’s National Health System and co-senior study author.

 

 

Richard A. Jonas, M.D.
Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at Children’s National Health System and co-senior study author.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the leading birth defect in the United States and often results in an array of long-term neurological deficits including motor, cognitive and behavioral abnormalities. It has become increasingly clear that children with CHD often have underdeveloped brains. In many cases of complex CHD, blood flow to the brain is both reduced and less oxygenated, which has been associated with developmental abnormalities and delay. The cellular mechanisms underlying the impact of CHD on brain development remain largely unknown. We developed a preclinical chronic hypoxia model to define these mechanisms.

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