MedicalResearch.comInterview with: Alexandra Avgustinova PhD Postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRBBarcelona)
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The basis of this study was the strong association between closed chromatin and high mutation rate reported several years ago. We were surprised to see this observation being widely interpreted as a causal association, as it was largely based on correlative studies without experimental backing. Therefore we decided to experimentally test for the first time whether indeed altering chromatin opening would affect mutation rate or distribution within tumours.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that, despite significantly increasing chromatin opening, loss of the histone methyltransferase G9a did not have any major influence on the mutation rate or distribution within cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas. These results demonstrate that chromatin opening does not play a major role in determining the mutation rate within tumours, and we speculate that other, confounded factors (e.g. replication timing or H3K36me3 levels) are likely causal for the observed association. This, however, remains to be proven experimentally.
Another major conclusion of our study was that although tumour initiation was delayed and tumour burden decreased in the absence of G9a, the tumours that did develop were highly aggressive due to selection for more aggressive tumour clones. This finding was contrary to many published reports suggesting G9a as a good candidate for clinical targeting, highlighting the need for long-term follow-up in pre-clinical studies.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas N. Darling, MD, PhD
Department of Dermatology
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Bethesda, MD 20814
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Darling: Many people with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) have skin tumors that can bleed or cause distress. Only surgical approaches were useful for treating these skin tumors in the past. Recently, drugs called mTOR inhibitors, including sirolimus, were shown to shrink internal tumors in those affected by tuberous sclerosis complex. We wanted to document what happens to the skin tumors in those being treated with oral sirolimus. We found that most patients taking oral sirolimus showed improvement in their skin tumors, and that these effects were maintained during a couple years of treatment. We did not observe any evidence for the skin tumors becoming resistant to the drug.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ulas Sunar, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Prof.
Dept of Biomedical Engineering
SUNY-University at Buffalo
Medical Research: What is the background for this device? What are the main implications?
Dr. Sunar: Most of ovarian cancer cases are not diagnosed until after the disease has spread in the abdominal cavity. A major challenge is to detect and remove dozens or hundreds of metastatic tumor nodules within the abdominal cavity. Fluorescence endoscopy can utilize the high sensitivity and specificity of fluorescence contrast and high resolution of endoscopic imaging.
We are developing a clinically-relevant, fiber-based endoscopy system that allows both accurate fluorescence imaging and for projecting adaptive-shaped light for light-induced chemodrug delivery. The system can provide high contrast for improved demarcation and trigger drug release to destroy micrometastases. The system utilizes a highly sensitive camera and structured light illumination scheme with a projector for accurate fluorescence imaging of drug distribution, as well as allows light-triggered drug release and adaptive light delivery for optimized treatment of micrometastases. We expect that our novel illumination and drug release strategy will permit lower doxorubicin doses to be administered while simultaneously achieving more specific drug delivery in order to destroy the micrometastases and improve survival rates.