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A phase II study of induction chemotherapy followed by thoracic radiotherapy and erlotinib in poor-risk stage III non-small-cell lung cancer: results of CALGB 30605 (Alliance)/RTOG 0972 (NRG)

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:05pm

INTRODUCTION: Patients with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer and poor performance status and/or weight loss do not seem to benefit from standard therapy. Based on the preclinical interaction between epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors and radiation, we designed a trial of induction chemotherapy followed by thoracic radiotherapy and concurrent erlotinib.

METHODS: Patients with poor-risk unresectable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer received two cycles of carboplatin at an AUC of 5 and nab-paclitaxel at 100 mg/m on days 1 and 8 every 21 days, followed by erlotinib administered concurrently with thoracic radiotherapy. Maintenance was not permitted. Molecular analysis was performed in available specimens. Seventy-two eligible patients were required to test whether the 1-year survival rate was less than 50% or greater than or equal to 65% with approximately 90% power at a significance level of 0.10.

RESULTS: From March 2008 to October 2011, 78 patients were enrolled, three of whom were ineligible. The median age was 68 (range, 39-88) and 32% were aged greater than or equal to 75 years. Patients were evenly distributed between stages IIIA and IIIB and the majority had performance status 2. The overall response rate was 67% and the disease control rate was 93%. Treatment was well tolerated. The median PFS and OS were 11 and 17 months, respectively. The overall 12-month OS was 57%, which narrowly missed the prespecified target for significance.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with poor-risk stage III non-small-cell lung cancer had better than expected outcomes with a regimen of induction carboplatin/nab-paclitaxel followed by thoracic radiotherapy and erlotinib. However, as per the statistical design, the 12-month OS was not sufficiently high to warrant further studies.

A phase 2 study of bortezomib in combination with ifosfamide/vinorelbine in paediatric patients and young adults with refractory/recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma: a Children's Oncology Group study

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:05pm

A Children's Oncology Group clinical trial aimed to determine if bortezomib (B) increased the efficacy of ifosfamide and vinorelbine (IV) in paediatric Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). This study enrolled 26 relapsed HL patients (years) treated with two to four cycles of IVB. The primary endpoint was anatomic complete response (CR) after two cycles. Secondary endpoints included overall response (OR: CR + partial response) at study completion compared to historical controls [72%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 59-83%]. Although few patients achieved the primary objective, OR with IVB improved to 83% (95% CI: 61-95%; p = 0.32). Although not statistically different, results suggest IVB may be a promising combination.

Upfront window vincristine/irinotecan treatment of high-risk hepatoblastoma: A report from the Children's Oncology Group AHEP0731 study committee

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:05pm

BACKGROUND: The identification of new therapies for high-risk (HR) hepatoblastoma is challenging. Children's Oncology Group study AHEP0731 included a HR stratum to explore the efficacy of novel agents. Herein, the authors report the response rate to the combination of vincristine (V) and irinotecan (I) and the outcome of patients with high-risk hepatoblastoma.

METHODS: Patients with newly diagnosed metastatic hepatoblastoma or those with a serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) level /mL were eligible. Patients received 2 cycles of V at a dose of 1.5 mg/m2 /day intravenously on days 1 and 8 and I at a dose of 50 mg/m2 /day intravenously on days 1 to 5. Patients were defined as responders if they had either a 30% decrease in tumor burden according to Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST) or a 90% ( > 1 log10 ) decline in their AFP level. Responders were to receive 2 additional cycles of VI intermixed with 6 cycles of the combination of cisplatin, doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, and vincristine (C5VD). Nonresponders were to receive 6 cycles of C5VD alone.

RESULTS: A total of 32 patients with a median age at diagnosis of 26 months (range, 11-159 months) were enrolled between September 2009 and February 2012. Fourteen of 30 evaluable patients were responders (RECIST and AFP in 6 patients, RECIST only in 3 patients, and AFP only in 5 patients). The median AFP decline after 2 cycles of VI for the entire group was 345,565 ng/mL (85% of the initial AFP). The 3-year event-free and overall survival rates were 49% (95% confidence interval, 30%-65%) and 62% (95% confidence interval, 42%-77%), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The VI combination appears to have substantial activity against HR hepatoblastoma. The ultimate impact of this regimen in improving the outcomes of children with HR hepatoblastoma remains to be determined. .

A window of opportunity for abatacept in RA: is disease duration an independent predictor of low disease activity/remission in clinical practice

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:53am

The objective of the study was to examine whether disease duration independently predicts treatment response among biologic-naive patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) initiating abatacept in clinical practice. Using the Corrona RA registry (February 2006-January 2015), biologic-naive patients with RA initiating abatacept with 12-month (+/-3 months) follow-up and assessment of disease activity (Clinical Disease Activity Index [CDAI]) at initiation and at 12 months were identified. The primary outcome was mean change in CDAI (DeltaCDAI) from baseline to 12 months. Secondary outcomes at 12 months included achievement of low disease activity (LDA; CDAI 10 years, n = 79). Increased disease duration was associated with older age (p = 0.047), and the median number of prior conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs used was lowest in the 0- to 2-year duration group (p < 0.001). Mean DeltaCDAI (SE) ranged from -10.22 (1.19) for 0-2 years to -4.63 (1.38) for > 10 years. In adjusted analyses, shorter disease duration was significantly associated with greater mean DeltaCDAI (p = 0.015) and greater likelihood of achieving LDA (p = 0.048). In biologic-naive patients with RA initiating abatacept, earlier disease (shorter disease duration) was associated with greater DeltaCDAI and likelihood of achieving LDA.

Extremely low gestational age and very low birthweight for gestational age are risk factors for autism spectrum disorder in a large cohort study of 10-year-old children born at 23-27 weeks' gestation

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:53am

BACKGROUND: No prospective cohort study of high-risk children has used rigorous exposure assessment and optimal diagnostic procedures to examine the perinatal antecedents of autism spectrum disorder separately among those with and without cognitive impairment.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to identify perinatal factors associated with increased risk for autism spectrum disorder with and without intellectual disability (intelligence quotient /=2 SD below the median birthweight in a referent sample that excluded pregnancies delivered for preeclampsia or fetal indications). Participants were classified into 4 groups based on whether or not they met rigorous diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability (autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability-, autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability+, autism spectrum disorder-/intellectual disability+, and autism spectrum disorder-/intellectual disability-). Temporally ordered multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine the information conveyed by perinatal factors about increased risk for autism spectrum disorder and/or intellectual disability (autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability-, autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability+, and autism spectrum disorder-/intellectual disability+).

RESULTS: In all, 889 of 966 (92%) children recruited were assessed at age 10 years, of whom 857 (96%) were assessed for autism spectrum disorder; of these, 840 (98%) children were assessed for intellectual disability. Autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability- was diagnosed in 3.2% (27/840), autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability+ in 3.8% (32/840), and autism spectrum disorder-/intellectual disability+ in 8.5% (71/840). Maternal report of presumed cervical-vaginal infection during pregnancy was associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability+ (odds ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-6.4). The lowest gestational age category (23-24 weeks) was associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability+ (odds ratio, 2.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-6.6) and autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability- (odds ratio, 4.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-11). Severe fetal growth restriction was strongly associated with increased risk for autism spectrum disorder+/intellectual disability- (odds ratio, 9.9; 95% confidence interval, 3.3-30), whereas peripartum maternal fever was uniquely associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder-/intellectual disability+ (odds ratio, 2.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-6.7).

CONCLUSION: Our study confirms that low gestational age is associated with increased risk for autism spectrum disorder irrespective of intellectual ability, whereas severe fetal growth restriction is strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder without intellectual disability. Maternal report of cervical-vaginal infection is associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder with intellectual disability, and peripartum maternal fever is associated with increased risk for intellectual disability without autism spectrum disorder.

Trends in Incidence of Hospitalized Acute Myocardial Infarction in the Cardiovascular Research Network (CVRN)

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:53am

BACKGROUND: Monitoring trends in cardiovascular events can provide key insights into the effectiveness of prevention efforts. Leveraging data from electronic health records provides a unique opportunity to examine contemporary, community-based trends in acute myocardial infarction hospitalizations.

METHODS: We examined trends in hospitalized acute myocardial infarction incidence among adults aged > /=25 years in 13 US health plans in the Cardiovascular Research Network. The first hospitalization per member for acute myocardial infarction overall and for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction and non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction was identified by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification primary discharge codes in each calendar year from 2000 through 2008. Age- and sex-adjusted incidence was calculated per 100,000 person-years using direct adjustment with 2000 US census data.

RESULTS: Between 2000 and 2008, we identified 125,435 acute myocardial infarction hospitalizations. Age- and sex-adjusted incidence rates (per 100,000 person-years) of acute myocardial infarction decreased an average 3.8%/y from 230.5 in 2000 to 168.6 in 2008. Incidence of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction decreased 8.7%/y from 104.3 in 2000 to 51.7 in 2008, whereas incidence of non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction increased from 126.1 to 129.4 between 2000 and 2004 and then decreased thereafter to 116.8 in 2008. Age- and sex-specific incidence rates generally reflected similar patterns, with relatively larger decreases in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction rates in women compared with men. As compared with 2000, the age-adjusted incidence of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction in 2008 was 48% lower among men and 61% lower among women.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among a large, diverse, multicenter community-based insured population, there were significant decreases in incidence of hospitalized acute myocardial infarction and the more serious ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions between 2000 and 2008. Decreases in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions were most pronounced among women. While ecologic in nature, these secular decreases likely reflect, at least in part, results of improvement in primary prevention efforts.

Sex differences in gout characteristics: tailoring care for women and men

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:52am

BACKGROUND: To characterize the differences between women and men with gout.

METHODS: We analyzed a US national cohort of gout patients cared for by rheumatologists.

RESULTS: Compared with the 1012 men with gout, women with gout (n = 262) were older (71 vs. 61 years, p < 0.001) and had a greater burden of comorbid conditions (p < 0.001 for hypertension, diabetes, renal disease and obesity). Risk factors for gout differed with women more often taking diuretics (p < 0.001), while men more frequently had dietary triggers (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The profiles of women and men with gout are markedly different, suggesting a need to tailor treatment recommendations.

Interleukin-1 inhibition facilitates recovery from liver injury and promotes regeneration of hepatocytes in alcoholic hepatitis in mice

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:52am

BACKGROUND and AIMS: Inflammation and impaired hepatocyte regeneration contribute to liver failure in alcoholic hepatitis (AH). Interleukin (IL)-1 is a key inflammatory cytokine in the pathobiology of AH. The role of IL-1 in liver regeneration in the recovery phase of alcohol-induced liver injury is unknown.

METHODS: Here we tested IL-1 receptor antagonist to block IL-1 signaling in a mouse model of acute-on-chronic liver injury on liver inflammation and hepatocyte regeneration in AH.

RESULTS: We observed that inhibition of IL-1 signaling decreased liver inflammation, neutrophil infiltration, enhanced regeneration of hepatocytes, and resulted in increased rate of recovery from liver injury in AH.

CONCLUSION: Our novel findings suggest that IL-1 drives sustained liver inflammation and impaired hepatocyte regeneration even after cessation of ethanol exposure.

Alcohol-related changes in the intestinal microbiome influence neutrophil infiltration, inflammation and steatosis in early alcoholic hepatitis in mice

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:52am

BACKGROUND: Alcohol-induced intestinal dysbiosis disrupts homeostatic gut-liver axis function and is essential in the development of alcoholic liver disease. Here, we investigate changes in enteric microbiome composition in a model of early alcoholic steatohepatitis and dissect the pathogenic role of intestinal microbes in alcohol-induced liver pathology.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Wild type mice received a 10-day diet that was either 5% alcohol-containing or an isocaloric control diet plus a single binge. 16S rDNA sequencing defined the bacterial communities in the cecum of alcohol- and pair-fed animals. Some mice were treated with an antibiotic cocktail prior to and throughout alcohol feeding. Liver neutrophils, cytokines and steatosis were evaluated.

RESULTS: Acute-on-chronic alcohol administration induced shifts in various bacterial phyla in the cecum, including increased Actinobacteria and a reduction in Verrucomicrobia driven entirely by a reduction in the genus Akkermansia. Antibiotic treatment reduced the gut bacterial load and circulating bacterial wall component lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We found that bacterial load suppression prevented alcohol-related increases in the number of myeloperoxidase- (MPO) positive infiltrating neutrophils in the liver. Expression of liver mRNA tumor necrosis factor alpha (Tnfalpha), C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 1 (Cxcl1) and circulating protein monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) were also reduced in antibiotic-treated alcohol-fed mice. Alcohol-induced hepatic steatosis measured by Oil-Red O staining was significantly reduced in antibiotic treated mice. Genes regulating lipid production and storage were also altered by alcohol and antibiotic treatment. Interestingly, antibiotic treatment did not protect from alcohol-induced increases in serum aminotransferases (ALT/AST).

CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that acute-on-chronic alcohol feeding alters the microflora at multiple taxonomic levels and identifies loss of Akkermansia as an early marker of alcohol-induced gut dysbiosis. We conclude that gut microbes influence liver inflammation, neutrophil infiltration and liver steatosis following alcohol consumption and these data further emphasize the role of the gut-liver axis in early alcoholic liver disease.

RAHI-SATHI Indo-U.S. Collaboration: The Evolution of a Trainee-Led Twinning Model in Global Health Into a Multidisciplinary Collaborative Program

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:52am

BACKGROUND: In recent years there has been a surge in the number of global health programs operated by academic institutions. However, most of the existing programs describe partnerships that are primarily faculty-driven and supported by extramural funding.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Research and Advocacy for Health in India (RAHI, or "pathfinder" in Hindi) and Support and Action Towards Health-Equity in India (SATHI, or "partnership" in Hindi) are 2 interconnected, collaborative efforts between the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and Charutar Arogya Mandal (CAM), a medical college and a tertiary care center in rural western India. The RAHI-SATHI program is the culmination of a series of student/trainee-led research and capacity strengthening initiatives that received institutional support in the form of faculty mentorship and seed funding. RAHI-SATHI's trainee-led twinning approach overcomes traditional barriers faced by global health programs. Trainees help mitigate geographical barriers by acting as a bridge between members from different institutions, garner cultural insight through their ability to immerse themselves in a community, and overcome expertise limitations through pre-planned structured mentorship from faculty of both institutions. Trainees play a central role in cultivating trust among the team members and, in the process, they acquire personal leadership skills that may benefit them in their future careers.

CONCLUSION: This paradigm of trainee-led twinning partnership promotes sustainability in an uncertain funding climate and provides a roadmap for conducting foundational work that is essential for the development of a broad, university-wide global health program.

Executive Summary of the reVITALize Initiative: Standardizing Gynecologic Data Definitions

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:52am

Effective care coordination across the women's health continuum is critically important. Unlike obstetric care, which tends to be more episodic and limited to pregnant and postpartum women, women receive health care, whether around pregnancy or for nonobstetric issues, in a variety of care settings by members of multiple health disciplines. Having access to standardized clinical data is imperative to providing optimal patient care. The reVITALize Gynecology Data Definitions Initiative leads a national multidisciplinary movement to offer standard gynecologic data definitions for use in written and verbal clinical communication, electronic health record data capture, quality improvement, and clinical research.

Kidney function and appropriateness of device therapies in adults with implantable cardioverter defibrillators

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:52am

OBJECTIVE: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have higher risk of sudden cardiac death; however, they may not receive implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), in part due to higher risk of complications. We evaluated whether CKD is associated with greater risk of device-delivered shocks/antitachycardia pacing (ATP) therapies among patients receiving a primary prevention ICD.

METHODS: We studied participants in the observational Cardiovascular Research Network Longitudinal Study of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators. CKD was defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) /min/1.73 m2. Outcomes included all delivered shocks/ATPs therapies and type of shock/ATP therapies (inappropriate or appropriate, determined by physician adjudication) within the 3 years. We evaluated the associations between CKD and time to first device therapy, burden of device therapy, and inappropriate versus appropriate device therapy, adjusting for demographics, comorbidity, laboratory values and medication use.

RESULTS: Among 2161 participants, 1066 (49.3%) had CKD (eGFR 44+/-11 mL/min/1.73 m2) at ICD implantation. During mean of 2.26+/-0.89 years, 9.8% and 18.5% of participants had at least one inappropriate and appropriate shock/ATP therapies, respectively. CKD was not associated with time to first shock/ATP therapies (adjusted HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.05), overall burden of shock/ATP therapies (adjusted relative rate 0.93, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.17) or inappropriate versus appropriate shock/ATP therapies (adjusted relative risk 0.88, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.14) compared with not having CKD.

CONCLUSIONS: In adults receiving a primary prevention ICD, mild-to-moderate CKD was not associated with the timing, burden or appropriateness of subsequent device therapy. Potential concern for inappropriate ICD-delivered therapies should not preclude ICDs among eligible patients with CKD.

Impact of prior biologic use on persistence of treatment in patients with psoriatic arthritis enrolled in the US Corrona registry

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:51am

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic condition characterized by a diverse set of symptoms, from swollen joints to nail disease to skin disease. A variety of treatment options are available, including tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFis). Little is known about treatment persistence in patients with PsA who initiate TNFi therapy, with and without prior biologic use. This study assessed persistence in these subgroups of patients with PsA and identified factors associated with persistence. This retrospective study utilized data from the Corrona registry of patients with PsA-with or without prior biologic experience-who initiated TNFi therapy between October 1, 2002, and March 21, 2013. Kaplan-Meier curves estimated median time to nonpersistence (discontinuation or switch to another biologic). Cox proportional hazards models identified factors associated with TNFi nonpersistence. A total of 1241 TNFi initiations were identified: 549 by biologic-naive and 692 by biologic-experienced patients. Through 4 years of follow-up, more biologic-naive than biologic-experienced patients remained persistent. Biologic-naive patients had a greater mean time to nonpersistence compared with biologic-experienced patients: 32 vs 23 months (p = 0.0002). Moderate and high disease activities based on clinical disease activity index and disease duration were associated with persistence in both biologic-naive and biologic-experienced patients. Additionally, in the biologic-experienced patients, the number of prior medications and skin disease were associated with persistence. The majority of patients with PsA in this study were persistent with their TNFi therapy; biologic-naive patients had greater persistence compared with biologic-experienced patients. Predictors of persistence differed slightly between biologic-naive and biologic-experienced patients.

miR-718 represses proinflammatory cytokine production through targeting phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:51am

Bacterial sepsis involves a complex interaction between the host immune response and bacterial LPS. LPS binds Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4, which leads to the release of proinflammatory cytokines that are essential for a potent innate immune response against pathogens. The innate immune system is tightly regulated, as excessive inflammation can lead to organ failure and death. MicroRNAs have recently emerged as important regulators of the innate immune system. Here we determined the function of miR-718, which is conserved across mammals and overlaps with the 5' UTR of the interleukin 1 receptor-associated kinase (IRAK1) gene. As IRAK1 is a key component of innate immune signaling pathways that are downstream of most TLRs, we hypothesized that miR-718 helps regulate the innate immune response. Activation of TLR4, but not TLR3, induced the expression of miR-718 in macrophages. miR-718 expression was also induced in the spleens of mice upon LPS injection. miR-718 modulates PI3K/Akt signaling by directly down-regulating phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), thereby promoting phosphorylation of Akt, which leads to a decrease in proinflammatory cytokine production. Phosphorylated Akt induces let-7e expression, which, in turn, down-regulates TLR4 and further diminishes TLR4-mediated proinflammatory signals. Decreased miR-718 expression is associated with bacterial burden during Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection and alters the infection dynamics of N. gonorrhoeae in vitro Furthermore, miR-718 regulates the induction of LPS tolerance in macrophages. We propose a role for miR-718 in controlling TLR4 signaling and inflammatory cytokine signaling through a negative feedback regulation loop involving down-regulation of TLR4, IRAK1, and NF-kappaB.

Implications of an inpatient warfarin dosing nomogram on safety outcomes post-discharge

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:51am

Many hospitals have implemented warfarin dosing nomograms to improve patient safety. To our knowledge, no study has assessed the impact inpatient warfarin initiation has in both medical and surgical patients, on safety outcomes post discharge. To evaluate the impact of a suggested institutional nomogram for the initiation of warfarin, the primary endpoint was the incidence of bleeding throughout follow up. Secondary endpoints included the composite of INR changes > /=0.5/day and INR > 4. Patients were followed for a period of 2 weeks post-discharge. The composite endpoint was evaluated for an effect on reaching therapeutic INR, time to reach therapeutic INR, and bleeding events throughout follow up. A single center retrospective study comparing the safety of adherence vs. non-adherence to a warfarin nomogram. A total of 206 patients were included, 73 patients in the nomogram adherence vs. 133 in the nonadherence arm. There was no difference in the proportion of patients who bled throughout the follow up period, adherence 9.6% vs. nonadherence to the nomogram 13.5%, p = 0.407. There was however a statistical difference in the mean total number of bleeding events, 0.096 (7/73) in the adherence vs. 0.158 (21/133) in the non-adherence arm, p = 0.022. There was also no difference in the composite endpoint, 19.2% in the adherence vs. 28.6% in the non-adherence arm p = 0.180. A positive correlation between the inpatient composite and risk of bleeding throughout follow up was noted. The findings of this study support adherence to the nomogram as opposed to non-adherence.

Biosimilars: implications for rheumatoid arthritis therapy

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 10:51am

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Abbreviated pathways for the approval of biosimilars have been established in the European Union (EU), the United States, and other countries. Biosimilar TNF inhibitors have been available in South Korea and the EU since 2012 and 2013, respectively, and the first biosimilar infliximab was introduced to the clinic in the United States in November 2016. Five TNF inhibitor biosimilars have now been approved, and many other biosimilars to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases are in development.

RECENT FINDINGS: Over the last 18 months, published results of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have shown equivalent efficacy and comparable safety and immunogenicity of biosimilars with their reference products. 'Real world' experience with biosimilars in the EU continues to increase and provides evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of using biosimilars in the clinic and of switching from bio-originators to their biosimilars.

SUMMARY: Cost implications of using biosimilars and extrapolation of their use to treat diseases in which they were not tested in RCTs are of great interest. We review the results of RCTs and available experience with biosimilars in the clinic.

Translational Epidemiology: Entering a Brave New World of Team Science

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 6:09pm

Translational epidemiology is the study of risk factors and diseases in large populations, harnessing the power of modern phenotyping, including large-scale omics approaches. In this review, we comment on the power and limitations of modern molecular translational epidemiology and suggest collaborative team science as a specific avenue to secure its existence in the next era of genomic research.

Sampling Serum in Patients With Vitiligo to Measure Disease Activity in the Skin

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 6:09pm

In this issue of JAMA Dermatology, Speeckaert and colleagues report that levels of the soluble CD25 and CD27 molecules (sCD25 and sCD27) are elevated in the serum of patients with active vitiligo compared with patients with stable disease. In addition, sCD25 levels were found to be significantly lower in the serum of patients being treated with topical immunosuppressants (including steroids and calcineurin inhibitors) and the serum level of sCD27 was significantly lower in patients with recent repigmentation, suggesting a potential to use these as biomarkers to monitor treatment responses. Interestingly, the authors continued to prospectively study a relatively large number of participants and demonstrated that serum levels of both sCD25 and sCD27 were associated with disease progression during follow-up. These important findings suggest that monitoring of these markers in the serum of patients with vitiligo may provide a glimpse into what is happening in the skin, a process that is not obvious by simple observation in vitiligo, in contrast to more inflammatory diseases.

Quantifying the metabolic contribution to photoreceptor death in retinitis pigmentosa via a mathematical model

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 6:09pm

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a family of inherited retinal degenerative diseases that leads to blindness. In many cases the disease-causing allele encodes for a gene exclusively expressed in the night active rod photoreceptors. However, because rod death always leads to cone death affected individuals eventually lose their sight. Many theories have been proposed to explain the secondary loss of cones in RP; however, most fail to fully explain the different pathological transition stages seen in humans. Incorporating experimental data of rod and cone death kinetics from two mouse models of RP, we use a mathematical model to investigate the interplay and role of energy consumption and uptake of the photoreceptors as well as nutrient availability supplied through the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) throughout the progression of RP. Our data driven mathematical model predicts that the system requires a total reduction of approximately 27-31% in nutrients available to result in the complete demise of all cones. Simulations utilizing retinal degeneration 1 (rd1) mouse cell count data in which cone death was delayed by altering cell metabolism in cones show that preventing a 1-2% decrease in nutrients available can permanently halt cone death even when 90% have already died. Our results also indicate that the ratio of energy consumption to uptake of cones, Dc, is mainly disrupted during the death wave of the rods with negligible changes thereafter and that the subsequent nutrient decrease is mainly responsible for the demise of the cones. The change in this ratio Dc highlights the compensation that the cones must undergo during rod death to meet the high metabolic demands of the entire photoreceptor population. Global sensitivity analysis confirms the results and suggests areas of focus for halting RP, even at later stages of the disease, through feasible therapeutic interventions.

Micro-C XL: assaying chromosome conformation from the nucleosome to the entire genome

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 6:09pm

We present Micro-C XL, an improved method for analysis of chromosome folding at mononucleosome resolution. Using long crosslinkers and isolation of insoluble chromatin, Micro-C XL increases signal-to-noise ratio. Micro-C XL maps of budding and fission yeast genomes capture both short-range chromosome fiber features such as chromosomally interacting domains and higher order features such as centromere clustering. Micro-C XL provides a single assay to interrogate chromosome folding at length scales from the nucleosome to the full genome.