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Background: Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common solid malignant pediatric brain neoplasm. Group 3 (G3) MB, particularly MYC amplified G3 MB, is the most aggressive subgroup with the highest frequency of children presenting with metastatic disease, and is associated with a poor prognosis. To further our understanding of the role of MSI1 in MYC amplified G3 MB, we performed an unbiased integrative analysis of eCLIP binding sites, with changes observed at the transcriptome, the translatome, and the proteome after shMSI1 inhibition. Methods: Primary human pediatric MBs, SU_MB002 and HD-MB03 were kind gifts from Dr. Yoon-Jae Cho (Harvard, MS) and Dr. Till Milde (Heidelberg) and cultured for in vitro and in vivo experiments. eCLIP, RNA-seq, Polysome-seq, and TMT-MS were completed as previously described. Results:MSI1 is overexpressed in G3 MB. shRNA Msi1 interference resulted in a reduction in tumour burden conferring a survival advantage to mice injected with shMSI1 G3MB cells. Robust ranked multiomic analysis (RRA) identified an unconventional gene set directly perturbed by MSI1 in G3 MB. Conclusions: Our robust unbiased integrative analysis revealed a distinct role for MSI1 in the maintenance of the stem cell state in G3 MB through post-transcriptional modification of multiple pathways including identification of unconventional targets such as HIPK1.
Balloon valvuloplasty and surgical aortic valvotomy have been the treatment mainstays for congenital aortic stenosis in children. Choice of intervention often differs depending upon centre bias with limited relevant, comparative literature.
This study aims to provide an unbiased, contemporary matched comparison of these balloon and surgical approaches.
Retrospective analysis of patients with congenital aortic valve stenosis who underwent balloon valvuloplasty (Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane) or surgical valvotomy (Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne) between 2005 and 2016. Patients were excluded if pre-intervention assessment indicated ineligibility to either group. Propensity score matching was performed based on age, weight, and valve morphology.
Sixty-five balloon patients and seventy-seven surgical patients were included. Overall, the groups were well matched with 18 neonates/25 infants in the balloon group and 17 neonates/28 infants in the surgical group. Median age at balloon was 92 days (range 2 days – 18.8 years) compared to 167 days (range 0 days – 18.1 years) for surgery (rank-sum p = 0.08). Mean follow-up was 5.3 years. There was one late balloon death and two early surgical deaths due to left ventricular failure. There was no significant difference in freedom from reintervention at latest follow-up (69% in the balloon group and 70% in the surgical group, p = 1.0).
Contemporary analysis of balloon aortic valvuloplasty and surgical aortic valvotomy shows no difference in overall reintervention rates in the medium term. Balloon valvuloplasty performs well across all age groups, achieving delay or avoidance of surgical intervention.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is an aggressive brain tumor that is resistant to conventional radiation and cytotoxic chemotherapies. We hypothesize that brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs), a subpopulation of treatment-resistant cells with stem cell properties cause tumor relapse and a subset of neural stem cell genes regulate BTIC self-renewal, driving GBM recurrence. We adapted the existing treatment protocol for adults with primary GBM for in vivo treatment of immunocompromised mice engrafted with GBMs. Post-chemoradiotherapy, the recovered GFP+GBMs were profiled for self-renewal and expression of critical stem cell genes. Using invitro and invivo gain-of-function/loss-of-function experiments, we investigated the regulatory functions of Bmi1 in primary neural stem & progenitor cells (NSPCs) and GBM tumor formation. Finally, global RNA-Seq profiling was performed to understand the consequences of Bmi1 dysregulation on target gene expression. GBM cells showed an increase in Bmi1 levels post-chemoradiotherapy, suggesting the presence of a treatment-refractory BTICs. GFP+cells extracted from treated xenografts had higher self-renewal and BTIC marker expression. Although treated mice responded to therapy, we observed tumor relapse with increased Bmi1 expression. Knockdown of Bmi1 diminished self-renewal and proliferation of GBM cells and delayed tumorigenesis, highlighting a critical role for Bmi1 in tumor maintenance. Conversely, over-expressing Bmi1 in NSPCs failed to initiate tumor formation in vivo. Using high-throughput sequencing data, we generated a map of signaling pathways dysregulated in GBM that may lead to tumor recurrence. Our data confirms the existence of a rare treatment-refractory BTIC population with enhanced self-renewal capacity that escapes therapy and drives tumor relapse.
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumour, and is categorized into four molecular subgroups, with Group 3 MB having the worst prognosis due to the highest rate of metastatic dissemination and relapse. In this work, we describe the epigenetic regulator Bmi1 as a novel therapeutic target for treatment of recurrent Group 3 MB. Through comparative profiling of primary and recurrent MB, we show that Bmi1 defines a treatment-refractory cell population that is uniquely targetable by a novel class of small molecule inhibitors. We have optimized an in vivo mouse-adapted therapy model that has the advantage of generating recurrent, human, treatment-refractory MBs. Our preliminary studies showed that although chemoradiotherapy administered to mice engrafted with human MB showed reduction in tumour size, Bmi1 expression was enriched in the post-treatment residual tumour. Furthermore, we found that knockdown of Bmi1 in human recurrent MB cells decreases proliferation and self-renewing capacities of MB cells in vitro as well as both tumour size and extent of spinal leptomeningeal metastases in vivo. Oral administration of a potent Bmi1 inhibitor, PTC 028, resulted in a marked reduction in tumour burden and an increased survival in treatment cohort. Bmi1 inhibitors showed high specificity for MB cells and spared normal human neural stem cells, when treated with doses relevant for MB cells. As Group 3 medulloblastoma is often metastatic and uniformly fatal at recurrence, with no current or planned trials of targeted therapy, an efficacious agent such as Bmi1 inhibitor could be rapidly transitioned to clinical trials.
Despite aggressive multimodal therapy, human glioblastoma (hGBM), a highly malignant grade IV astrocytic tumour, remains incurable and inevitably relapses. Recent data has implicated intratumoral heterogeneity as the driver of therapy resistance and tumour relapse in hGBM. Thus models that capture the evolving hGBM biology in response to chemoradiotherapy will allow for the identification of cellular pathways that govern GBM therapy failure. In this study, we have developed a novel model to profile the clonal evolution of treatment naïve brain tumour initiating cell (BTIC) enriched hGBMs through chemoradiotherapy using: stem cell assays, BTIC marker expression and transcriptome analysis, immunohistochemistry, and cellular DNA barcoding technology. We report that treatment of hGBM BTICs leads to increased self-renewal capacity and higher transcript expression of stem cell genes Bmi1 and Sox2. Based on global transcriptome analysis of the in vitro treated hGBM, we also identify a hyper-aggressive form of glioma. Using our therapy-adapted hGBM-mouse xenograft model, we discover that despite tumour regression and increased mouse survival post-therapy, tumour relapse remains inevitable. The treatment-refractory cells again have increased self-renewal capacity and higher expression of Bmi1 and Sox2. Furthermore, by combining cellular DNA barcoding technology, which barcodes hGBM at single cell resolution, with our novel in vitro and in vivo therapy models, we are able to determine whether a pre-existing or a therapy driven subpopulation(s) seeds hGBM tumour relapse. Profiling the dynamic nature of heterogeneous hGBM subpopulations through disease progression and treatment may lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of recurrent hGBM.
Glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive primary adult brain tumor, is feared for its near uniformly fatal prognosis. Despite the use of aggressive treatment including surgical resection, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the outcome of patients with GBM has failed to improve significantly. Numerous studies have implicated CD133+GBM subpopulation as driver of chemo- and radio-resistance. CD133 expression correlates with disease progression, recurrence, and poor overall survival of GBM patients. Here, we describe the preclinical evaluation of a recombinant CD133xCD3 bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) antibody that redirects human polyclonal T cells to CD133+GBM cells, inducing very potent anti-tumor response. CD133-specific BiTE was constructed; with one arm recognizing the tumor antigen (CD133) while the second is specific to CD3 antigen. Using CD133high and CD133low primary GBM lines, we validated the binding of BiTEs to CD133+GBMs and CD3+T cells. In order to test the ability of BiTEs to functionally elicit CD133-specific cytotoxic responses in vitro, we performed killing assays. We observed CD133-specific BiTE mediated T cell activation and redirection to kill CD133-expressing GBM cells in a co-culture of T cells and GBM cells. The killing was more efficient in CD133high GBMs compared to CD133low GBMs, validating its specificity to target CD133+BTICs. Treatment with BiTEs yielded significant reductions in brain tumor burden in vivo. These data offers compelling evidence that BiTE-mediated cytotoxicity against treatment-resistant CD133+GBMs could provide a very potent, specific and can be a novel therapeutic strategy for GBM patients.
Medulloblastoma (MB), the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor, is categorized into four molecular subgroups. Given the high rate of metastatic dissemination at diagnosis and recurrence in Group 3 MBs, these patients have the worst clinical outcome with a 5-year survivorship of approximately 50%. By adapting the existing COG (Children’s Oncology Group) Protocol for children with newly diagnosed high-risk MB, for treatment of immuno-deficient mice intracranially engrafted with human MB brain tumour initiating cells we aim to identify and characterize the treatment-refractory cell population in Group 3 MBs. Mice were sacrificed at multiple time points during the course of tumor development and therapy: (i) at engraftment; (ii) post-radiation; (iii) post-radiation and chemotherapy; and (iv) at MB recurrence. MB cell populations recovered separately from brains and spines were comprehensively profiled for gene expression analysis, stem cell and molecular features to generate a global, comparative profile of MB cells through therapy. We report a higher expression of CD133, Sox2 and Bmi1 in addition to increased self-renewal capacity following chemoradiotherapy treatment. The enrichment map constructed from global gene expression analysis showed an increase in pathways regulating self-renewal, DNA repair and chemoresistance post-therapy despite the apparent decrease in tumour size and vascularity. Additionally, from gene expression at MB recurrence, we identified a list of genes that negatively correlate with survival in patients diagnosed with Group 3 MB. A differential genomic profile of the “treatment-responsive” tumors against those that fail therapy may contribute to discovery of novel therapeutic approaches for the most aggressive subgroup of MB.
Brain Metastases (BM) represent a leading cause of cancer mortality. While metastatic lesions contain subclones derived from their primary lesion, their functional characterization has been limited by a paucity of preclinical models accurately recapitulating the stages of metastasis. This work describes the isolation of a unique subset of metastatic stem-like cells from primary human patient samples of BM, termed brain metastasis initiating cells (BMICs). Utilizing these BMICs we have established a novel patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model of BM that recapitulates the entire metastatic cascade, from primary tumor initiation to micro-metastasis and macro-metastasis formation in the brain. We then comprehensively interrogated human BM to identify genetic regulators of BMICs using in vitro and in vivo RNA interference screens, and validated hits using both our novel PDX model as well as primary clinical BM specimens. We identified SPOCK1 and TWIST2 as novel BMIC regulators, where in our model SPOCK1 regulated BMIC self-renewal and tumor initiation, and TWIST2 specifically regulated cell migration from lung to brain. A prospective cohort of primary lung cancer specimens was used to establish that SPOCK1 and TWIST2 were only expressed in patients who ultimately developed BM, thus establishing both clinical and functional utility for these gene products. This work offers the first comprehensive preclinical model of human brain metastasis for further characterization of therapeutic targets, identification of predictive biomarkers, and subsequent prophylactic treatment of patients most likely to develop BM. By blocking this process, metastatic lung cancer would effectively become a localized, more manageable disease.
Brain tumours represent the leading cause of childhood cancer mortality, of which medulloblastoma (MB) is the most frequent malignant pediatric brain tumour. Current molecular Nsubgroups of MB recognize distinct disease entities of which activated Wnt signaling (monosomy 6, exon 3 mutations in CTNNB1, and Wnt gene signature) is associated with a distinct subgroup and the best overall outcome. In contrast, only non-Wnt MBs are characterized by metastatic disease, increased rate of recurrence, and poor overall survivorship. Given the excellent clinical outcome in patients with Wnt-driven MB, we aimed to convert treatment-resistant MB subgroups into an ostensibly benign tumour through selective targeting by small molecule Wnt agonists (Wnt3A), GSK3 inhibitors (CHIR99021), and transgenic lines containing a stabilized beta-catenin mutant. Activated Wnt signaling resulted in decreased in vitro self-renewal and promoted differentiation within primary human MB stem cells. The clinical relevance of these findings were demonstrated with an in vivo survival advantage in mice containing orthotopic injections of cells containing a stabilized beta-catenin mutant representative of constitutively active Wnt signaling. Xenografts generated from Wnt-activated tumours were much smaller in size, maintained a much lower rate of proliferation, and reduction in key MB stem cell self-renewal genes (Bmi1, Sox2, Msi1, FoxG1). Our work establishes activated Wnt signaling as a novel treatment paradigm in childhood MB, while providing evidence for the context-specific tumour suppressive function of the canonical Wnt pathway.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive and well-tolerated brain stimulation technique with promising efficacy as an add-on treatment for schizophrenia and for several other psychiatric disorders. tDCS modulates neuroplasticity; psychiatric disorders are established to be associated with neuroplasticity abnormalities. This review presents the summary of research on potential genetic basis of neuroplasticity-modulation mechanism underlying tDCS and its implications for treating various psychiatric disorders.
A systematic review highlighting the genes involved in neuroplasticity and their role in psychiatric disorders was carried out. The focus was on the established genetic findings of tDCS response relationship with BDNF and COMT gene polymorphisms.
Synthesis of these preliminary observations suggests the potential influence of neuroplastic genes on tDCS treatment response. These include several animal models, pharmacological studies, mentally ill and healthy human subject trials.
Taking into account the rapidly unfolding understanding of tDCS and the role of synaptic plasticity disturbances in neuropsychiatric disorders, in-depth evaluation of the mechanism of action pertinent to neuroplasticity modulation with tDCS needs further systematic research. Genes such as NRG1, DISC1, as well as those linked with the glutamatergic receptor in the context of their direct role in the modulation of neuronal signalling related to neuroplasticity aberrations, are leading candidates for future research in this area. Such research studies might potentially unravel observations that might have potential translational implications in psychiatry.
We investigated an unprecedented outbreak of fulminant hepatitis B virus (HBV) that occurred in Modasa, Gujarat (India) in 2009. Genomic analysis of all fulminant hepatic failure cases confirmed exclusive predominance of subgenotype D1. A1762T, G1764A basal core promoter (BCP) mutations, insertion of isoleucine after nt 1843, stop codon mutation G1896A, G1862T transversion plus seven other mutations in the core gene caused inhibition of HBeAg expression implicating them as circulating precore/BCP mutant virus. Two rare mutations at amino acids 89 (Ile→Ala) and 119 (Leu→Ser) in addition to other mutations in the polymerase (pol) gene may have caused some alteration in either of four pol gene domains to affect encapsidation of pregenomic RNA to enhance pathogenicity. Sequence similarity among patients' sequences suggested an involvement of a single hepatitis B mutant strain/source to corroborate the finding of gross and continued usage of HBV mutant-contaminated syringes/needles by a physician which resulted in this unprecedented outbreak of fulminant hepatitis B. The fulminant exacerbation of the disease might be attributed to mutations in the BCP/precore/core and pol genes that may have occurred due to selection pressure during rapid spread/mutation of the virus.
Notwithstanding the controversies evoked by the term “single ventricle”, most patients with this condition would undergo the Fontan procedure. In addition, there is a large group of patients in whom a biventricular repair would be abandoned in favour of a univentricular one because of the presence of unfavourable morphologic features. There is a need for a uniformly acceptable system of nomenclature that would permit precise description and classification of hearts with complex malformations to facilitate reporting and help in understanding the reasons for choosing a univentricular repair.
Echocardiographic, angiographic and operative records of 240 patients undergoing the Fontan procedure were analysed.
Out of the 104 patients with univentricular atrioventricular connections, 2 ventricles were discernible in all but 3 patients. A Fontan repair was performed in 136 patients with biventricular atrioventricular connections because of the presence of a hypoplastic ventricle in 52 patients and a non-committed ventricular septal defect in the remaining 84.
The Fontan operation is probably the only definitive treatment option for patients with univentricular atrioventricular connections. The decision to perform a univentricular repair in preference to a biventricular one in hearts with biventricular atrioventricular connections is based on the presence of a hypoplastic ventricle or a non-reroutable ventricular septal defect. This decision is subjective. In hearts with discordant atrioventricular connections and pulmonary stenosis, we prefer the Fontan operation to the classical repair.
The spectral signatures of non-axially excited, absorbing TFHBM
determined, after using a single-resonance Lorentzian model to describe the
dispersive properties of the medium. Optical phenomena such as the optical
rotation, circular dichroism and ellipticity transformation by absorbing
TFHBM slabs are described. The effect of absorption on the functionality of
TFHBM-based devices, such as multi-notch filters and ultranarrow-bandpass
filters, are noted and engineering guidelines on the fabrication of such
devices are provided.
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