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San Fedele Superiore, Italy

Abdel-Haq H.,Istituto Superiore di Sanita
Journal of General Virology | Year: 2015

Development of numerous advanced techniques in recent years have allowed detection of the pathological prion protein (PrPTSE), the unique marker of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs, or prion diseases), in the blood of animals and humans; however, an ante mortem screening test that can be used for the routine diagnosis of human prion diseases remains unavailable. A critical, analytical review of all the diagnostic assays developed to date will allow an evaluation of progress in this field and may facilitate the identification of the possible reasons for this delay. Thus, in this review, I provide a detailed overview of the techniques currently available for detecting PrPTSE and other markers of the disease in blood, as well as an analysis of the significance, feasibility, reliability and application spectrum for these methods. I highlight that factors intrinsic and extrinsic to blood may interfere with the detection of PrPTSE/prions, and that this is not yet taken into account in current tests. This may inspire researchers in this field to not only aspire to increase test sensitivity, but also to adopt other strategies in order to identify and overcome the limitations that hamper the development of a successful routine blood test for prion diseases. © 2015 The Author. Source

Rezza G.,Istituto Superiore di Sanita
BMC Public Health | Year: 2012

Dengue is a vector-borne disease that is estimated to affect millions of individuals each year in tropical and subtropical areas, and it is reemerging in areas that have been disease-free for relatively long periods of time. In this issue of the journal, Peng et al. report on a Dengue outbreak in a city in southern China that had been disease-free for more than two decades. The infection, which was due to serotype 1, was introduced by a traveler from South-east Asia and transmitted by Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito. Compared to Aedes aegypti, which is the most important vector of Dengue, Ae albopictus is a less competent vector of arboviruses, and the epidemics it causes are milder. However, Ae albopictus is becoming an increasingly important vector because of its rapidly changing global distribution. In particular, the worldwide trade in second hand tires, which often contain water and are an ideal place for eggs and larvae, has been a key factor in the large-scale conquest of Ae albopictus, which easily adapts to new environments, even in a temperate climate. This expansion is creating new opportunities for viruses to circulate in new areas, becoming a common cause of epidemics in Ae aegypti-free countries, from Hawaii to Mauritius. The outbreak in China, like similar events, was mild and short-lived. Because epidemics due to Ae albopictus are milder, the replacement of Ae aegypti with the tiger mosquito could even result in public-health benefits. However, there is no solid evidence of this, and the milder course of the outbreak could be in part explained by the relatively short duration of the hot season in some affected areas. Since it is almost impossible to prevent Ae albopictus from being introduced in a country, mosquito-control measures at local level remain the most effective means of controlling arbovirus outbreaks. © 2012 Rezza; BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Henssen A.,Istituto Superiore di Sanita
Oncotarget | Year: 2013

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, and represents a significant clinical challenge in pediatric oncology, since overall survival currently remains under 70%. Patients with tumors overexpressing MYC or harboring a MYC oncogene amplification have an extremely poor prognosis. Pharmacologically inhibiting MYC expression may, thus, have clinical utility given its pathogenetic role in medulloblastoma. Recent studies using the selective small molecule BET inhibitor, JQ1, have identified BET bromodomain proteins, especially BRD4, as epigenetic regulatory factors for MYC and its targets. Targeting MYC expression by BET inhibition resulted in antitumoral effects in various cancers. Our aim here was to evaluate the efficacy of JQ1 against preclinical models for high-risk MYC-driven medulloblastoma. Treatment of medulloblastoma cell lines with JQ1 significantly reduced cell proliferation and preferentially induced apoptosis in cells expressing high levels of MYC. JQ1 treatment of medulloblastoma cell lines downregulated MYC expression and resulted in a transcriptional deregulation of MYC targets, and also significantly altered expression of genes involved in cell cycle progression and p53 signalling. JQ1 treatment prolonged the survival of mice harboring medulloblastoma xenografts and reduced the tumor burden in these mice. Our preclinical data provide evidence to pursue testing BET inhibitors, such as JQ1, as molecular targeted therapeutic options for patients with high-risk medulloblastomas overexpressing MYC or harboring MYC amplifications. Source

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-04-2015 | Award Amount: 6.00M | Year: 2016

The BlueHealth Consortium brings together a multi-disciplinary team of experts reaching across all 28 European Union countries. The proposed 4.5 year BlueHealth Project takes an international, interdisciplinary and multi-sector approach to health promotion and disease prevention by investigating the relationship between the EUs blue infrastructure and the health and well-being of its citizens. Blue infrastructure refers to the network of natural and man-made aquatic environments providing a range of multi-sectorial services (e.g. transportation, fresh water provision). There has been no systematic attempt to detail the potential impacts of our blue infrastructure on health promotion and disease prevention, nor to develop guidelines on how health should be considered when developing blue infrastructure interventions, particularly across sectors. BlueHealth will address this gap. The majority of Europeans live in cities built on inland waterways, lakes, or the coasts. BlueHealth will focus on urban blue infrastructures. The EUs blue infrastructure offers significant health and well-being related opportunities and benefits (eg urban cooling, recreation), but also challenges and stressors (eg flooding, microbial/chemical pollution). BlueHealth will investigate these trade-offs, with the aims of quantifying the impacts on population health and well-being of interventions and policy initiatives connected to blue infrastructure, and identifying success factors and obstacles of inter-sectorial collaborations. Assessments of health and environment benefits, risks and costs will improve our understanding of the role of urban blue infrastructures on across-sector health promotion and disease prevention. The Partners have collaborations across the Environment, Health, and Climate sectors, and extensive experience with inter-institutional, multi-sectorial, interdisciplinary research programmes employing innovation, stakeholder engagement, dissemination, and policy impact.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: COFUND-EJP | Phase: NFRP-07-2015 | Award Amount: 29.25M | Year: 2015

The proposed European Concerted Programme on Radiation Protection Research (acronym: CONCERT) aims to contribute to the sustainable integration of European and national research programmes in radiation protection. It will do so by focusing resources and efforts in five key directions: Bring together the elements of the European scientific communities in the fields of radiation effects and risks, radioecology, nuclear emergency preparedness, dosimetry and medical radiation protection, whose joint expertise is essential to continue the development of radiation protection knowledge in a multidisciplinary mode to reduce further the uncertainties in radiation protection. Strengthen integrative activities between the various areas of expertise, in particular biology, biophysics, epidemiology, dosimetry and modelling as well as fostering the use of existing infrastructures and education and training activities in radiation protection. Stimulate and foster scientific excellence, by setting up and co-funding advanced research programmes with the potential to enhance current knowledge and the scientific evidence base for radiation protection. Exchange and communicate with all stakeholders, including the professional organizations concerned with radiation protection, the regulatory organizations across Europe, the public and media where necessary, and the international community of scientific, technical, legal and other professional experts in radiation protection. Foster the harmonious application of available scientific basis for radiation protection practices across Europe, by bringing together scientific and technical expertise in radiation protection issues, standard setting know how, particularly with respect to the implementation of the Euratom Basic Safety Standards (BSS) at the legal, administrative and operational level. To reach its goals, CONCERT will have seven Work Packages each of which will focus on each of the key directions.

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