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McCormack E.,University of Bergen | Silden E.,University of Bergen | Pavlin T.,University of Bergen | Micklem D.R.,University of Bergen | And 4 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2013

The ability to visualize reporter gene expression in vivo has revolutionized all facets of biologic investigation and none more so than imaging applications in oncology. Near-infrared reporter gene imaging may facilitate more accurate evaluation of chemotherapeutic response in preclinical models of orthotopic and metastatic cancers.We report the development of a cell permeable, quenched squarine probe (CytoCy5S), which is reduced by Escherichia coli nitroreductase (NTR), resulting in a near-infrared fluorescent product. Time-domain molecular imaging of NTR/CytoCy5S reporter platform permitted noninvasive monitoring of disease progression in orthotopic xenografts of disseminated leukemia, lung, and metastatic breast cancer. This methodology facilitated therapeutic evaluation of NTR gene-directed enzymatic prodrug therapy with conventional metronidazole antibiotics. These studies show NTR/CytoCy5S as a near-infrared gene reporter system with broad preclinical and prospective clinical applications within imaging, and gene therapy, of cancer. © 2012 AACR.


Hoffman E.,Institute of Pharmaceutical Science | Hoffman E.,Medical University of Lódz | Kumar A.,Institute of Pharmaceutical Science | Kanabar V.,Institute of Pharmaceutical Science | And 10 more authors.
Molecular Pharmaceutics | Year: 2015

Although foamy macrophages (FMΦ) are commonly observed during nonclinical development of medicines for inhalation, there are no accepted criteria to differentiate adaptive from adverse FMΦ responses in drug safety studies. The purpose of this study was to develop a multiparameter in vitro assay strategy to differentiate and characterize different mechanisms of drug-induced FMΦ. Amiodarone, staurosporine, and poly(vinyl acetate) nanoparticles were used to induce distinct FMΦ phenotypes in J774A.1 cells, which were then compared with negative controls. Treated macrophages were evaluated for morphometry, lipid accumulation, gene expression, apoptosis, cell activation, and phagocytosis. Analysis of vacuolization (number/area vacuoles per cell) and phospholipid content revealed inducer-dependent distinctive patterns, which were confirmed by electron microscopy. In contrast to the other inducers, amiodarone increased vacuole size rather than number and resulted in phospholipid accumulation. No pronounced dysregulation of transcriptional activity or apoptosis was observed in response to sublethal concentrations of all inducers. Functionally, FMΦ induction did not affect macrophage activation by lipopolysaccharide, but it reduced phagocytic capacity, with different patterns of induction, severity, and resolution observed with the different inducers. An in vitro multiparameter assay strategy is reported that successfully differentiates and characterizes mechanisms leading to FMΦ induction by different types of agents. © 2015 American Chemical Society.


Ekonomou A.,King's College London | Johnson M.,Vitality | Perry R.H.,Vitality | Perry E.K.,Vitality | And 4 more authors.
Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology | Year: 2012

Aims: Recent work has highlighted a significant increase of neural stem/progenitor cells after stroke in humans. In this study, we examined neurogenesis in small vessel disease, a key concurrent pathology in Alzheimer's disease. Methods: We assayed autopsy tissue from 13 vascular dementia patients with small vessel disease and 12 age-matched subjects without cerebrovascular pathology, undertaking immunohistochemistry in the affected brain area and the subventricular zone with a well-characterized battery of antibodies to detect neural stem cells/progenitors and immature neurones, as well as choline acetyltransferase immunoreactivity. Results: We showed significant increases ranging from 33% to 92% (P<0.05) in neural progenitor cells around the areas of microvascular pathology and in the subventricular zone in patients with small vessel disease compared to individuals without cerebrovascular changes, even in patients with severe cerebrovascular disease, as defined by neuropathological assessment. Some of the progenitor cells give rise to immature neurones in the affected areas. These alterations were associated with vascular changes, but were unrelated to the cholinergic deficit observed in the cortex and subventricular zone in these patients, in contrast to other dementias examined such as dementia with Lewy bodies. Conclusions: This study provides evidence for neurogenesis in small vessel disease and may have important implications for the development of new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. © 2011 The Authors. Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology © 2011 British Neuropathological Society.


Background Definitive endoderm (DE) is one of the three germ layers which during in vivo vertebrate development gives rise to a variety of organs including liver, lungs, thyroid and pancreas; consequently efficient in vitro initiation of stem cell differentiation to DE cells is a prerequisite for successful cellular specification to subsequent DE-derived cell types [1, 2]. In this study we present a novel approach to rapidly and efficiently down regulate pluripotency genes during initiation of differentiation to DE cells by addition of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) to Activin Abased culture medium and report its effects on the downstream differentiation to hepato-cyte-like cells. Materials and Methods Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) were differentiated to DE using standard methods in medium supplemented with 100ng/ml of Activin A and compared to cultures where DE specification was additionally enhanced with different concentrations of DMSO. DE cells were subsequently primed to generate hepatic-like cells to investigate whether the addition of DMSO during formation of DE improved subsequent expression of hepatic markers. A combination of flow cytometry, real-time quantitative reverse PCR and immunofluorescence was applied throughout the differentiation process to monitor expression of pluripotency (POUF5/OCT4 & NANOG), definitive endoderm (SOX17, CXCR4 & GATA4) and hepatic (AFP & ALB) genes to generate differentiation stage-specific signatures. Results Addition of DMSO to the Activin A-based medium during DE specification resulted in rapid down regulation of the pluripotency genes OCT4 and NANOG, accompanied by an increase expression of the DE genes SOX17, CXCR4 and GATA4. Importantly, the expression level of ALB in DMSO-treated cells was also higher than in cells which were differentiated to the DE stage via standard Activin A treatment. © 2015 Czysz et al.


Thomas N.,Maynard Center
Journal of Biomolecular Screening | Year: 2010

In the past decade, high-content screening has become a highly developed approach to obtaining richly descriptive quantitative phenotypic data using automated microscopy. From early use in drug screening, the technique has evolved to embrace a diverse range of applications in both academic and industrial sectors and is now widely recognized as providing an efficient and effective approach to large-scale programs investigating cell biology in situ and in context. © 2010 Society for Biomolecular Sciences.


Since human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) were first isolated and cultured nearly 15 years ago, stem cell biology has been a promising and fast-moving area of research. Improved clinical predictivity in drug development, use in assays to personalise medicine effectively and as the foundation for cell-based therapies are all areas where stem cells can play an important role. But with opportunities come challenges and it is vital that the field of stem cells continues to progress to achieve its potential. This article outlines the measures the Cell Technologies group at GE Healthcare Life Sciences are taking, along with its collaborators in academia, industry and the clinic, to advance stem cell tools and technologies, as well as identifying some future challenges for stem cell research, drug discovery, cell therapy and regenerative medicine. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | 13765 Seabiscuit Drive, 54 Rue de la Glaciere and Maynard Center
Type: | Journal: Journal of pharmacological and toxicological methods | Year: 2016

Early clinical Phase I ECG investigations designed to replace the currently applied thorough QT (TQT) study are reviewed to examine how they could complement and verify the conclusions of nonclinical investigations and, in particular, the Comprehensive in vitro Proarrhythmia Assay (CiPA).The IQ-CSRC trial is a prospective ascending multiple-dose first in human (FIH) type investigation performed as a possible replacement for the thorough QT study (TQT). Designed in accordance with the results of a simulation study by the FDA QT Interdisciplinary Review Team (IRT), it succeeded in correctly categorizing 5/5 established QTc-prolonging agents free of notable heart rate effects (dofetilide, dolasetron, moxifloxacin, ondansetron, and quinine) and the QTc-negative drug, levocetirizine.The positive results obtained with the IQ-CSRC study require additional confirmation with threshold QTc-positive and negative drugs and established QTc prolongers producing both increases and decreases in heart rate. In the future, similar studies should also adopt and validate innovative proarrhythmic metrics, in addition to, or instead of, the traditional proarrhythmic surrogate of QTc, to assess the proarrhythmic safety of candidate drugs.


PubMed | Maynard Center
Type: | Journal: Current protocols in toxicology | Year: 2016

More relevant and reliable preclinical cardiotoxicity tests are required to improve drug safety and reduce the cost of drug development. Human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hSC-CMs) provide a potential model for the development of superior assays for preclinical drug safety screening. One such hSC-CM assay that has shown significant potential for enabling more predictive drug cardiac risk assessment is the MEA assay. The Multi-electrode Array (MEA) assay is an electrophysiology-based technique that uses microelectrodes embedded in the culture surface of each well to measure fluctuations in extracellular field potential (FP) generated from spontaneously beating hSC-CMs. Perturbations to the recorded FP waveform can be used as an unbiased method of predicting the identity of ion channel(s) impacted on drug exposure. Here, a higher throughput MEA assay using hSC-CMs in 48-well MEA plates is described for profiling compound-induced effects on cardiomyocyte electrophysiology. Techniques for preparing hSC-CM monolayers in MEA plates and methods to contextualize MEA assay experimental results are also covered. 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


PubMed | 13765 Seabiscuit Drive, Maynard Center, University Pierre and Marie Curie, 54 Rue de la Glaciere and Sanofi S.A.
Type: | Journal: Journal of pharmacological and toxicological methods | Year: 2016

The Comprehensive in vitro Proarrhythmia Assay (CiPA) is a nonclinical Safety Pharmacology paradigm for discovering electrophysiological mechanisms that are likely to confer proarrhythmic liability to drug candidates intended for human use.Key talks delivered at the CiPA on my mind session, held during the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Safety Pharmacology Society (SPS), are summarized. Issues and potential solutions relating to crucial constituents [e.g., biological materials (ion channels and pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes), study platforms, drug solutions, and data analysis] of CiPA core assays are critically examined.In order to advance the CiPA paradigm from the current testing and validation stages to a research and regulatory drug development strategy, systematic guidance by CiPA stakeholders is necessary to expedite solutions to pending and newly arising issues. Once a study protocol is proved to yield robust and reproducible results within and across laboratories, it can be implemented as qualified regulatory procedure.


PubMed | Maynard Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology | Year: 2015

More relevant and reliable preclinical cardiotoxicity tests are required to improve drug safety and reduce the cost of drug development. Current in vitro testing strategies predominantly take the form of functional assays to predict the potential for drug-induced ECG abnormalities in vivo. Cardiotoxicity can also be structural in nature, so a full and efficient assessment of cardiac liabilities for new chemical entities should account for both these phenomena. As well as providing a more appropriate nonclinical model for in vitro cardiotoxicity testing, human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes offer an integrated system to study drug impact on cardiomyocyte structure as well as function. Employing human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiacmyocytes (hESC-CMs) on 3 assay platforms with complementary insights into cardiac biology (multielectrode array assay, electrophysiology; impedance assay, cell movement/beating; and high content analysis assay, subcellular structure) we profiled a panel of 13 drugs with well characterized cardiac liabilities (Amiodarone, Aspirin, Astemizole, Axitinib, AZT, Bepridil, Doxorubicin, E-4031, Mexiletine, Rosiglitazone, Sunitinib, Sibutramine, and Verapamil). Our data show good correlations with previous studies and reported clinical observations. Using multiparameter phenotypic profiling techniques we demonstrate the dynamic relationship that exists between functional and structural toxicity, and the benefits of this more holistic approach to risk assessment. We conclude by showing for the first time how the advent of transparent MEA plate technology enables functional and structural cardiotoxic responses to be recorded from the same cell population. This approach more directly links changes in morphology of the hESC-CMs with recorded electrophysiology signatures, offering even greater insight into the wide range of potential drug impacts on cardiac physiology, with a throughput that is more amenable to early drug discovery.

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