Robarts Research Institute

London, Canada

Robarts Research Institute

London, Canada

The Robarts Research Institute is in London, Ontario, Canada with a staff of more than 600 people. Robarts scientists include physicians and physicists, biologists and biomedical engineers, and the range of diseases they study include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and many forms of cancer. It is also well known for its medical imaging research. Robarts was amalgamated with the University of Western Ontario in July 2007, leaving the Perimeter Institute as the only independent scientific research institution in Canada. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Using two simple blood tests, Western University researchers were able to drastically improve treatment for resistant hypertension across three sites in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. The study, published online today in the American Journal of Hypertension, demonstrates that for patients in Africa with hard-to-control hypertension, identifying the cause was the key to lowering blood pressure. By testing patients' levels of plasma renin, a protein secreted by the kidneys, in combination with levels of aldosterone, a hormone that causes salt and water retention, physicians were able to identify the physiological changes causing the hypertension. This led to personalized and more accurate therapy. "If a patient has salt and water retention, it causes high blood pressure and also feeds back and shuts down both renin and aldosterone," said Dr. David Spence, principal investigator on the study and a professor at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Patients with low levels of both renin and aldosterone are more likely to have salt and water retention due to mutations affecting the kidney tubules; they respond specifically to a medication called amiloride. Such mutations account for approximately 6 per cent of hypertension in North America, but were more common among the African patients studied. Of the 94 patients who completed the study, 42 were treated with the usual course of treatment, 52 were given the blood tests, and treatment was decided based on the results. In the group who were given usual treatment, 11.1 per cent had controlled blood pressure after one year, versus 50 per cent in the group that received the blood test. "The biggest difference is that there were more people being prescribed amiloride in the physiological treatment group," said Spence, who is also a scientist at Robarts Research Institute at Western. The authors say the motivation for this study came from the observation that patients from North Buxton, Ontario - a settlement established in 1849 for escaped slaves from the United States - were much more likely to have salt and water retention. Spence believes because of the hot, dry climate in African countries, mutations causing salt and water retention provided a survival advantage. Spence hopes that this study will help inform guidelines for treatment of resistant hypertension, not just in Africa but for those of African decent living in other parts of the world, and for all patients with resistant hypertension. The study was funded by Grand Challenges Canada. Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community. ABOUT THE SCHULICH SCHOOL OF MEDICINE & DENTISTRY The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada's preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery.


Szaro B.G.,University at Albany | Strong M.J.,Robarts Research Institute
Trends in Neurosciences | Year: 2010

Neurofilament (NF) protein expression is coupled to axon development and the maintenance of neuronal homeostasis. Here, we present evidence that this tight regulation depends critically on post-transcriptionally regulated changes in NF mRNA transport, translation and stability. Recent studies have shown that post-transcriptional mechanisms modulate increases in NF gene transcription during axon regeneration to yield the final pattern of NF protein expression. Other recent work has found that post-transcriptional control of NFs shares elements with that of other axonal proteins and that its dysregulation contributes to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Such studies herald a novel approach to understanding how neurons coordinate the expressions of functionally related proteins and provide new insights into how the dysregulation of this control can lead to disease. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Feagan B.G.,Robarts Research Institute
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2012

Oral 5-aminosalicylic (5-ASA) preparations were intended to avoid the adverse effects of sulfasalazine (SASP) while maintaining its therapeutic benefits. Previously, it was found that 5-ASA drugs were more effective than placebo but had a statistically significant therapeutic inferiority relative to SASP. This updated review includes more recent studies and evaluates the effectiveness, dose-responsiveness, and safety of 5-ASA preparations used for maintenance of remission in quiescent ulcerative colitis. The primary objectives were to assess the efficacy, dose-responsiveness and safety of oral 5-ASA compared to placebo, SASP, or 5-ASA comparators for maintenance of remission in quiescent ulcerative colitis. A secondary objective was to compare the efficacy and safety of once daily dosing of oral 5-ASA with conventional (two or three times daily) dosing regimens. A literature search for relevant studies (inception to January 20, 2012) was performed using MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library. Review articles and conference proceedings were also searched to identify additional studies. Studies were accepted for analysis if they were randomized controlled trials with a minimum treatment duration of six months. Studies of oral 5-ASA therapy for treatment of patients with quiescent ulcerative colitis compared with placebo, SASP or other 5-ASA formulations were considered for inclusion. Studies that compared once daily 5-ASA treatment with conventional dosing of 5-ASA and 5-ASA dose ranging studies were also considered for inclusion. The primary outcome was the failure to maintain clinical or endoscopic remission. Secondary outcomes included adherence, adverse events, withdrawals due to adverse events, and withdrawals or exclusions after entry. Trials were separated into five comparison groups: 5-ASA versus placebo, 5-ASA versus sulfasalazine, once daily dosing versus conventional dosing, 5-ASA versus comparator 5-ASA formulation, and 5-ASA dose-ranging. Placebo-controlled trials were subgrouped by dosage. Once daily versus conventional dosing studies were subgrouped by formulation. 5-ASA-controlled trials were subgrouped by common 5-ASA comparators (e.g. Asacol and Salofalk). Dose-ranging studies were subgrouped by 5-ASA formulation. We calculated the relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for each outcome. Data were analyzed on an intention to treat basis. Thirty-eight studies (8127 patients) were included. The majority of included studies were rated as low risk of bias. Eight studies were rated at high risk of bias. Six of these studies were single-blind and two studies were open-label. However, the two open-label studies and four of the single-blind studies utilized investigator performed endoscopy as an endpoint, which may protect against bias. 5-ASA was significantly superior to placebo for maintenance of clinical or endoscopic remission. Forty-one per cent of 5-ASA patients relapsed compared to 58% of placebo patients (7 studies, 1298 patients; RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.77). There was a trend towards greater efficacy with higher doses of 5-ASA with a statistically significant benefit for the 1 to 1.9 g/day (RR 0.65; 95% CI 0.56 to 0.76) and the > 2 g/day subgroups (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.89). SASP was significantly superior to 5-ASA for maintenance of remission. Forty-eight per cent of 5-ASA patients relapsed compared to 43% of SASP patients (12 studies, 1655 patients; RR 1.14, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.27). A GRADE analysis indicated that the overall quality of the evidence for the primary outcome for the placebo and SASP-controlled studies was high. No statistically significant differences in efficacy or adherence were found between once daily and conventionally dosed 5-ASA. Twenty-nine per cent of once daily patients relapsed over 12 months compared to 31% of conventionally dosed patients (7 studies, 2826 patients; RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.03). Fourteen per cent of patients in the once daily group failed to adhere to their medication regimen compared to 11% of patients in the conventional dosing group (5 studies, 1161 patients; RR 1.21, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.63). There does not appear to be any difference in efficacy among the various 5-ASA formulations. Thirty-eight per cent of patients in the 5-ASA group relapsed compared to 37% of patients in the 5-ASA comparator group (5 studies, 457 patients; RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.28). A pooled analysis of two studies showed no statistically significant difference in efficacy between Balsalazide 6 g and 3 g/day. Twenty-three per cent of patients in the 6 g/day group relapsed compared to 33% of patients in the 3 g/day group (216 patients; RR 0.72; 95% CI 0.46 to 1.13). One study found Balsalazide 4 g to be superior to 2 g/day. Thirty-seven per cent of patients in the 4 g/day Balsalazide group relapsed compared to 55% of patients in the 2 g/day group (133 patients; RR 0.66; 95% CI 0.45 to 0.97). One study found a statistically significant difference between Salofalk granules 3 g and 1.5 g/day. Twenty-five per cent of patients in the Salofalk 3 g/day group relapsed compared to 39% of patients in the 1.5 g/day group (429 patients; RR 0.65; 95% CI 0.49 to 0.86). Common adverse events included flatulence, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, headache, dyspepsia, and nasopharyngitis. There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of adverse events between 5-ASA and placebo, 5-ASA and SASP, once daily and conventionally dosed 5-ASA, 5-ASA and comparator 5-ASA formulations and 5-ASA dose ranging studies. The trials that compared 5-ASA and SASP may have been biased in favour of SASP because most trials enrolled patients known to be tolerant to SASP which may have minimized SASP-related adverse events. 5-ASA was superior to placebo for maintenance therapy in ulcerative colitis. However, 5-ASA had a statistically significant therapeutic inferiority relative to SASP. Oral 5-ASA administered once daily is as effective and safe as conventional dosing for maintenance of remission in quiescent ulcerative colitis. There does not appear to be any difference in efficacy or safety between the various formulations of 5-ASA. Patients with extensive ulcerative colitis or with frequent relapses may benefit from a higher dose of maintenance therapy. High dose therapy appears to be as safe as low dose and is not associated with a higher incidence of adverse events.


Feagan B.G.,Robarts Research Institute
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2012

Oral 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) preparations were intended to avoid the adverse effects of sulfasalazine (SASP) while maintaining its therapeutic benefits. Previously, it was found that 5-ASA drugs in doses of at least 2 g/day, were more effective than placebo but no more effective than SASP for inducing remission in ulcerative colitis. This updated review includes more recent studies and evaluates the efficacy and safety of 5-ASA preparations used for the treatment of mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis. The primary objectives were to assess the efficacy, dose-responsiveness and safety of oral 5-ASA compared to placebo, SASP, or 5-ASA comparators for induction of remission in active ulcerative colitis. A secondary objective of this systematic review was to compare the efficacy and safety of once daily dosing of oral 5-ASA with conventional (two or three times daily) dosing regimens. A computer-assisted literature search for relevant studies (inception to January 20, 2012) was performed using MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library. Review articles and conference proceedings were also searched to identify additional studies. Studies were accepted for analysis if they were randomized controlled clinical trials of parallel design, with a minimum treatment duration of four weeks. Studies of oral 5-ASA therapy for treatment of patients with active ulcerative colitis compared with placebo, SASP or other formulations of 5-ASA were considered for inclusion. Studies that compared once daily 5-ASA treatment with conventional dosing of 5-ASA (two or three times daily) and 5-ASA dose ranging studies were also considered for inclusion. The outcomes of interest were the failure to induce global/clinical remission, global/clinical improvement, endoscopic remission, endoscopic improvement, adherence, adverse events, withdrawals due to adverse events, and withdrawals or exclusions after entry. Trials were separated into five comparison groups: 5-ASA versus placebo, 5-ASA versus sulfasalazine, once daily dosing versus conventional dosing, 5-ASA versus comparator 5-ASA, and 5-ASA dose-ranging. Placebo-controlled trials were subgrouped by dosage. SASP-controlled trials were subgrouped by 5-ASA/SASP mass ratios. Once daily versus conventional dosing studies were subgrouped by formulation. 5-ASA-controlled trials were subgrouped by common 5-ASA comparators (e.g. Asacol, Claversal, Salofalk and Pentasa). Dose-ranging studies were subgrouped by 5-ASA formulation. We calculated the relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for each outcome. Data were analyzed on an intention to treat basis. Forty-eight studies (7776 patients) were included. The majority of included studies were rated as low risk of bias. 5-ASA was significantly superior to placebo with regard to all measured outcome variables. Seventy-two per cent of 5-ASA patients failed to enter clinical remission compared to 85% of placebo patients (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.91). A dose-response trend for 5-ASA was also observed. No statistically significant differences in efficacy were found between 5-ASA and SASP. Fifty-four per cent of 5-ASA patients failed to enter remission compared to 58% of SASP patients (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.04). No statistically significant differences in efficacy or adherence were found between once daily and conventionally dosed 5-ASA. Forty-two per cent of once daily patients failed to enter clinical remission compared to 44% of conventionally dosed patients (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.10). Eight per cent of patients dosed once daily failed to adhere to their medication regimen compared to 6% of conventionally dosed patients (RR 1.36, 95% CI 0.64 to 2.86). There does not appear to be any difference in efficacy among the various 5-ASA formulations. Forty-eight per cent of patients in the 5-ASA group failed to enter remission compared to 50% of patients in the 5-ASA comparator group (RR 0.94, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.03). A pooled analysis of the ASCEND (I, II and III, n = 1459 patients) studies found no statistically significant difference in clinical improvement between Asacol 4.8 g/day and 2.4 g/day used for the treatment of moderately active ulcerative colitis. Thirty-seven per cent of patients in the 4.8 g/day group failed to improve clinically compared to 41% of patients in the 2.4 g/day group (RR 0.89; 95% CI 0.78 to 1.01). Subgroup analysis indicated that patients with moderate disease may benefit from the higher dose of 4.8 g/day. One study compared (n = 123 patients) Pentasa 4 g/day to 2.25 g/day in patients with moderate disease. Twenty-five per cent of patients in the 4 g/day group failed to improve clinically compared to 57% of patients in the 2.25 g/day group (RR 0.44; 95% CI 0.27 to 0.71). A pooled analysis of two studies comparing MMX mesalamine 4.8 g/day to 2.4 g/day found no statistically significant difference in efficacy (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.29). 5-ASA was generally safe and common adverse events included flatulence, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, headache and worsening ulcerative colitis. There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence of adverse events between 5-ASA and placebo, once daily and conventionally dosed 5-ASA, 5-ASA and comparator 5-ASA formulation and 5-ASA dose ranging (high dose versus low dose) studies. SASP was not as well tolerated as 5-ASA. Twenty-nine percent of SASP patients experienced an adverse event compared to 15% of 5-ASA patients (RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.63). 5-ASA was superior to placebo and no more effective than SASP. Considering their relative costs, a clinical advantage to using oral 5-ASA in place of SASP appears unlikely. 5-ASA dosed once daily appears to be as efficacious and safe as conventionally dosed 5-ASA. Adherence does not appear to be enhanced by once daily dosing in the clinical trial setting. It is unknown if once daily dosing of 5-ASA improves adherence in a community-based setting. There do not appear to be any differences in efficacy or safety among the various 5-ASA formulations. A daily dosage of 2.4 g appears to be a safe and effective induction therapy for patients with mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis. Patients with moderate disease may benefit from an initial dose of 4.8 g/day.


BACKGROUND: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by cerebral deposition of β-amyloid peptide (Aβ). Aβ is produced by sequential cleavage of the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretases. Many studies have demonstrated that the internalization of APP from the cell surface can regulate Aβ production, although the exact organelle in which Aβ is produced remains contentious. A number of recent studies suggest that intracellular trafficking also plays a role in regulating Aβ production, but these pathways are relatively under-studied. The goal of this study was to elucidate the intracellular trafficking of APP, and to examine the site of intracellular APP processing.RESULTS: We have tagged APP on its C-terminal cytoplasmic tail with photoactivatable Green Fluorescent Protein (paGFP). By photoactivating APP-paGFP in the Golgi, using the Golgi marker Galactosyltranferase fused to Cyan Fluorescent Protein (GalT-CFP) as a target, we are able to follow a population of nascent APP molecules from the Golgi to downstream compartments identified with compartment markers tagged with red fluorescent protein (mRFP or mCherry); including rab5 (early endosomes) rab9 (late endosomes) and LAMP1 (lysosomes). Because γ-cleavage of APP releases the cytoplasmic tail of APP including the photoactivated GFP, resulting in loss of fluorescence, we are able to visualize the cleavage of APP in these compartments. Using APP-paGFP, we show that APP is rapidly trafficked from the Golgi apparatus to the lysosome; where it is rapidly cleared. Chloroquine and the highly selective γ-secretase inhibitor, L685, 458, cause the accumulation of APP in lysosomes implying that APP is being cleaved by secretases in the lysosome. The Swedish mutation dramatically increases the rate of lysosomal APP processing, which is also inhibited by chloroquine and L685, 458. By knocking down adaptor protein 3 (AP-3; a heterotetrameric protein complex required for trafficking many proteins to the lysosome) using siRNA, we are able to reduce this lysosomal transport. Blocking lysosomal transport of APP reduces Aβ production by more than a third.CONCLUSION: These data suggests that AP-3 mediates rapid delivery of APP to lysosomes, and that the lysosome is a likely site of Aβ production.


Patent
University of Washington and Robarts Research Institute | Date: 2013-01-16

Methods are provided for increasing stem cells, hematopoietic progenitor/stem cells, mesenchymal progenitor/stem cells, mesodermal progenitor/stem cells, muscle progenitor/stem cells, or neural progenitor/stem cells in vivo in a mammalian subject. Methods are also provided for treating an immune related disease, a mesenchymal/mesoderm degenerative disease, or a neurodegenerative disease by administering one or more Wnt/ss-catenin signal-, Notch signal-, or Hedgehog signal-promoting agents to a mammalian subject in need thereof.


Patent
Robarts Research Institute | Date: 2013-10-09

The present invention relates to therapeutic use of a combination of Myxoma virus, including in combination with rapamycin. Treatment with rapamycin enhances the ability of Myxoma virus to selectively infect cells that have a deficient innate anti-viral response, including cells that are not responsive to interferon. The combination of rapamycin and Myxoma virus can be used to treat diseases characterized by the presence of such cells, including cancer. The invention also relates to therapeutic use of Myxoma virus that does not express functional M135R.


Patent
Robarts Research Institute and University of Washington | Date: 2013-01-08

Methods are provided for increasing stem cells, hematopoietic progenitor/stem cells, mesenchymal progenitor/stem cells, mesodermal progenitor/stem cells, muscle progenitor/stem cells, or neural progenitor/stem cells in vivo in a mammalian subject. Methods are also provided for treating an immune related disease, a mesenchymal/mesoderm degenerative disease, or a neurodegenerative disease in a mammalian subject in need thereof.


Patent
Robarts Research Institute | Date: 2013-08-19

Myxoma viruses that are deficient in the activity of a Myxoma virus protein selected from the group consisting of M11L, M063, M 136, M-T4 and M-T7 are useful for treating cancer.


Patent
Robarts Research Institute | Date: 2016-01-21

Myxoma viruses that are deficient in the activity of a Myxoma virus protein selected from the group consisting of M11L, M063, M 136, M-T4 and M-T7 are useful for treating cancer.

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