Nicosia, Cyprus
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Pitsillides C.,Cyprus University of Technology | Kapnisis K.,Cyprus University of Technology | Prokopi M.,Trojantec Ltd | Kousparou C.,Trojantec Ltd | Anayiotos A.,Cyprus University of Technology
IEEE 12th International Conference on BioInformatics and BioEngineering, BIBE 2012 | Year: 2012

We report a new approach for potential monitoring of tumor burden in experimental animals using multichannel in vivo flow cytometry, a novel optical technique that enables the realtime, continuous detection and quantification of fluorescently labeled cells in the circulation without the need for blood extraction. The ability to non-invasively track circulating cells in real time and in their native environment, opens up enormous possibilities for new investigations into the mechanisms that govern the complex trafficking and tissue interactions of these cells in a wide range of clinical and biological fields such as cancer, stem cell biology and immunology. We have developed the in vivo flow cytometer in order to track circulating cancer cells in a mouse model and provide a new, non-invasive method for the monitoring of cancer disease progression as well as the response to therapeutic intervention. © 2012 IEEE.


Prokopi M.,Trojantec Ltd | Prokopi M.,Cyprus University of Technology | Kousparou C.A.,Trojantec Ltd | Epenetos A.A.,Trojantec Ltd | Epenetos A.A.,St. Bartholomew's Hospital
Frontiers in Oncology | Year: 2014

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in the development of some if not all cancer types and have been identified as attractive targets for prognosis, diagnosis and therapy of the disease. MiRNAs are a class of small non-coding RNAs (20-22 nucleotides in length) that bind imperfectly to the 3'-untranslated region of target mRNA regulating gene expression. Aberrantly expressed miRNAs in cancer, sometimes known as oncomiRNAs, have been shown to play a major role in oncogenesis, metastasis and drug resistance. Amplification of oncomiRNAs during cancer development correlates with the silencing of tumor suppressor genes; on the other hand, down-regulation of miRNAs has also been observed in cancer and cancer stem cells (CSCs). In both cases, miRNA regulation is inversely correlated with cancer progression. Growing evidence indicates that miRNAs are also involved in the metastatic process by either suppressing or promoting metastasis-related genes leading to the reduction or activation of cancer cell migration and invasion processes. In particular, circulating miRNAs (vesicle-encapsulated or non-encapsulated) have significant effects on tumorigenesis: membrane-particles, apoptotic bodies and exosomes have been described as providers of a cell-to-cell communication system transporting oncogenic miRNAs from tumors to neighboring cells and distant metastatic sites. It is hypothesized that miRNAs control cancer development in a traditional manner, by regulating signaling pathways and factors. In addition, recent developments indicate a non-conventional mechanism of cancer regulation by stem cell reprogramming via a regulatory network consisting of miRNAs and Wnt/β-catenin, Notch, and Hedgehog signaling pathways, all of which are involved in controlling stem cell functions of CSCs. In this review, we focus on the role of miRNAs in the Notch pathway and how they regulate CSC self-renewal, differentiation and tumorigenesis by direct/indirect targeting of the Notch pathway. © 2014 Prokopi, Kousparou and Epenetos.


Kapnisis K.,Cyprus University of Technology | Pitsillides C.,Cyprus University of Technology | Prokopi M.,Trojantec Ltd | Constantinides G.,Cyprus University of Technology | And 6 more authors.
IFMBE Proceedings | Year: 2016

Despite a considerable clinical and investigative emphasis on the problem of in-stent restenosis (ISR), complications arising from the interaction of stent materials with the surrounding vessel wall as well as from the mechanical forces developing during and after implantation, remain a significant problem. Nanoindentation studies performed on various locations along the stent struts have shown that the hardness of specific stent locations significantly increases after mechanical expansion. The increase in hardness was associated with a reduction of the material‘s ability to dissipate energy in plastic deformations and therefore with an increased vulnerability to fracture and fatigue. It was concluded that the locations of fatigue fractures in stent struts are controlled not only by the geometrically-driven stress concentrations developing during cyclic loading but also by the local material mechanical changes that are imparted on various parts of the stent during the deployment process. Additionally, the project focused on investigating the effect of stent corrosion in an animal model in order to explore a possible link between metal ion release, inflammation and factors thought to initiate ISR. To evaluate the vessel inflammatory response, stents with active corrosion were implanted in mice abdominal aortas and novel in vivo imaging techniques were employed to assess the trafficking and accumulation of fluorescent donor monocytes as well as the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells at the implantation site. The in vivo imaging analysis revealed that elevated metal particle contamination, prompted by corroded stents, triggers an inflammatory response and promotes monocyte recruitment with upregulation of MMPs at the site of injury. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


Johdi N.A.,Imperial College London | Johdi N.A.,UKM Medical Molecular Biology Institute UMBI | Harman R.,Imperial College London | Sanjuan I.,Imperial College London | And 5 more authors.
Protein Expression and Purification | Year: 2013

Tumour-associated splice variants of fibronectin are a major source of tumour-matrix associated targets and are proving very successful in the development of clinical agents to treat cancer. One of the first monoclonal antibodies to be produced to this target, murine BC-1, recognises a cryptic epitope in domain 7 of the B-form splice variant (EDB-FN). Antibody fragments based on this immunoglobulin (IgG) were unstable, but BC-1 humanisation provided an opportunity to produce a more stable single-chain Fv (scFv). The variable domains of the humanized BC-1 IgG were sub-cloned and constructed into a scFv (HuBC-1 scFv) which was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli. The scFv retained its conformationally-sensitive epitope recognition and demonstrated a good affinity to the target of around 50 nM as measured by ELISA, Surface Plasmon Resonance and Flow Cytometry. Furthermore, the scFv was thermostable and stable in serum allowing substantial localisation to human tumours grown in mouse xenograft models. This scFv could form the basis of future tumour-specific biopharmaceuticals.© 2013 Georg Thieme Verlag KGStuttgart . New York.


Kapnisis K.K.,Cyprus University of Technology | Pitsillides C.M.,Cyprus University of Technology | Prokopi M.S.,Trojantec Ltd. | Lapathitis G.,Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A | Year: 2016

The popularity of vascular stents continues to increase for a variety of applications, including coronary, lower limb, renal, carotid, and neurovascular disorders. However, their clinical effectiveness is hindered by numerous postdeployment complications, which may stimulate inflammatory and fibrotic reactions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the vessel inflammatory response via in vivo imaging in a mouse stent implantation model. Corroded and noncorroded self-expanding miniature nitinol stents were implanted in mice abdominal aortas, and novel in vivo imaging techniques were used to assess trafficking and accumulation of fluorescent donor monocytes as well as cellular proliferation at the implantation site. Monocytes were quantitatively tracked in vivo and found to rapidly clear from circulation within hours after injection. Differences were found between the test groups with respect to the numbers of recruited monocytes and the intensity of the resulting fluorescent signal. Image analysis also revealed a subtle increase in matrix metalloproteinase activity in corroded compared with the normal stented aortas. In conclusion, this study has been successful in developing a murine stent inflammation model and applying novel in vivo imaging tools and methods to monitor the complex biological processes of the host vascular wall response. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Kousparou C.A.,Trojantec Ltd | Kousparou C.A.,Imperial College London | Yiacoumi E.,Trojantec Ltd | Deonarain M.P.,Imperial College London | And 2 more authors.
BMC Cancer | Year: 2012

Background: A significant number of cancers are caused by defects in p21 causing functional defects in p21 or p53 tumour-suppressor proteins. This has led to many therapeutic approaches including restoration by gene therapy with wild-type p53 or p21 using viral or liposomal vectors, which have toxicity or side-effect limitations. We set out to develop a safer, novel fusion protein which has the ability to reconstitute cancer cell lines with active p21 by protein transduction.Methods: The fusion protein was produced from the cell-translocating peptide Antennapedia (Antp) and wild-type, full-length p21 (Antp-p21). This was expressed and refolded from E. coli and tested on a variety of cell lines and tumours (in a BALB/c nude xenograft model) with differing p21 or p53 status.Results: Antp-p21 penetrated and killed cancer cells that do not express wild type p53 or p21. This included cells that were matched to cogenic parental cell lines. Antp-p21 killed cancer cells selectively that were malignant as a result of mutations or nuclear exclusion of the p53 and p21 genes and over-expression of MDM2. Non-specific toxicity was excluded by showing that Antp-p21 penetrated but did not kill p53- or p21- wild-type cells. Antp-p21 was not immunogenic in normal New Zealand White rabbits. Recombinant Antp peptide alone was not cytotoxic, showing that killing was due to the transduction of the p21 component of Antp-p21. Antp-p21 was shown to penetrate cancer cells engrafted in vivo and resulted in tumour eradication when administered with conventionally-used chemotherapeutic agents, which alone were unable to produce such an effect.Conclusions: Antp-p21 may represent a new and promising targeted therapy for patients with p53-associated cancers supporting the concept that rational design of therapies directed against specific cancer mutations will play a part in the future of medical oncology. © 2012 Kousparou et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Prokopi M.,Trojantec Ltd. | Prokopi M.,Cyprus University of Technology | Kousparou C.A.,Trojantec Ltd. | Epenetos A.A.,Trojantec Ltd. | And 3 more authors.
Frontiers in Oncology | Year: 2015

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in the development of some if not all cancer types and have been identified as attractive targets for prognosis, diagnosis, and therapy of the disease. miRNAs are a class of small non-coding RNAs (20-22 nt in length) that bind imperfectly to the 3'-untranslated region of target mRNA regulating gene expression. Aberrantly expressed miRNAs in cancer, sometimes known as oncomiRNAs, have been shown to play a major role in oncogenesis, metastasis, and drug resistance. Amplification of oncomiRNAs during cancer development correlates with the silencing of tumor suppressor genes; on the other hand, down-regulation of miRNAs has also been observed in cancer and cancer stem cells (CSCs). In both cases, miRNA regulation is inversely correlated with cancer progression. Growing evidence indicates that miRNAs are also involved in the metastatic process by either suppressing or promoting metastasis-related genes leading to the reduction or activation of cancer cell migration and invasion processes. In particular, circulating miRNAs (vesicle-encapsulated or non-encapsulated) have significant effects on tumorigenesis: membrane-particles, apoptotic bodies, and exosomes have been described as providers of a cell-to-cell communication system transporting oncogenic miRNAs from tumors to neighboring cells and distant metastatic sites. It is hypothesized that miRNAs control cancer development in a traditional manner, by regulating signaling pathways and factors. In addition, recent developments indicate a non-conventional mechanism of cancer regulation by stem cell reprograming via a regulatory network consisting of miRNAs and Wnt/ß-catenin, Notch, and Hedgehog signaling pathways, all of which are involved in controlling stem cell functions of CSCs. In this review, we focus on the role of miRNAs in the Notch-pathway and how they regulate CSC self-renewal, differentiation and tumorigenesis by direct/indirect targeting of the Notch-pathway. © 2015 Prokopi, Kousparou and Epenetos.


PubMed | Trojantec Ltd., Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics and University of Alabama at Birmingham
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A | Year: 2015

The popularity of vascular stents continues to increase for a variety of applications, including coronary, lower limb, renal, carotid, and neurovascular disorders. However, their clinical effectiveness is hindered by numerous postdeployment complications, which may stimulate inflammatory and fibrotic reactions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the vessel inflammatory response via in vivo imaging in a mouse stent implantation model. Corroded and noncorroded self-expanding miniature nitinol stents were implanted in mice abdominal aortas, and novel in vivo imaging techniques were used to assess trafficking and accumulation of fluorescent donor monocytes as well as cellular proliferation at the implantation site. Monocytes were quantitatively tracked in vivo and found to rapidly clear from circulation within hours after injection. Differences were found between the test groups with respect to the numbers of recruited monocytes and the intensity of the resulting fluorescent signal. Image analysis also revealed a subtle increase in matrix metalloproteinase activity in corroded compared with the normal stented aortas. In conclusion, this study has been successful in developing a murine stent inflammation model and applying novel in vivo imaging tools and methods to monitor the complex biological processes of the host vascular wall response.


PubMed | Trojantec Ltd., Cyprus University of Technology and St. Bartholomew's Hospital
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in oncology | Year: 2015

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in the development of some if not all cancer types and have been identified as attractive targets for prognosis, diagnosis, and therapy of the disease. miRNAs are a class of small non-coding RNAs (20-22nt in length) that bind imperfectly to the 3-untranslated region of target mRNA regulating gene expression. Aberrantly expressed miRNAs in cancer, sometimes known as oncomiRNAs, have been shown to play a major role in oncogenesis, metastasis, and drug resistance. Amplification of oncomiRNAs during cancer development correlates with the silencing of tumor suppressor genes; on the other hand, down-regulation of miRNAs has also been observed in cancer and cancer stem cells (CSCs). In both cases, miRNA regulation is inversely correlated with cancer progression. Growing evidence indicates that miRNAs are also involved in the metastatic process by either suppressing or promoting metastasis-related genes leading to the reduction or activation of cancer cell migration and invasion processes. In particular, circulating miRNAs (vesicle-encapsulated or non-encapsulated) have significant effects on tumorigenesis: membrane-particles, apoptotic bodies, and exosomes have been described as providers of a cell-to-cell communication system transporting oncogenic miRNAs from tumors to neighboring cells and distant metastatic sites. It is hypothesized that miRNAs control cancer development in a traditional manner, by regulating signaling pathways and factors. In addition, recent developments indicate a non-conventional mechanism of cancer regulation by stem cell reprograming via a regulatory network consisting of miRNAs and Wnt/-catenin, Notch, and Hedgehog signaling pathways, all of which are involved in controlling stem cell functions of CSCs. In this review, we focus on the role of miRNAs in the Notch-pathway and how they regulate CSC self-renewal, differentiation and tumorigenesis by direct/indirect targeting of the Notch-pathway.

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