Havana, Cuba

University of Habana

Havana, Cuba

The University of Havana or UH is a university located in the Vedado district of Havana, Cuba. Founded in 1728, the University of Havana is the oldest university in Cuba, and one of the first to be founded in the Americas. Originally a religious institution, today the University of Havana has 15 faculties at its Havana campus and distance learning centers throughout Cuba. Wikipedia.

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Proteoliposomes purified from the Outer Membrane of Neisseria meningitidis B, have been successfully used as core for adjuvants and vaccine formulations. We have tried to increase their structural definition and to conserve their efficacy and stability avoiding the addition of the aluminum hydroxide to the final formulation. Liposomal particle systems were prepared from components of defined molecular structure, such as a Neisseria meningitidis B protein complex, extracted and purified without forming vesicle structures. Liposomes were prepared from a mixture of dioleoyl phosphatidyl serine and cholesterol, using the classical dehydration-rehydration method. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) was used to characterize the liposomes. BALB/c mice were used for animal testing procedures. Analysis of specific IgG response, serum bactericidal activity as well as DTH reaction was carried out. Isolation and purification of mRNA and real-time PCR, was performed to determine the dominating Th lymphokine pattern. The new antimeningococcal formulation without aluminum hydroxide prepared with components of defined molecular structure assembled itself into Neoproteoliposomes (NPL) ranging from 50 to 70 nm in diameter. The extraction and purification of selected membrane proteins to provide the antigen for this new formulation (PD-Tp), as well as the NPL-formulation favors a Th1 response pattern, suggested by the higher percentages of DTH, increased expression of proinflamatory lymphokine mRNAs when administered by intramuscular and intranasal routes. It stimulates a systemic bactericidal antibody response against Neisseria meningitidis B and immunologic memory similar to the Cuban VA-MENGOC-BC vaccine, even at lower dosages and is less reactogenic at the injection site in comparison with the formulation with aluminum hydroxide. This new adjuvant formulation could be applicable to the development of new and improved vaccines against meningococcal disease, and eventually as modulators of the immune response against other diseases.

Cao-Milan R.,University of Habana | Liz-Marzan L.M.,CIC Biomagune | Liz-Marzan L.M.,Ikerbasque
Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery | Year: 2014

Introduction: Gold nanoparticles display a unique combination of chemical inertness, surface chemistry and size- and shape-dependent electronic and optical properties, which render them ideal for clinical applications. Areas covered: The present article describes recent advancements on the application of gold nanoparticles in vaccine development and gene therapy, with augmented efficiencies in cell uptake, specific binding to bioreceptors in cells, protection of conjugated biomolecules and so forth. Additionally, we discuss how the electronic structure of the nanoparticles can be exploited for enhanced radiotherapy and X-ray tomography, while their optical properties can be used for photothermal cancer therapy or light-triggered drug delivery systems for enhanced chemotherapy. Expert opinion: We analyze certain critical aspects and possible challenges that should be solved in order to use gold nanoparticle conjugates in vaccine research, as well as on the potential combination of properties to improve gene therapy and cancer treatment. © Informa UK, Ltd.

Cervera M.F.,University of Habana
AAPS PharmSciTech | Year: 2011

The effects of spray-drying process and acidic solvent system on physicochemical properties of chitosan salts were investigated. Chitosan used in spray dryings was obtained by deacetylation of chitin from lobster (Panulirus argus) origin. The chitosan acid salts were prepared in a laboratory-scale spray drier, and organic acetic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid were used as solvents in the process. The physicochemical properties of chitosan salts were investigated by means of solid-state CP-MAS (13)C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), differential scanning calorimetry, and Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) and near-infrared spectroscopy. The morphology of spray-dried chitosan acid salts showed tendency toward higher sphericity when higher temperatures in a spray-drying process were applied. Analysis by XRPD indicated that all chitosan acid salts studied were amorphous solids. Solid-state (13)C NMR spectra revealed the evidence of the partial conversion of chitosan acetate to chitin and also conversion to acetyl amide form which appears to be dependent on the spray-drying process. The FTIR spectra suggested that the organic acids applied in spray drying may interact with chitosan at the position of amino groups to form chitosan salts. With all three chitosan acid salts, the FTIR bands at 1,597 and 1,615 cm(-1) were diminished suggesting that -NH groups are protonated. The FTIR spectra of all chitosan acid salts exhibited ammonium and carboxylate bands at 1,630 and 1,556 cm(-1), respectively. In conclusion, spray drying is a potential method of preparing acid salts from chitosan obtained by deacetylation of chitin from lobster (P. argus) origin.

The electrical conductivity behavior of the [(Pb 0.88Sm 0.08)(Ti 0.99Mn 0.01)O 3]/ polyetherketoneketone ceramic/polymer composite is studied in a wide temperature and frequency ranges around the glass transition of the polymer phase (T g). The universal relaxation law is applied to model the experimental response. The dc conductivity (σ dc) and the hopping frequency (ω H) follow an Arrhenius dependence. The activation energy values for σ dc are associated to oxygen migration. The contribution of the conductive processes to the dielectric relaxation is analyzed, considering the oxygen vacancies concentration in the ceramic phase. It is also considered the structural change around T g and its influence on the dielectric relaxation. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.

De Jesus Llibre Rodriguez J.,University of Habana
MEDICC Review | Year: 2013

ABSTRACT Dementia is a syndrome that has great repercussions for quality of life of patients and their families, as well as a high social cost. A [2009] systematic review of research evidence and consensus of expert opinions showed that 36 million people live with dementia worldwide, with 4.6 million new cases every year (similar to the global incidence of nonfatal stroke). The prevalence of dementia in older Cubans is high, with rates ranging from 6.4% to 10.2%, or about 130,000 persons (1.1% of the total population). This number is expected to rise to 260,000 by 2030. The age-standardized annual incidence of dementia is also high: 21 per 1000 population, with 28,750 new cases annually. Dementia is the leading cause of disability among older adults and is the main cause of dependency, financial burden and caregiver stress. In this review, we highlight the importance of epidemiological research to obtain greater knowledge of the disease, improve health services, promote actions for prevention and early diagnosis, and implement a national strategy to address dementia in the Cuban population, itself now immersed in two processes: accelerated demographic aging and epidemiologic transition.

Cruz A.L.,University of Habana
Journal of Genetic Counseling | Year: 2013

This brief report provides an overview of the history and current status of genetic services in Cuba. In 1971, the University of Medical Sciences of Havana began to train doctors in medical genetics according to the medicine development plan in Cuba. With the aim of introducing genetic services to the population, two main issues were identified: the impact of neural tube defects as a cause of infantile mortality, and a founder effect resulting in a high frequency of sickle cell anemia, which increased the mortality rate and impacted the quality of peoples' lives. The impact of consanguinity is variable; it depends on the isolation of the population, with rates of 1 to 11% in different regions for first and second cousin marriages. From 1981, the services of medical genetics began to expand to the entire country, according to a government directive, and the need to design a program for the specialty became evident. From 1995 to 2000, two Masters-level programs were designed by professors of the Department of Medical Genetics, University of Medical Sciences of Havana, and authorized by the Ministry of Higher Education. One program in medical genetics was designed for physicians with other specialties, and the second program was designed to train professionals to become genetic counselors. The majority of graduates from the latter program are working at the primary level of healthcare © 2013 National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc.

Fernandez-De-Cossio Diaz J.,University of Habana | Fernandez-De-Cossio J.,Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Analytical Chemistry | Year: 2012

We derive a new efficient algorithm for the computation of the isotopic peak center-mass distribution of a molecule. With the use of Fourier transform techniques, the algorithm accurately computes the total abundance and average mass of all the isotopic species with the same number of nucleons. We evaluate the performance of the method with 10 benchmark proteins and other molecules; results are compared with BRAIN, a recently reported polynomial method. The new algorithm is comparable to BRAIN in accuracy and superior in terms of speed and memory, particularly for large molecules. An implementation of the algorithm is available for download. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Vera R.,University of Habana
Database : the journal of biological databases and curation | Year: 2013

The Java BioWareHouse (JBioWH) project is an open-source platform-independent programming framework that allows a user to build his/her own integrated database from the most popular data sources. JBioWH can be used for intensive querying of multiple data sources and the creation of streamlined task-specific data sets on local PCs. JBioWH is based on a MySQL relational database scheme and includes JAVA API parser functions for retrieving data from 20 public databases (e.g. NCBI, KEGG, etc.). It also includes a client desktop application for (non-programmer) users to query data. In addition, JBioWH can be tailored for use in specific circumstances, including the handling of massive queries for high-throughput analyses or CPU intensive calculations. The framework is provided with complete documentation and application examples and it can be downloaded from the Project Web site at http://code.google.com/p/jbiowh. A MySQL server is available for demonstration purposes at hydrax.icgeb.trieste.it:3307. Database URL: http://code.google.com/p/jbiowh.

Retained low-density lipoproteins (LDL) by arterial glycosaminoglycans (GAG) are more susceptible to reactive oxygen species-mediated oxidation, contributing to oxidative stress and atherosclerosis. Recently, we reported the properties of the chimeric mouse/human monoclonal antibody chP3R99-LALA to bind sulfated GAG, to inhibit LDL-chondroitin sulfate binding, and to avoid LDL oxidation in vitro. Here, we hypothesized that chP3R99-LALA treatment might reduce aortic oxidative stress in a therapeutic setting. Redox biomarkers and serum lipids were determined by spectrophotometric methods. Subcutaneous administration of five doses (100 μg) of chP3R99-LALA, after Lipofundin administration (2 mL/kg/day, i.v.) during 8 days, reduced atherosclerotic lesion development, which was not associated with a serum lipid modulation. In contrast, the treatment with chP3R99-LALA reduced (p < 0.05) malondialdehyde and protein oxidation, induced a restoration of reduced glutathione level, of the superoxide dismutase and catalase activities and of endothelial nitric oxide level. Thus, the antiatherogenic effect of chP3R99-LALA treatment seems to be associated with a reduction of aortic oxidative stress. These results contribute in understanding the molecular mechanisms associated with chP3R99-LALA atheroprotection and support the use of anti-GAG antibody-based immunotherapy as a potential tool to treat the atherosclerosis.

Allende G.B.,University of Habana | Still G.,University of Twente
Mathematical Programming | Year: 2013

Bilevel programs (BL) form a special class of optimization problems. They appear in many models in economics, game theory and mathematical physics. BL programs show a more complicated structure than standard finite problems. We study the so-called KKT-approach for solving bilevel problems, where the lower level minimality condition is replaced by the KKT- or the FJ-condition. This leads to a special structured mathematical program with complementarity constraints. We analyze the KKT-approach from a generic viewpoint and reveal the advantages and possible drawbacks of this approach for solving BL problems numerically. © 2012 The Author(s).

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