Biological resources (cells, tissues, bodily fluids or biomolecules) are considered essential raw material for the advancement of health-related biotechnology, for research and development in life sciences, and for ultimately improving human health. Stored in local biobanks, access to the human biological samples and related medical data for transnational research is often limited, in particular for the international life science industry. The recently established pan-European Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure-European Research Infrastructure Consortium (BBMRI-ERIC) aims to improve accessibility and interoperability between academic and industrial parties to benefit personalized medicine, disease prevention to promote development of new diagnostics, devices and medicines. BBMRI-ERIC is developing the concept of Expert Centre as public-private partnerships in the precompetitive, not-for-profit field to provide a new structure to perform research projects that would face difficulties under currently established models of academic-industry collaboration. By definition, Expert Centres are key intermediaries between public and private sectors performing the analysis of biological samples under internationally standardized conditions. This paper presents the rationale behind the Expert Centres and illustrates the novel concept with model examples.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 19 November 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.235.
The objective was to compare two teaching methods for postpartum hemorrhage management: interactive hands-on training and non-interactive video training. In a controlled intervention study at a secondary health care center in Kenya, the two training methods, based on the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics curriculum, were evaluated utilizing structured observation of a standardized scenario before and after training. Both intervention groups significantly increased in performance scores after receiving hands-on training: 40% (95% CI 29.5-47.0) and video training: 34.5% (95% CI 25.0-42.0); likewise, pass rates improved significantly. No significant differences in performance score or pass rates were found between the two methods. The findings indicate that postpartum hemorrhage management training by mobile media might be just as effective as conventional hands-on training and a feasible way to overcome the outreach gap in sub-Saharan Africa's rural areas, where peripheral health facilities are generally difficult to reach with conventional training programs.
Male breast cancer is poorly understood with a large proportion arising in the familial context particularly with the BRCA2 germline mutation. As phenotypic and genotypic differences between sporadic and familial male breast cancers have been noted, we investigated the importance of a hypoxic drive in these cancers as this pathway has been shown to be of importance in familial female breast cancer. Expression of two major hypoxia-induced proteins, the hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF1A) and the carbonic anhydrase IX (CA9), examined within a large cohort including 61 familial (3 BRCA1, 28 BRCA2, 30 BRCAX) and 225 sporadic male breast cancers showed that 31% of all male breast cancers expressed either HIF1A (25%) and/or CA9 (8%) in the combined cohort. Expression of HIF1A correlated with an increased incidence of a second-major malignancy (P=0.04), histological tumor type (P=0.005) and basal phenotype (P=0.02). Expression of CA9 correlated with age (P=0.004) in sporadic cases and an increased tumor size (P=0.003). Expression of HIF1A was prognostic for disease-specific survival in sporadic male breast cancers (HR: 3.8, 95% CI: 1.5-9.8, P=0.006) but not within familial male breast cancer, whereas CA9 was only prognostic in familial male breast cancers (HR: 358.0, 95% CI: 9.3-13781.7, P=0.002) and not in sporadic male breast cancer. This study found that hypoxic drive is less prevalent in male breast cancer compared with female breast cancer, possibly due to a different breast microenvironment. The prognostic impact of HIF1A is greatest in sporadic male breast cancers with an alternate dominant mechanism for the oncogenic drivers suggested in high risk familial male breast cancers.
It has been suggested that birds migrate faster in spring than in autumn because of competition for arrival order at breeding grounds and environmental factors such as increased daylight. Investigating spring and autumn migration performances is important for understanding ecological and evolutionary constraints in the timing and speed of migration. We compiled measurements from tracking studies and found a consistent predominance of cases showing higher speeds and shorter durations during spring compared to autumn, in terms of flight speeds (airspeed, ground speed, daily travel speed), stopover duration, and total speed and duration of migration. Seasonal differences in flight speeds were generally smaller than those in stopover durations and total speed/duration of migration, indicating that rates of foraging and fuel deposition were more important than flight speed in accounting for differences in overall migration performance. Still, the seasonal differences in flight speeds provide important support for time selection in spring migration.
Male breast cancer (MBC) is an uncommon disease. In the absence of randomized studies, current guidelines are mainly based on data on the management of female breast cancer (FBC). In light of concerns regarding the quality and extent of management in men, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether there are differences in tumor characteristics, treatment and outcome in male compared with FBC patients.
1. Consumption of a high-fat and high-energy diet during pregnancy leads to a risk of long-term consequences on fetal development, as well as on the postnatal health of offspring. To investigate the effects of such a diet on fetal programming, we established a high-energy intake pregnant rat model using chocolate and fructose beverage as supplements to a normal chow diet. 2. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to either chow (control) or a diet supplemented with chocolate and fructose beverage throughout gestation and lactation. The male F(1) pups received normal chow diet after weaning. Physiological or pathological changes in dams and pups (e.g. glucose and lipid metabolism) were evaluated. 3. The results showed that dams offered the high-fat (mainly from chocolate) and high-calorie diet during gestation consumed more energy and gained more weight than chow-fed dams. Over-consumption of chocolate reduced chow intake in dams, leading to low maternal protein supply. As a result, pups from these dams exhibited reduced birth weight that lasted until adulthood. The high-energy diet during lactation led to increased total body fat, as well as impaired liver function, in offspring; thus, the lactational diet is suggested to be a stronger determinant of offspring fat metabolism than gestational diet. 4. The results of the study suggest that over-supply of carbohydrates, such as chocolate and fructose, either during gestation or lactation has a negative impact on the well-being of offspring.
Vast numbers of insects and passerines achieve long-distance migrations between summer and winter locations by undertaking high-altitude nocturnal flights. Insects such as noctuid moths fly relatively slowly in relation to the surrounding air, with airspeeds approximately one-third of that of passerines. Thus, it has been widely assumed that windborne insect migrants will have comparatively little control over their migration speed and direction compared with migrant birds. We used radar to carry out the first comparative analyses of the flight behaviour and migratory strategies of insects and birds under nearly equivalent natural conditions. Contrary to expectations, noctuid moths attained almost identical ground speeds and travel directions compared with passerines, despite their very different flight powers and sensory capacities. Moths achieved fast travel speeds in seasonally appropriate migration directions by exploiting favourably directed winds and selecting flight altitudes that coincided with the fastest air streams. By contrast, passerines were less selective of wind conditions, relying on self-powered flight in their seasonally preferred direction, often with little or no tailwind assistance. Our results demonstrate that noctuid moths and passerines show contrasting risk-prone and risk-averse migratory strategies in relation to wind. Comparative studies of the flight behaviours of distantly related taxa are critically important for understanding the evolution of animal migration strategies.
Male breast cancer (MBC) is extremely rare and poorly characterized on the molecular level. Using high-resolution genomic data, we aimed to characterize MBC by genomic imbalances and to compare it with female breast cancer (FBC), and further to investigate whether the genomic profiles hold any prognostic information. Fifty-six fresh frozen MBC tumors were analyzed using high-resolution tiling BAC arrays. Significant regions in common between cases were assessed using Genomic Identification of Significant Targets in Cancer (GISTIC) analysis. A publicly available genomic data set of 359 FBC tumors was used for reference purposes. The data revealed a broad pattern of aberrations, confirming that MBC is a heterogeneous tumor type. Genomic gains were more common in MBC than in FBC and often involved whole chromosome arms, while losses of genomic material were less frequent. The most common aberrations were similar between the genders, but high-level amplifications were more common in FBC. We identified two genomic subgroups among MBCs; male-complex and male-simple. The male-complex subgroup displayed striking similarities with the previously reported luminal-complex FBC subgroup, while the male-simple subgroup seems to represent a new subgroup of breast cancer occurring only in men. There are many similarities between FBC and MBC with respect to genomic imbalances, but there are also distinct differences as revealed by high-resolution genomic profiling. MBC can be divided into two comprehensive genomic subgroups, which may be of prognostic value. The male-simple subgroup appears notably different from any genomic subgroup so far defined in FBC.
Patients with low-risk node negative breast cancer have an excellent prognosis with 5% breast cancer mortality at 10 years. However, prognostic factors are needed to identify poor prognostic patients who might benefit from adjuvant systemic therapy. Proliferation has been identified as the most important component of gene expression profiles. Cyclin B is a proliferative marker easily assessed by immunohistochemistry. We wanted to examine cyclin B as a prognostic factor in low-risk breast cancer patients.
Proliferative markers are not recommended as prognostic factors for clinical use in breast cancer due to lack of standardization in methodology. However, proliferation is driving several gene expression signatures emphasizing the need for a reliable proliferative marker for clinical use. Studies suggest that cyclin A is a prognostic marker with satisfying reproducibility. We investigated cyclin A as a prognostic marker in node-negative breast cancer using previously defined cutoff values. Patients and
Assessment of proliferation is important in female breast cancer and individual treatment decisions are based upon its results, especially in the luminal subgroups. Gene expression analyses fail to group male breast cancer into the intrinsic subgroups previously established in female breast cancer. Even though proliferation has been shown to divide male breast cancer into molecular subgroups with different prognoses, the clinical importance of proliferation markers has not yet been elucidated. Previous studies in male breast cancer have demonstrated contradictory results regarding the prognostic impact of histological grade and Ki-67, parameters strongly associated with proliferation. The aim of the present project was to study proliferation in male breast cancer by assessing other proliferation-related markers viz. cyclins A, B, D1 and mitotic count. A total of 197 male breast cancer cases with accessible paraffin-embedded material and outcome data were investigated. Immunohistochemical stainings were performed on tissue microarrays. Kaplan-Meier estimates and the Cox proportional regression models were used for survival analyses with breast cancer death as the event. The subset of patients with high expression of cyclin A (hazard ratio (HR) 3.7; P=0.001) and B (HR 2.7; P=0.02) demonstrated a poorer survival. Furthermore, high mitotic count was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer death (HR 2.5; P=0.01). In contrast, cyclin D1 overexpression was predictive of better breast cancer survival (HR 0.3; P=0.001). In conclusion, high levels of cyclin A and B expression and an elevated mitotic count result in a two to threefold higher risk for breast cancer death, whereas cyclin D1 overexpression halves the risk. The clinical utility of these proliferation markers needs further elucidation.
We report in vitro and in vivo data of new ?-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (?-MSH) analogues which are N-terminal modified with a long chain fatty acid derivative. While keeping the pharmacophoric motif (d-Phe-Arg-Trp) fixed, we tried to improve selectivity and physicochemical parameters like solubility and stability of these analogues by replacing amino acids further away from the motif. Receptor specific changes in binding affinity to the melanocortin receptors were observed between the acetyl derivatives and the fatty acid analogues. Furthermore, amino acids at the N-terminal of ?-MSH (Ser-Tyr-Ser) not considered to be part of the pharmacophore were found to have an influence on the MC4/MC1 receptor selectivity. While the acetyl analogues have an in vivo effect for around 7 h, the long chain fatty acid analogues have an effect up to 48 h in an acute feeding study in male Sprague-Dawley rats after a single subcutaneous administration.
Male breast cancer (MBC) is a rare and inadequately characterized disease. The aim of the present study was to characterize MBC tumors transcriptionally, to classify them into comprehensive subgroups, and to compare them with female breast cancer (FBC).
Obesity and obesity-related metabolic diseases represent a growing socioeconomic problem throughout the world. Great emphasis has been put on establishing treatments for this condition, including pharmacological intervention. However, there are many obstacles and pitfalls in the development process from pre-clinical research to the pharmacy counter, and there is no certainty that what has been observed pre-clinically will translate into an improvement in human health. Hence, it is important to test potential new drugs in a valid translational model early in their development. In the current mini-review, a number of monogenetic and polygenic models of obesity will be discussed in view of their translational character.
Obesity is a major burden to people and to the health care systems around the world. This study aims at characterizing the effect of a novel selective alpha-MSH (?-MSH) analogue on obesity and insulin sensitivity. The sub-chronic effects of the selective MC4-R peptide agonist MC4-NN1-0182 was investigated in diet induced obese (DIO) rats and DIO minipigs by assessing the effects on food intake, energy consumption, and body weight. Acute effect of MC4-NN1-0182 on insulin sensitivity was assessed by a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp study in normal rats. Three weeks treatment of DIO rats with MC4-NN1-0182 caused a decrease in food intake and a significant decrease in body weight 7 ± 1%, p < 0.05 compared to 3 ± 1% increase in the vehicle control. In DIO minipigs, eight weeks of treatment with MC4-NN1-0182 resulted in a body weight loss of 13.3 ± 2.5 kg (13 ± 3 %), whereas the vehicle control group had gained 3.7 ± 1.4 kg (4 ± 1 %). Finally, clamp studies in normal rats showed that acute treatment with MC4-NN1-0182 caused a significant increase in glucose disposal (Rd) compared to vehicle control (Rd, mg/kg/min, 17.0 ± 0.7 vs. 13.9 ± 0.6 , p < 0.01). We demonstrate that treatment of DIO rats or minipigs with a selective MC4-R peptide agonist causes weight loss. Moreover, we have demonstrated weight independent effects on insulin sensitivity. Our observations identify MC4 agonism as a viable target for the treatment of obesity and insulin resistance.
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