Isolation Facilities for Highly Infectious Diseases in Europe – A Cross-Sectional Analysis in 16 Countries
Francesco Maria Fusco
Giuseppina De Iaco
Helena C. Maltezou
Highly Infectious Diseases (HIDs) are (i) easily transmissible form person to person; (ii) cause a life-threatening illness with no or few treatment options; and (iii) pose a threat for both personnel and the public. Hence, even suspected HID cases should be managed in specialised facilities minimizing infection risks but allowing state-of-the-art critical care. Consensus statements on the operational management of isolation facilities have been published recently. The study presented was set up to compare the operational management, resources, and technical equipment among European isolation facilities. Due to differences in geography, population density, and national response plans it was hypothesized that adherence to recommendations will vary.
Methods and Findings
Until mid of 2010 the European Network for Highly Infectious Diseases conducted a cross-sectional analysis of isolation facilities in Europe, recruiting 48 isolation facilities in 16 countries. Three checklists were disseminated, assessing 44 items and 148 specific questions. The median feedback rate for specific questions was 97.9% (n = 47/48) (range: n = 7/48 (14.6%) to n = 48/48 (100%). Although all facilities enrolled were nominated specialised facilities' serving countries or regions, their design, equipment and personnel management varied. Eighteen facilities fulfilled the definition of a High Level Isolation Unit'. In contrast, 24 facilities could not operate independently from their co-located hospital, and five could not ensure access to equipment essential for infection control. Data presented are not representative for the EU in general, as only 16/27 (59.3%) of all Member States agreed to participate. Another limitation of this study is the time elapsed between data collection and publication; e.g. in Germany one additional facility opened in the meantime.
There are disparities both within and between European countries regarding the design and equipment of isolation facilities. With regard to the International Health Regulations, terminology, capacities and equipment should be standardised.
Performance of Two HCV RNA Assays during Protease Inhibitor-Based Triple Therapy in Patients with Advanced Liver Fibrosis and Cirrhosis
Michael P. Manns
On-treatment HCV RNA measurements are crucial for the prediction of a sustained virological response (SVR) and to determine treatment futility during protease inhibitor-based triple therapies. In patients with advanced liver disease an accurate risk/benefit calculation based on reliable HCV RNA results can reduce the number of adverse events. However, the different available HCV RNA assays vary in their diagnostic performance.
To investigate the clinical relevance of concordant and discordant results of two HCV RNA assays during triple therapy with boceprevir and telaprevir in patients with advanced liver fibrosis/cirrhosis.
We collected on-treatment samples of 191 patients with advanced liver fibrosis/cirrhosis treated at four European centers for testing with the Abbott RealTime (ART) and COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan HCV v2.0 (CTM) assays.
Discordant test results for HCV RNA detectability were observed in 23% at week 4, 17% at week 8/12 and 9% at week 24 on-treatment. The ART detected HCV RNA in 41% of week 4 samples tested negative by the CTM. However, the positive predictive value of an undetectable week 4 result for SVR was similar for both assays (80% and 82%). Discordance was also found for application of stopping rules. In 27% of patients who met stopping rules by CTM the ART measured levels below the respective cut-offs of 100 and 1000 IU/ml, respectively, which would have resulted in treatment continuation. In contrast, in nine patients with negative HCV RNA by CTM at week 24 treatment would have been discontinued due to detectable residual HCV RNA by the ART assay. Importantly, only 4 of these patients failed to achieve SVR.
Application of stopping rules determined in approval studies by one assay to other HCV RNA assays in clinical practice may lead to over and undertreatment in a significant number of patients undergoing protease inhibitor-based triple therapy.
Linking macroscopic with microscopic neuroanatomy using synthetic neuronal populations
Calvin J. Schneider
- Dendritic morphology has been shown to have a dramatic impact on neuronal function. However, population features such as the inherent variability in dendritic morphology between cells belonging to the same neuronal type are often overlooked when studying computation in neural networks. While detailed models for morphology and electrophysiology exist for many types of single neurons, the role of detailed single cell morphology in the population has not been studied quantitatively or computationally. Here we use the structural context of the neural tissue in which dendritic trees exist to drive their generation in silico. We synthesize the entire population of dentate gyrus granule cells, the most numerous cell type in the hippocampus, by growing their dendritic trees within their characteristic dendritic fields bounded by the realistic structural context of (1) the granule cell layer that contains all somata and (2) the molecular layer that contains the dendritic forest. This process enables branching statistics to be linked to larger scale neuroanatomical features. We find large differences in dendritic total length and individual path length measures as a function of location in the dentate gyrus and of somatic depth in the granule cell layer. We also predict the number of unique granule cell dendrites invading a given volume in the molecular layer. This work enables the complete population-level study of morphological properties and provides a framework to develop complex and realistic neural network models.
Analysis of trainees' memory after classroom presentations of didactical ultrasound courses
Marco Campo dell' Orto
- Background: Emergency ultrasound is gaining importance in medical education. Widespread teaching methods are frontal presentations and hands-on training. The primary goal of our study was to evaluate the impact of frontal presentations (PS) by analysis of retained knowledge rate (RKR) and learning load (LL).
Methods: Our study was conducted during four introductory courses in emergency ultrasound covering Extended Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (E-FAST) and Focused Echocardiography Evaluation in Life Support (FEEL). Standardized PS (length of 10 to 50 min) were presented by experienced trainers, who were asked to provide keywords, key messages, and images and assign a score to each. Group 1 consisted of 11 medical students with no prior ultrasound experience, and group 2 consisted of 80 physicians. Each group was audience to seven to eight standard PS and requested to answer a free text questionnaire after 0 h, 2.5 h, 24 h, and 14 days.
Results: In group 1, 168/176 questionnaires were analyzed, and 161/202 were analyzed in group 2. RKR in group 1 was 32.5%, 15%, 16%, and 12% at 0 h, 2.5 h, 24 h, and 2 weeks. The physicians' RKR were 23%, 20.5%, and 22.4% after 0, 2.5, and 24 h of a respective PS. The LL was 1.6/min for students and 1.2/min for physicians. There was no difference in RKR when comparing PS with higher and lower LL for both groups; shorter or case-based PS were associated with a higher RKR (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Our study provides evidence that only a limited amount of information can be processed at a time. Only 12% of knowledge is retained after 2 weeks. Presentations of short duration can increase the retained knowledge rate. Therefore, frontal presentations and classroom-based ultrasound training and teaching should be adapted.
Association between acquired resistance to PLX4032 (vemurafenib) and ATP-binding cassette transporter expression
Marijke van Rikxoort
Wilhelm G. Dirks
Jindrich Cinatl Jr.
- Background: Various kinase inhibitors are known to be ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter substrates and resistance acquisition to kinase inhibitors has been associated to increased ABC transporter expression. Here, we investigated the role of the ABC transporters ABCB1, ABCC1, and ABCG2 during melanoma cell resistance acquisition to the V600-mutant BRAF inhibitors PLX4032 (vemurafenib) and PLX4720. PLX4032 had previously been shown to interfere with ABCB1 and ABCG2. PLX4720 had been demonstrated to interact with ABCB1 but to a lower extent than PLX4032.
Findings: PLX4032 and PLX4720 affected ABCC1- and ABCG2-mediated drug transport in a similar fashion. In a panel of 16 V600E BRAF-mutated melanoma cell lines consisting of four parental cell lines and their sub-lines with acquired resistance to PLX4032, PLX4720, vincristine (cytotoxic ABCB1 and ABCC1 substrate), or mitoxantrone (cytotoxic ABCG2 substrate), we detected enhanced ABC transporter expression in 4/4 cytotoxic ABC transporter substrate-resistant, 3/4 PLX4720-resistant, and 1/4 PLX4032-resistant melanoma cell lines.
Conclusion: PLX4032 has the potential to induce ABC transporter expression but this potential is lower than that of PLX4720 or cytotoxic ABC transporter substrates. Since ABC transporters confer multi-drug resistance, this is of relevance for the design of next-line therapies.
Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-710) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Influence of E-smoking liquids on human periodontal ligament fibroblasts
- Introduction: Over the last years, electronic cigarettes (ECs) have become more popular, particularly in individuals who want to give up smoking tobacco. The aim of the present study was to assess the influence of the different e-smoking liquids on the viability and proliferation of human periodontal ligament fibroblasts.
Method and materials: For this study six test solutions with components from ECs were selected: lime-, hazelnut- and menthol-flavored liquids, nicotine, propylene glycol, and PBS as control group. The fibroblasts were incubated up to 96 h with the different liquids, and cell viability was measured by using the PrestoBlue® reagent, the ATP detection and the migration assay. Fluorescence staining was carried out to visualize cell growth and morphology. Data were statistically analyzed by two-tailed one-way ANOVA.
Results: The cell viability assay showed that the proliferation rates of the cells incubated with nicotine or the various flavored liquids of the e-cigarettes were reduced in comparison to the controls, though not all reductions were statistically significant. After an incubation of 96 h with the menthol-flavored liquid the fibroblasts were statistically significant reduced (p < 0.001). Similar results were found for the detection of ATP in fibroblasts; the incubation with menthol-flavored liquids (p < 0.001) led to a statistically significant reduction. The cell visualization tests confirmed these findings.
Conclusion: Within its limits, the present in vitro study demonstrated that menthol additives of e-smoking have a harmful effect on human periodontal ligament fibroblasts. This might indicate that menthol additives should be avoided for e-cigarettes.
HDAC-inhibition counteracts everolimus resistance in renal cell carcinoma in vitro by diminishing cdk2 and cyclin A
Roman A. Blaheta
- Background: Targeted therapies have improved therapeutic options of treating renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, drug response is temporary due to resistance development.
Methods: Functional and molecular changes in RCC Caki-1 cells, after acquired resistance to the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-inhibitor everolimus (Cakires), were investigated with and without additional application of the histone deacetylase (HDAC)-inhibitor valproic acid (VPA). Cell growth was evaluated by MTT assay, cell cycle progression and apoptosis by flow cytometry. Target molecules of everolimus and VPA, apoptotic and cell cycle regulating proteins were investigated by western blotting. siRNA blockade was performed to evaluate the functional relevance of the proteins.
Results: Everolimus resistance was accompanied by significant increases in the percentage of G2/M-phase cells and in the IC50. Akt and p70S6K, targets of everolimus, were activated in Cakires compared to drug sensitive cells. The most prominent change in Cakires cells was an increase in the cell cycle activating proteins cdk2 and cyclin A. Knock-down of cdk2 and cyclin A caused significant growth inhibition in the Cakires cells. The HDAC-inhibitor, VPA, counteracted everolimus resistance in Cakires, evidenced by a significant decrease in tumor growth and cdk2/cyclin A.
Conclusion: It is concluded that non-response to everolimus is characterized by increased cdk2/cyclin A, driving RCC cells into the G2/M-phase. VPA hinders everolimus non-response by diminishing cdk2/cyclin A. Therefore, treatment with HDAC-inhibitors might be an option for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma and acquired everolimus resistance.
Clinical phase I/II trial to investigate preoperative dose-escalated intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) in patients with retroperitoneal soft tissue sarcoma: interim analysis
Peter E. Huber
Anna V. Nikoghosyan
Frank W. Hensley
- BACKGROUND: To report an unplanned interim analysis of a prospective, one-armed, single center phase I/II trial (NCT01566123).
METHODS: Between 2007 and 2013, 27 patients (pts) with primary/recurrent retroperitoneal sarcomas (size > 5 cm, M0, at least marginally resectable) were enrolled. The protocol attempted neoadjuvant IMRT using an integrated boost with doses of 45-50 Gy to PTV and 50-56 Gy to GTV in 25 fractions, followed by surgery and IOERT (10-12 Gy). Primary endpoint was 5-year-LC, secondary endpoints included PFS, OS, resectability, and acute/late toxicity. The majority of patients showed high grade lesions (FNCLCC G1:18%, G2:52%, G3:30%), predominantly liposarcomas (70%). Median tumor size was 15 cm (6-31).
RESULTS: Median follow-up was 33 months (5-75). Neoadjuvant IMRT was performed as planned (median dose 50 Gy, 26-55) in all except 2 pts (93%). Gross total resection was feasible in all except one patient. Final margin status was R0 in 6 (22%) and R1 in 20 pts (74%). Contiguous-organ resection was needed in all grossly resected patients. IOERT was performed in 23 pts (85%) with a median dose of 12 Gy (10-20 Gy).We observed 7 local recurrences, transferring into estimated 3- and 5-year-LC rates of 72%. Two were located outside the EBRT area and two were observed after more than 5 years. Locally recurrent situation had a significantly negative impact on local control. Distant failure was found in 8 pts, resulting in 3- and 5-year-DC rates of 63%. Patients with leiomyosarcoma had a significantly increased risk of distant failure. Estimated 3- and 5-year-rates were 40% for PFS and 74% for OS. Severe acute toxicity (grade 3) was present in 4 pts (15%). Severe postoperative complications were found in 9 pts (33%), of whom 2 finally died after multiple re-interventions. Severe late toxicity (grade 3) was scored in 6% of surviving patients after 1 year and none after 2 years.
CONCLUSION: Combination of neoadjuvant IMRT, surgery and IOERT is feasible with acceptable toxicity and yields good results in terms of LC and OS in patients with high-risk retroperitoneal sarcomas. Long term follow-up seems mandatory given the observation of late recurrences. Accrual of patients will be continued with extended follow-up.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01566123.
Chest-abdomen-pelvis CT for staging in cancer patients: dose effectiveness and image quality using automated attenuation-based tube potential selection
Josef M. Kerl
Julian L. Wichmann
Thomas J. Vogl
Ralf W. Bauer
- Background: Evaluation of automated attenuation-based tube potential selection and its impact on image quality and radiation dose in CT (computed tomography) examinations for cancer staging.
Methods: A total of 110 (59 men, 51 women) patients underwent chest-abdomen-pelvis CT examinations; 55 using a fixed tube potential of 120 kV/current of 210 Reference mAs (using CareDose4D), and 55 using automated attenuation-based tube potential selection (CAREkV) also using a current of 210 Reference mAs.
This evaluation was performed as a single-centre, observer-blinded retrospective analysis. Image quality was assessed by two readers in consensus. Attenuation, image noise, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) were measured or calculated for objective image evaluation. For the evaluation of radiation exposure, dose-length-product (DLP) values were compared and Size-specific dose estimates (SSDE) values were calculated.
Results: Diagnostic image quality was obtained from all patients. The median DLP (703.5 mGy · cm, range 390–2203 mGy · cm) was 7.9% lower when using the algorithm compared with the standard 120 kV protocol (median 756 mGy · cm, range 345–2267 mGy · cm). A reduction in potential to 100 kV occurred in 32 cases; therefore, these patients received significantly lower radiation exposure compared with the 120 kV protocol.
Conclusion: Automated attenuation-based tube potential selection produces good diagnostic image quality in chest-abdomen-pelvis CT and reduces the patient’s overall radiation dose by 7.9% compared to the standard 120 kV protocol.
Convergence of genes and cellular pathways dysregulated in autism spectrum disorders
Jacob A. S. Vorstman
Alistair T. Pagnamenta
Christian R. Marshall
Tiago R. Magalhaes
Jennifer K. Lowe
Jennifer L. Howe
Anthony J. Griswold
Beth A. Dombroski
Maretha V. De Jonge
Emily L. Crawford
Catarina T. Correia
Inȇs C. Conceição
Andreas G. Chiocchetti
Jillian P. Casey
Herman van Engeland
L. Alison McInnes
Susan G. McGrew
Ann S. Le Couteur
Patricia Jiménez González
Bridget A. Fernandez
Patrick F. Bolton
Anthony J. Bailey
Ellen M. Wijsman
Veronica J. Vieland
Astrid M. Vicente
Gerard D. Schellenberg
Andrew D. Paterson
Jeremy R. Parr
John I. Nurnberger
Anthony P. Monaco
Sabine M. Klauck
Jonathan L. Haines
Daniel H. Geschwind
Christine M. Freitag
Susan E. Folstein
James S. Sutcliffe
Edwin H. Cook
Joseph D. Buxbaum
Stephen W. Scherer
- Rare copy-number variation (CNV) is an important source of risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). We analyzed 2,446 ASD-affected families and confirmed an excess of genic deletions and duplications in affected versus control groups (1.41-fold, p = 1.0 × 10(-5)) and an increase in affected subjects carrying exonic pathogenic CNVs overlapping known loci associated with dominant or X-linked ASD and intellectual disability (odds ratio = 12.62, p = 2.7 × 10(-15), ∼3% of ASD subjects). Pathogenic CNVs, often showing variable expressivity, included rare de novo and inherited events at 36 loci, implicating ASD-associated genes (CHD2, HDAC4, and GDI1) previously linked to other neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as other genes such as SETD5, MIR137, and HDAC9. Consistent with hypothesized gender-specific modulators, females with ASD were more likely to have highly penetrant CNVs (p = 0.017) and were also overrepresented among subjects with fragile X syndrome protein targets (p = 0.02). Genes affected by de novo CNVs and/or loss-of-function single-nucleotide variants converged on networks related to neuronal signaling and development, synapse function, and chromatin regulation.