- Results from the CERN pilot CLOUD experiment (2010)
- During a 4-week run in October–November 2006, a pilot experiment was performed at the CERN Proton Synchrotron in preparation for the Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets (CLOUD) experiment, whose aim is to study the possible influence of cosmic rays on clouds. The purpose of the pilot experiment was firstly to carry out exploratory measurements of the effect of ionising particle radiation on aerosol formation from trace H2SO4 vapour and secondly to provide technical input for the CLOUD design. A total of 44 nucleation bursts were produced and recorded, with formation rates of particles above the 3 nm detection threshold of between 0.1 and 100 cm -3 s -1, and growth rates between 2 and 37 nm h -1. The corresponding H2O concentrations were typically around 106 cm -3 or less. The experimentally-measured formation rates and htwosofour concentrations are comparable to those found in the atmosphere, supporting the idea that sulphuric acid is involved in the nucleation of atmospheric aerosols. However, sulphuric acid alone is not able to explain the observed rapid growth rates, which suggests the presence of additional trace vapours in the aerosol chamber, whose identity is unknown. By analysing the charged fraction, a few of the aerosol bursts appear to have a contribution from ion-induced nucleation and ion-ion recombination to form neutral clusters. Some indications were also found for the accelerator beam timing and intensity to influence the aerosol particle formation rate at the highest experimental SO2 concentrations of 6 ppb, although none was found at lower concentrations. Overall, the exploratory measurements provide suggestive evidence for ion-induced nucleation or ion-ion recombination as sources of aerosol particles. However in order to quantify the conditions under which ion processes become significant, improvements are needed in controlling the experimental variables and in the reproducibility of the experiments. Finally, concerning technical aspects, the most important lessons for the CLOUD design include the stringent requirement of internal cleanliness of the aerosol chamber, as well as maintenance of extremely stable temperatures (variations below 0.1 °C)
- LICC: L-BLP25 in patients with colorectal carcinoma after curative resection of hepatic metastases-a randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter, multinational, double-blinded phase II trial (2012)
- Background: 15-20% of all patients initially diagnosed with colorectal cancer develop metastatic disease and surgical resection remains the only potentially curative treatment available. Current 5-year survival following R0-resection of liver metastases is 28-39%, but recurrence eventually occurs in up to 70%. To date, adjuvant chemotherapy has not improved clinical outcomes significantly. The primary objective of the ongoing LICC trial (L-BLP25 In Colorectal Cancer) is to determine whether L-BLP25, an active cancer immunotherapy, extends recurrence-free survival (RFS) time over placebo in colorectal cancer patients following R0/R1 resection of hepatic metastases. L-BLP25 targets MUC1 glycoprotein, which is highly expressed in hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer. In a phase IIB trial, L-BLP25 has shown acceptable tolerability and a trend towards longer survival in patients with stage IIIB locoregional NSCLC. Methods: This is a multinational, phase II, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with a sample size of 159 patients from 20 centers in 3 countries. Patients with stage IV colorectal adenocarcinoma limited to liver metastases are included. Following curative-intent complete resection of the primary tumor and of all synchronous/metachronous metastases, eligible patients are randomized 2:1 to receive either L-BLP25 or placebo. Those allocated to L-BLP25 receive a single dose of 300 mg/m2 cyclophosphamide (CP) 3 days before first L-BLP25 dose, then primary treatment with s.c. L-BLP25 930 mug once weekly for 8 weeks, followed by s.c. L-BLP25 930 mug maintenance doses at 6-week (years 1&2) and 12-week (year 3) intervals unless recurrence occurs. In the control arm, CP is replaced by saline solution and L-BLP25 by placebo. Primary endpoint is the comparison of recurrence-free survival (RFS) time between groups. Secondary endpoints are overall survival (OS) time, safety, tolerability, RFS/OS in MUC-1 positive cancers. Exploratory immune response analyses are planned. The primary endpoint will be assessed in Q3 2016. Follow-up will end Q3 2017. Interim analyses are not planned. Discussion: The design and implementation of such a vaccination study in colorectal cancer is feasible. The study will provide recurrence-free and overall survival rates of groups in an unbiased fashion. Trial Registration EudraCT Number 2011-000218-20
- Results from the CERN pilot CLOUD experiment (2009)
- During a 4-week run in October–November 2006, a pilot experiment was performed at the CERN Proton Synchrotron in preparation for the CLOUD1 experiment, whose aim is to study the possible influence of cosmic rays on clouds. The purpose of the pilot experiment was firstly to carry out exploratory measurements of the effect of ionising particle radiation on aerosol formation from trace H2SO4 vapour and secondly to provide technical input for the CLOUD design. A total of 44 nucleation bursts were produced and recorded, with formation rates of particles above the 3 nm detection threshold of between 0.1 and 100 cm−3s−1, and growth rates between 2 and 37 nm h−1. The corresponding H2SO4 concentrations were typically around 106 cm−3 or less. The experimentally-measured formation rates and H2SO4 concentrations are comparable to those found in the atmosphere, supporting the idea that sulphuric acid is involved in the nucleation of atmospheric aerosols. However, sulphuric acid alone is not able to explain the observed rapid growth rates, which suggests the presence of additional trace vapours in the aerosol chamber, whose identity is unknown. By analysing the charged fraction, a few of the aerosol bursts appear to have a contribution from ion-induced nucleation and ion-ion recombination to form neutral clusters. Some indications were also found for the accelerator beam timing and intensity to influence the aerosol particle formation rate at the highest experimental SO2 concentrations of 6 ppb, although none was found at lower concentrations. Overall, the exploratory measurements provide suggestive evidence for ion-induced nucleation or ion-ion recombination as sources of aerosol particles. However in order to quantify the conditions under which ion processes become significant, improvements are needed in controlling the experimental variables and in the reproducibility of the experiments. Finally, concerning technical aspects, the most important lessons for the CLOUD design include the stringent requirement of internal cleanliness of the aerosol chamber, as well as maintenance of extremely stable temperatures (variations below 0.1°C).
- Gender differences in associations of glutamate decarboxylase 1 gene (GAD1) variants with panic disorder (2012)
- Background: Panic disorder is common (5% prevalence) and females are twice as likely to be affected as males. The heritable component of panic disorder is estimated at 48%. Glutamic acid dehydrogenase GAD1, the key enzyme for the synthesis of the inhibitory and anxiolytic neurotransmitter GABA, is supposed to influence various mental disorders, including mood and anxiety disorders. In a recent association study in depression, which is highly comorbid with panic disorder, GAD1 risk allele associations were restricted to females. Methodology/Principal Findings: Nineteen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tagging the common variation in GAD1 were genotyped in two independent gender and age matched case-control samples (discovery sample n = 478; replication sample n = 584). Thirteen SNPs passed quality control and were examined for gender-specific enrichment of risk alleles associated with panic disorder by using logistic regression including a genotype×gender interaction term. The latter was found to be nominally significant for four SNPs (rs1978340, rs3762555, rs3749034, rs2241165) in the discovery sample; of note, the respective minor/risk alleles were associated with panic disorder only in females. These findings were not confirmed in the replication sample; however, the genotype×gender interaction of rs3749034 remained significant in the combined sample. Furthermore, this polymorphism showed a nominally significant association with the Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire sum score. Conclusions/Significance: The present study represents the first systematic evaluation of gender-specific enrichment of risk alleles of the common SNP variation in the panic disorder candidate gene GAD1. Our tentative results provide a possible explanation for the higher susceptibility of females to panic disorder.
- RP1 Is a Phosphorylation Target of CK2 and Is Involved in Cell Adhesion (2013)
- RP1 (synonym: MAPRE2, EB2) is a member of the microtubule binding EB1 protein family, which interacts with APC, a key regulatory molecule in the Wnt signalling pathway. While the other EB1 proteins are well characterized the cellular function and regulation of RP1 remain speculative to date. However, recently RP1 has been implicated in pancreatic cancerogenesis. CK2 is a pleiotropic kinase involved in adhesion, proliferation and anti-apoptosis. Overexpression of protein kinase CK2 is a hallmark of many cancers and supports the malignant phenotype of tumor cells. In this study we investigate the interaction of protein kinase CK2 with RP1 and demonstrate that CK2 phosphorylates RP1 at Ser236 in vitro. Stable RP1 expression in cell lines leads to a significant cleavage and down-regulation of N-cadherin and impaired adhesion. Cells expressing a Phospho-mimicking point mutant RP1-ASP236 show a marked decrease of adhesion to endothelial cells under shear stress. Inversely, we found that the cells under shear stress downregulate endogenous RP1, most likely to improve cellular adhesion. Accordingly, when RP1 expression is suppressed by shRNA, cells lacking RP1 display significantly increased cell adherence to surfaces. In summary, RP1 phosphorylation at Ser236 by CK2 seems to play a significant role in cell adhesion and might initiate new insights in the CK2 and EB1 family protein association.
- Nistplatzwahl, Prädation und Schlupferfolg von Rotschenkeln Tringa totanus auf der Insel Wangerooge (2006)
- Im Gegensatz zu abnehmenden Brutbeständen des Rotschenkels Tringa totanus in weiten Teilen Europas, ist dessen Bestand im Wattenmeer langfristig stabil. Aktuelle Untersuchungen in Festlandssalzwiesen des Wattenmeeres (Petersgroden, Jadebusen) zeigen geringe Schlupferfolge aufgrund hoher Prädation. Es stellt sich angesichts dieser Bestandstrends die Frage, wo Rotschenkel im Wattenmeer erfolgreich brüten und welche Einflussgrößen den Schlupf- und Bruterfolg bestimmen. Um diesen Fragen nachzugehen, untersuchten wir im Jahr 2003 Nistplatzwahl, Gelegeprädation und Schlupferfolg von Rotschenkeln auf der Insel Wangerooge. Es wurde angenommen, dass Prädation durch Bodenprädatoren auf Inseln geringer und der Schlupferfolg somit höher ist als in Festlandsgebieten. Im Jahre 2003 war die Prädation auf Wangerooge sehr gering und der Schlupferfolg entsprechend hoch (89%). Im Gegensatz zum Festland konnte kein Einfluss vegetationskundlicher Nistplatzstrukturen auf den Schlupferfolg nachgewiesen werden. Mögliche Ursachen der geringen Prädation werden diskutiert. Die Ergebnisse führen zu der Annahme, dass Inseln wie Wangerooge potentiell als Populationsquellen für Rotschenkel im Wattenmeer wirken könnten. Allerdings sind für eine abschließende Bewertung wesentlich umfangreichere Untersuchungen des Bruterfolges von Rotschenkeln, seiner räumlich-zeitlichen Variation sowie seiner Einflussgrößen notwendig.
- The taxonomist - an endangered race : a practical proposal for its survival (2011)
- Background: Taxonomy or biological systematics is the basic scientific discipline of biology, postulating hypotheses of identity and relationships, on which all other natural sciences dealing with organisms relies. However, the scientific contributions of taxonomists have been largely neglected when using species names in scientific publications by not citing the authority on which they are based. Discussion: Consequences of this neglect is reduced recognition of the importance of taxonomy, which in turn results in diminished funding, lower interest from journals in publishing taxonomic research, and a reduced number of young scientists entering the field. This has lead to the so-called taxonomic impediment at a time when biodiversity studies are of critical importance. Here we emphasize a practical and obvious solution to this dilemma. We propose that whenever a species name is used, the author(s) of the species hypothesis be included and the original literature source cited, including taxonomic revisions and identification literature - nothing more than what is done for every other hypothesis or assumption included in a scientific publication. In addition, we postulate that journals primarily publishing taxonomic studies should be indexed in ISISM. Summary: The proposal outlined above would make visible the true contribution of taxonomists within the scientific community, and would provide a more accurate assessment for funding agencies impact and importance of taxonomy, and help in the recruitment of young scientists into the field, thus helping to alleviate the taxonomic impediment. In addition, it would also make much of the biological literature more robust by reducing or alleviating taxonomic uncertainty. Keywords: Taxonomy crisis; taxonomic impediment; impact factor; original species description; citation index; systematics
- Prospective evaluation of artemether-lumefantrine for the treatment of non-falciparum and mixed-species malaria in Gabon (2012)
- Background: The recommendation of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) as first-line treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria is supported by a plethora of high quality clinical trials. However, their recommendation for the treatment of mixed-species malaria and the large-scale use for the treatment of non-falciparum malaria in endemic regions is based on anecdotal rather than systematic clinical evidence. Methods: This study prospectively observed the efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated non-falciparum or mixed-species malaria in two routine district hospitals in the Central African country of Gabon. Results: Forty patients suffering from uncomplicated Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale or mixed-species malaria (including Plasmodium falciparum) presenting at the hospital received artemether-lumefantrine treatment and were followed up. All evaluable patients (n = 38) showed an adequate clinical and parasitological response on Day 28 after oral treatment with artemether-lumefantrine (95% confidence interval: 0.91,1). All adverse events were of mild to moderate intensity and completely resolved by the end of study. Conclusions: This first systematic assessment of artemether-lumefantrine treatment for P. malariae, P. ovale and mixed-species malaria demonstrated a high cure rate of 100% and a favourable tolerability profile, and thus lends support to the practice of treating non-falciparum or mixed-species malaria, or all cases of malaria without definite species differentiation, with artemether-lumefantrine in Gabon. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00725777
- Delayed Wound Repair in Sepsis Is Associated with Reduced Local Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Expression (2013)
- Sepsis is one of the main causes for morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients. Moreover, sepsis associated complications involving impaired wound healing are common. Septic patients often require surgical interventions that in-turn may lead to further complications caused by impaired wound healing. We established a mouse model to the study delayed wound healing during sepsis distant to the septic focus point. For this reason cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) was combined with the creation of a superficial wound on the mouse ear. Control animals received the same procedure without CPL. Epithelialization was measured every second day by direct microscopic visualization up to complete closure of the wound. As interplay of TNF-α, TGF-β, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP) is important in wound healing in general, TNF-α, TGF-β, MMP7, and TIMP1 were assessed immunohistochemical in samples of wounded ears harvested on days 2, 6, 10 and 16 after wounding. After induction of sepsis, animals showed a significant delay in wound epithelialization from day 2 to 12 compared to control animals. Complete wound healing was attained after mean 12.2± standard deviation (SD) 3.0 days in septic animals compared to 8.7± SD 1.7 days in the control group. Septic animals showed a significant reduction in local pro-inflammatory cytokine level of TNF-α on day 2 and day 6 as well as a reduced expression of TGF-β on day 2 in wounds. A significant lower expression of MMP7 as well as TIMP1 was also observed on day 2 after wounding. The induction of sepsis impairs wound healing distant to the septic focus point. We could demonstrate that expression of important cytokines for wound repair is deregulated after induction of sepsis. Thus restoring normal cytokine response locally in wounds could be a good strategy to enhance wound repair in sepsis.