- Gene-Wide Analysis Detects Two New Susceptibility Genes for Alzheimer's Disease (2014)
- Background: Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls. Principal Findings: In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci. Significance: The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
- Safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab therapy in patients with different autoimmune diseases: experience from a national registry (GRAID) (2011)
- Introduction Evidence from a number of open-label, uncontrolled studies has suggested that rituximab may benefit patients with autoimmune diseases who are refractory to standard of care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab in several standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases (within rheumatology, nephrology, dermatology and neurology) other than rheumatoid arthritis or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in a real-life clinical setting. Methods Patients who received rituximab having shown an inadequate response to standard of care had their safety and clinical outcomes data retrospectively analysed as part of the German Registry of Autoimmune Diseases. The main outcome measures were safety and clinical response, as judged at the discretion of the investigators. Results A total of 370 patients (299 patient-years) with various autoimmune diseases (23.0% with systemic lupus erythematosus, 15.7% antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides, 15.1% multiple sclerosis and 10.0% pemphigus) from 42 centres received a mean dose of 2440 mg of rituximab over a median (range) of 194 (180 to 1407) days. The overall rate of serious infections was 5.3 per 100 patient-years during rituximab therapy. Opportunistic infections were infrequent across the whole study population, and mostly occurred in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. There were 11 deaths (3.0% of patients) after rituximab treatment (mean 11.6 months after first infusion, range 0.8 to 31.3 months), with most of the deaths caused by infections. Overall (n = 293), 13.3% of patients showed no response, 45.1% showed a partial response and 41.6% showed a complete response. Responses were also reflected by reduced use of glucocorticoids and various immunosuppressives during rituximab therapy and follow-up compared with before rituximab. Rituximab generally had a positive effect on patient well-being (physician's visual analogue scale; mean improvement from baseline of 12.1 mm). Conclusions Data from this registry indicate that rituximab is a commonly employed, well-tolerated therapy with potential beneficial effects in standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases, and support the results from other open-label, uncontrolled studies. Additional file 1: Supplemental tables. Table A1. Duration of follow-up from first rituximab infusion to last control visit by diagnosis. Table A2. Number of rituximab infusions by diagnosis.
- A prospective randomised, open-labeled, trial comparing sirolimus-containing versus mTOR-inhibitor-free immunosuppression in patients undergoing liver transplantation for hepatocellular carcinoma (2010)
- Background: The potential anti-cancer effects of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors are being intensively studied. To date, however, few randomised clinical trials (RCT) have been performed to demonstrate anti-neoplastic effects in the pure oncology setting, and at present, no oncology endpoint-directed RCT has been reported in the high-malignancy risk population of immunosuppressed transplant recipients. Interestingly, since mTOR inhibitors have both immunosuppressive and anti-cancer effects, they have the potential to simultaneously protect against immunologic graft loss and tumour development. Therefore, we designed a prospective RCT to determine if the mTOR inhibitor sirolimus can improve hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)-free patient survival in liver transplant (LT) recipients with a pre-transplant diagnosis of HCC. Methods: The study is an open-labelled, randomised, RCT comparing sirolimus-containing versus mTOR-inhibitor-free immunosuppression in patients undergoing LT for HCC. Patients with a histologically confirmed HCC diagnosis are randomised into 2 groups within 4-6 weeks after LT; one arm is maintained on a centre-specific mTOR-inhibitor-free immunosuppressive protocol and the second arm is maintained on a centre-specific mTOR-inhibitor-free immunosuppressive protocol for the first 4-6 weeks, at which time sirolimus is initiated. A 3-year recruitment phase is planned with a 5-year follow-up, testing HCC-free survival as the primary endpoint. Our hypothesis is that sirolimus use in the second arm of the study will improve HCC-free survival. The study is a non-commercial investigator-initiated trial (IIT) sponsored by the University Hospital Regensburg and is endorsed by the European Liver and Intestine Transplant Association; 13 countries within Europe, Canada and Australia are participating. Discussion: If our hypothesis is correct that mTOR inhibition can reduce HCC tumour growth while simultaneously providing immunosuppression to protect the liver allograft from rejection, patients should experience less post-transplant problems with HCC recurrence, and therefore could expect a longer and better quality of life. A positive outcome will likely change the standard of posttransplant immunosuppressive care for LT patients with HCC. (trial registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00355862) (EudraCT Number: 2005-005362-36)
- Von der Gleichzeitigkeit des Ungleichzeitigen : warum die Religion trotz Säkularisierung ein bestimmender Faktor bleibt (2008)
- Im Gespräch: Prof. Dr. Thomas M. Schmidt, Dekan des Fachbereichs Katholische Theologie, und Prof. Dr. Markus Witte, Dekan des Fachbereichs Evangelische Theologie, und Ulrike Jaspers, Referentin für Wissenschaftskommunikation.
- Proliferation and estrogen signaling can distinguish patients at risk for early versus late relapse among estrogen receptor positive breast cancers (2013)
- INTRODUCTION: We examined if a combination of proliferation markers and estrogen receptor (ER) activity could predict early versus late relapses in ER-positive breast cancer and inform the choice and length of adjuvant endocrine therapy. METHODS: Baseline affymetrix gene-expression profiles from ER-positive patients who received no systemic therapy (n = 559), adjuvant tamoxifen for 5 years (cohort-1: n = 683, cohort-2: n = 282) and from 58 patients treated with neoadjuvant letrozole for 3 months (gene-expression available at baseline, 14 and 90 days) were analyzed. A proliferation score based on the expression of mitotic kinases (MKS) and an ER-related score (ERS) adopted from Oncotype DX® were calculated. The same analysis was performed using the Genomic Grade Index as proliferation marker and the luminal gene score from the PAM50 classifier as measure of estrogen-related genes. Median values were used to define low and high marker groups and four combinations were created. Relapses were grouped into time cohorts of 0-2.5, 0-5, 5-10 years. RESULTS: In the overall 10 years period, the proportional hazards assumption was violated for several biomarker groups indicating time-dependent effects. In tamoxifen-treated patients Low-MKS/Low-ERS cancers had continuously increasing risk of relapse that was higher after 5 years than Low-MKS/High-ERS cancers [0 to 10 year, HR 3.36; p = 0.013]. High-MKS/High-ERS cancers had low risk of early relapse [0-2.5 years HR 0.13; p = 0.0006], but high risk of late relapse which was higher than in the High-MKS/Low-ERS group [after 5 years HR 3.86; p = 0.007]. The High-MKS/Low-ERS subset had most of the early relapses [0 to 2.5 years, HR 6.53; p < 0.0001] especially in node negative tumors and showed minimal response to neoadjuvant letrozole. These findings were qualitatively confirmed in a smaller independent cohort of tamoxifen-treated patients. Using different biomarkers provided similar results. CONCLUSIONS: Early relapses are highest in highly proliferative/low-ERS cancers, in particular in node negative tumors. Relapses occurring after 5 years of adjuvant tamoxifen are highest among the highly-proliferative/high-ERS tumors although their risk of recurrence is modest in the first 5 years on tamoxifen. These tumors could be the best candidates for extended endocrine therapy.
- Die Welt jenseits der Oszillografen : ein Streitgespräch zwischen dem Hirnforscher Wolf Singer und dem Philosophen Marcus Willaschek (2005)
- Neurowissenschaftler fordern einen illusionslosen Umgang mit Begriffen wie Willensfreiheit und Bewusstsein. Philosophen kritisieren offen die Thesen von Hirnforschern. Stehen sich diese Positionen unversöhnlich gegenüber? Wo gibt es Möglichkeiten einer Annäherung, gar einer Kooperation? Der Religionsphilosoph Prof. Dr. Thomas M. Schmidt und der Biologe Stefan Kieß loten die Situation in Frankfurt aus; ihre Gesprächspartner sind der Hirnforscher Prof. Dr. Wolf Singer (links), Direktor am Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung, und Prof. Dr. Marcus Willaschek (rechts), Philosoph an der Universität Frankfurt.
- Gibt es eine moderne Religion? : Jürgen Habermas und die Idee der "postsäkularen Gesellschaft" (2009)
- Das Verhältnis von Religion und Moderne ist in jüngster Zeit wieder zu einem heißen Konfliktherd geworden. So geht es beim Streit um die Piusbrüderschaft im Kern darum, ob eine religiöse Tradition die Kontinuität und Verbindlichkeit ihrer Überlieferung aufrechterhalten und zugleich an wesentliche Einsichten und normative Prinzipien der Moderne anschließen kann. Die traditionalistischen Kritiker des II. Vatikanischen Konzils behaupten, dass religiöse Institutionen wie die katholische Kirche ihre Identität in dem Maße verlieren, in dem sie ein bejahendes und konstruktives Verhältnis zur modernen Gesellschaft entwickeln. Die Anerkennung der Menschenrechte und der Ideen der Französischen Revolution durch das Konzil, also die Akzeptanz des Prinzips der Freiheit in Gestalt der Religionsfreiheit, der Gleichheit als Gleichberechtigung und Gleichwertigkeit aller Religionen und der Brüderlichkeit im Sinne einer gemeinsamen und solidarischen Weltverantwortung »aller Menschen guten Willens« bildet für die reaktionären Kritiker den eigentlichen Skandal der Öffnung der Kirche zur säkularen Moderne. Die unbeholfenen und viele empörenden Versuche der Resozialisierung der Piusbrüder sind letztlich unvollständige und unvollkommene Ansätze, auf eine kulturelle und gesellschaftliche Konstellation zu reagieren, für die Jürgen Habermas den prägnanten Ausdruck »postsäkulare Gesellschaft« geprägt hat. Diese Situation ist nach Habermas nämlich dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass sich religiöse Gemeinschaften auch in einer modernen Lebenswelt dauerhaft einrichten und in ihr fortbestehen. Wir haben laut Habermas Abschied zu nehmen von der Vorstellung eines linearen historischen Prozesses, der zwangsläufig zum Absterben der Religion führen wird. Allerdings schreitet die gesellschaftliche Säkularisierung im Sinne einer Ausdifferenzierung gesellschaftlicher Systeme und einer Pluralisierung von Weltanschauungen weiter voran.
- Activation of TRPC6 channels is essential for lung ischaemia–reperfusion induced oedema in mice (2012)
- Lung ischaemia–reperfusion-induced oedema (LIRE) is a life-threatening condition that causes pulmonary oedema induced by endothelial dysfunction. Here we show that lungs from mice lacking nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase (Nox2y/−) or the classical transient receptor potential channel 6 (TRPC6−/−) are protected from LIR-induced oedema (LIRE). Generation of chimeric mice by bone marrow cell transplantation and endothelial-specific Nox2 deletion showed that endothelial Nox2, but not leukocytic Nox2 or TRPC6, are responsible for LIRE. Lung endothelial cells from Nox2- or TRPC6-deficient mice showed attenuated ischaemia-induced Ca2+ influx, cellular shape changes and impaired barrier function. Production of reactive oxygen species was completely abolished in Nox2y/− cells. A novel mechanistic model comprising endothelial Nox2-derived production of superoxide, activation of phospholipase C-γ, inhibition of diacylglycerol (DAG) kinase, DAG-mediated activation of TRPC6 and ensuing LIRE is supported by pharmacological and molecular evidence. This mechanism highlights novel pharmacological targets for the treatment of LIRE.
- Calibration of TCCON column-averaged CO2: the first aircraft campaign over European TCCON sites (2011)
- The Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) is a ground-based network of Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) sites around the globe, where the column abundances of CO2, CH4, N2O, CO and O2 are measured. CO2 is constrained with a precision better than 0.25% (1-σ). To achieve a similarly high accuracy, calibration to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards is required. This paper introduces the first aircraft calibration campaign of five European TCCON sites and a mobile FTS instrument. A series of WMO standards in-situ profiles were obtained over European TCCON sites via aircraft and compared with retrievals of CO2 column amounts from the TCCON instruments. The results of the campaign show that the FTS measurements are consistently biased 1.1% ± 0.2% low with respect to WMO standards, in agreement with previous TCCON calibration campaigns. The standard a priori profile for the TCCON FTS retrievals is shown to not add a bias. The same calibration factor is generated using aircraft profiles as a priori and with the TCCON standard a priori. With a calibration to WMO standards, the highly precise TCCON CO2 measurements of total column concentrations provide a suitable database for the calibration and validation of nadir-viewing satellites