Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Cure


Gene therapy strategies for the treatment of inherited retinal diseases have made major advances in recent years. This review focuses on adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector approaches to treat retinal degeneration and, thus, prevent or delay the onset of blindness. Data from human clinical trials of gene therapy for retinal disease show encouraging signs of safety and efficacy from AAV vectors. Recent progress in enhancing cell-specific targeting and transduction efficiency of the various retinal layers plus the use of AAV-delivered growth factors to augment the therapeutic effect and limit cell death suggest even greater success in future human trials is possible.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Disease, Death, Cure, Effectiveness, Clinical research


The selective delivery of drugs in a cell- or tissue-specific manner represents the main challenge for medical research; in order to reduce the occurrence of unwanted off-target effects. In this regard, nucleic acid aptamers have emerged as an attractive class of carrier molecules due to their ability to bind with high affinity to specific ligands; their high chemical flexibility; as well as tissue penetration capability. To date, different aptamer-drug systems and aptamer-nanoparticles systems, in which nanoparticles function together with aptamers for the targeted delivery, have been successfully developed for a wide range of therapeutics, including toxins; peptides; chemotherapeutics and oligonucleotides. Therefore, aptamer-mediated drug delivery represents a powerful tool for the safe and effective treatment of different human pathologies, including cancer; neurological diseases; immunological diseases and so on. In this review, we will summarize recent progress in the field of aptamer-mediated drug delivery and we will discuss the advantages, the achieved objectives and the challenges to be still addressed in the near future, in order to improve the effectiveness of therapies.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Effect, Cure, Effectiveness, Immunology, Neurology, Aptamer


Advanced follicular lymphoma (FL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) are incurable diseases with conventional treatment. The high dose treatment (HDT) with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), however, offers a certain proportion of these patients the prospect of a prolonged disease-free and overall survival. The aim of this study was to investigate the event free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with FL and MCL treated with ASCT.

Concepts: Cancer, Disease, Cure, Chemotherapy, Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Follicular lymphoma, Mantle cell lymphoma


Liposomes are nanocarriers that deliver the payloads at the target site, leading to therapeutic drug concentrations at the diseased site and reduced toxic effects in healthy tissues. Several approaches have been used to enhance the ability of the nanocarrier to target the specific tissues, including ligand-targeted liposomes and stimuli-responsive liposomes. Ligand-targeted liposomes exhibit higher uptake by the target tissue due to the targeting ligand attached to the surface, while, the stimuli-responsive liposomes do not release their cargo unless they expose to an endogenous or exogenous stimulant at the target site. In this review, we mainly focus on the liposomes that are responsive to pathologically increased levels of enzymes at the target site. Enzyme-responsive liposomes release their cargo upon contact with the enzyme through several destabilization mechanisms: a) structural perturbation in the lipid bilayer, b) removal of a shielding polymer from the surface and increased cellular uptake, c) cleavage of a lipopeptide or lipopolymer incorporated in the bilayer, and d) activation of a prodrug in the liposomes.

Concepts: Protein, Medicine, Cancer, Enzyme, Cure, Poison, Doxorubicin, Recreational drug use


We update recommendations on 12 topics that were in the 9th edition of these guidelines, and address 3 new topics.

Concepts: Medicine, Cure


Cramer et al. (Reports, 23 March 2012, p. 1503; published online 9 February 2012) demonstrates short-term bexarotene treatment clearing preexisting β-amyloid deposits from the brains of APP/PS1ΔE9 mice with low amyloid burden, providing a rationale for repurposing this anticancer agent as an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) therapeutic. Using a nearly identical treatment regimen, we were unable to detect any evidence of drug efficacy despite demonstration of target engagement.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Medicine, Cure, Aluminium, Beta amyloid, Mice


Targeted therapies and the consequent adoption of “personalized” oncology have achieved notable successes in some cancers; however, significant problems remain with this approach. Many targeted therapies are highly toxic, costs are extremely high, and most patients experience relapse after a few disease-free months. Relapses arise from genetic heterogeneity in tumors, which harbor therapy-resistant immortalized cells that have adopted alternate and compensatory pathways (i.e., pathways that are not reliant upon the same mechanisms as those which have been targeted). To address these limitations, an international task force of 180 scientists was assembled to explore the concept of a low-toxicity “broad-spectrum” therapeutic approach that could simultaneously target many key pathways and mechanisms. Using cancer hallmark phenotypes and the tumor microenvironment to account for the various aspects of relevant cancer biology, interdisciplinary teams reviewed each hallmark area and nominated a wide range of high-priority targets (74 in total) that could be modified to improve patient outcomes. For these targets, corresponding low-toxicity therapeutic approaches were then suggested, many of which were phytochemicals. Proposed actions on each target and all of the approaches were further reviewed for known effects on other hallmark areas and the tumor microenvironment. Potential contrary or procarcinogenic effects were found for 3.9% of the relationships between targets and hallmarks, and mixed evidence of complementary and contrary relationships was found for 7.1%. Approximately 67% of the relationships revealed potentially complementary effects, and the remainder had no known relationship. Among the approaches, 1.1% had contrary, 2.8% had mixed and 62.1% had complementary relationships. These results suggest that a broad-spectrum approach should be feasible from a safety standpoint. This novel approach has potential to be relatively inexpensive, it should help us address stages and types of cancer that lack conventional treatment, and it may reduce relapse risks. A proposed agenda for future research is offered.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Cure, Chemotherapy, Brain tumor, Therapy, Tumor, Neoplasm


Although antiretroviral therapy can suppress HIV-1 infection to undetectable levels of plasma viremia, integrated latent HIV-1 genomes that encode replication-competent virus persist in resting CD4(+) T cells. This latent HIV-1 reservoir represents a major barrier to a cure. Currently, there are substantial efforts to identify therapeutic approaches that will eliminate or reduce the size of this latent HIV-1 reservoir. In this regard, a sensitive assay that can accurately and rapidly quantify inducible, replication-competent latent HIV-1 from resting CD4(+) T cells is essential for HIV-1 eradication studies. Here we describe a reporter cell-based assay to quantify inducible, replication-competent latent HIV-1. This assay has several advantages over existing technology in that it (i) is sensitive; (ii) requires only a small blood volume; (iii) is faster, less labor intensive, and less expensive; and (iv) can be readily adapted into a high-throughput format. Using this assay, we show that the size of the inducible latent HIV-1 reservoir in aviremic participants on therapy is approximately 70-fold larger than previous estimates.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Gene, Blood, Virus, Cure, Therapy


Current treatment options for debilitating bone diseases such as osteosarcoma, osteoporosis, and bone metastatic cancer are suboptimal and have low efficacy. New treatment options for these pathologies require targeted therapy that maximizes exposure to the diseased tissue and minimizes off-target side effects. This work investigates an approach for generating functional and targeted drug carriers specifically for treating primary osteosarcoma, a disease in which recurrence is common and the cure rate has remained around 20%. This approach utilizes the modularity of Layer-by-Layer (LbL) assembly to generate tissue-specific drug carriers for systemic administration. This is accomplished via surface modification of drug-loaded nanoparticles with an aqueous polyelectrolyte, poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), side-chain functionalized with alendronate, a potent clinically used bisphosphonate. Nanoparticles coated with PAA-alendronate are observed to bind and internalize rapidly in human osteosarcoma 143B cells. Encapsulation of doxorubicin, a front-line chemotherapeutic, in an LbL-targeted liposome demonstrates potent toxicity in vitro. Active targeting of 143B xenografts in NCR nude mice with the LbL-targeted doxorubicin liposomes promotes enhanced, prolonged tumor accumulation and significantly improved efficacy. This report represents a tunable approach towards the synthesis of drug carriers, in which LbL enables surface modification of nanoparticles for tissue-specific targeting and treatment.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Cancer, Disease, Breast cancer, Oncology, Cure, Chemotherapy, Doxorubicin


Specific accumulation of therapeutics at tumor sites to improve in vivo biodistribution and therapeutic efficacy of anticancer drugs is a major challenge for cancer therapy. Herein, we demonstrate a new generation of intelligent nanosystem integrating multiple functionalities in a single carrier based on multifunctional multiblock polyurethane (MMPU). The smart nanocarriers equipped with stealthy character, active targeting and internalizable properties can ferry paclitaxel selectively into tumor tissue, rapidly enter cancer cells and controllably release their payload in response to intracellular acidic environment, thus resulting in an improved biodistribution and excellent antitumor activity in vivo. Our work provides a facile and versatile approach for the design and fabrication of smart intracellular targeted nanovehicles for effective cancer treatment, and opens a new era in the development of biodegradable polyurethanes for next-generation nanodelivery systems.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Oncology, Cure, Chemotherapy, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Targeted therapy