Journal: Infectious agents and cancer
The Hedgehog (Hh) proteins comprise a group of secreted proteins that regulate cell growth, differentiation and survival. Inappropriate activation of the Hh signaling pathway has been implicated in the development of a variety of cancers. Hh pathway inhibitors are a relatively new class of therapeutic agents that act by targeting the proteins involved in the regulation of Hh pathway (PTCH, SMO and Gli). Together, they serve as exciting new prospects, with a bright future, both alone or as an adjuvant to the more traditional anti-cancer drugs.
BACKGROUND: The obligate intracellular protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects humans and other warm-blooded animals and establishes a chronic infection in the central nervous system after invasion. Studies showing a positive correlation between anti-Toxoplasma antibodies and incidences of brain cancer have led to the notion that Toxoplasma infections increase the risk of brain cancer. However, molecular events involved in Toxoplasma induced brain cancers are not well understood. PRESENTATION OF THE HYPOTHESIS: Toxoplasma gains the control of host cell functions including proliferation and apoptosis by channelizing parasite proteins into the cell cytoplasm and some of the proteins are targeted to the host nucleus. Recent studies have shown that Toxoplasma is capable of manipulating host micro RNAs (miRNAs) which play a central role in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Therefore, we hypothesize that Toxoplasma promotes brain carcinogenesis by altering the host miRNAome using parasitic proteins and/or miRNAs. TESTING THE HYPOTHESIS: The miRNA expression profiles of brain cancer specimens obtained from patients that are infected with Toxoplasma could be analyzed and compared with that of normal tissues as well as brain cancer tissues from Toxoplasma uninfected individuals to identify dysregulated miRNAs in Toxoplasma-driven brain cancer cells. Identified miRNAs will be further confirmed by studying cancer related miRNA profiles of the different types of brain cells before and after Toxoplasma infection using cell lines and experimental animals.Expected outcome: The miRNAs specifically associated with brain cancers that are caused by Toxoplasma infection will be identified. IMPLICATIONS OF THE HYPOTHESIS: Toxoplasma infection may promote initiation and progression of cancer by modifying the miRNAome in brain cells. If this hypothesis is true, the outcome of this research would lead to the development of novel biomarkers and therapeutic tools against Toxoplasma driven brain cancers.
Mounting evidence suggests a causal relationship between specific bacterial infections and the development of certain malignancies. However, the possible role of the keystone periodontal pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remains unknown. Therefore, we examined the presence of P. gingivalis in esophageal mucosa, and the relationship between P. gingivalis infection and the diagnosis and prognosis of ESCC.
Since the introduction of the HPV vaccine, questions have been asked about its efficacy in preventing cancer linked with HPV. Concerns about the HPV vaccine safety profile have also been raised. This paper highlights the rapidly growing body of evidence (including clinical trials and post-marketing surveillance) illustrating both the safety of the HPV vaccine, through a detailed investigation of reported adverse events, and its efficacy in reducing both HPV infections rates and the resulting drop in cervical lesions, which have been demonstrated to be good predictors of cervical cancer risk.
The rationale behind current worldwide human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination programs starts from two basic premises, 1) that HPV vaccines will prevent cervical cancers and save lives and, 2) have no risk of serious side effects. Therefore, efforts should be made to get as many pre-adolescent girls vaccinated in order to decrease the burden of cervical cancer. Careful analysis of HPV vaccine pre- and post-licensure data shows however that both of these premises are at odds with factual evidence and are largely derived from significant misinterpretation of available data.
Pap screening combined with loop electrosurgical excision procedures (LEEP) is almost 100% effective in preventing cervical cancer mortality yet many countries with these procedures have now implemented broad HPV vaccination programs. HPV vaccines have not been demonstrated to be more effective or safer than Pap screening in the prevention of cervical cancer and Pap screening will still be required even in vaccinated women. The HPV vaccine costs Au$450 per person and it does not protect against ~30% of cancer. This investigation analyses the cost-effectiveness of using the HPV vaccine in countries where Pap screening and surgical procedures have already reduced cervical cancer mortality to very low rates. Cost-effectiveness of vaccination programs is being determined by mathematical models which are founded on many assumptions. It is necessary to examine the rigor of these assumptions to be certain of the health benefits that are predicted. In 2002 scientists concluded that HPV 16 and 18 were the central and independent cause of most cervical cancer. This conclusion was based on molecular technology. If HPV 16 and 18 infections are the central and independent cause of most cervical cancer then the incidence of HPV 16 and 18 should vary with the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer worldwide. This correlation does not exist. It is also observed that the majority of HPV 16/18 infections do not lead to cervical cancer. This indicates that other etiological or ‘risk’ factors are necessary for persistent HPV infection to progress to cancer. The benefits of HPV vaccines have been determined by using pre-cancerous lesions in young women as a surrogate for cervical cancer. This surrogate is found to be inadequate as an end-point for cervical cancer. Clinical trials have only provided speculative benefits for the efficacy of HPV vaccines against cancer and the long-term risks of the vaccine have not been established. Pap screening will still be required in vaccinated women hence HPV vaccination programs are not cost-effective, and may do more harm than good, in countries where regular Pap screening and surgery has already reduced the burden of this disease.
A new nonavalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that includes genotypes 6/11/16/18/31/33/45/52/58 has been recently approved in Spain. A previous study has shown that attributable fraction of HPV related diseases in Spain is consistent with that reported in European and global studies. The aim of the present study was to estimate the annual direct costs associated to the following HPV-related diseases: genital warts, high grade precancerous lesions and cancer of cervix, vulva, vagina, anus and penis and head and neck cancer, caused by genotypes included in the nonavalent (9vHPV) and quadrivalent vaccines (4vHPV), in Spanish men and women.
Hepatitis C virus is a serious infection causing cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. The recent development of direct-acting antivirals has dramatically improved tolerability of treatment and rates of cure. However, the high price of these medications has often limited access to care and resulted in rationing of medications in the United States to those with advanced liver disease, access to specialist care, and without active substance use. This review assesses the way pharmaceutical prices are established and how pricing of directly acting antiviral regimens in the United States has impacted access to treatment for hepatitis C virus.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder and the most common form of dementia characterized by cognitive and memory impairment. One of the mechanism involved in the pathogenesis of AD, is the oxidative stress being involved in AD’s development and progression. In addition, several studies proved that chronic viral infections, mainly induced by Human herpesvirus 1 (HHV-1), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Human herpesvirus 2 (HHV-2), and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) could be responsible for AD’s neuropathology. Despite the large amount of data regarding the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a very limited number of therapeutic drugs and/or pharmacological approaches, have been developed so far. It is important to underline that, in recent years, natural compounds, due their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties have been largely studied and identified as promising agents for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, including AD. The ester of epigallocatechin and gallic acid, (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate (EGCG), is the main and most significantly bioactive polyphenol found in solid green tea extract. Several studies showed that this compound has important anti-inflammatory and antiatherogenic properties as well as protective effects against neuronal damage and brain edema. To date, many studies regarding the potential effects of EGCG in AD’s treatment have been reported in literature. The purpose of this review is to summarize the in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical studies on the use of EGCG in the prevention and the treatment of AD as well as to offer new insights for translational perspectives into clinical practice.
Associations between different bacteria and various tumours have been reported in patients for decades. Studies involving characterisation of bacteria within tumour tissues have traditionally been in the context of tumourigenesis as a result of bacterial presence within healthy tissues, and in general, dogma holds that such bacteria are causative agents of malignancy (directly or indirectly). While evidence suggests that this may be the case for certain tumour types and bacterial species, it is plausible that in many cases, clinical observations of bacteria within tumours arise from spontaneous infection of established tumours. Indeed, growth of bacteria specifically within tumours following deliberate systemic administration has been demonstrated for numerous bacterial species at preclinical and clinical levels. We present the available data on links between bacteria and tumours, and propose that besides the few instances in which pathogens are playing a pathogenic role in cancer, in many instances, the prevalent relationship between solid tumours and bacteria is opportunistic rather than causative, and discuss opportunities for exploiting tumour-specific bacterial growth for cancer treatment.