Stemming the Tide
Earlier this year, Ohio State researchers and clinicians found that “pretreating” adult stem cells with an anti-angina drug allows them to better adapt to the harsh environment of their transplantation site and possibly aid the regeneration of heart muscle. Scientists are studying whether transplanted cells eliminate or slow tissue deterioration that would lead to heart failure.
In research published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
, adult stem cells from the bone marrow of rats were pretreated with the drug trimetazidine. The stem cells were then grown under low-oxygen conditions to mimic their native and destination environments and exposed to stressful conditions such as those in damaged heart tissue. The pretreated stem cells provided a substantially better therapeutic effect in restoring heart function.
“Transplanted stem cells can repair many types of damaged tissue, including heart tissue,” says Periannan Kuppusamy, PhD, associate director of Ohio State’s Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute and holder of the William D. and Jacquelyn L. Wells Chair in Imaging Research.
Cancer researchers at the OSUCCC – James have developed a tumor-attacking virus that both kills brain-tumor cells and blocks the growth of new tumor blood vessels by adding a gene for a protein that inhibits blood-vessel growth.
Results of the study, published online in the journal Molecular Therapy, show that an oncolytic virus containing the gene for vasculostatin eliminated human glioblastoma tumors growing in some models and significantly slowed tumor recurrence in others. Balveen Kaur, PhD, associate professor of Neurological Surgery, led the study.
An Ohio State study has shown that a majority of infertility patients used alternative therapies, such as religious intervention, dietary changes and folk remedies while attempting to become pregnant. The findings were published in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.
“The study speaks to people’s commitment to do everything within their power to conceive,” says Ohio State obstetrician Jonathan Schaffir, MD, lead author of the study, who adds that few, if any, of the alternatives have been shown to treat infertility.
Cancer Patients Connect
In a pilot study at the OSUCCC – James, 27 breast cancer patients used personal digital assistants to rate their pain, fatigue and depression during chemotherapy, and viewed videos on how to communicate these symptoms to their physicians. These patients showed a significant reduction in pain severity compared to a control group.
“Patients often have a hard time communicating their concerns with these symptoms because they don’t want to bother their doctors, so we are trying to improve that patient-doctor communication,” says principal investigator Doug Post, PhD, professor of Family Medicine.
New Cancer Therapy Tested
James Thomas, MD, PhD, director of the clinical trials office at the OSUCCC – James, is leading a phase I clinical trial to assess the safety and early evidence of activity of AR-12, an oral drug developed at Ohio State that has shown in animal studies to inhibit the growth of solid tumors and lymphoma. This marks the first time that a therapeutic drug developed by Ohio State scientists will be tested in cancer patients.
Apnea Hurts Heart
Sleep medicine and cardiology researchers at Ohio State are the first to evaluate the impact of obstructive sleep apnea on patients admitted to the hospital with heart failure.
The study results, which appeared in the journal Chest, showed that early identification and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in hospitalized patients with acutely decompensated heart failure improves heart function. Ohio State sleep medicine expert Rami Khayat, MD, is the lead author of the study.
Autism Training Helps
Teaching parents to use behavior management techniques along with prescribing medication reduces serious behavioral problems in children with pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism, according to a multicenter study including Ohio State’s Nisonger Center. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Lead author Michael Aman, PhD, director of research at the Nisonger Center, says the results show that parental involvement in treatment can enhance outcomes and improve family life.
Thought for Food
The Ohio State University is investing $3.75 million over the next five years in a new food center that will address global issues in food supply, food policy, and nutrition and health.
The Food Innovation Center: Foods for Global Security, Safety, and Health Promotion involves more than 80 faculty members from 12 Ohio State colleges.
“Feeding the rapidly growing world population – a projected 8 billion by 2025 – will require a 40-percent increase in the world food supply,” says Ken Lee, PhD, professor of Food Science and Technology and project director of the new Center. “At the same time, we are wasting 40 percent of the current supply due to challenges in economics, safety, health, nutrition, security, technology and food policy. But it’s this kind of mission-oriented research that can tackle these issues.”
“You can count on only a few fingers the number of academic institutions that have colleges of agriculture, business, public health and veterinary medicine, integrated programs in human nutrition and food science, as well as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, on one single campus,” says Steven Clinton, MD, PhD, another principal investigator at the Center who also leads the Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention program within the OSUCCC – James. “The new Food Innovation Center is exactly the mechanism that can propel us to academic prominence in this field and contribute solutions to critical global challenges in food and nutrition.”
A psychological intervention for patients with newly diagnosed stage II or III breast cancer who have symptoms of depression not only relieves their depression but also lowers indicators of cancer-promoting inflammation in the blood, according to a new study by researchers at the OSUCCC – James and Ohio State’s Department of Psychology, published online for the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
“This study shows that if we help breast cancer patients with depression, they will also experience less inflammation,” says study leader William Carson III, MD, associate director for Clinical Research at the OSUCCC – James. Lisa Thornton, PhD, and Barbara Anderson, PhD, of Ohio State’s Department of Psychology, were lead author and co-author respectively of the study.
Blood Vessel Clues
The size and shape of blood vessels visible within prostate cancer tumors may aid in determining more effective treatments, according to research conducted at the OSUCCC – James in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health.
The study, led by Steven Clinton, MD, PhD, revealed that aggressive or lethal prostate cancers tend to have blood vessels that are small, irregular and primitive in cross-section, while slow-growing tumors have blood vessels that look more normal. The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Ohio State is one of six U.S. medical centers awarded a two-year, $1.6-million National Cancer Institute grant to validate the accuracy of a multigene lung cancer risk test in longtime smokers.
The test measures 14 key antioxidant, DNA repair and regulatory genes in normal bronchial cells that previous smaller studies have shown accurately predict the presence of lung cancer in a cohort of high-risk smokers.
“If validated, this test could identify those high-risk individuals who may benefit from chemoprevention and screening studies,” says Patrick Nana-Sinkam, MD, lead investigator at Ohio State.
A new study by neuroscientists at Ohio State revealed that, after spinal cord injury, certain immune cells collect in the spinal fluid and release high levels of antibodies that may actually worsen and extend spinal cord damage.
The antibodies first attach to nerve cells and other elements of the nervous system. Then other components of the immune system attack the cells and substances marked by the antibodies as if they were infectious agents or foreign material.
“Our findings suggest that inhibiting or depleting B lymphocytes, the cells that produce antibodies, may promote healing and reduce the long-term effects of spinal cord injury,” says study leader Phillip Popovich, PhD, director of Ohio State’s Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair, professor of Neuroscience and of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics and holder of the Ray W. Poppleton Research Chair.
“They may also help explain why the central nervous system does not repair itself efficiently and why other impairments often follow spinal cord injury.”
Results of the study were published online by The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Mark Landon, MD, lead investigator of a multicenter study including investigators from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, conducted a clinical trial to determine if diet intervention and frequent glucose monitoring helped patients manage mild gestational diabetes.
“Treatment is prescribed on a regular basis for most women with gestational diabetes, but we have lacked the evidence until now as to whether treatment of the mildest cases would benefit, or pose risks for, mothers or their newborns,” says Landon, who is also interim chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Ohio State. “The study confirms that it is worth the time and effort to treat women with even the mildest form of glucose intolerance during pregnancy.”
The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
In most cases of gestational diabetes, a woman receives her diagnosis during pregnancy, and the diabetes does not persist after pregnancy. However, these women have a higher chance of being diagnosed again with adult-onset diabetes later in life.
“Because of the increasing frequency of gestational diabetes, our study gives hope to affected women that the condition is manageable with diet modifications and close monitoring,” says Landon.
This section was compiled by Luke Russell.
Testing the Connections
A new study led by Ohio State cancer researchers published in Nature shows for the first time that the loss of a gene called PTEN from fibroblasts, a principal cell component of the tissue that surrounds a breast cancer tumor, dramatically alters the structure and biochemical make-up of the tumor environment in ways that foster tumor growth. Co-principal investigator of the study is Michael Ostrowski, PhD, professor and chair of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and co-leader of the OSUCCC – James Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program.
“Our findings reveal a new role for this gene in the tumor environment, which could lead to entirely new treatments for breast cancer and perhaps other solid tumors using agents that target cells surrounding the tumor, as well as the cancer cells themselves,” says co-principal investigator Gustavo Leone, PhD, associate professor of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics.
The findings should also improve the understanding of other conditions such as autoimmune disease, lung fibrosis and neurodegenerative diseases that are influenced by the local tissue environment.