Science translational medicine (Sci Transl Med )


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Publications in this journal

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    ABSTRACT: Conventional allograft therapy for corneal scarring is widespread and successful, but donor tissue is not universally available, and some grafts fail owing to rejection and complications such as endothelial failure. We investigated direct treatment of corneal scarring using autologous stem cells, a therapy that, if successful, could reduce the need for corneal grafts. Mesenchymal cells were expanded from small superficial, clinically replicable limbal biopsies of human cadaveric corneo-scleral rims. Limbal biopsy–derived stromal cells (LBSCs) expanded rapidly in media containing human serum, were highly clonogenic, and could generate spheres expressing stem cell genes (ABCG2, Nestin, NGFR, Oct4, PAX6, and Sox2). Human LBSCs differentiated into keratocytes expressing characteristic marker genes (ALDH3A1, AQP1, KERA, and PTGDS) and organized a thick lamellar stroma-like tissue containing aligned collagen and keratan sulfate proteoglycans when cultured on aligned nanofiber substrata. When engrafted into mouse corneal wounds, LBSCs prevented formation of light-scattering scar tissue containing fibrotic matrix components. The presence of LBSCs induced regeneration of ablated stroma with tissue exhibiting lamellar structure and collagen organization indistinguishable from that of native tissue. Because the limbus can be easily biopsied from either eye of an affected individual and LBSCs capable of corneal stromal remodeling can be expanded under xeno-free autologous conditions, these cells present a potential for autologous stem cell–based treatment of corneal stromal blindness.
    Science translational medicine 12/2014; 6(266).
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    ABSTRACT: Using therapeutic antibodies that need to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to treat neurological disease is a difficult challenge. We have shown that bispecific antibodies with optimized binding to the transferrin receptor (TfR) that target β-secretase (BACE1) can cross the BBB and reduce brain amyloid-β (Aβ) in mice. Can TfR enhance antibody uptake in the primate brain? We describe two humanized TfR/BACE1 bispecific antibody variants. Using a human TfR knock-in mouse, we observed that anti-TfR/BACE1 antibodies could cross the BBB and reduce brain Aβ in a TfR affinity-dependent fashion. Intravenous dosing of monkeys with anti-TfR/BACE1 antibodies also reduced Aβ both in cerebral spinal fluid and in brain tissue, and the degree of reduction correlated with the brain concentration of anti-TfR/BACE1 antibody. These results demonstrate that the TfR bispecific antibody platform can robustly and safely deliver therapeutic antibody across the BBB in the primate brain.
    Science translational medicine 11/2014; 6(261):261ra154.
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    ABSTRACT: Eribulin mesylate was developed as a potent microtubule-targeting cytotoxic agent to treat taxane-resistant cancers, but recent clinical trials have shown that it eventually fails in many patient subpopulations for unclear reasons. To investigate its resistance mechanisms, we developed a fluorescent analog of eribulin with pharmacokinetic (PK) properties and cytotoxic activity across a human cell line panel that are sufficiently similar to the parent drug to study its cellular PK and tissue distribution. Using intravital imaging and automated tracking of cellular dynamics, we found that resistance to eribulin and the fluorescent analog depended directly on the multidrug resistance protein 1 (MDR1). Intravital imaging allowed for real-time analysis of in vivo PK in tumors that were engineered to be spatially heterogeneous for taxane resistance, whereby an MDR1-mApple fusion protein distinguished resistant cells fluorescently. In vivo, MDR1-mediated drug efflux and the three-dimensional tumor vascular architecture were discovered to be critical determinants of drug accumulation in tumor cells. We furthermore show that standard intravenous administration of a third-generation MDR1 inhibitor, HM30181, failed to rescue drug accumulation; however, the same MDR1 inhibitor encapsulated within a nanoparticle delivery system reversed the multidrug-resistant phenotype and potentiated the eribulin effect in vitro and in vivo in mice. Our work demonstrates that in vivo assessment of cellular PK of an anticancer drug is a powerful strategy for elucidating mechanisms of drug resistance in heterogeneous tumors and evaluating strategies to overcome this resistance.
    Science translational medicine 11/2014; 6(261):261ra152.
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    ABSTRACT: A protective vaccine against hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains an unmet clinical need. HCV infects millions of people worldwide and is a leading cause of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer. Animal challenge experiments, immunogenetics studies, and assessment of host immunity during acute infection highlight the critical role that effective T cell immunity plays in viral control. In this first-in-man study, we have induced antiviral immunity with functional characteristics analogous to those associated with viral control in natural infection, and improved upon a vaccine based on adenoviral vectors alone. We assessed a heterologous prime-boost vaccination strategy based on a replicative defective simian adenoviral vector (ChAd3) and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vector encoding the NS3, NS4, NS5A, and NS5B proteins of HCV genotype 1b. Analysis used single-cell mass cytometry and human leukocyte antigen class I peptide tetramer technology in healthy human volunteers. We show that HCV-specific T cells induced by ChAd3 are optimally boosted with MVA, and generate very high levels of both CD8(+) and CD4(+) HCV-specific T cells targeting multiple HCV antigens. Sustained memory and effector T cell populations are generated, and T cell memory evolved over time with improvement of quality (proliferation and polyfunctionality) after heterologous MVA boost. We have developed an HCV vaccine strategy, with durable, broad, sustained, and balanced T cell responses, characteristic of those associated with viral control, paving the way for the first efficacy studies of a prophylactic HCV vaccine.
    Science translational medicine 11/2014; 6(261):261ra153.
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    ABSTRACT: A phase I study of a tumor-targeted nanoshell in five patients documents an important milestone in the development of nanoparticles for molecular imaging in humans (Phillips et al., this issue).
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(260):260fs44.
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    ABSTRACT: A combination of optical imaging technologies with cancer-specific molecular imaging agents is a potentially powerful strategy to improve cancer detection and enable image-guided surgery. Bladder cancer is primarily managed endoscopically by white light cystoscopy with suboptimal diagnostic accuracy. Emerging optical imaging technologies hold great potential for improved diagnostic accuracy but lack imaging agents for molecular specificity. Using fluorescently labeled CD47 antibody (anti-CD47) as molecular imaging agent, we demonstrated consistent identification of bladder cancer with clinical grade fluorescence imaging systems, confocal endomicroscopy, and blue light cystoscopy in fresh surgically removed human bladders. With blue light cystoscopy, the sensitivity and specificity for CD47-targeted imaging were 82.9 and 90.5%, respectively. We detected variants of bladder cancers, which are diagnostic challenges, including carcinoma in situ, residual carcinoma in tumor resection bed, recurrent carcinoma following prior intravesical immunotherapy with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), and excluded cancer from benign but suspicious-appearing mucosa. CD47-targeted molecular imaging could improve diagnosis and resection thoroughness for bladder cancer.
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(260):260ra148.
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    ABSTRACT: A first-in-human clinical trial of ultrasmall inorganic hybrid nanoparticles, "C dots" (Cornell dots), in patients with metastatic melanoma is described for the imaging of cancer. These renally excreted silica particles were labeled with (124)I for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and modified with cRGDY peptides for molecular targeting. (124)I-cRGDY-PEG-C dot particles are inherently fluorescent, containing the dye, Cy5, so they may be used as hybrid PET-optical imaging agents for lesion detection, cancer staging, and treatment management in humans. However, the clinical translation of nanoparticle probes, including quantum dots, has not kept pace with the accelerated growth in minimally invasive surgical tools that rely on optical imaging agents. The safety, pharmacokinetics, clearance properties, and radiation dosimetry of (124)I-cRGDY-PEG-C dots were assessed by serial PET and computerized tomography after intravenous administration in patients. Metabolic profiles and laboratory tests of blood and urine specimens, obtained before and after particle injection, were monitored over a 2-week interval. Findings are consistent with a well-tolerated inorganic particle tracer exhibiting in vivo stability and distinct, reproducible pharmacokinetic signatures defined by renal excretion. No toxic or adverse events attributable to the particles were observed. Coupled with preferential uptake and localization of the probe at sites of disease, these first-in-human results suggest safe use of these particles in human cancer diagnostics.
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(260):260ra149.
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    ABSTRACT: Global health efforts require socially responsible licensing that permits wide-ranging access to inventions that address health challenges beyond the so-called neglected diseases. Our analysis suggests that universities that excel in global health innovation are less likely to have global-access licensing policies in place. This trend can slow access to new clinical products and diminish the ability of universities to address their public missions.
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(260):260cm11.
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    ABSTRACT: Heparin-based anticoagulant drugs have been widely used for the prevention of blood clotting during surgical procedures and for the treatment of thromboembolic events. However, bleeding risks associated with these anticoagulants demand continuous monitoring and neutralization with suitable antidotes. Protamine, the only clinically approved antidote to heparin, has shown adverse effects and ineffectiveness against low-molecular weight heparins and fondaparinux, a heparin-related medication. Alternative approaches based on cationic molecules and recombinant proteins have several drawbacks including limited efficacy, toxicity, immunogenicity, and high cost. Thus, there is an unmet clinical need for safer, rapid, predictable, and cost-effective anticoagulant-reversal agents for all clinically used heparins. We report a design strategy for a fully synthetic dendritic polymer-based universal heparin reversal agent (UHRA) that makes use of multivalent presentation of branched cationic heparin binding groups (HBGs). Optimization of the UHRA design was aided by isothermal titration calorimetry studies, biocompatibility evaluation, and heparin neutralization analysis. By controlling the scaffold's molecular weight, the nature of the protective shell, and the presentation of HBGs on the polymer scaffold, we arrived at lead UHRA molecules that completely neutralized the activity of all clinically used heparins. The optimized UHRA molecules demonstrated superior efficacy and safety profiles and mitigated heparin-induced bleeding in animal models. This new polymer therapeutic may benefit patients undergoing high-risk surgical procedures and has potential for the treatment of anticoagulant-related bleeding problems.
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(260):260ra150.
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    ABSTRACT: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted on the northwest border of Thailand compared malaria chemoprevention with monthly or bimonthly standard 3-day treatment regimens of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Healthy adult male subjects (N = 1000) were followed weekly during 9 months of treatment. Using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling, the concentration-effect relationship for the malaria-preventive effect of piperaquine was best characterized with a sigmoidal Emax relationship, where plasma concentrations of 6.7 ng/ml [relative standard error (RSE), 23%] and 20 ng/ml were found to reduce the hazard of acquiring a malaria infection by 50% [that is, median inhibitory concentration (IC50)] and 95% (IC95), respectively. Simulations of monthly dosing, based on the final model and published pharmacokinetic data, suggested that the incidence of malaria infections over 1 year could be reduced by 70% with a recently suggested dosing regimen compared to the current manufacturer's recommendations for small children (8 to 12 kg). This model provides a rational framework for piperaquine dose optimization in different patient groups.
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(260):260ra147.
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    ABSTRACT: Management of the cancer burden in low- and lower-middle-income countries requires global partnerships between cancer-care mentors from high-income countries and community health workers familiar with the local circumstances.
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(259):259fs42.
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    ABSTRACT: TOPK (T-lymphokine-activated killer cell-originated protein kinase) is highly and frequently transactivated in various cancer tissues, including lung and triple-negative breast cancers, and plays an indispensable role in the mitosis of cancer cells. We report the development of a potent TOPK inhibitor, OTS964 {(R)-9-(4-(1-(dimethylamino)propan-2-yl)phenyl)-8-hydroxy-6-methylthieno[2,3-c]quinolin-4(5H)-one}, which inhibits TOPK kinase activity with high affinity and selectivity. Similar to the knockdown effect of TOPK small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), this inhibitor causes a cytokinesis defect and the subsequent apoptosis of cancer cells in vitro as well as in xenograft models of human lung cancer. Although administration of the free compound induced hematopoietic adverse reactions (leukocytopenia associated with thrombocytosis), the drug delivered in a liposomal formulation effectively caused complete regression of transplanted tumors without showing any adverse reactions in mice. Our results suggest that the inhibition of TOPK activity may be a viable therapeutic option for the treatment of various human cancers.
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(259):259ra145.
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    ABSTRACT: Enterobacteriaceae, a type of highly virulent Gram-negative bacteria, can be imaged in vivo in animals via positron emission tomography with (18)F-sorbitol (Weinstein et al., this issue).
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(259):259fs43.
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    ABSTRACT: During critical periods of development, the brain easily changes in response to environmental stimuli, but this neural plasticity declines by adulthood. By acutely disrupting paired immunoglobulin-like receptor B (PirB) function at specific ages, we show that PirB actively represses neural plasticity throughout life. We disrupted PirB function either by genetically introducing a conditional PirB allele into mice or by minipump infusion of a soluble PirB ectodomain (sPirB) into mouse visual cortex. We found that neural plasticity, as measured by depriving mice of vision in one eye and testing ocular dominance, was enhanced by this treatment both during the critical period and when PirB function was disrupted in adulthood. Acute blockade of PirB triggered the formation of new functional synapses, as indicated by increases in miniature excitatory postsynaptic current (mEPSC) frequency and spine density on dendrites of layer 5 pyramidal neurons. In addition, recovery from amblyopia-the decline in visual acuity and spine density resulting from long-term monocular deprivation-was possible after a 1-week infusion of sPirB after the deprivation period. Thus, neural plasticity in adult visual cortex is actively repressed and can be enhanced by blocking PirB function.
    Science translational medicine 10/2014; 6(258):258ra140.