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Publications (7)9.52 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) represents a powerful, new tool for scientific investigation as well as a promising new form of targeted gene therapy, with applications currently in clinical trials. Bifunctional short hairpin RNA (shRNA) are synthetic RNAi molecules, engineered to utilize multiple endogenous RNAi pathways to specifically silence target genes. Pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 (PDX1) is a key regulator of pancreatic development, β-cell differentiation, normal β-cell function and pancreatic cancer. Our aim is to review the process of identifying PDX1 as a specific, potential RNAi target in pancreatic cancer, as well as the underlying mechanisms and various forms of RNAi, with subsequent testing and development of PDX1-targeted bifunctional shRNA therapy.Cancer Gene Therapy advance online publication, 24 January 2014; doi:10.1038/cgt.2013.84.
    Cancer gene therapy 01/2014; · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary inclusion body myopathy (HIBM) is an autosomal recessive adult onset myopathy. It is characterized by mutations of the GNE (UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 2-epimerase/N-acetylmannosamine kinase) gene. Afflicted patients have no therapeutic options. In preclinical testing, we have previously demonstrated the ability to correct GNE gene function and the safety of delivery of wild type GNE gene using a liposomal delivery vehicle. A single patient (subject #001) with severe HIBM treated by compassionate investigational new drug received four doses of GNE gene Lipoplex via intramuscular injection. GNE transgene expression, downstream induction of sialic acid, safety and muscle function were evaluated. Significant durable improvement in locoregional skeletal muscle function was observed in the injected left extensor carpi radialis longus of #001 in correlation with GNE transgene upregulation and local induction of sialic acid. Other than transient low grade fever and pain at the injection site, no significant toxicity was observed. Proof of principle for manufacturing of 'clinical grade' GNE gene Lipoplex, clinical safety and activity are demonstrated with GNE gene Lipoplex. Further assessment will involve intravenous administration and subsequent phase I trial involving additional but less severely afflicted HIBM patients.
    The Journal of Gene Medicine 05/2010; 12(5):403-12. · 2.16 Impact Factor
  • Neuromuscular Disorders - NEUROMUSCULAR DISORD. 01/2010; 20(9):620-621.
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary inclusion body myopathy-2 (HIBM2) is an adult-onset, muscular disease caused by mutations in the GNE gene. HIBM2-associated GNE mutations causing hyposialyation have been proposed to contribute to reduced muscle function in patients with HIBM2, though the exact cause of this disease is unknown. In the current studies we examined pre-clinical in vivo toxicity, and expression of the plasmid-based, CMV driven wild-type GNE plasmid vector. The plasmid vector was injected intramuscularly (IM) or systemically (IV) into BALB/c mice, following encapsulation in a cationic liposome (DOTAP:Cholesterol). Single IM injections of the GNE-lipoplex at 40 microg did not produce overt toxicity or deaths, indicating that the no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) dose for IM injection was >or=40 microg. Single intravenous (IV) infusion of GNE-lipoplex was lethal in 33% of animals at 100 microg dose, with a small proportion of animals in the 40 microg cohort demonstrating transient toxicity. Thus the NOAEL dose by the IV route was greater than 10 microg and less than or equal to 40 microg. Real-time RT-qPCR analysis demonstrated recombinant human GNE mRNA expression in 100% of muscle tissues that received IM injection of 40 microg GNE-lipoplex, at 2 weeks. These results indicate that GNE-lipoplex gene transfer is safe and can produce durable transgene expression in treated muscles. Our findings support future exploration of the clinical efficacy of GNE-lipoplex for experimental gene therapy of HIBM2.
    Gene regulation and systems biology 01/2009; 3:89-101.
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    ABSTRACT: The bifunctional enzyme UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 2-epimerase/N-acetylmannosamine kinase (GNE) is the key enzyme for the biosynthesis of sialic acids, terminal components of glycoconjugates associated with a variety of physiological and pathological processes. Different protein isoforms of human and mouse GNE, deriving from splice variants, were predicted recently: GNE1 represents the GNE protein described in several studies before, GNE2 and GNE3 are proteins with extended and deleted N-termini, respectively. hGNE2, recombinantly expressed in insect and mamalian cells, displayed selective reduction of UDP-GlcNAc 2-epimerase activity by the loss of its tetrameric state, which is essential for full enzyme activity. hGNE3, which had to be expressed in Escherichia coli, only possessed kinase activity, whereas mGNE1 and mGNE2 showed no significant differences. Our data therefore suggest a role of GNE1 in basic supply of cells with sialic acids, whereas GNE2 and GNE3 may have a function in fine-tuning of the sialic acid pathway.
    Glycoconjugate Journal 10/2008; 26(4):415-22. · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy (HIBM2) is a chronic progressive skeletal muscle wasting disorder which generally leads to complete disability before the age of 50 years. There is currently no effective therapeutic treatment for HIBM2. Development of this disease is related to expression in family members of an autosomal recessive mutation of the GNE gene, which encodes the bifunctional enzyme UDP-GlcNAc 2-epimerase/ManNAc kinase (GNE/MNK). This is the rate limiting bifunctional enzyme that catalyzes the first 2 steps of sialic acid biosynthesis. Decreased sialic acid production, consequently leads to decreased sialyation of a variety of glycoproteins including the critical muscle protein alpha-dystroglycan (alpha-DG). This in turn severely cripples muscle function and leads to the onset of the syndrome. We hypothesize that replacing the mutated GNE gene with the wildtype gene may restore functional capacity of GNE/MNK and therefore production of sialic acid, allowing for improvement in muscle function and/or delay in rate of muscle deterioration. We have constructed three GNE gene/CMV promoter plasmids (encoding the wildtype, HIBM2, and Sialuria forms of GNE) and demonstrated enhanced GNE gene activity following delivery to GNE-deficient CHO-Lec3 cells. GNE/MNK enzyme function was significantly increased and subsequent induction of sialic acid production was demonstrated after transfection into Lec3 cells with the wild type or R266Q mutant GNE vector. These data form the foundation for future preclinical and clinical studies for GNE gene transfer to treat HIBM2 patients.
    Gene regulation and systems biology 01/2008; 2:243-52.
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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered class of small (approximately 18-24 nt) nucleic acids that negatively regulate gene expression. This novel class of molecules modulates a wide array of growth and differentiation processes in human cancers. High throughput analyses, utilizing the solid phase, array platform, or liquid phase, bead-based hybridization have variously demonstrated that miRNA expression was commonly dysregulated in human cancer. miRNA expression profiling has shown promise in defining malignant status in retrospective studies. Considerable disagreement remains with respect to the miRNA signature for a specific cancer cell type, which appears to depend largely on the analytical platform. Nonetheless, various internally controlled studies have successfully identified the histotype of tumors of unknown origin according to miRNA expression profile. The evaluation of miRNAs expression may also be of prognostic value, as best exemplified by the correlation of let-7 and mir-155 levels with disease survival in nonsmall cell lung cancer.
    DNA and Cell Biology 06/2007; 26(5):293-300. · 2.34 Impact Factor