Nicholas D'Cunha

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX, United States

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Publications (11)34.03 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: As the second most common cause of cancer-related death in women, human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines have been a major step in decreasing the morbidity and mortality associated with cervical cancer. An estimated 490,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Increasing knowledge of the HPV role in the etiology of cervical cancer has led to the development and introduction of HPV-based vaccines for active immunotherapy of cervical cancer. Immunotherapies directed at preventing HPV-persistent infections. These vaccines are already accessible for prophylaxis and in the near future, they will be available for the treatment of preexisting HPV-related neoplastic lesions.
    International Reviews Of Immunology 02/2012; 31(1):3-21. · 5.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC) are usually treated by a multimodal approach with surgery and/or radiochemotherapy as the mainstay of local-regional treatment in cases with advanced disease. Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy have the disadvantage of causing severe side effects, while the clinical outcome of patients diagnosed with HNSCC has remained essentially unchanged over the last decade. The potential of immunotherapy is still largely unexplored. Here the authors review the current status of the art and discuss the future challenges in HNSCC treatment and prevention.
    International Reviews Of Immunology 02/2012; 31(1):22-42. · 5.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A 54-year-old man was brought to the emergency room after a head-on collision. He had multiple fractures in his lower extremities and required immediate surgery. After surgery, the patient had a persistent drop in hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelets despite red blood cell transfusions. Laboratory studies included normal prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, normal plasminogen functional activity, negative antiplatelet antibodies, normal platelet functional analysis and negative disseminated intravascular coagulation screen. Factor XIII antigen levels were 25% of predicted, and the diagnosis of factor XIII deficiency was made. The patient was treated with cryoprecipitate, and the bleeding stopped. Patients with factor XIII deficiency have either a rare congenital or acquired coagulation disorder. Both presentations have normal standard laboratory clotting tests, and the diagnosis requires an assay measuring factor XIII activity or antigen levels. The usual treatment includes cryoprecipitate, fresh-frozen plasma or recombinant factor XIII. This deficiency should be considered in patients with unexplained spontaneous, traumatic or postoperative bleeding.
    The American Journal of the Medical Sciences 09/2011; 342(3):262-4. · 1.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genistein is one of the major isoflavones in soy products. It has been reported that genistein has apoptotic effects on certain hematological malignancies. However, so far there have been no completely comparative studies of the effect of genistein on malignant hematological diseases, especially multiple myeloma. We investigated genistein's inhibitory effect on the growth of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (RS4;11 and CEM), lymphoma (Toledo and GA10) and multiple myeloma (OPM-2 and U266) cell lines in vitro. We observed that genistein dose- and time-dependently inhibited proliferation of these cells. The cell line sensitivity to genistein treatment based on the 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) values in decreasing order of toxicity was found to be as follows: RS4;11 (4.89 ± 4.28 μM) > GA10 (13.08 ± 3.49 μM) > Toledo (16.94 ± 3.89 μM) > CEM (17.31 ± 0.72 μM) > OPM-2 (46.76 ± 2.26 μM) > U266 (128.82 ± 1.90 μM). The mechanism of growth inhibition was through induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. The concomitant altered expression of apoptosis pathway proteins and cell cycle modulators (caspases 9, 3, 7, PARP [poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase], cIAP1 [inhibitor of apoptosis protein 1], Bcl-2 and cyclin B1) were observed by Western blot and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses. In addition, some malignancy-related embryologic pathway proteins, e.g. Notch1 and Gli1, were modulated by genistein treatment in sensitive cell lines.
    Leukemia & lymphoma 07/2011; 52(12):2380-90. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer (PC) is the second most common cancer in older men, after skin cancer. PC is difficult to diagnose because the prostate-specific antigen screening method is associated with many false positives. In addition there is a need to develop new and more effective treatments. Among presently available new treatments, immunotherapy is a promising approach. We investigated the expression of the cancer/testis antigen, AKAP-4, in PC patients to evaluate the possibility of exploiting AKAP-4 as a target for immunotherapy. We analyzed normal prostate tissues, 15 patients with PC and the LnCAP PC cell line by immunohistochemistry. We tested AKAP-4 immunogenicity through indirect ELISA on sera from patients and healthy subjects, and we generated in vitro AKAP-4-specific cytotoxic lymphocytes from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. AKAP-4 was shown both at the cytoplasmic and surface levels of the LnCAP PC cell line. AKAP-4 was also highly expressed in PC cells from patients. We detected specific anti-AKAP-4 circulating immunoglobulins in AKAP-4 positive subjects. Using recombinant AKAP-4 loaded autologous dendritic cells, we generated AKAP-4-specific and HLA-I-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes able to kill PC cells in vitro. Further characterization indicated a Th-1 skewing in the cytokine secretion profile of these cells. We demonstrate the aberrant expression of AKAP-4 in PC, which will potentially be developed as a biomarker in PC. We provide evidence that AKAP-4 is a potential target for PC adoptive immunotherapy or anti-tumor vaccination.
    The Prostate 04/2011; 72(1):12-23. · 3.84 Impact Factor
  • Nicholas D'Cunha, Everardo Cobos
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    ABSTRACT: Hematological malignancies are a group of disorders that affect blood, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen. They account for 9.5% of all new cancer diagnoses in the United States. This article provides a brief, current up-date of the more common hematological malignancies.
    Texas medicine 09/2010; 106(9):59-63.
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    Gastrointestinal endoscopy 10/2009; 71(3):655-7. · 6.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of B plasma cells, which produce non-specific antibodies and proliferate uncontrolled. Due to the potential relapse and non-specificity of current treatments, immunotherapy promises to be more specific and may induce long-term immunity in patients. The pituitary tumor transforming gene 1 (PTTG-1) has been shown to be a novel oncogene, expressed in the testis, thymus, colon, lung and placenta (undetectable in most other tissues). Furthermore, it is over expressed in many tumors such as the pituitary adenoma, breast, gastrointestinal cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, and lung cancer and it seems to be associated with tumorigenesis, angiogenesis and cancer progression. The purpose was to investigate the presence/rate of expression of PTTG-1 in multiple myeloma patients. We analyzed the PTTG-1 expression at the transcriptional and the protein level, by PCR, immunocytochemical methods, Dot-blot and ELISA performed on patient's sera in 19 multiple myeloma patients, 6 different multiple myeloma cell lines and in normal human tissue. We did not find PTTG-1 presence in the normal human tissue panel, but PTTG-1 mRNA was detectable in 12 of the 19 patients, giving evidence of a 63% rate of expression (data confirmed by ELISA). Four of the 6 investigated cell lines (66.6%) were positive for PTTG-1. Investigations of protein expression gave evidence of 26.3% cytoplasmic expression and 16% surface expression in the plasma cells of multiple myeloma patients. Protein presence was also confirmed by Dot-blot in both cell lines and patients. We established PTTG-1's presence at both the transcriptional and protein levels. These data suggest that PTTG-1 is aberrantly expressed in multiple myeloma plasma cells, is highly immunogenic and is a suitable target for immunotherapy of multiple myeloma.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 02/2008; 6:15. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acquired hemophilia is an unusual disorder in which nonhemophiliac patients develop autoantibodies (inhibitor) against the factor VIII coagulation protein. Factor VIII inhibitor leads to life-threatening bleeding disorders classically described as new onset of diffuse bruising and prolonged partial thromboplastin time in elderly patients. Treatment is focused in the control of the acute bleeding episode and the long-term suppression of the autoantibody. Several immunosuppressive combinations have been described; however, these treatments are also associated with serious side effects that are difficult to tolerate, especially in older and debilitated patients. New treatment modalities explore the elimination of the autoantibody production by targeting B-cells with rituximab, an anti CD-20 monoclonal antibody that has shown success in a multitude of autoimmune processes. This report presents 2 patients successfully treated with rituximab and a short tapering course of steroids and focuses our discussion in the analysis of different treatment approaches available for these patients' population.
    Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis 11/2007; 13(4):443-8. · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An abstract is unavailable. This article is available as HTML full text and PDF.
    Journal of Investigative Medicine 12/2006; 55(1):S266. · 1.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The gamma-irradiation of normal cells causes an increased synthesis of specific proteins. However, few studies have described the effects of high doses of irradiation on the expression of cell surface antigens in tumor cells. This study analyzed the effects of high doses of gamma-irradiation on the surface antigen expression of Major Histocompatability Complex (MHC) class I/II and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-I) in human multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines ARP-1, ARK-RS, and 10 MM primary tumors. The expression of surface antigens was evaluated by fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis at different time points, following the exposure to high doses of gamma-irradiation. Doses of 10,000 and 15,000 cGy were not sufficient to totally block cell replication in both cell lines and primary tumors; cell replication was able to be inhibited completely only at 18,000 cGy. Lower doses (10,000 cGy) and lethal doses of irradiation (i.e., 15,000 and 18,000 cGy) increased the expression of all surface antigens present on the cells before irradiation. Essentially, such upregulation was shown to be dose dependent, with higher radiation doses resulting in higher antigen expression. Furthermore, when the kinetics of this upregulation were studied 3 and 6 d after irradiation, there was a constant increase in antigen expression in MM cells. These findings suggest that upregulation of costimulatory molecules, such as of MHC class I/II antigens and ICAM-I molecules in MM patients treated by gamma-radiation, can increase the immunogenicity of the tumor cells. In light of these findings, radiotherapy combined with immunotherapy might be considered in relapsing patients after receiving the standard treatment.
    In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal 01/2006; 42(3-4):89-95. · 1.29 Impact Factor