Maja Cemazar

Maja Cemazar
Institute of Oncology Ljubljana · Department of Experimental Oncology

PhD

About

419
Publications
88,141
Reads
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11,487
Citations
Introduction
Maja Cemazar currently works at the Department of Experimental Oncology, Institute of Oncology Ljubljana. Maja does research in Oncology, specifically in developing new therapies for cancer, focusing on immuno gene therapies delivered by electroporation.
Additional affiliations
November 2014 - present
University of Ljubljana
Position
  • Professor (Full)
June 2014 - present
University of Primorska
Position
  • Professor (Full)
September 2005 - present
University of Primorska
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Education
October 1996 - December 1998
Univeristy of Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine
Field of study
  • tumor biology
October 1993 - June 1996
University of Ljubljana
Field of study
  • tumor biology
October 1986 - June 1992
University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (419)
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Pelvic exenteration in women with recurrent vulvar carcinoma is associated with high morbidity and mortality and substantial treatment costs. Because pelvic exenteration severely affects the quality of life and can lead to significant complications, other treatment modalities, such as electrochemotherapy, have been proposed. The aim of t...
Article
Skin, the largest organ in the body, provides a passive physical barrier against infection and contains elements of the innate and adaptive immune systems. Skin consists of various cells, including keratinocytes, fibroblasts, endothelial cells and immune cells. This diversity of cell types could be important to gene therapies because DNA transfecti...
Article
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Background Immune therapies are currently under intensive investigation providing in many cases excellent responses in different tumors. Other possible approach for immunotherapy is a targeted intratumoral delivery of interleukin 12 (IL-12), a cytokine with anti-tumor effectiveness. Due to its immunomodulatory action, it can be used as an imunostim...
Article
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Electrochemotherapy (ECT) and irreversible electroporation (IRE) are being investigated for treatment of hepatic tumours. The liver is a highly heterogeneous organ, permeated with a network of macro- and microvasculature, biliary tracts and connective tissue. The success of ECT and IRE depends on sufficient electric field established in whole targe...
Article
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Background: Increased radioresistance due to previous irradiation or radiosensitivity due to human papilloma virus (HPV) infection can be observed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The DNA-damage response of cells after exposure to DNA-damaging agents plays a crucial role in determining the fate of exposed cells. Tightly regulated...
Article
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Background: For hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), effective therapeutic approaches are lacking. As aberrant gene methylation is a major contributor to HCC development, demethylating drugs such as 5-azacytidine (5-Aza) have been proposed. As most 5-Aza mechanisms of action are unknown, we investigated its phenotypic/molecular effects. Methods: 5-Az...
Article
The possible benefits of an atmospheric pressure plasma jet skin treatment have been tested in vivo on mouse skin. Many studies have been conducted in vitro on mouse skin cells, but only a few in vivo where, due to the complexity of the biological system, plasma can cause severe damages. For this reason, we investigated how kHz plasma generated in...
Article
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Background One of the new treatment options for unresectable locally advanced pancreatic cancer is electrochemotherapy (ECT), a local ablative therapy that potentiates the entry of chemotherapeutic drugs into the cells, by the application of an electric field to the tumor. Its feasibility and safety were demonstrated in preclinical and clinical stu...
Article
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Interleukin 12 (IL-12) is a cytokine used as a therapeutic molecule in cancer immunotherapy. Gene electrotransfer mediated delivery of IL-12 gene has reached clinical evaluation in the USA using a plasmid that in addition to IL-12 gene also carry an antibiotic resistance gene needed for its production in bacteria. In Europa however, European Medici...
Article
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Ceruloplasmin (Cp) is the major copper-carrying (Cu) protein in human plasma. Due to copper’s important physiological functions and its role in various diseases, there is a need to quantify the...
Article
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Electrochemotherapy is a local ablative therapy that increases the cytotoxicity of either bleomycin or cisplatin by applying electric pulses (electroporation) to tumors. It has already been widely used throughout Europe for the treatment of various types of human and veterinary cutaneous tumors, with an objective response rate ranging from 70%-90%,...
Article
Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) is an emerging therapeutic target for cancer. It is involved in lipid metabolism and its inhibition impairs many hallmarks of cancer including cell proliferation, migration/invasion and tumor growth. For these reasons, our group has recently developed a potent reversible MAGL inhibitor (MAGL23), which showed promising...
Chapter
Interleukin-12 has been a promising candidate for cancer treatment for over 20 years. And from its infamous start, the gene electrotransfer delivery has regained assurance of the safe and effective use of interleukin-12 in cancer treatment. Here, basic facts about interleukin-12 are presented with a focus on its antitumor action and the benefit of...
Article
Full-text available
Interleukin 12 (IL-12) is a key cytokine that mediates antitumor activity of immune cells. To fulfill its clinical potential, the development is focused on localized delivery systems, such as gene electrotransfer, which can provide localized delivery of IL-12 to the tumor microenvironment. Gene electrotransfer of the plasmid encoding human IL-12 is...
Article
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Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is an effective locoregional therapy for cutaneous melanoma metastases and has been safely combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors in preliminary experiences. Since ECT is known to induce immunogenic cell death, its combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors might be beneficial. In this study, we aimed to investigate...
Article
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The plasma concentration profile of bleomycin in the distribution phase of patients younger than 65 years is needed to determine the suitable time interval for efficient application of electric pulses during electrochemotherapy. Additionally, bleomycin concentrations in the treated tumors for effective tumor response are not known. In this study, t...
Article
We developed and characterized a 3D collagen hydrogel model for B16.F10 melanoma tumors. Cells in this 3D environment exhibited lower proliferation than cells in the conventional 2D culture environment. Interestingly, the basal expression levels of several genes varied when compared to conventionally grown cells. In each growth environment, a signi...
Article
Electrochemotherapy (ECT), a local therapy, has different effectiveness among tumor types. In breast cancer, its effectiveness is low; therefore, combined therapies are needed. The aim of our study was to combine ECT with PARP inhibitor olaparib, which could inhibit the repair of bleomycin or cisplatin induced DNA damage and potentiate the effectiv...
Article
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Background Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have become an important biomarker in breast cancer. Different isolation tech-niques based on their biological or physical features were established. Currently, the most widely used methods for visualization after their separation are based on immunofluorescent staining, which does not provide the informati...
Article
Due to a lack of data on predictors of electroporation-based treatment outcomes, we investigated the potential predictive role of contrast-enhanced harmonic ultrasound (CEUS) in mice B16F10 melanoma treated by gene electrotransfer (GET) to silence melanoma cell adhesion molecule (MCAM) and radiotherapy, which has not been evaluated yet. CEUS evalua...
Article
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Electrochemotherapy with bleomycin (ECT BLM) is an effective antitumor treatment already used in clinical oncology. However, ECT alone is still considered a local antitumor therapy because it cannot induce systemic immunity. When combined with adjuvant gene electrotransfer of plasmid DNA encoding IL-12 (GET pIL-12), the combined therapy leads to a...
Article
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Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer is the most common form of bladder cancer. The main problem in managing bladder tumors is the high recurrence after the transurethral resection of bladder tumors (TURBT). Our study aimed to examine the fate of intravesically applied cancer cells as the implantation of cancer cells after TURBT is thought to be a ca...
Article
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Electrochemotherapy (ECT) and/or gene electrotransfer of plasmid DNA encoding interleukin-12 (GET pIL-12) are effective treatments for canine cutaneous, subcutaneous, and maxillofacial tumors. Despite the clinical efficacy of the combined treatments of ECT and GET, data on parameters that might predict the outcome of the treatments are still lackin...
Article
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Background Statins, small molecular 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, are widely used to lower cholesterol levels in lipid-metabolism disorders. Recent preclinical and clinical studies have shown that statins exert beneficial effects in the management of breast cancer by increasing recurrence free survival. Unfortunately,...
Article
Gene therapy has become an important approach for treating cancer, and electroporation represents a technology for introducing therapeutic genes into a cell. An example of cancer gene therapy relying on gene electrotransfer is the use of immunomodulatory cytokines, such as interleukin 2 (IL-2) and 12 (IL-12), which directly stimulate immune cells a...
Article
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Endometrial carcinoma is the most common gynecological malignancy and the fifth most common malignancy in women. The worldwide incidence is 15.9 new cases per 100,000 women per year, and the incidence in Europe is 22.7 new cases. Minority of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease. Cutaneous metastases are very rare with a prevalenc...
Article
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In situ vaccination is a promising immunotherapeutic approach, where various local ablative therapies are used to induce an immune response against tumor antigens that are released from the therapy-killed tumor cells. We recently proposed using intratumoral gene electrotransfer for concomitant transfection of a cytotoxic cytokine tumor necrosis fac...
Article
A 15-year- old male castrated English setter was presented for evaluation of a rapidly growing oral mass. Patient’s history was otherwise unremarkable, except of moderate proteinuria of 5 years duration. Clinical examination findings were within normal limits, except of an ulcerated located at the left mandibular canine tooth, which was histologica...
Article
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Targeting tumor vasculature through specific endothelial cell markers represents a promising approach for cancer treatment. Here our aim was to construct an antibiotic resistance gene-free plasmid encoding shRNAs to simultaneously target two endothelial cell markers, CD105 and CD146, and to test its functionality and therapeutic potential in vitro...
Article
This study investigates the effect of PD1 blockade on the therapeutic efficacy of novel doxorubicin-loaded temperature-sensitive liposomes. Herein, we report photothermally-activated, low temperature-sensitive magnetoliposomes (mLTSL) for efficient drug delivery and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The mLTSL were prepared by embedding small nitrod...
Article
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Electrochemotherapy (ECT) exhibits high therapeutic effectiveness in the clinic, achieving up to 80% local tumor control but without a systemic (abscopal) effect. Therefore, we designed a combination therapy consisting of ECT via intratumoral application of bleomycin, oxaliplatin or cisplatin with peritumoral gene electrotransfer of a plasmid encod...
Article
The effectiveness of immunotherapy highly correlates with the degree and the type of infiltrated immune cells in the tumor tissue. Treatments based on modifying the immune cell infiltrate of the tumor microenvironment are thus gaining momentum. Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate the effects of gene therapy with two proinflammatory c...
Article
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The beneficial effects of electrochemotherapy (ECT) for superficial tumours and, more recently, deep-seated malignancies in terms of local control and quality of life are widely accepted. However, the variability in responses across histotypes needs to be explored. Currently, patient selection for ECT is based on clinical factors (tumour size, hist...
Article
Oncology research uses different imaging techniques to provide information about the spatial distribution of the chemotherapy drugs used for the targeted tissues. Among them, laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) is increasingly being used to track the spatial distribution of metal-based chemotherapeutics in differ...
Book
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Anesteziolog ima zelo pomembno vlogo pri perioperativni optimizaciji bolnikov in tako vpliva na ugodnejši izhod operacije, zmanjšanje perioperativnih zapletov in skrajšanje bolnišničnih dni. Takšen pristop poveča zadovoljstvo bolnikov, izboljša njihovo kvaliteto življenja in nenazadnje tudi poceni zdravljenje. Zato je podiplomsko izobraževanje b...
Chapter
Electrochemotherapy is a local tumor ablation technique with different effectiveness in different histological types of tumors. In the treatment of breast cancer metastases, the effectiveness of electrochemotherapy is among the lowest. Therefore, combined therapies are needed. The aim of our study was to combine electrochemotherapy with PARP inhibi...
Chapter
Calcium electroporation is a local tumor ablative treatment, where supraphysiological concentration of calcium is used in combination with electroporation to eradicate tumors. It was demonstrated in preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies that calcium electroporation has similar effectiveness as electrochemotherapy with bleomycin in different subc...
Article
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Background Radiotherapy-associated angiosarcoma (RAA) of the breast is a rare complication of radiotherapy, which is often difficult to identify and has poor prognosis. It usually presents as violaceous skin, erythema or rapidly growing palpable firm mass that can be confused with other benign skin lesions. Patients and methods After reviewing the...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this clinical study was to investigate the effectiveness and long-term safety of electrochemotherapy as an emerging treatment for HCC in patients not suitable for other treatment options. A prospective phase II clinical study was conducted in patients with primary HCC who were not suitable for other treatment options according to the Bar...
Chapter
Immunotherapies with anti-programmed death-1 antibodies (anti-PD-1) have revolutionized cancer treatment. However, the majority of patients still fail to respond and the reasons remain largely unknown. In order to identify tumor characteristics associated with treatment failure, we developed a computational model capable of simulating tumor respons...
Article
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An experimental study on the effects of electroporation on pancreatic tissue was performed in pigs, and the fentanyl transdermal patch (FTP) was used postoperatively as part of multimodal pain management. Ingestion of an FTP, which resulted in fentanyl intoxication, was suspected 5 days after placement in one of the experimental pigs. The pig was f...
Article
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Radiotherapy was shown to act as in situ vaccination, which can mediate systemic response to cancer in conjunction with immune checkpoint inhibitors. We aimed to investigate the DNA sensing pathways as a fundamental mechanism of immunostimulation by DNA after tumor irradiation. Key distinct DNA sensing pathways were identified in two different cell...
Article
Given the lack of effective treatments for Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the development of novel therapeutic approaches is very urgent. Here, siRNAs were delivered to HCC cells by a synthetic polymer containing α,β-poly-(N-2-hydroxyethyl)-D,L-aspartamide-(PHEA) derivatized with diethylene triamine (DETA) and bearing in the side chain galactose (...
Article
Objective To investigate the pharmacokinetics of carprofen after a single intravenous (IV) dose and multiple oral doses administered to pigs undergoing electroporation of the pancreas. Study design Prospective experimental study. Animals A group of eight female pigs weighing 31.74 ± 2.24 kg (mean ± standard deviation). Methods Carprofen 4 mg kg⁻...
Article
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Electroporation is a method of inducing an increase in permeability of the cell membrane through the application of an electric field and can be used as a delivery method for introducing molecules of interest (e.g., chemotherapeutics or plasmid DNA) into cells. Electroporation-based treatments (i.e., electrochemotherapy, gene electrotransfer, and t...
Article
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Objectives: The use of thermal ablative therapies in the pancreatic tumors is limited because of the risk of the vessel injury and potential pancreatitis or fistula formation. Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is an ablative therapy with established role in the treatment of cutaneous and liver tumors. This study was designed to evaluate the safety and fea...
Article
Full-text available
Circulating tumor cell (CTC) count is an independent prognostic factor in early breast cancer. CTCs can be found in the blood of 20% of patients prior to neoadjuvant therapy. We aimed to assess the suitability of magnetic-activated cell separation (MACS) technology for isolation and cytological characterization of CTCs. In the preclinical part of t...
Article
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Purpose Electrochemotherapy is increasingly entering into national and international guidelines, requiring formal evaluation of treatment costs and cost-effectiveness to ensure that its uptake provides value to budget-constrained health care systems. This study analyzed the early cost-effectiveness of electrochemotherapy in patients with Stage IIIc...
Article
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Background Electrochemotherapy is an effective treatment of colorectal liver metastases and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) during open surgery. The minimally invasive percutaneous approach of electrochemotherapy has already been performed but not on HCC. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility, safety and effectiveness of electroch...
Article
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Background and objectives A previous pilot study proved the feasibility, safety and efficacy of electrochemotherapy in the treatment of colorectal liver metastases. The aim of this study was to evaluate long-term effectiveness and safety of electrochemotherapy in the treatment of unresectable colorectal liver metastases. Patients and methods In th...
Article
Full-text available
Background Management of locoregionally recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) is challenging due to potential radioresistance. Pulsed low-dose rate (PLDR) irradiation exploits phenomena of increased radiosensitivity, low-dose hyperradiosensitivity (LDHRS), and inverse dose-rate effect. The purpose of this study was to evaluate LD...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, radiotherapy was combined with the gene electrotransfer (GET) of plasmid encoding shRNA against melanoma cell adhesion molecule (pMCAM) with dual action, which was a vascular-targeted effect mediated by the silencing of MCAM and an immunological effect mediated by the presence of plasmid DNA in the cytosol-activating DNA sensors. The...