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Trends in Molecular Medicine

Laura E Kwako, Warren K Bickel, David Goldman
Trends towards dimensional approaches in understanding psychiatric disorders may also be applied to addictive disorders. Advances in our understanding of the neurobiology of addiction can inform these efforts. Furthermore, dimensional approaches to addiction, such as the proposed Addictions Neuroclinical Assessment (ANA), may be used in identifying novel addiction biomarkers, and refining ones that currently exist. These biomarkers, derived from both an understanding of the neurobiology of addiction and behavioral phenotypes, represent a departure from traditional markers of alcohol-relevant biomarkers, such as tests of liver function (LFTs)...
January 4, 2018: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Laura J Bierut, Rachel F Tyndale
Clinical medicine of the future is poised to use an individual's genomic data to predict disease risk and guide clinical care. The treatment of cigarette smoking and tobacco use disorder represents a prime area for genomics implementation. The genes CHRNA5 and CYP2A6 are strong genomic contributors that alter the risk of heaviness of smoking, tobacco use disorder, and smoking-related diseases in humans. These biomarkers have proven analytical and clinical validity, and evidence for their clinical utility continues to grow...
January 4, 2018: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Chen Li Chew, Stephanie Ana Conos, Bilal Unal, Vinay Tergaonkar
Inflammatory signaling underlies many diseases, from arthritis to cancer. Our understanding of inflammation has thus far been limited to the world of proteins, because we are only just beginning to understand the role that noncoding RNAs (ncRNA) might play. It is now clear that ncRNA do not constitute transcriptional 'noise' but instead harbor physiological functions in controlling signaling pathways. In this review, we cover the newly discovered mechanisms and functions of ncRNAs in the regulation of inflammatory signaling...
December 12, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Lianjun Zhang, Pedro Romero
CD8+ T cells are central players in controlling infections and cancer. Longevity, functionality, and metabolic fitness are critical determinants of T cell efficacy in cancer immunotherapy. Tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells undergo metabolic 'exhaustion' in the nutrient- and oxygen-deprived tumor microenvironment (TME). Thus, reprograming CD8+ T cell metabolism may provide important therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment. Indeed, the adoptive transfer of memory CD8+ T cells with sustained metabolic fitness may yield better antitumor protection in both mouse models and the clinic...
December 12, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Roel H P Wouters, Rhodé M Bijlsma, Geert W J Frederix, Margreet G E M Ausems, Johannes J M van Delden, Emile E Voest, Annelien L Bredenoord
Should professionals systematically screen whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data to check for life-threatening mutations? Alternatively, should genome analysis focus on the primary reason for testing - that is, aiming to achieve precision medicine? We present an ethical review of the arguments and compare the act of searching for mutations with disclosing mutations that are discovered incidentally.
December 12, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Natura Myeku, Karen E Duff
Aggregates of misfolded proteins can compromise the function of the 26S proteasome complex, leaving neurons susceptible to accelerated and impaired protein homeostasis, thereby contributing to the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration. Strategies aimed at enhancing the function of the 26S proteasome via phosphorylation of key subunit epitopes have been effective in reducing protein aggregates in mouse models of disease. We discuss how phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors and G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-targeted drugs might be considered as candidate therapeutics, acting on second messenger signal transduction...
December 9, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Norimitsu Ban, Carla J Siegfried, Rajendra S Apte
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness globally, and is characterized by loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Because vision loss in glaucoma is not reversible, therapeutic interventions early in disease are highly desirable. However, owing to the current limitations in evaluating glaucomatous neurodegeneration, it is challenging to monitor the disease severity and progression objectively, and to design rational therapeutic strategies accordingly. Therefore, there is a clear need to identify quantifiable molecular biomarkers of glaucomatous neurodegeneration...
December 7, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Charanjit Sandhu, Alia Qureshi, Andrew Emili
Medicine is poised to undergo a digital transformation. High-throughput platforms are creating terabytes of genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic data. The challenge is to interpret these data in a meaningful manner - to uncover relationships that are not readily apparent between molecular profiles and states of health or disease. This will require the development of novel data pipelines and computational tools. The combined analysis of multi-dimensional data is referred to as 'panomics'. The ultimate hope of integrative panomics is that it will lead to the discovery and application of novel markers and targeted therapeutics that drive forward a new era of 'precision medicine' where inter-individual variation is accounted for in the treatment of patients...
December 4, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Alessandro Annibaldi, Pascal Meier
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a proinflammatory cytokine that coordinates tissue homeostasis by regulating cytokine production, cell survival, and cell death. However, how life and death decisions are made in response to TNF is poorly understood. Many inflammatory pathologies are now recognized to be driven by aberrant TNF-induced cell death, which, in most circumstances, depends on the kinase Receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK1). Recent advances have identified ubiquitin (Ub)-mediated phosphorylation of RIPK1 as belonging to crucial checkpoints for cell fate in inflammation and infection...
December 4, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Anke Diemert, Petra Clara Arck
A recent study introduced the existence of an 'immune clock' in pregnancy; during the course of gestation, peripheral blood cells from pregnant women were analyzed by mass cytometry using a single-cell signaling-based elastic net algorithm. The insights will undoubtedly promote the testing of such a clock - possibly in synergy with other pacemakers - to potentially predict pregnancy complications.
December 1, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Nichollas E Scott, Elizabeth L Hartland
Bacterial effector proteins are a specialized class of secreted proteins that are translocated directly into the host cytoplasm by bacterial pathogens. Effector proteins have diverse activities and targets, and many mediate post-translational modifications of host proteins. Effector proteins offer potential in novel biotechnological and medical applications as enzymes that may modify human proteins. Here, we discuss the mechanisms used by effectors to subvert the human host through blocking, blunting, or subverting immune mechanisms...
November 14, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Laura A Vella, Ramin S Herati, E John Wherry
CD4(+) T cells play a critical role in the response to chronic viral infections during the acute phase and in the partial containment of infections once chronic infection is established. As infection persists, the virus-specific CD4(+) T cell response begins to shift in phenotype. The predominant change described in both mouse and human studies of chronic viral infection is a decrease in detectable T helper type (Th)1 responses. Some Th1 loss is due to decreased proliferative potential and decreased cytokine production in the setting of chronic antigen exposure...
November 11, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Grainne M O'Kane, Ashton A Connor, Steven Gallinger
Investigations of carcinogenesis have evolved from the identification of clonal driver mutations in candidate genes to the integration of large volumes of genomic and transcriptomic data revealing recurrently altered pathways and signatures of mutational processes. Inactivation of BRCA1, BRCA2, or PALB2 impairs efficient double-strand break repair (DSBR), giving rise to a spectrum of homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) cancer phenotypes. Harnessing HRD therapeutically has been promising in a number of tumors; these approaches include leveraging synthetic lethality by targeting alternative repair pathways via PARP inhibition, inducing HRD to modulate potential tumor vulnerabilities, and preventing mechanisms of drug resistance...
November 10, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Raffaella Di Micco
Cellular senescence constitutes a stable growth arrest characterized by DNA damage response (DDR) activation and by the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). SASP, through its paracrine effects, stimulates the immune system for senescence eradication. Similarly, chemotherapy-treated cancers activate an interferon-mediated response to induce anti-tumor immunity. Recent studies now uncover a new role for the innate DNA sensing pathway in the recognition of cytosolic chromatin in senescence and cancer...
November 10, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Loredana Cifaldi, Franco Locatelli, Emiliano Marasco, Lorenzo Moretta, Vito Pistoia
Natural killer (NK) cells efficiently recognize and kill tumor cells through several mechanisms including the expression of ligands for NK cell-activating receptors on target cells. Different clinical trials indicate that NK cell-based immunotherapy represents a promising antitumor treatment. However, tumors develop immune-evasion strategies, including downregulation of ligands for NK cell-activating receptors, that can negatively affect antitumor activity of NK cells, which either reside endogenously, or are adoptively transferred...
November 10, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Samuel N Breit, Vicky Wang-Wei Tsai, David A Brown
Macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1/growth differentiation factor 15 (MIC-1/GDF15) is a divergent transforming growth factor (TGFβ) superfamily cytokine implicated in biological and disease processes including metabolism, cancer, and chronic inflammation, but whose receptor has remained elusive. Four laboratories have recently identified GFRAL, an orphan receptor of the glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) receptor α family, as the receptor for MIC-1/GDF15, signaling though the coreceptor Ret. These data identify a new systemic to central nervous system (CNS) circuit that regulates metabolism in response to stress and which could be targeted to treat both severe obesity and anorexia/cachexia syndrome...
November 9, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Ivan Osokine, Adrian Erlebacher
Maternal immune activation (MIA) during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of behavioral disorders in the offspring of affected mothers. Two recent studies highlight how maternal inflammation disrupts inhibitory interneuron networks and suggest that the maternal gut microbiome may be a contributing risk factor for MIA-induced behavioral abnormalities.
November 6, 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Luis Ulloa, Salvador Quiroz-Gonzalez, Rafael Torres-Rosas
Neuronal stimulation is an emerging field in modern medicine to control organ function and re-establish physiological homeostasis during illness. Transdermal nerve stimulation with electroacupuncture is currently endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and is used by millions of people to control pain and inflammation. Recent advances in electroacupuncture may permit activation of specific neuronal networks to prevent organ damage in inflammatory and infectious disorders...
December 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Gunter Maubach, Michael Naumann
The nuclear factor (NF)-κB essential modulator (NEMO) is a key regulator in NF-κB-mediated signaling. By transmitting extracellular or intracellular signals, NEMO can control NF-κB-regulated genes. NEMO dysfunction is associated with inherited diseases such as incontinentia pigmenti (IP), ectodermal dysplasia, anhidrotic, with immunodeficiency (EDA-ID), and some cancers. We focus on molecular studies, human case reports, and mouse models emphasizing the significance of NEMO molecular interactions and modifications in health and diseases...
December 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
Caroline Robert
How can we transform an immune desert into a 'hot tumor' that is prone to respond to anti-programmed death (PD)-1 immunotherapy? This might be possible by injecting an oncolytic virus, engineered to induce local immune stimulation, prior to anti-PD-1 therapy. A recent study demonstrated that this combination - evaluated in a Phase Ib metastatic melanoma clinical study - yields promising results.
November 2017: Trends in Molecular Medicine
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