Topic Review
Clinical Trial
Clinical trials are experiments or observations done in clinical research. Such prospective biomedical or behavioral research studies on human participants are designed to answer specific questions about biomedical or behavioral interventions, including new treatments (such as novel vaccines, drugs, dietary choices, dietary supplements, and medical devices) and known interventions that warrant further study and comparison. Clinical trials generate data on safety and efficacy. They are conducted only after they have received health authority/ethics committee approval in the country where approval of the therapy is sought. These authorities are responsible for vetting the risk/benefit ratio of the trial – their approval does not mean that the therapy is 'safe' or effective, only that the trial may be conducted. Depending on product type and development stage, investigators initially enroll volunteers or patients into small pilot studies, and subsequently conduct progressively larger scale comparative studies. Clinical trials can vary in size and cost, and they can involve a single research center or multiple centers, in one country or in multiple countries. Clinical study design aims to ensure the scientific validity and reproducibility of the results. Costs for clinical trials can range into the billions of dollars per approved drug. The sponsor may be a governmental organization or a pharmaceutical, biotechnology or medical device company. Certain functions necessary to the trial, such as monitoring and lab work, may be managed by an outsourced partner, such as a contract research organization or a central laboratory. Only 10 percent of all drugs started in human clinical trials become an approved drug.
  • 6
  • 29 Sep 2022
Topic Review
Evolution of Pompe Disease Therapy
Pompe disease, also known as glycogen storage disease type II, is caused by the lack or deficiency of a single enzyme, lysosomal acid alpha-glucosidase, leading to severe cardiac and skeletal muscle myopathy due to progressive accumulation of glycogen. The discovery that acid alpha-glucosidase resides in the lysosome gave rise to the concept of lysosomal storage diseases, and Pompe disease became the first among many monogenic diseases caused by loss of lysosomal enzyme activities. 
  • 14
  • 29 Sep 2022
Topic Review
Low-Cost, Open-Source Devices for Respiratory Diseases
Respiratory diseases pose an increasing socio-economic burden worldwide given their high prevalence and their elevated morbidity and mortality. Medical devices play an important role in managing acute and chronic respiratory failure, including diagnosis, monitoring, and providing artificial ventilation. 
  • 20
  • 28 Sep 2022
Topic Review
Pharmacological Potential of Spatholobus suberectus Dunn on Cancer
Spatholobus suberectus Dunn (SSD, Leguminosae) is a perennial woody vine, indigenous to tropical and subtropical forests in China and other Southeast Asian countries. The vine stem of SSD is called “Jixueteng” (literally means ‘chicken blood vines’) in Chinese, due to the blood-like outflow from its vine stem when it is injured. SSD has been extensively employed in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat several ailments. SSD and its active compounds are effective therapeutic agents for treating a variety of diseases with negligible side effects. SSD has been frequently attributed to having antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, hematopoietic, neuroprotective, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. 
  • 78
  • 27 Sep 2022
Topic Review
The Relaxin-3 Receptor in Aging-Related Disease
During the aging process human's body becomes less well equipped to deal with cellular stress, resulting in an increase in unrepaired damage. This causes varying degrees of impaired functionality and an increased risk of mortality. One of the most effective anti-aging strategies involves interventions that combine simultaneous glucometabolic support with augmented DNA damage protection/repair. Thus, it seems prudent to develop therapeutic strategies that target this combinatorial approach. Studies have shown that the ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF) GTPase activating protein GIT2 (GIT2) acts as a keystone protein in the aging process. GIT2 can control both DNA repair and glucose metabolism. Through in vivo co-regulation analyses it was found that GIT2 forms a close co-expression based relationship with the relaxin-3 receptor (RXFP3). Cellular RXFP3 expression is directly affected by DNA damage and oxidative stress. Overexpression or stimulation of this receptor, by its endogenous ligand relaxin 3 (RLN3), can regulate the DNA damage response and repair processes. Interestingly, RLN3 is an insulin-like peptide and has been shown to control multiple disease processes linked to aging mechanisms, e.g., anxiety, depression, memory dysfunction, appetite, and anti-apoptotic mechanisms.
  • 142
  • 27 Sep 2022
Topic Review
Nrf2 Pathway in Ischemic Cerebral Vascular Diseases
Cerebrovascular disease is highly prevalent and has a complex etiology and variable pathophysiological activities. It thus poses a serious threat to human life and health. Many studies have found some effects of oxidative stress and autophagy on cerebrovascular diseases. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) molecules, which are closely associated with oxidative stress, are discussed.
  • 31
  • 27 Sep 2022
Topic Review
Progesterone as an Anti-Inflammatory Drug
The specific regulation of inflammatory processes by steroid hormones has been actively studied, especially by progesterone (P4) and progestins. The mechanisms of the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory P4 action are not fully clear. The anti-inflammatory effects of P4 can be defined as nonspecific, associated with the inhibition of NF-κB and COX, as well as the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis, or as specific, associated with the regulation of T-cell activation, the regulation of the production of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and the phenomenon of immune tolerance. The specific anti-inflammatory effects of P4 and its derivatives (progestins) can also include the inhibition of proliferative signaling pathways and the antagonistic action against estrogen receptor beta-mediated signaling as a proinflammatory and mitogenic factor. The anti-inflammatory action of P4 is accomplished through the participation of progesterone receptor (PR) chaperones HSP90, as well as immunophilins FKBP51 and FKBP52, which are the validated targets of clinically approved immunosuppressive drugs. The immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of HSP90 inhibitors, tacrolimus and cyclosporine, are manifested, among other factors, due to their participation in the formation of an active ligand–receptor complex of P4 and their interaction with its constituent immunophilins. Pharmacological agents such as HSP90 inhibitors can restore the lost anti-inflammatory effect of glucocorticoids and P4 in chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. By regulating the activity of FKBP51 and FKBP52, it is possible to increase or decrease hormonal signaling, as well as restore it during the development of hormone resistance. The combined action of immunophilin suppressors with steroid hormones may be a promising strategy in the treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including endometriosis, stress-related disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and miscarriages. Presumably, the hormone receptor- and immunophilin-targeted drugs may act synergistically, allowing for a lower dose of each.
  • 35
  • 26 Sep 2022
Topic Review Peer Reviewed
A Synergistic Anthropological Approach to the COVID-19 Pandemic
This review describes the relationship between the coronavirus-related pandemic and health inequities. The latter are linked to pre-existing social and economic discriminations in terms of access to healthcare for people affected by chronic diseases. We believe that we are living in a “syndemic pandemic”. The term “syndemic” was originally developed by the medical anthropologist Merrill Singer in the 1990s in order to recognize the correlation between HIV/AIDS, illicit drug use, and violence in the United States. This complex interplay exacerbated the burden of the disease and the prognosis of the patient. Similarly, in COVID-19 infection, socio-economic, ethnic, and racial inequities result in higher morbidity and mortality in certain sections of society. Unfortunately, such differences are becoming too common during the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of the incidence and prevalence of the disease, as well as inequal access to new medical advances and life-saving therapeutics for those with COVID-19, such as vaccines and monoclonal antibody treatment. Lockdown measures, imposed internationally as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are causing economic inequities, which complicate the issue even further. An appropriate syndemic anthropological approach is necessary to ensure that this pandemic does not increase health inequities in access to appropriate treatments.
  • 34
  • 23 Sep 2022
Topic Review
Multifunctional Plant Virus Nanoparticles
Breast cancer treatment using plant-virus-based nanoparticles (PVNPs) has achieved considerable success in preclinical studies. PVNP-based breast cancer therapies include non-targeted and targeted nanoplatforms for delivery of anticancer therapeutic chemo and immune agents and cancer vaccines for activation of local and systemic antitumor immunity. Interestingly, PVNP platforms combined with other tumor immunotherapeutic options and other modalities of oncotherapy can improve tumor efficacy treatment.
  • 48
  • 20 Sep 2022
Topic Review
Nickel Nanoparticles
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has evolved vast antibiotic resistance. These strains contain numerous virulence factors facilitating the development of severe infections. Considering the costs, side effects, and time duration needed for the synthesis of novel drugs, seeking efficient alternative approaches for the eradication of drug-resistant bacterial agents seems to be an unmet requirement. Nickel nanoparticles (NiNPs) have been applied as prognostic and therapeutic cheap agents to various aspects of biomedical sciences. Their antibacterial effects are exerted via the disruption of the cell membrane, the deformation of proteins, and the inhibition of DNA replication. NiNPs proper traits include high-level chemical stability and binding affinity, ferromagnetic properties, ecofriendliness, and cost-effectiveness. They have outlined pleomorphic and cubic structures. The combined application of NiNPs with CuO, ZnO, and CdO has enhanced their anti-MRSA effects. The NiNPs at an approximate size of around 50 nm have exerted efficient anti-MRSA effects, particularly at higher concentrations. NiNPs have conferred higher antibacterial effects against MRSA than other nosocomial bacterial pathogens. The application of green synthesis and low-cost materials such as albumin and chitosan enhance the efficacy of NPs for therapeutic purposes.
  • 77
  • 20 Sep 2022
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