Now showing items 1-20 of 15778

    • Functional genomics reveals an off-target dependency of drug synergy in gastric cancer therapy [preprint]

      Leylek, Ozen; Honeywell, Megan E; Lee, Michael J; Hemann, Michael T; Ozcan, Gulnihal (2023-11-19)
      The rational combination of anticancer agents is critical to improving patient outcomes in cancer. Nonetheless, most combination regimens in the clinic result from empirical methodologies disregarding insight into the mechanism of action and missing the opportunity to improve therapy outcomes incrementally. Deciphering the genetic dependencies and vulnerabilities responsible for synergistic interactions is crucial for rationally developing effective anticancer drug combinations. Hence, we screened pairwise pharmacological interactions between molecular-targeted agents and conventional chemotherapeutics and examined the genome-scale genetic dependencies in gastric adenocarcinoma cell models. Since this type of cancer is mainly chemoresistant and incurable, clinical situations demand effective combination strategies. Our pairwise combination screen revealed SN38/erlotinib as the drug pair with the most robust synergism. Genome-wide CRISPR screening and a shRNA-based signature assay indicated that the genetic dependency/vulnerability signature of SN38/erlotinib is the same as SN38 alone. Additional investigation revealed that the enhanced cell death with improved death kinetics caused by the SN38/erlotinib combination is surprisingly due to erlotinib's off-target effect that inhibits ABCG2 but not its on-target effect on EGFR. Our results confirm that a genetic dependency signature different from the single-drug application may not be necessary for the synergistic interaction of molecular-targeted agents with conventional chemotherapeutics in gastric adenocarcinoma. The findings also demonstrated the efficacy of functional genomics approaches in unveiling biologically validated mechanisms of pharmacological interactions.
    • A Targeted Approach for Evaluating DUX4-Regulated Proteins as Potential Serum Biomarkers for Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy Using Immunoassay Proteomics

      Campbell, Amy E; Arjomand, Jamshid; King, Oliver D; Tawil, Rabi; Jagannathan, Sujatha (2023-11-07)
      Background: Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is a progressive myopathy caused by misexpression of the double homeobox 4 (DUX4) embryonic transcription factor in skeletal muscle. Identifying quantitative and minimally invasive FSHD biomarkers to report on DUX4 activity will significantly accelerate therapeutic development. Objective: The goal of this study was to analyze secreted proteins known to be induced by DUX4 using the commercially available Olink Proteomics platform in order to identify potential blood-based molecular FSHD biomarkers. Methods: We used high-throughput, multiplex immunoassays from Olink Proteomics to measure the levels of several known DUX4-induced genes in a cellular myoblast model of FSHD, in FSHD patient-derived myotube cell cultures, and in serum from individuals with FSHD. Levels of other proteins on the Olink Proteomics panels containing these DUX4 targets were also examined in secondary exploratory analysis. Results: Placental alkaline phosphatase (ALPP) levels correlated with DUX4 expression in both cell-based FSHD systems but did not distinguish FSHD patient serum from unaffected controls. Conclusions: ALPP, as measured with the Olink Proteomics platform, is not a promising FSHD serum biomarker candidate but could be utilized to evaluate DUX4 activity in discovery research efforts.
    • Distinct members of the C. elegans CeMbio reference microbiota exert cryptic virulence and infection protection [preprint]

      Gonzalez, Xavier; Irazoqui, Javier E (2023-11-05)
      Microbiotas are complex microbial communities that colonize specific niches in the host and provide essential organismal functions that are important in health and disease. A key aspect is the ability of each distinct community member to promote or impair host health, alone or in the context of the community, in hosts with varied levels of immune competence. Understanding such interactions is limited by the complexity and experimental accessibility of current systems and models. Recently, a reference twelve-member microbiota for the model organism C. elegans, known as CeMbio, was defined to aid the dissection of conserved host-microbiota interactions. Understanding the physiological impact of the CeMbio bacteria on C. elegans is in its infancy. Here, we show the differential ability of each CeMbio bacterial species to activate innate immunity through the conserved PMK-1/p38 MAPK, ACh/WNT, and HLH-30/TFEB pathways. Using immunodeficient animals, we uncovered several examples of bacterial 'cryptic' virulence, or virulence that was masked by the host defense response. The ability to activate the PMK-1/p38 pathway did not correlate with bacterial virulence in wild type or immunodeficient animals. In contrast, ten out of twelve species activated HLH-30/TFEB, and most showed virulence towards hlh-30-deficient animals. In addition, we identified Pseudomonas lurida as a pathogen in wild type animals, and Acinetobacter guillouiae as avirulent despite activating all three pathways. Moreover, short pre-exposure to A. guillouiae promoted host survival of infection with P. lurida, which was dependent on PMK-1/p38 MAPK and HLH-30/TFEB. These results suggest that the microbiota of C. elegans is rife with "opportunistic" pathogens, and that HLH-30/TFEB is a fundamental and key host protective factor. Furthermore, they support the idea that bacteria like A. guillouiae evolved the ability to induce host innate immunity to improve host fitness when confronted with pathogens, providing new insights into how colonization order impacts host health.
    • Lipofuscin-like autofluorescence within microglia and its impact on studying microglial engulfment

      Stillman, Jacob M; Mendes Lopes, Francisco; Lin, Jing-Ping; Hu, Kevin; Reich, Daniel S; Schafer, Dorothy P (2023-11-03)
      Engulfment of cellular material and proteins is a key function for microglia, a resident macrophage of the central nervous system (CNS). Among the techniques used to measure microglial engulfment, confocal light microscopy has been used the most extensively. Here, we show that autofluorescence (AF) likely due to lipofuscin (lipo-AF) and typically associated with aging, can also be detected within microglial lysosomes in the young mouse brain by light microscopy. This lipo-AF signal accumulates first within microglia and it occurs earliest in white versus gray matter. Importantly, in gray matter, lipo-AF signal can confound the interpretation of antibody-labeled synaptic material within microglia in young adult mice. We further show that there is an age-dependent accumulation of lipo-AF inside and outside of microglia, which is not affected by amyloid plaques. We finally implement a robust and cost-effective strategy to quench AF in mouse, marmoset, and human brain tissue.
    • Appendicular lean mass index changes in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Becker muscular dystrophy

      Wong, Brenda L; Summer, Suzanne; Horn, Paul S; Rutter, Meilan M; Rybalsky, Irina; Tian, Cuixia; Shellenbarger, Karen C; Kalkwarf, Heidi J (2023-10-25)
      Introduction: Mutations in the 79 exons of the dystrophin gene result in muscle wasting and weakness of varying clinical severity, ranging from severe/typical Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) to intermediate DMD and mild Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), depending on the frameshift of the mutation. We previously reported that males with DMD have progressively declining appendicular lean mass (ALM) and ALM index (ALMI) with age and worsening functional motor ability compared with healthy controls. These indices have not been studied in patients with intermediate DMD and BMD phenotypes and across DMD genotypes. In this study, we compared age-related trajectories of ALM and ALMI of patients who had (1) BMD without functional mobility deficits with patients who had DMD at different stages of disease and healthy controls; (2) a DMD intermediate phenotype with patients who had a typical DMD phenotype; and (3) DMD categorized by genotype. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of ALM and ALMI data from 499 patients (ages 5-23 years) with DMD (466 typical and 33 intermediate) and 46 patients (ages 5-21 years) with BMD (without functional mobility deficits and functional mobility score of 1). Patients were grouped according to age reflecting disease stage (ages 5 to <7, 7 to <10, 10 to <14, and 14 to <20 years) and genotype (mutations in exons 1-30, 31-44, 45-62, and 63-79). Results: ALM and ALMI trajectories of patients with BMD paralleled those of healthy controls until adolescence, in contrast to patients with DMD. ALMI Z-scores of patients with BMD remained within ±2 SD without decline while those of patients with DMD fell below -2 SD around age 12 years. Patients with BMD had increasing ALM and ALMI with age, with peak accrual between ages 10 to <14 years. ALMI declined after age 14 years for those with intermediate DMD compared with 10 years for patients with typical DMD. Patients with mutations in exons 63-79 had a greater decline in ALMI as compared with those with other genotypes after age 10 years. Conclusions: Age-related changes in ALMI in patients with BMD and intermediate DMD differ from those with typical DMD, reflecting their clinical phenotypes. ALM and ALMI should be further studied in patients with BMD and DMD subtypes for their potential value as surrogate markers to characterize the severity of BMD and DMD and inform clinical care decisions and clinical trial designs.
    • Comparing the Acceptability and Quality of Intervention Modalities for Suicidality in the Emergency Department: Randomized Feasibility Trial

      Larkin, Celine; Tulu, Bengisu; Djamasbi, Soussan; Garner, Roscoe; Varzgani, Fatima; Siddique, Mariam; Pietro, John; Boudreaux, Edwin D (2023-10-24)
      Background: Emergency departments (EDs) manage many patients with suicide risk, but effective interventions for suicidality are challenging to implement in this setting. ReachCare is a technology-facilitated version of an evidence-based intervention for suicidal ED patients. Here, we present findings on the acceptability and quality of ReachCare in the ED, as well as a comparison of these measures across 3 potential delivery modalities. Objective: Our aim was to test the feasibility of the ReachCare intervention in its entirety through conducting a pilot study with patients presenting with suicidality to the ED. We tested three different ways of receiving the ED-based components of ReachCare: (1) self-administered on the tablet app using a chatbot interface, (2) administered by an in-person clinician, or (3) administered by a telehealth clinician. Methods: In total, 47 ED patients who screened positive for suicide risk were randomly allocated to receive one of three delivery modalities of ReachCare in the ED: (1) self-administered on the patient-facing tablet app with a chatbot interface, (2) delivered by an in-person clinician, or (3) delivered by a telehealth clinician, with the latter two using a clinician-facing web app. We measured demographic and clinical characteristics, acceptability and appropriateness of the intervention, and quality and completeness of the resulting safety plans. Results: Patients assigned high ratings for the acceptability (median 4.00/5, IQR 4.00-4.50) and appropriateness (median 4.00/5, IQR 4.00-4.25) of ReachCare's ED components, and there were no substantial differences across the 3 delivery modalities [H(acceptability)=3.90, P=.14; H(appropriateness)=1.05, P=.59]. The self-administered modality took significantly less time than the 2 clinician modalities (H=27.91, P<.001), and the usability of the self-administered version was in the "very high" range (median 93.75/100, IQR 80.00-97.50). The safety plans created across all 3 modalities were high-quality (H=0.60, P=.74). Conclusions: Patients rated ReachCare in the ED as highly acceptable and appropriate regardless of modality. Self-administration may be a feasible way to ensure patients with suicide risk receive an intervention in resource constrained EDs. Limitations include small sample size and demographic differences between those enrolled versus not enrolled. Further research will examine the clinical outcomes of patients receiving both the in-ED and post-ED components of ReachCare. Trial registration: NCT04720911;
    • The mobile vaccine equity enhancement program–a model program for enhancing equity in vaccine availability based at a large health care system

      Broach, John; Brown, Olga; McEachern, Caitlin; Forget, Janell; Lancette, Peter; Soucie, Norman; Inzerillo, Julie; Klugman, Robert; Tosi, Stephen; Haddad, Abraham; et al. (2023-10-17)
      The SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic presented unprecedented challenges as communities attempted to respond to the administration of a novel vaccine that faced cold chain logistical requirements and vaccine hesitancy among many, as well as complicated phased rollout plans that changed frequently as availability of the vaccine waxed and waned. The COVID-19 pandemic also disproportionately affected communities of color and communities with barriers to accessing healthcare. In the setting of these difficulties, a program was created specifically to address inequity in vaccine administration with a focus on communities of color and linguistic diversity as well as those who had technological barriers to online sign-up processes common at mass vaccination sites. This effort, the Mobile Vaccine Equity Enhancement Program (MVeeP), delivered over 12,000 vaccines in 24 months through a reproducible set of practices that can inform equity-driven vaccine efforts in future pandemics.
    • Non-canonical amino acid incorporation into AAV5 capsid enhances lung transduction in mice

      Chang, Hao; Du, Ailing; Jiang, Jun; Ren, Lingzhi; Liu, Nan; Zhou, Xuntao; Liang, Jialing; Gao, Guangping; Wang, Dan (2023-10-07)
      Gene therapy using recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) relies on safe, efficient, and precise in vivo gene delivery that is largely dependent on the AAV capsid. The proteinaceous capsid is highly amenable to engineering using a variety of approaches, and most resulting capsids carry substitutions or insertions comprised of natural amino acids. Here, we incorporated a non-canonical amino acid (ncAA), Nε-2-azideoethyloxycarbonyl-L-lysine (also known as NAEK), into the AAV5 capsid using genetic code expansion, and serendipitously found that several NAEK-AAV5 vectors transduced various cell lines more efficiently than the parental rAAV5. Furthermore, one NAEK-AAV5 vector showed lung-specific transduction enhancement following systemic or intranasal delivery in mice. Structural modeling suggests that the long side chain of NAEK may impact on the 3-fold protrusion on the capsid surface that plays a key role in tropism, thereby modulating vector transduction. Recent advances in genetic code expansion have generated synthetic proteins carrying an increasing number of ncAAs that possess diverse biological properties. Our study suggests that ncAA incorporation into the AAV capsid may confer novel vector properties, opening a new and complementary avenue to gene therapy vector discovery.
    • PAM-flexible genome editing with an engineered chimeric Cas9

      Zhao, Lin; Koseki, Sabrina R T; Silverstein, Rachel A; Amrani, Nadia; Peng, Christina; Kramme, Christian; Savic, Natasha; Pacesa, Martin; Rodríguez, Tomás C; Stan, Teodora; et al. (2023-10-04)
      CRISPR enzymes require a defined protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) flanking a guide RNA-programmed target site, limiting their sequence accessibility for robust genome editing applications. In this study, we recombine the PAM-interacting domain of SpRY, a broad-targeting Cas9 possessing an NRN > NYN (R = A or G, Y = C or T) PAM preference, with the N-terminus of Sc + +, a Cas9 with simultaneously broad, efficient, and accurate NNG editing capabilities, to generate a chimeric enzyme with highly flexible PAM preference: SpRYc. We demonstrate that SpRYc leverages properties of both enzymes to specifically edit diverse PAMs and disease-related loci for potential therapeutic applications. In total, the approaches to generate SpRYc, coupled with its robust flexibility, highlight the power of integrative protein design for Cas9 engineering and motivate downstream editing applications that require precise genomic positioning.
    • Sexually dimorphic mechanisms of VGLUT-mediated protection from dopaminergic neurodegeneration [preprint]

      Buck, Silas A; Rubin, Sophie A; Kunkhyen, Tenzin; Treiber, Christoph D; Xue, Xiangning; Fenno, Lief E; Mabry, Samuel J; Sundar, Varun R; Yang, Zilu; Shah, Divia; et al. (2023-10-03)
      Parkinson's disease (PD) targets some dopamine (DA) neurons more than others. Sex differences offer insights, with females more protected from DA neurodegeneration. The mammalian vesicular glutamate transporter VGLUT2 and Drosophila ortholog dVGLUT have been implicated as modulators of DA neuron resilience. However, the mechanisms by which VGLUT2/dVGLUT protects DA neurons remain unknown. We discovered DA neuron dVGLUT knockdown increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species in a sexually dimorphic manner in response to depolarization or paraquat-induced stress, males being especially affected. DA neuron dVGLUT also reduced ATP biosynthetic burden during depolarization. RNA sequencing of VGLUT+ DA neurons in mice and flies identified candidate genes that we functionally screened to further dissect VGLUT-mediated DA neuron resilience across PD models. We discovered transcription factors modulating dVGLUT-dependent DA neuroprotection and identified dj-1β as a regulator of sex-specific DA neuron dVGLUT expression. Overall, VGLUT protects DA neurons from PD-associated degeneration by maintaining mitochondrial health.
    • Physical activity regulates the immune response to breast cancer by a hematopoietic stem cell-autonomous mechanism [preprint]

      Khair, Lyne; Hayes, Katherine; Tutto, Amanda; Samant, Amruta; Ferreira, Lindsay; Nguyen, Tammy T; Brehm, Michael; Messina, Louis M (2023-10-02)
      Physical activity is a modifiable lifestyle factor that is associated with a decreased risk for the development of breast cancer. While the exact mechanisms for the reduction in cancer risk due to physical activity are largely unknown, it is postulated that the biological reduction in cancer risk is driven by improvements in inflammation and immune function with exercise. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the progenitor for all of the cells of the immune system and are involved in cancer immunosurveillance through differentiation into cytotoxic cell population. In this study, we investigate the role of physical activity (PA) in a spontaneously occurring model of breast cancer over time, with a focus on tumor incidence, circulating and tumor-infiltrating immune cells as well gene expression profiles of tumors and hematopoietic stem cells. Furthermore, we show that, in addition to a direct effect of PA on the immune cells of tumor-bearing mice, PA reduces the oxidative stress in HSCs of wildtype and tumor-bearing mice, and by doing so, alters the differentiation of the HSCs towards T cells in order to enhance cancer immunosurveillance.
    • Loss of TDP-43 function contributes to genomic instability in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

      Fang, Minggang; Deibler, Sara K; Nana, Alissa L; Vatsavayai, Sarat C; Banday, Shahid; Zhou, You; Almeida, Sandra; Weiss, Alexandra; Brown, Robert H; Seeley, William W; et al. (2023-10-02)
      A common pathological hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the cytoplasmic mislocalization and aggregation of the DNA/RNA-binding protein TDP-43, but how loss of nuclear TDP-43 function contributes to ALS and FTD pathogenesis remains largely unknown. Here, using large-scale RNAi screening, we identify TARDBP, which encodes TDP-43, as a gene whose loss-of-function results in elevated DNA mutation rate and genomic instability. Consistent with this finding, we observe increased DNA damage in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and iPSC-derived post-mitotic neurons generated from ALS patients harboring TARDBP mutations. We find that the increase in DNA damage in ALS iPSC-derived neurons is due to defects in two major pathways for DNA double-strand break repair: non-homologous end joining and homologous recombination. Cells with defects in DNA repair are sensitive to DNA damaging agents and, accordingly, we find that ALS iPSC-derived neurons show a marked reduction in survival following treatment with a DNA damaging agent. Importantly, we find that increased DNA damage is also observed in neurons with nuclear TDP-43 depletion from ALS/FTD patient brain tissues. Collectively, our results demonstrate that ALS neurons with loss of nuclear TDP-43 function have elevated levels of DNA damage and contribute to the idea that genomic instability is a defining pathological feature of ALS/FTD patients with TDP-43 pathology.
    • The Importance of Quality Assurance in Radiation Oncology Clinical Trials

      FitzGerald, Thomas J; Bishop-Jodoin, Maryann; Laurie, Fran; Iandoli, Matthew; Smith, Koren; Ulin, Kenneth; Ding, Linda; Moni, Janaki; Cicchetti, M Giulia; Knopp, Michael; et al. (2023-10-01)
      Clinical trials have been the center of progress in modern medicine. In oncology, we are fortunate to have a structure in place through the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). The NCTN provides the infrastructure and a forum for scientific discussion to develop clinical concepts for trial design. The NCTN also provides a network group structure to administer trials for successful trial management and outcome analyses. There are many important aspects to trial design and conduct. Modern trials need to ensure appropriate trial conduct and secure data management processes. Of equal importance is the quality assurance of a clinical trial. If progress is to be made in oncology clinical medicine, investigators and patient care providers of service need to feel secure that trial data is complete, accurate, and well-controlled in order to be confident in trial analysis and move trial outcome results into daily practice. As our technology has matured, so has our need to apply technology in a uniform manner for appropriate interpretation of trial outcomes. In this article, we review the importance of quality assurance in clinical trials involving radiation therapy. We will include important aspects of institution and investigator credentialing for participation as well as ongoing processes to ensure that each trial is being managed in a compliant manner. We will provide examples of the importance of complete datasets to ensure study interpretation. We will describe how successful strategies for quality assurance in the past will support new initiatives moving forward.
    • Risk of Subsequent Neoplasms in Childhood Cancer Survivors After Radiation Therapy: A Comprehensive PENTEC Review

      Casey, Dana L; Vogelius, Ivan R; Brodin, N Patrik; Roberts, Kenneth B; Avanzo, Michele; Moni, Janaki; Owens, Constance; Ronckers, Cécile M; Constine, Louis S; Bentzen, Soren M; et al. (2023-09-29)
      Purpose: A Pediatric Normal Tissue Effects in the Clinic (PENTEC) analysis of published investigations of central nervous system (CNS) subsequent neoplasms (SNs), subsequent sarcomas, and subsequent lung cancers in childhood cancer survivors who received radiation therapy (RT) was performed to estimate the effect of RT dose on the risk of SNs and the modification of this risk by host and treatment factors. Methods and materials: A systematic literature review was performed to identify data published from 1975 to 2022 on SNs after prior RT in childhood cancer survivors. After abstract review, usable quantitative and qualitative data were extracted from 83 studies for CNS SNs, 118 for subsequent sarcomas, and 10 for lung SNs with 4 additional studies (3 for CNS SNs and 1 for lung SNs) later added. The incidences of SNs, RT dose, age, sex, primary cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy exposure, and latent time from primary diagnosis to SNs were extracted to assess the factors influencing risk for SNs. The excess relative ratio (ERR) for developing SNs as a function of dose was analyzed using inverse-variance weighted linear regression, and the ERR/Gy was estimated. Excess absolute risks were also calculated. Results: The ERR/Gy for subsequent meningiomas was estimated at 0.44 (95% CI, 0.19-0.68); for malignant CNS neoplasms, 0.15 (95% CI, 0.11-0.18); for sarcomas, 0.045 (95% CI, 0.023-0.067); and for lung cancer, 0.068 (95% CI, 0.03-0.11). Younger age at time of primary diagnosis was associated with higher risk of subsequent meningioma and sarcoma, whereas no significant effect was observed for age at exposure for risk of malignant CNS neoplasm, and insufficient data were available regarding age for lung cancer. Females had a higher risk of subsequent meningioma (odds ratio, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.22-1.76; P < .0001) relative to males, whereas no statistically significant sex difference was seen in risk of malignant CNS neoplasms, sarcoma SNs, or lung SNs. There was an association between chemotherapy receipt (specifically alkylating agents and anthracyclines) and subsequent sarcoma risk, whereas there was no clear association between specific chemotherapeutic agents and risk of CNS SNs and lung SNs. Conclusions: This PENTEC systematic review shows a significant radiation dose-response relationship for CNS SNs, sarcomas, and lung SNs. Given the linear dose response, improved conformality around the target volume that limits the high dose volume might be a promising strategy for reducing the risk of SNs after RT. Other host- and treatment-related factors such as age and chemotherapy play a significant contributory role in the development of SNs and should be considered when estimating the risk of SNs after RT among childhood cancer survivors.
    • Adherence type impacts completion rates of frequent mobile cognitive assessments among older adults with and without cognitive impairment [preprint]

      Christianson, Kieffer; Prabhu, Meha; Popp, Zachary T; Rahman, Md Salman; Drane, James; Lee, Marissa; Lathan, Corinna; Lin, Honghuang; Au, Rhoda; Sunderaraman, Preeti; et al. (2023-09-29)
      Background: Prior to a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, many individuals experience cognitive and behavioral fluctuations that are not detected during a single session of traditional neuropsychological assessment. Mobile applications now enable high-frequency cognitive data to be collected remotely, introducing new opportunities and challenges. Emerging evidence suggests cognitively impaired older adults are capable of completing mobile assessments frequently, but no study has observed whether completion rates vary by assessment frequency or adherence type. Methods: Thirty-three older adults were recruited from the Boston University Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (mean age = 73.5 years; 27.3% cognitively impaired; 57.6% female; 81.8% White, 18.2% Black). Participants remotely downloaded and completed the DANA Brain Vital application on their own mobile devices throughout the study. The study schedule included seventeen assessments to be completed over the course of a year. Specific periods during which assessments were expected to be completed were defined as subsegments, while segments consisted of multiple subsegments. The first segment included three subsegments to be completed within one week, the second segment included weekly subsegments and spanned three weeks, and the third and fourth segments included monthly subsegments spanning five and six months, respectively. Three distinct adherence types - subsegment adherence, segment adherence, and cumulative adherence - were examined to determine how completion rates varied depending on assessment frequency and adherence type. Results: Adherence type significantly impacted whether the completion rates declined. When utilizing subsegment adherence, the completion rate significantly declined (p = 0.05) during the fourth segment. However, when considering completion rates from the perspective of segment adherence, a decline in completion rate was not observed. Overall adherence rates increased as adherence parameters were broadened from subsegment adherence (60.6%) to segment adherence (78.8%), to cumulative adherence (90.9%). Conclusions: Older adults, including those with cognitive impairment, are able to complete remote cognitive assessments at a high-frequency, but may not necessarily adhere to prescribed schedules.
    • Group Acupuncture Therapy With Yoga Therapy for Chronic Neck, Low Back, and Osteoarthritis Pain in Safety Net Settings for an Underserved Population: A Feasibility Pilot Study

      Teets, Raymond; Nielsen, Arya; Moonaz, Steffany; Anderson, Belinda J; Mah, Donna M; Walter, Eve; Milanes, Mirta; Jyung, Hyowoun; Soto Cossio, Luz E; Meissner, Paul; et al. (2023-09-28)
      Background: Acupuncture and yoga have both been shown to be effective in chronic pain. Underrepresented populations have poorer pain outcomes with less access to effective pain care. Objective: To assess the feasibility of bundling group acupuncture with yoga therapy for chronic neck, back or osteoarthritis pain in safety net settings. Methods: This was a feasibility pilot in Bronx and Harlem primary care community health centers. Participants with chronic neck, back or osteoarthritis pain received acupuncture and yoga therapy over a 10-week period. Participants received 10 weekly acupuncture treatments in group setting; with Yoga therapy sessions beginning immediately following the 3rd session. Primary outcome was pain interference and pain intensity on the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI); Outcomes were measured at baseline, 10-week close of intervention, and 24-week follow-up. Results: 93 patients were determined to be eligible and completed the baseline interview. The majority of participants were non-White and Medicaid recipients. 78 (84%) completed the intervention and 10-week survey, and 58 (62%) completed the 24-week post intervention survey. Participants received an average number of 6.5 acupuncture sessions (out of a possible 10), and 4 yoga sessions (out of a possible 8) over the 10-week intervention. Patients showed statistically significant improvements in pain at the close of the intervention and at a somewhat lesser rate, at 24-weeks post intervention. Challenges included telephone outreach and site coordination integrating acupuncture with yoga therapy. The trial also had to be stopped early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: Bundling acupuncture therapy and yoga therapy is feasible for an underrepresented population with chronic pain in urban community health centers with preliminary indications of acceptability and benefit to participants.
    • The RITA-T (Rapid Interactive Screening Test for Autism in Toddlers) Community Model to Improve Access and Early Identification of Autism in Young Children

      Choueiri, Roula; Garrison, William T; Tokatli, Valerie; Daneshvar, Naaz; Belgrad, Jillian; Zhu, Guangyu; Zhang, Bo (2023-09-28)
      Objective: To evaluate improved identification and the generalization of the RITA-T (Rapid interactive Screening Test for Autism in Toddlers) model through partnerships with Primary Care (PC), Early Intervention (EI), and Autism Diagnosticians. Methods: Over 3 years (2018-2021), 15 EI and 9 PC (MD and NP) centers participated in this project. We trained providers on the RITA-T and established screening models. We reviewed charts of all toddlers referred through this model and compared wait times, and diagnoses, to those evaluated through regular referral in a tertiary-based autism clinic. We also examined the RITA-T psychometrics. Results: 377 toddlers met our inclusion criteria. Wait time for diagnosis was an average of 2.8 months and led to further collaboration between community providers. RITA-T cut-off scores stayed consistent. Providers reported improved confidence and easy integration of this model. Conclusions: This model is generalizable and improves the Early Identification of ASD.
    • Multicomponent Pharmacist Intervention Did Not Reduce Clinically Important Medication Errors for Ambulatory Patients Initiating Direct Oral Anticoagulants

      Kapoor, Alok; Patel, Parth; Mbusa, Daniel; Pham, Thu; Cicirale, Carrie; Tran, Wenisa; Beavers, Craig; Javed, Saud; Wagner, Joann; Swain, Dawn; et al. (2023-09-27)
      Background: Anticoagulants including direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are among the highest-risk medications in the United States. We postulated that routine consultation and follow-up from a clinical pharmacist would reduce clinically important medication errors (CIMEs) among patients beginning or resuming a DOAC in the ambulatory care setting. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a multicomponent intervention for reducing CIMEs. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Participants: Ambulatory patients initiating a DOAC or resuming one after a complication. Intervention: Pharmacist evaluation and monitoring based on the implementation of a recently published checklist. Key elements included evaluation of the appropriateness of DOAC, need for DOAC affordability assistance, three pharmacist-initiated telephone consultations, access to a DOAC hotline, documented hand-off to the patient's continuity provider, and monitoring of follow-up laboratory tests. Control: Coupons and assistance to increase the affordability of DOACs. Main measure: Anticoagulant-related CIMEs (Anticoagulant-CIMEs) and non-anticoagulant-related CIMEs over 90 days from DOAC initiation; CIMEs identified through masked assessment process including two physician adjudication of events presented by a pharmacist distinct from intervention pharmacist who reviewed participant electronic medical records and interview data. Analysis: Incidence and incidence rate ratio (IRR) of CIMEs (intervention vs. control) using multivariable Poisson regression modeling. Key results: A total of 561 patients (281 intervention and 280 control patients) contributed 479 anticoagulant-CIMEs including 31 preventable and ameliorable ADEs and 448 significant anticoagulant medication errors without subsequent documented ADEs (0.95 per 100 person-days). Failure to perform required blood tests and concurrent, inappropriate usage of a DOAC with aspirin or NSAIDs were the most common anticoagulant-related CIMEs despite pharmacist documentation systematically identifying these issues when present. There was no reduction in anticoagulant-related CIMEs among intervention patients (IRR 1.17; 95% CI 0.98-1.42) or non-anticoagulant-related CIMEs (IRR 1.05; 95% CI 0.80-1.37). Conclusion: A multi-component intervention in which clinical pharmacists implemented an evidence-based DOAC Checklist did not reduce CIMEs. Nih trial number: NCT04068727.
    • Beyond genome-wide association studies: Investigating the role of noncoding regulatory elements in primary sclerosing cholangitis

      Pratt, Henry E; Wu, Tong; Elhajjajy, Shaimae I; Zhou, Jeffrey Y.; Fitzgerald, Kate; Fazzio, Tom; Weng, Zhiping; Pratt, Daniel S (2023-09-27)
      Background: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 30 risk loci for primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Variants within these loci are found predominantly in noncoding regions of DNA making their mechanisms of conferring risk hard to define. Epigenomic studies have shown noncoding variants broadly impact regulatory element activity. The possible association of noncoding PSC variants with regulatory element activity has not been studied. We aimed to (1) determine if the noncoding risk variants in PSC impact regulatory element function and (2) if so, assess the role these regulatory elements have in explaining the genetic risk for PSC. Methods: Available epigenomic datasets were integrated to build a comprehensive atlas of cell type-specific regulatory elements, emphasizing PSC-relevant cell types. RNA-seq and ATAC-seq were performed on peripheral CD4+ T cells from 10 PSC patients and 11 healthy controls. Computational techniques were used to (1) study the enrichment of PSC-risk variants within regulatory elements, (2) correlate risk genotype with differences in regulatory element activity, and (3) identify regulatory elements differentially active and genes differentially expressed between PSC patients and controls. Results: Noncoding PSC-risk variants are strongly enriched within immune-specific enhancers, particularly ones involved in T-cell response to antigenic stimulation. In total, 250 genes and >10,000 regulatory elements were identified that are differentially active between patients and controls. Conclusions: Mechanistic effects are proposed for variants at 6 PSC-risk loci where genotype was linked with differential T-cell regulatory element activity. Regulatory elements are shown to play a key role in PSC pathophysiology.
    • A 4D transcriptomic map for the evolution of multiple sclerosis-like lesions in the marmoset brain [preprint]

      Lin, Jing-Ping; Brake, Alexis; Donadieu, Maxime; Lee, Amanda; Kawaguchi, Riki; Sati, Pascal; Geschwind, Daniel H; Jacobson, Steven; Schafer, Dorothy P; Reich, Daniel S (2023-09-27)
      Single-time-point histopathological studies on postmortem multiple sclerosis (MS) tissue fail to capture lesion evolution dynamics, posing challenges for therapy development targeting development and repair of focal inflammatory demyelination. To close this gap, we studied experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) in the common marmoset, the most faithful animal model of these processes. Using MRI-informed RNA profiling, we analyzed ~600,000 single-nucleus and ~55,000 spatial transcriptomes, comparing them against EAE inoculation status, longitudinal radiological signals, and histopathological features. We categorized 5 groups of microenvironments pertinent to neural function, immune and glial responses, tissue destruction and repair, and regulatory network at brain borders. Exploring perilesional microenvironment diversity, we uncovered central roles of EAE-associated astrocytes, oligodendrocyte precursor cells, and ependyma in lesion formation and resolution. We pinpointed imaging and molecular features capturing the pathological trajectory of WM, offering potential for assessing treatment outcomes using marmoset as a platform.