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Posts Tagged ‘chromatography’


First Haploid Human Stem Cells

Reported: Irina Robu, PhD

Most of the cells in our body are diploid, which indicate they carry two sets of chromosomes—one from each parent. So far, scientists have only succeeded in generating haploid embryonic stem cells—which comprise a single set of chromosomes in non-human mammals such as mice, rats and monkeys. Nevertheless, scientists have tried to isolate and duplicate these haploid ESCs in humans, which would allow them to work with one set of human chromosomes as opposed to a mixture from both parents.

Scientists from Hebrew from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute (NYSCF) were successful in generating a new type of embryonic stem cells that has a single copy of the human genome, instead of two copies which is typically found in normal stem cells.

This landmark was finally obtained by Ido Sagi, working as a PhD student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem which was successful in isolating and maintaining haploid embryonic stem cells in humans. Unlike in mice, these haploid stem cells were capable to differentiate into various cell types such as brain, heart and pancreas, although holding a single set of chromosomes. Sagi and his advisor, Prof. Nissim Benvenisty showed that this new human stem cell type will play an important role in human genetic and medical research.  This new human cell type cell type will aid in understanding human development and it will make genetic screening simpler and more precise, by examining a single set of chromosomes.

Based on this research, the Technology Transfer arm of the Hebrew University, started a new company New Stem, which is developing a diagnostic kit for predicting resistance to chemotherapy treatments. By gathering a broad library of human pluripotent stem cells with various genetic makeups and mutations. The company is planning to use this kit for personalized medication and future therapeutic and reproductive products.

SOURCE

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-06-haploid-human-stem-cells-medical.html#jCp

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

Ido Sagi – PhD Student @HUJI, 2017 Kaye Innovation Award winner for leading research that yielded the first successful isolation and maintenance of haploid embryonic stem cells in humans.

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Ido Sagi – PhD Student @HUJI, 2017 Kaye Innovation Award winner for leading research that yielded the first successful isolation and maintenance of haploid embryonic stem cells in humans.

 

 

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Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

Optimization of Chromatography in the Lab

Sanji Bhal & Karim Kassam; ACD/Labs

While analytical laboratories may still rely to some extent on trial-and-error approaches, there is agreement that this is increasingly less effective as systems become more complex. Regulatory bodies are putting increasing pressure on pharmaceutical companies to incorporate Quality by Design (QbD) approaches throughout the drug development process. QbD is defined in the ICH Q8 guideline as “A systematic approach to development that begins with predefined objectives and emphasizes product and process understanding and process control, based on sound science and quality risk management.”

Developing effective and robust separations methods can be a very time-consuming process. A comprehensive approach to method development would be thorough investigation of the design space for any given mixture or sample including buffer, column, solvent, time, temperature, etc. Given the time constraints and limited resources in any R&D laboratory, however, this type of broad scope investigation is unrealistic.

Modeling for the optimization of chromatographic separations of small molecules has been successfully used for approximately 30 years. A large number of articles have been published on this topic by L. Snyder, P. Janderra, P. Schoenmakers et al. Modeling of chromatographic separations continues to be of interest because as the science of chromatographic separations continues to evolve, modeling techniques must evolve with them to support the needs of the community.

New types of chromatographic techniques (UHPLC, HILIC, ion exchange chromatography, etc.) have demanded the need for new modeling tools. This also led to the need for translation of methods from one technique to newer techniques (HPLC to UHPLC, for example). Furthermore, as pharmaceutical R&D has expanded investigation of new drugs from small molecules to proteins and bio-molecules, many of the old rules no longer apply.

The ability to model the behavior of a sample in silico provides chromatographers with a number of advantages:

Greater efficiency in method development—it is difficult to estimate the number of hours required to identify a suitable method for separation of a mixture. An experienced scientist will rely on their knowledge while an inexperienced colleague may struggle with the same separation. As the number of experienced chromatographers decreases across organizations, and the existing scientists are retiring, software to assist those less experienced becomes more attractive.

With such a large number of variables (temperature, gradient, pH, salt concentration, etc.) it is advantageous to use all available knowledge and tools to ‘get ahead’. Increased efficiency can be realized not only in identifying an optimal method faster but also increasing throughput and decreasing scale-up time.

Risk mitigation through robust methods—this is the ideal result of a method development project. By applying QbD principles and understanding the analytical design space of a sample, the chromatographer can understand, reduce, and control sources of variability; and use this information to create a method that is reliable and robust. Simulation of methods provides scientists the luxury of thoroughly investigating method development space with limited consumption of resources and time, for the best result.

Economic considerations—while there is a cost in man hours and time spent on method development, there is also unrecoverable expenditure on consumables (solvents, columns, etc.). In being able to investigate chromatographic space in silico, this time and expenditure can be greatly reduced.

Green chemistry—the ability to model separations not only reduces the volume of waste, it may also help us reduce environmental impact. Consider the case of acetonitrile shortages in recent years. The ability to use alternative methods, i.e., replacing acetonitrile with methanol, not only lead to reduced cost but also has the side effect of more environmentally safe waste.

Software provided with chromatographic instruments delivers many useful capabilities to execute experimental runs and control instruments. Simulation software, however, is typically purchased separately. Several commercial software packages are available, i.e., DryLab, ACD/LC Simulator (from ACD/Labs), ChromSword, and Osiris, each of which provides different advantages and limitations (an exhaustive list is outside the scope of this article).

Commercially available method optimization software is typically built on one of three models—simulations based on molecular structure, retention based modeling, and statistical modeling. Each has its pros and cons with details in their implementation that appeal to different applications.

Data input—flexibility of data import into a system from the instrument is an important consideration when dealing with multiple experiments under varying conditions. Lack of standardization of chromatographic data formats today, however, means that unless data from separations is transferred into Excel or similar software, scientists are left to transcribe information from one system to another. Direct data import from chromatographic runs into third-party modeling software, in the instrument format, is ideal since it avoids transcription errors and saves time in data input. ACD/Labs provides the only software (ACD/LC Simulator and ACD/GC Simulator) with instrument vendor-agnostic support of analytical data at this time.

Data visualization—the ability to review and interrogate data is of utmost importance in method development and optimization, and software vendors implement various tools to meet chromatographers’ requirements. While 3D modeling, offered by DryLab, has enjoyed popularity in the community, the question of applicability still remains. A significant amount of data input (upwards of 45 injections is not unreasonable for simultaneous optimization of 3 factors) is required for effective 3D modeling, which in itself is counter-intuitive if time and resource efficiency is the ultimate goal.

Automation—ACD/AutoChrom (from ACD/Labs) and ChromSword both provide automation through instrument control. AutoChrom provides automation of the most popular Waters Empower and Agilent ChemStation systems and keeps the scientist in control by allowing user input at key stages of the method development process. This software is best suited for challenging separations such as stability indicating methods and forced degradation studies.

Custom Modeling—while third-party modeling software may cover a broad range of structure and method development space, there is nothing better than the ability for scientists to create their own models. ACD/LC Simulator was the only software known to the authors at the time of publication that offers this capability. Work published by world class chromatographers Patrik Pettersson and Mel Eureby demonstrates the use of ACD/LC Simulator in successfully modelling protein and HILIC separations.

Reverse phase HPLC, temperature/gradient optimization as modeled in ACD/LC Simulator. (Credit:  ACD/Labs )

Reverse phase HPLC, temperature/gradient optimization as modeled in ACD/LC Simulator. (Credit: ACD/Labs )

Physicochemical property predictions such as logD and pKa can also help in method development and optimization. In a general sense, being able to predict behavior with respect to pH can offer insights into method development challenges. ChromSword and ACD/Labs software both provide property predictions, and the latter have been leaders in this field for almost two decades with applications across various areas of research and industries.

As the science of separations evolves and the compounds of interest change, the software to support scientific research and development will need to develop alongside. Software vendors need to satisfy the needs of their customer organizations in releasing the time of valuable scientists for innovation thus releasing them from monotonous and tedious tasks. If your organization has yet to invest in software for modeling separations, it will likely come in the future and many of the topics raised here should be kept in mind to ensure you get the best return on investment.

 

Tissue Imaging Mass Spec Detects Early Lipid Changes in Acute Kidney Injury

University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have made a microscopic snapshot of the early renal lipid changes in acute kidney injury, using a laser-scanning method called MALDI tissue imaging to localize the changes.
These disease-model results, recently published in American Journal of Physiology’s Renal Physiology, show an example of the power of MALDI tissue imaging. MALDI tissue imaging is now available at UAB, and it will be able to aid basic and clinical biomedical research across the campus, said corresponding author Janusz Kabarowski, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology.
“I think the opportunity to integrate this into existing UAB research centers to facilitate grants is immense,” Kabarowski said. “It can be utilized for any tissue damage. For drugs that can be imaged with MALDI imaging mass spectrometry, you can tell where in a slice of tissue the drugs get to, with obvious implications for testing candidate therapeutic agents in cancer research too. We can capture—at the molecular level—a moment in time.”
The imaging has the power to reveal spatial distribution of complex biochemical processes in an organism, showing where changes in proteins or small molecules take place. Unlike chemical stains, immunohistochemical tags or radioactive labels, it does not require a priori knowledge of the target compounds.
Acute kidney injury is a leading cause of hospital illness or death in critically ill patients. In a mouse model of the injury used by Kabarowski and colleagues, kidneys were made ischemic for 30 minutes. Six hours after reperfusion, and before gross kidney damage was seen, the kidneys were removed and cut in half. The lipids were extracted from one of the halves; the other was flash frozen and cut into thin sections that were mounted on specially coated slides.
Extracted lipids were analyzed using SWATH mass spectrometry, and the UAB researchers found that four were significantly changed at six hours (all were increases). Three of the lipids were ether-linked phospholipids, including a plasmalogen, a type of ether phospholipid thought to have protective anti-oxidant properties. They also found that the levels of these ether-linked phospholipids correlated with levels of plasma creatinine, a marker of acute kidney injury. This suggests a causal or a protective role for them in acute kidney injury, and also suggests they may be an effective early biomarker for injury.
The researchers then used MALDI tissue imaging to find where the most abundant of the ether-linked phospholipids was concentrated. In MALDI, a powerful laser scans the thin tissue section after application of a matrix material by vacuum sublimation, knocking the lipid ions off from the surface of the tissue. The MALDI time-of-flight mass spectrometry and ion fragmentation then allowed identification of the proximal tubules of the kidney as the place where the ether-linked phospholipids were concentrated. The proximal tubules are known to be most prone to developing ischemia-related injury.
Besides Kabarowski, authors of “Early lipid changes in acute kidney injury using SWATH lipidomics coupled with MALDI tissue imaging” are co-first authors Sangeetha Rao, M.D., fellow in the UAB Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, and Kelly B. Walters, UAB departments of Chemistry and Microbiology; Landon Wilson and Stephen Barnes, Ph.D., UAB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Targeted Metabolomics and Proteomics Laboratory; Bo Chen, Ph.D., Subhashini Bolisetty, Ph.D., and Anupam Agarwal, M.D., UAB Division of Nephrology and the Nephrology Research and Training Center; and David Graves, UAB Department of Chemistry.
MALDI imaging mass spectrometry stands for “matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization” imaging mass spectrometry. SWATH mass spectrometry stands for “sequential window acquisition of all theoretical spectra” mass spectrometry.

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Preface to Metabolomics as a Discipline in Medicine

Author: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

 

The family of ‘omics fields has rapidly outpaced its siblings over the decade since
the completion of the Human Genome Project.  It has derived much benefit from
the development of Proteomics, which has recently completed a first draft of the
human proteome.  Since genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics, have matured
considerably, it has become apparent that the search for a driver or drivers of cellular signaling and metabolic pathways could not depend on a full clarity of the genome. There have been unresolved issues, that are not solely comprehended from assumptions about mutations.

The most common diseases affecting mankind are derangements in metabolic
pathways, develop at specific ages periods, and often in adulthood or in the
geriatric period, and are at the intersection of signaling pathways.  Moreover,
the organs involved and systemic features are heavily influenced by physical
activity, and by the air we breathe and the water we drink.

The emergence of the new science is also driven by a large body of work
on protein structure, mechanisms of enzyme action, the modulation of gene
expression, the pH dependent effects on protein binding and conformation.
Beyond what has just been said, a significant portion of DNA has been
designated as “dark matter”. It turns out to have enormous importance in
gene regulation, even though it is not transcriptional, effected in a
modulatory way by “noncoding RNAs.  Metabolomics is the comprehensive
analysis of small molecule metabolites. These might be substrates of
sequenced enzyme reactions, or they might be “inhibiting” RNAs just
mentioned.  In either case, they occur in the substructures of the cell
called organelles, the cytoplasm, and in the cytoskeleton.

The reactions are orchestrated, and they can be modified with respect to
the flow of metabolites based on pH, temperature, membrane structural
modifications, and modulators.  Since most metabolites are generated by
enzymatic proteins that result from gene expression, and metabolites give
organisms their biochemical characteristics, the metabolome links
genotype with phenotype.

Metabolomics is still developing, and the continued development has
relied on two major events. The first is chromatographic separation and
mass  spectroscopy (MS), MS/MS, as well as advances in fluorescence
ultrasensitive optical photonic methods, and the second, as crucial,
is the developments in computational biology. The continuation of
this trend brings expectations of an impact on pharmaceutical and
on neutraceutical developments, which will have an impact on medical
practice. What has lagged behind, and may continue to contribute to the
lag is the failure to develop a suitable electronic medical record to
assist the physician in decisions confronted with so much as yet,
hidden data, the ready availability of which could guide more effective
diagnosis and management of the patient. Put all of this together, and
we can meet series challenges as the research community
interprets and integrates the complex data they are acquiring.

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