Posts Tagged ‘toxicology’

Ninth Annual
New Approaches for Predicting Drug Toxicity
Discovering New Models and Integrating Innovative Strategies
June 15-16, 2016  |  Boston, MA

Final Agenda Now Available

Adverse drug events such as cardiotoxicity, hepatotoxicity and other organ toxicities, keep surfacing in the clinic and idiosyncratic drug toxicity continues to haunt the drug development process. So what are scientists and clinicians doing to make sure that compounds fail early and cheaply? New screening technologies such as, in vitro assays and in vivo models continue to be developed, but are the right tools being used at the right time to predict and detect adverse events? Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s ninth annual conference on Models to Approaches, looks at the scientific and technological progress being made to better predict drug related toxicities at the preclinical stage, and avoid unexpected and costly findings in the clinic. What assays and models are being used, how reliable and predictable is the data, and how is this information impacting decisions before compounds are tested in patients? Hear experiences shared by experts and join the interactive sessions and panel discussions on issues related to drug toxicity.

Register Now!  [Register by March 4th and save up to $400]


Day 1


Transporter-Mediated Drug Interactions with Endobiotics, Toxins and Nutrients
Adrian Ray, Ph.D., Senior Director, Department of Drug Metabolism, Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Combination of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Strategy to Elucidate Mechanistic Roles of Transporters in Organ Toxicity
Yurong Lai, Ph.D., Senior Principal Scientist, Pharmaceutical Candidate Optimization, Bristol-Myers Squibb

In vitro Human Intestinal Tissue Model to Assess and Predict Drug-Induced-GI Damage
MatTek Corporation
Seyoum Ayehunie, Ph.D., Vice President, Immunological Systems, MatTek Corporation

Assessing Off-Target Drug Activities by Transcription Factor Profiling in FACTORIAL™ AssaysAttagene
Sergei Makarov, Ph.D., CEO, Attagene


The Importance of Reverse Translation for Preclinical Off-Target Mitigation
Laszlo Urban, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Preclinical Secondary Pharmacology, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Inc.

Moving beyond the S6(R1): A Snapshot of Toxicity & Safety Pharmacology Tools to Evaluate Biotherapeutics
Susan M.G. Goody, Ph.D., Senior Principal Scientist, Global Safety Pharmacology, Pfizer, Inc.

Presentation to be AnnouncedMolecular Health

Luncheon Presentation: CiPA: How Comprehensive Does It Have to BeCharles River Discovery
James Kramer, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Discovery, Charles River


A Disruption of Autonomic Balance: Use of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) in Cardiovascular Safety Pharmacology
Carrie Northcott, Ph.D., Senior Principal Scientist, Global Safety Pharmacology, Pfizer Inc.

Whole-Body Imaging of Drug-Induced Toxicity
Ming Zhao, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University


Combination of Screening Assays for Assessing Drug-Induced Liver Injury in Humans
Christoph Funk, Ph.D., Vice Director, Pharmaceutical Sciences, F. Hoffmann-La Roche

In vitro Approach to Classify Drugs According to Their Idiosyncratic, Drug-Induced Liver Injury Liability
Robert A. Roth, Ph.D., DABT, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Director, Graduate Program in Environmental and Integrative Toxicological Sciences, Michigan State University

Generation of Complex Disease Phenotypes in 3D Bioprinted Human Liver Tissues for the Assessment of Drug-Induced InjuryOrganovo
Leah Norona, Doctoral Candidate Curriculum in Toxicology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Drug-Induced Vascular Injury (DIVI)- Historical Review of Non-Clinical DIVI and Development of an Early Screening Strategy
Todd Wisialowski, MS, Associate Research Fellow, Global Safety Pharmacology, Pfizer Inc.

Day 2


TOPIC: Safety Assessments for Biologics
Moderator: Susan M.G. Goody, Ph.D., Senior PrincipalScientist, Global Safety Pharmacology, Pfizer, Inc.

TOPIC: Translation of Preclinical Findings to Clinic
Moderators: Carrie Northcott, Ph.D., Senior Principal Scientist, Global Safety Pharmacology, Pfizer Inc. Ming Zhao, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

TOPIC: Using iPSC for Drug Safety Screening
Moderators: Paul W. Burridge, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Center for Pharmacogenomics, Northwestern University Feinberg School ofMedicine Xi Yang, Ph.D., DABT, Principal Investigator, Division of Systems Biology, National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), U.S. FDA

TOPIC: Key Issues Related to Drug Transporters in a Pharma R&D Setting
Moderator: Christoph Funk, Ph.D., Vice Director, Pharmaceutical Sciences, F. Hoffmann La-Roche


Utilization of iPSCs in Developing Human-on-a-Chip Systems for Phenotypic Screening Applications
James J. Hickman, Ph.D., Founding Director, NanoScience Technology Center; Professor, Nanoscience Technology, Chemistry, Biomolecular Science, Material Science and Electrical Engineering, University of Central Florida

Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Recapitulate Breast Cancer Patients’ Predilection to Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity
Paul W. Burridge, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Center for Pharmacogenomics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Utilization of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to Understand Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs)-Induced Hepatotoxicity
Qiang Shi, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Division of Systems Biology, National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), U.S. FDA


Predict Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs)-Induced Cardiotoxicity Using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes
Xi Yang, Ph.D., DABT, Principal Investigator, Division of Systems Biology, National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), U.S. FDA

Prediction of Transporter-Related Drug-Induced Liver Injury (DILI) Using Integrated Approaches
Mingxiang Liao, Ph.D., Senior Scientist I, DMPK, Takeda Pharmaceutical Intl. Company

Bridging Luncheon Presentation: Case Studies in Cardiac and Neuro Safety / Toxicity Assessment Using Human iPSC-Derived Cell SystemsAxioGenesis
Greg Luerman, Ph.D., Head, Applications Development, Axiogenesis Inc.

Plenary Sessions

June 16, 1:45-2:45 pm



This year’s Plenary Keynote Presentations feature two prominent thought-leaders who are playing an important role in innovating drug discovery. They share their experiences and their perspectives on what has changed and what can be changed to improve preclinical research, help translate preclinical findings to the clinic, and to foster effective communication and collaboration. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and gain valuable insights from their learnings.

Keynote Speakers:
Anthony CoyleAnthony J. Coyle Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President, Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, Pfizer Inc.


James WilsonJames Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine; Director, Orphan Disease Center and Director, Gene Therapy Program, University of Pennsylvania


June 16, 2:45-3:30 pm



This year’s Plenary Keynote Panel features a group of technical experts from life science technology and service companies, who share their perspectives on various trends and tools that will likely change the way in which we traditionally approach preclinical drug discovery and development. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and understand the impact of recent technical advances.

Matthew GevaertMatt Gevaert, Ph.D., CEO and Co-founder, KIYATEC


Amit VasanjiAmit Vasanji, Ph.D., CTO & CSO, ImageIQ



Dr. Anthony Coyle is the founding CSO of the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) and is responsible for CTI’s strategy and scientific direction. Before leading CTI, Dr. Coyle was the Vice President and Global Head of Respiratory, Inflammation, and Autoimmunity Research at MedImmune Biologics, a Division of AstraZeneca. At MedImmune, Dr. Coyle advanced a biologic portfolio from discovery to Phase II in the areas of respiratory and autoimmune diseases, specifically targeting lupus, asthma and COPD. Prior to his work at MedImmune, Dr. Coyle was Director of Research at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where he led a group responsible for the identification of novel target genes, as well as for late stage lead optimization and delivery of both small-molecule and biologic development candidates. Dr. Coyle has been Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Experimental Therapeutics at McMaster University in Ontario since 1992. He has authored more than 200 manuscripts. Dr. Coyle holds a BSc (with honors) and a Ph.D. from Kings College, University of London. Dr. Coyle is a member of the scientific board for the Alliance for Lupus Research, the C4 NCATS consortium and the Boston Children’s Hospital Technology Fund Advisory Board.

Dr. James M. Wilson is a Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where he has led an effort to develop the field of gene therapy. Dr. Wilson began his work in gene therapy during his graduate studies at the University of Michigan over 30 years ago. He then moved to Boston to do a residency in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and continued his work in gene therapy at MIT. He created the first and largest academic-based program in gene therapy after being recruited to University of Pennsylvania in 1993. He initially focused on the clinical translation of existing gene transfer technologies but soon redirected his efforts to the development of second and third generation gene transfer platforms; the first of which was licensed to a biotechnology company he founded that resulted in the first, and only, commercially approved gene therapy in the western hemisphere. More recently, his laboratory discovered a family of viruses from primates that could be engineered to be very effective gene transfer vehicles. These so called “vectors” have become the technology platform of choice and have set the stage for the recent resurgence of the field of gene therapy. Dr. Wilson has also been active in facilitating the commercial development of these new gene therapy platforms through the establishment of several biotechnology companies. Throughout his career, the focus of Dr. Wilson’s research has been rare inherited diseases, ranging from cystic fibrosis to dyslipidemias to a variety of metabolic disorders. Dr. Wilson has published over 550 papers, reviews, commentaries and editorials in the peer-reviewed literature and is an inventor on over 117 patents.

Dr. Matthew (Matt) Gevaert is the CEO of KIYATEC Inc., a life sciences company in Greenville, SC. KIYATEC specializes in ex vivo 3D cell culture and tissue systems that more accurately replicate in vivo human biology and function, with a focus on methods to accurately predict individual cancer patients’response to drugs by culturing and treating live patient derived primary cells. Dr. Gevaert co-founded the company and has served as CEO since 2007. Possessing a background which combines both business and technology, before his role at KIYATEC Dr. Gevaert led the commercialization of Clemson University’s biomedical and biotechnology intellectual property portfolio for nearly 5 years, working with both entrepreneurial start-ups and large, industry leading corporations. He has previous experience with Merck, 3M and Dow Chemica l, and has been published in Science magazine and the journal of the US National Academy of Engineering. Currently he serves as a board member of SCBIO, the state of South Carolina’s life science industry organization, and a board member of NEXT, which provides entrepreneur services and infrastructure to high-growth ventures in Greenville and Upstate South Carolina. Dr. Gevaert grew up the fifth of six children on a farm in Ontario, Canada and graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Chemistry. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in Bioengineering from Clemson University. He maintains current appointments as adjunct professor in the Clemson University Department of Bioengineering and as a lecturer in the Clemson MBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Dr. Amit Vasanji has over 17 years of experience with basic and clinical research image acquisition, processing, analysis, visualization and biomedical software engineering. He was the founder of Cleveland Clinic’s Biomedical Imaging and Analysis Center, and served as its Executive Director. During his tenure at the Cleveland Clinic, he authored over 50 publications — many in high impact journals, participated in the writing of numerous federally funded grants, served as a consultant and/or co-investigator on many federal, state, corporate, and institutional grants, presented at national scientific meetings, and won various awards for innovation and service. Dr. Vasanji received a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami, and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University


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Liver Toxicity halts Clinical Trial of IAP Antagonist for Advanced Solid Tumors

Writer/Curator Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

A recent press release on FierceBiotech reported the FDA had put a halt on a phase 1 study for advanced refractory solid tumors and lymphomas of Curis Inc. oral inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) antagonist CUDC-427.  The FDA placed the trial on partial clinical hold following reports of a death of a patient from severe liver failure.  The single-agent, dose escalation Phase 1 study was designed to determine the maximum tolerated dose and recommended doses for a Phase 2 trial. The press release can be found at:

According to the report one patient with breast cancer that had metastasized to liver, lungs, bone, and ovaries developed severe hepatotoxicity as evidenced by elevated serum transaminase activities (AST and ALT) and hyper-billirubinemia.  Serum liver enzyme activities did not attenuate upon discontinuation of CUDC-427.  This was unlike prior experience to the CUDC-427 drug, in which decreased hepatic function was reversed upon drug discontinuation.  The patient died from liver failure one month after discontinuation of CUDC-427.

It was noted that no other patient had experienced such a serious, irreversible liver dysfunction.

Although any incidence of hepatotoxicity can be cause for concern, the incidence of IDIOSYNCRATIC IRREVERSIBLE HEPATOTOXICITY warrants a higher scrutiny.

Four general concepts can explain toxicity profiles and divergences between individuals:

  1. Toxicogenomics: Small differences in the genetic makeup between individuals (such as polymorphisms (SNP) could result in differences in toxicity profile for a drug.  This ais a serious possibility as only one patient presented with such irreversible liver damage
  2. Toxicodynamics:  The toxicologic effect is an extension of the pharmacologic mechanism of action (or  lack thereof: could there have been alternate signaling pathways activated in this patient or noncanonical mechanism)
  3. Toxicokinetic:  The differences in toxicological response due to differences in absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion etc. (kinetic parameters)
  4. Idiosyncratic: etiology is unknown; usually a minority of adverse effects


Since there is not enough information to investigate toxicogenomic or toxicokinetic mechanisms for this compound, the rest of this post will investigate the possible mechanisms of hepatotoxicity due to IAP antagonists and clues from other clinical trials which might shed light on a mechanism of toxicity (toxicodynamic) or idiosyncratic events.

Therefore this post curates the current understanding of drug-induced liver injury (DILI), especially focusing on a type of liver injury referred to as idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (IDILI) in the context of:

  1. Targeted and newer chemotherapies such as IAP antagonists
  2. Current concepts of mechanisms of IDILI including:

i)        Inflammatory responses provoked by presence of disease

ii)      Cellular stresses, provoked by disease, uncovering NONCANONICAL toxicity pathways

iii)    Pharmacogenomics risk factors of IDILI

Eventually this post aims to stimulate the discussion: 

  • Given inflammation, genetic risk factors, and cellular stresses (seen in clinical setting) have been implicated in idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury from targeted therapies, should preclinical hepatotoxicity studies also be conducted in the presence of the metastatic disease?
  • Does inflammation and cellular stress from clinical disease unmask NONCANONICAL pharmacologic and/or toxicological mechanisms of action?

Classification of types of Cellular Liver injury:  A listing of types of cellular injury is given for review

I.     Hepatic damage after Acute Exposure

A. Cytotoxic (Necrotic):  irreversible cell death characterized by loss of cell membrane integrity, intracellular swelling, nuclear shrinkage (pyknosis) and eventual cytoplasmic breakdown of nuclear DNA (either by a process known as karyolysis or karyorhexus) localized inflammation as a result of release of cellular constituents.  Intracellular ATP levels are commonly seen in necrotic death.  Necrosis, unlike apoptosis, does not require a source of ATP.  A nice review by Yoshihide Tsujimoto describing and showing (by microscopy) the  differences between apoptosis and necrosis can be found here.

B. Cholestatic:  hepatobiliary dysfunction with bile stasis and accumulation of bile salts.  Cholestatic injury can result in lipid (particularly cholesterol) accumulation in cannicular membranes resulting in decreased permeability of the membrane, hyperbillirubinemia and is generally thought to result in metabolic defects.

C. Lipid Peroxidation: free radical generation producing peroxide of cellular lipids, generally resulting in a cytotoxic cell death

II.     Hepatic damage after Chronic Exposure

A. Chirrotic: Chronic morphologic alteration of the liver characterized by the presence of septae of collagen distributed throughout the major portion of the liver; Forms fibrous sheaths altering hepatic blood flow, resulting in a necrotic process with scar tissue; Alteration of hepatic metabolic systems.

B. Carcinogenesis

III. Idiosyncratic Drug Induced Liver Injury

The aforementioned mechanisms of hepatotoxicity are commonly referred to as the “intrinsic” (or end target-organ) toxicity mechanisms.  Idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (IDILI) is not well understood but can be separated into allergic and nonallergic reactions.  Although the risk of acute liver failure associated with idiosyncratic hepatotoxins is low (about 1 in ten thousand patients) there are more than 1,000 drugs and herbal products associated with this type of toxic reaction. Idiosyncratic drug induced liver failure usually gets a black box warning from the FDA. Idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury differs from “intrinsic” toxicity in that IDILI:

  • Happens in a minority of patients (susceptible patients)
  • Not reproducible in animal models
  • Not dose-dependent
  • Variable time of onset
  • Variable liver pathology (not distinctive lesions)
  • Not related to drug’s pharmacologic mechanism of action (trovafloxacin IDILI vs. levofloxacin)

A great review in Perspectives in Pharmacology written by Robert Roth and Patricia Ganey at Michigan State University explains these differences between intrinsic and idiosyncratic drug-induced hepatotoxicity[1] (however authors do note that there are many similarities between the two mechanisms).    It is felt that drug sensitivity (allergic) and inflammatory responses (nonallergic) may contribute to the occurrence of IDILI.  For instance lipopolysaccharide (LPS) form bacteria can potentiate acetaminophen toxicity.  In fact animal models of IDILI have been somewhat successful:

  • co-treatment of rats and mice with nontoxic doses of trovafloxacin (casues IDILI in humans) and LPS resulted in marked hepatotoxicity while no hepatotoxicity seen with levofloxacin plus LPS[2]
  • correlates well with incidence of human IDILI (adapted from a review Inflammatory Stress and Idiosyncratic Hepatotoxicity: Hints from Animal Models (in Pharmacology Reviews)[3].  Idiosyncratic injury damage has been reported for diclofenac, halothane, and sulinac.  These drugs also show hepatotoxicity in the LPS model for IDILI.
  • Roth and Ganey suggest the reason why idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity is not seen  in most acute animal toxicity studies is that, in absence of stress/inflammation  IDILI occurrence is masked by lethality but stress/inflammation shifts increases sensitivity to liver injury at a point before lethality is seen


Figure.  Idiosyncratic toxic responses of the liver.    In the absence of stress and/or genetic factors, drug exposure may result in an idiosyncratic liver injury (IDILI) at a point (or dose) beyond the therapeutic range and lethal exposure for that drug.  Preclinical studies, usually conducted at sublethal doses, would not detect DILI .  Stress and/or genetic factors sensitize the liver to toxic effects of the drug (synergism) and DILI is detected at exposure levels closer to therapeutic range.  Note IDILI is not necessarily dose-dependent but cellular stress (like ROS or inflammation) may expose NONCANONICAL mechanisms of drug action or toxicity which result in IDILI. Model adapted from Roth and Ganey.

What Stress factors contribute to IDILI?

Various stresses including inflammation from bacterial, viral infections ,inflammatory cytokines  and stress from reactive oxygen (ROS) have been suggested as mechanisms for IDILI.

  1. Inflammation/Cytokines (also discussed in other sections of this post):  Inflammation has long been associated with human cases of DILI.    Many cytokines and inflammatory mediators have been implicated including TNFα, IL7, TGFβ, and IFNϒ (viral infection) leading some to conclude that serum measurement of cytokines could be a potential biomarker for DILI[4].  In addition, ROS (see below) is generated from inflammation and also considered a risk factor for DILI[5].
  2. Reactive Oxygen (ROS)/Reactive Metabolites: Oxidative stress, either generated from reactive drug metabolites or from mitochondrial sources, has been shown to be involved in apoptotic and necrotic cell death.  Both alterations in the enzymes involved in the generation of and protection from ROS have been implicated in increased risk to DILI including (as discussed further) alterations in mitochondrial superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) and glutathione S-transferases.  Both ROS and inflammatory cytokines can promote JNK signaling, which has been implicated in DILI[6].

Dr. Neil Kaplowitz suggested that we:

“develop a unifying hypothesis that involves underlying genetic or acquired mitochondrial abnormalities as a major determinant of susceptibility for a number of drugs that target mitochondria and cause DILI. The mitochondrial hypothesis, implying gradually accumulating and initially silent mitochondrial injury in heteroplasmic cells which reaches a critical threshold and abruptly triggers liver injury, is consistent with the findings that typically idiosyncratic DILI is delayed (by weeks or months), that increasing age and female gender are risk factors and that these drugs are targeted to the liver and clearly exhibit a mitochondrial hazard in vitro and in vivo. New animal models (e.g., the Sod2(+/-) mouse) provide supporting evidence for this concept. However, genetic analyses of DILI patient samples are needed to ultimately provide the proof-of-concept”[7].

Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Mar 38(Supplement 2) S44-8, Figure 1

Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Mar 38(Supplement 2) S44-8, Figure 3

Figures. Mechanisms of Drug-Induced Liver Injury and Factors related to the occurrence of  DILI (used with permission from Oxford Press; reference [7])

To this end, Dr. Brett Howell and other colleagues at the Hamner-UNC Institute for Drug Safety Sciences (IDSS) developed an in-silico model of DILI ( the DILISym™ model)which is based on  depletion of cellular ATP and reactive metabolite formation as indices of DILI.

Have there been Genetic Risk Factors identified for DILI?

Candidate-gene-associated studies (CGAS) have been able to identify several genetic risk factors for DILI including:

  1. Uridine Diphosphate Glucuronosyltransferase 2B7 (UGT2B7): variant increased susceptibility to diclofenac-induced DILI
  2. Adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette C2 (ABCC2) variant ABCC-24CT increased susceptibility to diclofenac-induced DILI
  3. Glutathione S-transferase (GSTT1): patients with a double GSTT1-GSTM1 null genotype had a significant 2.7 fold increased risk of DILI from nonsteroidal anti-inlammatory agents, troglitazone and tacrine.  GSTs are involved in the detoxification of phase 1 metabolites and also protect against cellular ROS.

Although these CGAS confirmed these genetic risk factors,  Stefan Russman suggests a priori genome-wide association studies (GWAS) might provide a more complete picture of genetic risk factors for DILI as CGAS is limited due to

  1. Candidate genes are selected based on current mechanisms and knowledge of DILI so genetic variants with no known knowledge of or mechanistic information would not be detected
  2. Many CGAS rely on analysis of a limited number of SNP and did not consider intronic regions which may control gene expression

A priori GWAS have the advantage of being hypothesis-free, and although they may produce a high number of false-positives, new studies of genetic risk factors of ximelagatran, flucioxaciliin and diclofenac-induced liver injury are using a hybrid approach which combines the whole genome and unbiased benefits of GWAS with the confirmatory and rational design of CGAS[8-10].

Even though idiosyncratic DILI is rare, the severity, unpredictable onset, and unknown etiology and risk factors have prompted investigators such as Stefan Russmann from University Hospital Zurich and Ignazio Grattagliano from University of Bari to suggest:

Identification of risk factors for rare idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity requires special networks that contribute to data collection and subsequent identification of environmental as well as genetic risk factors for clinical cases of idiosyncratic DILI[11].

Therefore, a DILI network project (DILIN) had been developed to collect samples and detailed genetic and clinical data on IDILI cases from multiple medical centers.  The project aims to identify the upstream and downstream genetic risk factors for IDILI[12].  Please see a SlideShare presentation here of the goals of the DILI network project.

Drs Colin Spraggs and Christine Hunt had reviewed possible genetic risk factors of DILI seen with various tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) including Lapatinib (Tykerb/Tyverb©, a dual inhibitor of  HER2/EGFR heterodimer) and paopanib (Votrient©; a TKI that targets VEGFR1,2,3 and PDGFRs)[13].

From a compilation of studies:

  • Elevation in serum bilirubin during treatment with lapatinib and pazopanib are associated with UGT1A1 polymorphism related to Gilbert’s syndrome (a clinically benign syndrome)
  • Anecdotal evidence shows that polymorphisms of lapatinib and pazopanib metabolizing enzymes may contribute to differences seen in onset of DILI
  • Pazopanib-induced elevations of ALT correlate with HFE variants, suggesting alterations in iron transport may predispose to DILI
  • Strong correlations between lapatinib-induced DILI and class II HLA locus suggest inflammatory stress response important in DILI

Note that these clinical findings were not evident from the preclinical tox studies. According to the European Medicines Agency assessment report for Tykerb states: “the major findings in repeat dose toxicity studies were attributed to lapatinib pharmacology (epithelial effect in skin and GI system.  The toxic events occurred at exposures close to the human exposure at the recommended dose.  Repeat-dose toxicity studies did not reveal important safety concerns than what would be expected from the mode of action”.

However, it should be noted that in high dose repeat studies in mice and rats, severe lethality was seen with hematologic, gastrointestinal toxicities in combination with altered blood chemistry parameters and yellowing of internal organs.

IAP Antagonists, Mechanism of Action, and Clinical Trials:

A few IAP antagonists which are in early stage development include:

  • Norvatis IAP Inhibitor LCL161: at 2012 San Antonia Breast Cancer Symposium, a phase 1 trial in triple negative breast cancer showed promising results when given in combination with paclitaxel.
  • Ascenta Therapeutics IAP inhibitor AT-406 in phase 1 in collaboration with Debiopharm S.A. showed antitumor efficacy in xenograft models of breast, pancreatic, prostate and lung cancer. The development of this compound is described in a paper by Cai et. al.

National Cancer Institute sponsored trials using antagonists of IAPs include

  • Phase II Study of Birinapant for Advanced Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Peritoneal Cancer (NCI-12-C-0191). Principle Investigator: Dr. Christina Annunziata. See the protocol summary. More open trials for this drug are located here.  Closed trials including safety studies can be found here.
  • A Phase 1 non-randomized dose escalation study to determine maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and characterize the safety for the TetraLogic compound TL32711 had just been completed. Results have not been published yet.
  • Closed Clinical trials with the IAP antagonist HGS1029 in advanced solid tumors determined that weekly i.v. administration of HGS1029 reported a safety issue for primary outcome measures

A great review on IAP proteins and their role as regulators of apoptosis and potential targets for cancer therapy [14] can be found as a part of a Special Issue in Experimental Oncology “Apoptosis: Four Decades Later”.  Human IAPs (inhibitors of apoptosis) consist of eight proteins involved in cell death, immunity, inflammation, cell cycle, and migration including:

In general, IAP proteins are directly involved in inhibiting apoptosis by binding and directly inhibiting the effector cysteine protease caspases (caspase 3/7) ultimately responsible for the apoptotic process [15].  IAPs were actually first identified in baculoviral genomes because of their ability to suppress host-cell death responses during viral infection [16]. IAP proteins are often overexpressed in cancers [17].

Apoptosis is separated into two pathways, defined by the initial stress or death signal and the caspases involved:

  1. Extrinsic pathway: initiated by TNFα and death ligand FasLigand;  involves caspase-8; process inhibited by IAP1/2
  2. Intrinsic pathway: initiated by DNA damage, irradiation, chemotherapeutics; mitochondrial pathway involving caspase 9 and cytochrome c release from mitochondria; mitochondria also releases SMAC/DIABLO, which binds and inhibits XIAP (XIAP inhibits the Intrinsic apoptotic pathway.



Intrinsic and Extrinsic pathways of apoptosis. Figure photocredit (

The Curis IAP antagonist (and others) is a SMAC small molecule mimetic. It is interesting to note [18, 19] that IAP antagonists can result in death by

  • Apoptosis: an IAP antagonist in presence of competent TNFα signaling
  • Necrosis: seen with IAP inhibitors in cells with altered TNFα signaling or with presence of caspase inhibitors

IAPs are also involved in the regulation of signaling pathways such as:

NF-ΚB signaling pathway

NF-ΚB is a “rapid-acting” transcription factor which has been found to be overexpressed in various cancers.  Under most circumstances NF-ΚB translocation to the nucleus results in transcription of genes related to cell proliferation and survival.  NF-ΚB signaling is broken down in two pathways

  1. Canonical:  Canonical pathway can be initiated (for example in inflammation) when TNF-α binds its receptors activating  death domains (TRADD)
  2. Noncanonical: since requires new protein synthesis takes longer than canonical signaling.  Can be initiated by other TNF like ligands like CD40

IAP1/2 is a negative regulator of the noncanonical NF-ΚB signaling pathway by promoting proteosomal degradation of the TRAF signaling complex. A wonderfully annotated list of NF-ΚB target genes can be found on the Thomas Gilmore lab site at Boston University at .

NF-ΚB has been considered a possible target for chemotherapeutic development however Drs. Veronique Baud and Michael Karin have pondered the utility of IAP antagonists as a good target in their review: Is NF-ΚB a good target for cancer therapy?: Hopes and pitfalls [20].  The authors discuss issues such that IAP antagonism induced both the classical and noncanonical NF-ΚB pathway thru NIK stabilization, resulting in stabilization of NF-ΚB signaling and thereby undoing any chemotherapeutic effect which would be desired.

AKT signaling

IAPs have been shown to interact with other proteins including a report that SIAP regulates AKT activity and caspase-3-dependent cleavage during cisplatin-induced apoptosis in human ovarian cancer cells and could be another mechanism involved in cisplatin resistance[21].   In addition there have been reports that IAPs can regulate JNK and MAPK signaling.

Therefore, IAPs are involved in CANONICAL and NONCANONICAL pathways.

IAPs can Regulate Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines

A recent 2013 JBC paper [22]showed that IAPs and their antagonists can regulate spontaneous and TNF-induced proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine production and release

  • IAP required for production of multiple TNF-induced proinflammatory mediators
  • IAP antagonism decreased TNF-mediated production of chemokines and cytokines
  • But increased spontaneous release of chemokines

In addition Rume Damgaard and Mads Gynd-Hansen have suggested that IAP antagonists may be useful in treating inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s disease as IAPs regulate innate and acquired immune responses[23].

Toxicity profiles of IAP antagonists

NOTE: In a paper in Toxicological Science from 2012[24], Rebecca Ida Erickson form Genentech reported on the toxicity profile of the IAP antagonist GDC-0152 from a study performed in dogs and rats. A dose-dependent toxicity profile from i.v. administration was consistent with TNFα-mediated toxicity with

  • Elevated plasma cytokines and an inflammatory leukogram
  • Increased serum transaminases
  • Inflammatory infiltrate and apoptosis/necrosis in multiple tissues

In a related note, a similar type of fatal idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity was reported in a 62 year-old man treated with the Raf kinase inhibitor sorafenib for renal cell carcinoma[25]: Fatal case of sorafenib-associated idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity in the adjuvant treatment of a patient with renal cell carcinoma; Case Report  in BMC Cancer.

At week four after initiation of sorafenib treatment, the patient noticed increasing fatigue, malaise, gastrointestinal discomfort and abdominal rash.  Although treatment was discontinued, jaundice developed and blood test revealed an acute hepatitis with

  • Elevated serum ALT
  • Elevated serum alkaline phosphatase
  • Increased prothrombin time
  • Increased LDH

…elevated levels seen in the case with the aforementioned IAP antagonist.  Autopsy revealed

  • Lobular hepatitis
  • Mononuclear cell infiltrate
  • Hepatocyte necrosis

These findings are in line with a drug-induced inflammation and IDILI. In addition to hepatotoxicity, renal insufficiency developed in this patient. The authors had suggested the death was probably due to “an idiosyncratic allergic reaction to sorafenib manifesting as hepatotoxicity with associated renal impairment”.  The authors also noted that genome wide association studies of idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury support involvement of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) polymorphisms[26].  MHC involvement has also been associated with lapatanib and pazopanib hepatotoxicity [27, 28].

Curis has been involved in another novel oncology therapeutic, a first in class.

Last year Roche and Genentech had won approval for a Hedgehog pathway inhibitor vismodegib for treatment of advanced basal cell carcinoma (reported at FierceBiotech©). Vismodegib was initially developed in collaboration with Curis, Inc.  The hedgehog signaling pathway, which controls the function of Gli factors (involved in stem cell differentiation), is overactive in advanced basal cell carcinoma as well as other cancer types.

As an additional reference, the FDA National Center for Toxicological Research has developed THE LIVER TOXICITY KNOWLEDGE BASE (LTKB).

“The LTKB is a project designed to study drug-induced liver injury (DILI). Liver toxicity is the most common cause for the discontinuation of clinical trials on a drug, as well as the most common reason for an approved drug’s withdrawal from the marketplace. Because of this, DILI has been identified by the FDA’s Critical Path Initiatives as a key area of focus in a concerted effort to broaden the agency’s knowledge for better evaluation tools and safety biomarkers.”

A nice SlideShow of Toxicity of Targeted Therapies can be found here:

Also please note that ALL GENES in this article are linked to their GENECARD 


1.            Roth RA, Ganey PE: Intrinsic versus idiosyncratic drug-induced hepatotoxicity–two villains or one? The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics 2010, 332(3):692-697.

2.            Waring JF, Liguori MJ, Luyendyk JP, Maddox JF, Ganey PE, Stachlewitz RF, North C, Blomme EA, Roth RA: Microarray analysis of lipopolysaccharide potentiation of trovafloxacin-induced liver injury in rats suggests a role for proinflammatory chemokines and neutrophils. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics 2006, 316(3):1080-1087.

3.            Deng X, Luyendyk JP, Ganey PE, Roth RA: Inflammatory stress and idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity: hints from animal models. Pharmacological reviews 2009, 61(3):262-282.

4.            Laverty HG, Antoine DJ, Benson C, Chaponda M, Williams D, Kevin Park B: The potential of cytokines as safety biomarkers for drug-induced liver injury. European journal of clinical pharmacology 2010, 66(10):961-976.

5.            Schwabe RF, Brenner DA: Mechanisms of Liver Injury. I. TNF-alpha-induced liver injury: role of IKK, JNK, and ROS pathways. American journal of physiology Gastrointestinal and liver physiology 2006, 290(4):G583-589.

6.            Seki E, Brenner DA, Karin M: A liver full of JNK: signaling in regulation of cell function and disease pathogenesis, and clinical approaches. Gastroenterology 2012, 143(2):307-320.

7.            Kaplowitz N: Drug-induced liver injury. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2004, 38 Suppl 2:S44-48.

8.            Kindmark A, Jawaid A, Harbron CG, Barratt BJ, Bengtsson OF, Andersson TB, Carlsson S, Cederbrant KE, Gibson NJ, Armstrong M et al: Genome-wide pharmacogenetic investigation of a hepatic adverse event without clinical signs of immunopathology suggests an underlying immune pathogenesis. The pharmacogenomics journal 2008, 8(3):186-195.

9.            Aithal GP, Ramsay L, Daly AK, Sonchit N, Leathart JB, Alexander G, Kenna JG, Caldwell J, Day CP: Hepatic adducts, circulating antibodies, and cytokine polymorphisms in patients with diclofenac hepatotoxicity. Hepatology 2004, 39(5):1430-1440.

10.          Daly AK, Aithal GP, Leathart JB, Swainsbury RA, Dang TS, Day CP: Genetic susceptibility to diclofenac-induced hepatotoxicity: contribution of UGT2B7, CYP2C8, and ABCC2 genotypes. Gastroenterology 2007, 132(1):272-281.

11.          Russmann S, Kullak-Ublick GA, Grattagliano I: Current concepts of mechanisms in drug-induced hepatotoxicity. Current medicinal chemistry 2009, 16(23):3041-3053.

12.          Fontana RJ, Watkins PB, Bonkovsky HL, Chalasani N, Davern T, Serrano J, Rochon J: Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network (DILIN) prospective study: rationale, design and conduct. Drug safety : an international journal of medical toxicology and drug experience 2009, 32(1):55-68.

13.          Spraggs CF, Xu CF, Hunt CM: Genetic characterization to improve interpretation and clinical management of hepatotoxicity caused by tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Pharmacogenomics 2013, 14(5):541-554.

14.          de Almagro MC, Vucic D: The inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins are critical regulators of signaling pathways and targets for anti-cancer therapy. Experimental oncology 2012, 34(3):200-211.

15.          Deveraux QL, Takahashi R, Salvesen GS, Reed JC: X-linked IAP is a direct inhibitor of cell-death proteases. Nature 1997, 388(6639):300-304.

16.          Crook NE, Clem RJ, Miller LK: An apoptosis-inhibiting baculovirus gene with a zinc finger-like motif. Journal of virology 1993, 67(4):2168-2174.

17.          Tamm I, Kornblau SM, Segall H, Krajewski S, Welsh K, Kitada S, Scudiero DA, Tudor G, Qui YH, Monks A et al: Expression and prognostic significance of IAP-family genes in human cancers and myeloid leukemias. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 2000, 6(5):1796-1803.

18.          Laukens B, Jennewein C, Schenk B, Vanlangenakker N, Schier A, Cristofanon S, Zobel K, Deshayes K, Vucic D, Jeremias I et al: Smac mimetic bypasses apoptosis resistance in FADD- or caspase-8-deficient cells by priming for tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced necroptosis. Neoplasia 2011, 13(10):971-979.

19.          He S, Wang L, Miao L, Wang T, Du F, Zhao L, Wang X: Receptor interacting protein kinase-3 determines cellular necrotic response to TNF-alpha. Cell 2009, 137(6):1100-1111.

20.          Baud V, Karin M: Is NF-kappaB a good target for cancer therapy? Hopes and pitfalls. Nature reviews Drug discovery 2009, 8(1):33-40.

21.          Asselin E, Mills GB, Tsang BK: XIAP regulates Akt activity and caspase-3-dependent cleavage during cisplatin-induced apoptosis in human ovarian epithelial cancer cells. Cancer research 2001, 61(5):1862-1868.

22.          Kearney CJ, Sheridan C, Cullen SP, Tynan GA, Logue SE, Afonina IS, Vucic D, Lavelle EC, Martin SJ: Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) and their antagonists regulate spontaneous and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine production. The Journal of biological chemistry 2013, 288(7):4878-4890.

23.          Damgaard RB, Gyrd-Hansen M: Inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins in regulation of inflammation and innate immunity. Discovery medicine 2011, 11(58):221-231.

24.          Erickson RI, Tarrant J, Cain G, Lewin-Koh SC, Dybdal N, Wong H, Blackwood E, West K, Steigerwalt R, Mamounas M et al: Toxicity profile of small-molecule IAP antagonist GDC-0152 is linked to TNF-alpha pharmacology. Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology 2013, 131(1):247-258.

25.          Fairfax BP, Pratap S, Roberts IS, Collier J, Kaplan R, Meade AM, Ritchie AW, Eisen T, Macaulay VM, Protheroe A: Fatal case of sorafenib-associated idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity in the adjuvant treatment of a patient with renal cell carcinoma. BMC cancer 2012, 12:590.

26.          Daly AK: Drug-induced liver injury: past, present and future. Pharmacogenomics 2010, 11(5):607-611.

27.          Spraggs CF, Budde LR, Briley LP, Bing N, Cox CJ, King KS, Whittaker JC, Mooser VE, Preston AJ, Stein SH et al: HLA-DQA1*02:01 is a major risk factor for lapatinib-induced hepatotoxicity in women with advanced breast cancer. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2011, 29(6):667-673.

28.          Xu CF, Reck BH, Goodman VL, Xue Z, Huang L, Barnes MR, Koshy B, Spraggs CF, Mooser VE, Cardon LR et al: Association of the hemochromatosis gene with pazopanib-induced transaminase elevation in renal cell carcinoma. Journal of hepatology 2011, 54(6):1237-1243.

Other articles on the site about Toxicology and Pharmacology of New Classes of Cancer Chemotherapy include:

FDA Guidelines For Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) Studies for Small Molecules

Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) as a Therapeutic tool in the Management of Glioblastoma

DNA Methultransferases – Implications to Epigenetic Regulation and Cancer Therapy Targeting: James Shen, PhD

Molecular Profiling in Cancer Immunotherapy: Debraj GuhaThakurta, PhD

AT13148 – A Novel Oral Multi-AGC Kinase Inhibitor Has Potent Antitumor Activity

Targeting Mitochondrial-bound Hexokinase for Cancer Therapy

Breast Cancer, drug resistance, and biopharmaceutical targets

Ubiquitin-Proteosome pathway, Autophagy, the Mitochondrion, Proteolysis and Cell Apoptosis: Part III

Ubiquinin-Proteosome pathway, autophagy, the mitochondrion, proteolysis and cell apoptosis

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Heroes in Medical Research: Dr. Carmine Paul Bianchi Pharmacologist, Leader, and Mentor

Writer/Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Past articles in this Heroes in Medical Research series had focused on those seemingly small discoveries, sometimes gained serendipitously and through careful observation and experimentation, which led to some of our most important breakthroughs of our time.  I have tried to make the posts more about the people and less about the discoveries

However, though seminal discoveries are so important to the future of science (and should be celebrated), equally if not MORE IMPORTANT is the MENTORING of future scientists and the PROMOTION of fields of study.  One person who exemplified these values was Dr. Carmine Paul Bianchi, who had recently just passed away this August, and will be sorely missed in the field of pharmacology and toxicology.

For those who were not familiar with Dr. Bianchi I have curated some pertinent information about his work as a scientist, professor and Chairman in pharmacology, and leader and spokesperson for the field of pharmacology.  He was one of the founders of the Mid-Atlantic Pharmacology Society and was an advocate and influential in the careers of many pharmacologists and toxicologists.

Comments from fellow colleagues are very welcome (in comment section at end of post)

The following is separated in 3 sections:

  • An obituary from the Philadelphia Inquirer
  •  A section of the history of the Pharmacology Department at Thomas Jefferson University where Dr. Bianchi was Chairman
  • A few important textbooks and scientific articles he had authored


Carmine Paul Bianchi, 86, pharmacology professor

Paul Bianchi















Carmine Paul Bianchi

By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer

Posted: August 20, 2013

Carmine Paul Bianchi, 86, of Boothwyn, a professor of pharmacology in Philadelphia for many years, died Tuesday, Aug. 13, of a digestive ailment at Taylor Hospice House in Ridley Park.

Born in Newark, N.J., and raised in Maplewood, Dr. Bianchi served as an Army surgical technician in Tilton General Hospital at Fort Dix from 1945 to 1947.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Columbia University in 1950, a master’s in physiology and biochemistry from Rutgers University in 1953, and a doctorate in physiology and physical chemistry in 1956 from Rutgers.

In the 1950s, he did research at Rutgers and was a public health fellow and visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

From 1961 to 1976, he held a number of jobs in the department of pharmacology in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. That culminated in his being named professor of pharmacology.

Dr. Bianchi left in 1976 for Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, where he became pharmacology professor and chairman of the pharmacology department from 1976 to 1987. In 1987, he stepped down from the chairmanship but remained professor of pharmacology. He retired in 1997 as professor emeritus.

Dr. Bianchi was a member of many professional groups, including the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He was a leader and author in pharmacology, helping edit an industry journal and making himself available for consultation to medical examiners and experts in toxicology.

He wrote or contributed to three books and 200 scientific papers and lectured widely. He enjoyed mentoring medical and graduate students.

His family called Dr. Bianchi “a true renaissance man” who was as comfortable discussing English, history, and politics as he was the sciences.




The following was taken from a history of  Department of Pharmacology  at Thomas Jefferson University  and can be viewed at:



Carmine Paul Bianchi, Ph.D;

Third Chairman (1976-1986)

The new Chairman of the Department, effective

July 1, 1976, was Carmine Paul Bianchi, Ph.D.

(Figure 8-3) from the University of Pennsylvania

School of Medicine, where he had been Professor

of Pharmacology since [969 and a member of the

faculty of that Department since 1961.

Dr. Bianchi was born on April 9, [927, in

Newark, New Jersey. After receiving his diploma

at Columbia High School in 1945, he spent two

years in the Army Medical Corps as Technical Sgt.

Fourth Grade. He then attended Columbia

University, where he majored in chemistry and

obtained the B.A. degree in 1950. Like Dr.

Gruber, the first Chairman of the Pharmacology

Department at Jefferson, Bianchi earned his Ph.D.

in physiology. He pursued his graduate studies at

Rutgers University, supplementing his physiology

major with a biochemistry minor for the M.S.

degree in [953 and with a physical chemistry minor

for the Ph.D. degree in 1956. Dr. Bianchi then

spent several years at the National Institutes of

Health-two years as a Public Health Fellow and

one as a Visiting Scientist. Following that he was

Assistant Member of the Institute for Muscle

Disease in New York for one year. In 1961 Dr.

Bianchi became classified professionally as a

pharmacologist by becoming an Associate in the

Department of Pharmacology at the University of

Pennsylvania School of Medicine. There he

advanced to Professorship in 1969 and remained

until he came to Jefferson. The evolution of Dr.

Bianchi’s career from physiology to pharmacology

was the logical result of his investigations of the

effect of various drugs on the metabolism and

distribution of some of the important elements of

the body, notably calcium. His major field of

interest became classified and remained in

electrolyte pharmacology.

Throughout his career Dr. Bianchi has been

very active in the affairs of outside professional

organizations. He is a member of the American

Society for Pharmacology and Experimental

Therapeutics, the American Physiological Society,

the American Chemical Society, and the

International Society of Toxicology, to name

only a few. He served as President of both the

Philadelphia Physiological Society and the John

Morgan Society in the same year (1973-1974), and

of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society for

Neuroscience (1979-1980). He gave much time

and valuable services as Field Editor for the

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental

Therapeutics ([970-1979) and as a member of the

Pharmacology Section of the National Board of

Medical Examiners (1981-1985).

After Dr. Bianchi became Chairman no

immediate changes in the general structure and

activities of the Department took place. He

enlarged the Department and filled vacancies

occasioned by the retirement of some faculty

members. The didactic schedules and subject

matter offered to the medical and graduate

students underwent only minor annual changes.

Research activities were augmented by the

addition of Dr. Bianchi’s specialty in electrolyte

pharmacology and the appointments of new staff

members for investigations in that and related

flelds. Through the following decade there was a

marked change in the faculty structure of the

Department. The [975 Jefferson catalogue, for

example, listed 15 faculty appointments in

Pharmacology, of which eight were on a primary

full-time basis with offices and laboratories in the

Department. In 1985 there were 36 faculty

appointments of which eight were on a primary

full-time basis. The large increase in the total

number of faculty resulted from adjunct

appointments from outside organizations and from

secondary appointments of faculty members of the

Clinical Departments at Jefferson. This expansion

reflected a broadening of interests and interactions

on both the scientific and clinical fronts in clinical

pharmacology and clinical toxicology.

A notable addition to the faculty of the

Department in 1978 was Dr. Hyman Menduke

as Professor of Pharmacology

(Biostatistics). After receiving his Ph.D. in

Economic Statistics at the University of

Pennsylvania, Menduke came to Jefferson in 1953

as Assistant Professor of Biostatistics with no

official Departmental affiliation until 1963, when

he was appointed Professor of Preventive

Medicine (Biostatistics). When Dr. Menduke first

came to Jefferson he gave a ten-hour course in

biostatistics to the second-year medical students in

time provided during their pharmacology course.

Through the years his offerings expanded to a

12-hour course for freshman medical students and

introductory and advanced courses for graduate

students. An early and valuable contribution was a

series of individual conferences with graduate

students on the statistical planning of their

research problems and the later analysis of their



The interests and activities of the Department in

research in toxicology have been emphasized.

Toxicology continued as an important part of the

research program after Dr. Bianchi became

Chairman in 1976, although under his direction

the major emphasis in research became redirected

toward the general areas of cell pharmacology and


In accord with its continuing research and

teaching activities in toxicology, the Department

starting in 1977 organized a series of annual

workshops on Industrial Toxicology sponsored by

the College of Graduate Studies. These were

four-day symposia on important toxicologic

problems in industry and the general environment,

presented by toxicologically involved Jefferson

faculty and by invited experts from other

universities, industry, and government.

In 1979 the Department was awarded a training

grant in Industrial and Environmental Toxicology

by the National Institute of Environmental Health

Sciences. The purpose of this award was to

provide postdoctoral training in toxicology for

individuals who had previously received their

Ph.D. degrees in other sciences. Ten M.S. degrees

were subsequently awarded in this program

through the years from 1981 to 1986.

On December 14, 1978, a full day’s workshop

with outside invited experts was held to discuss

the formation of a Toxicology Center and the

establishment of a Chair in Toxicology-Pathology

to broaden the base of research and training in

toxicology at Jefferson. It was envisioned that the

Center would be an administrative Division within

the Department of Pharmacology, with research

participation from other basic science departments

and the Department of Medicine. Although funds

accumulated in support of a Toxicology Center,

disagreements developed relating to the

administrative base of the Center.


A few articles from Dr. Bianchi showing the diversity of his research interests including calcium mobilization, neurotoxicology, and cellular metabolism and physiology.

Muscle fatigue and the role of transverse tubules.

Bianchi CP, Narayan S.

Science. 1982 Jan 15;215(4530):295-6. No abstract available.


Effect of adenosine on oxygen uptake and electrolyte content of frog sartorius muscle.

Prosdocimi M, Bianchi CP.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1981 Jul;218(1):92-6.


The effect of diazepam on tension and electrolyte distribution in frog muscle.

Degroof RC, Bianchi CP, Narayan S.

Eur J Pharmacol. 1980 Aug 29;66(2-3):193-9.


Steady state maintenance of electrolytes in the spinal cord of the frog.

Bianchi CP, Erulkar SD.

J Neurochem. 1979 Jun;32(6):1671-7. No abstract available.

An in-vitro model of anesthetic hypertonic hyperpyrexia, halothane–caffeine-induced muscle contractures: prevention of contracture by procainamide.

Strobel GE, Bianchi CP.

Anesthesiology. 1971 Nov;35(5):465-73. No abstract available.


The effects of psychoactive agents on calcium uptake by preparations of rat brain mitochondria.

Tjioe S, Haugaard N, Bianchi CP.

J Neurochem. 1971 Nov;18(11):2171-8. No abstract available.


The effect of veratridine on sodium-sensitive radiocalcium uptake in frog sartorius muscle.

Johnson P, Bianchi CP.

Eur J Pharmacol. 1971 Sep;16(1):90-9. No abstract available.


The function of ATP in Ca2+ uptake by rat brain mitochondria.

Tjioe S, Bianchi CP, Haugaard N.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1970 Sep 1;216(2):270-3. No abstract availabl


The effects of pH gradients on the uptake and distribution of C14-procaine and lidocaine in intact and desheathed sciatic nerve trunks.

Strobel GE, Bianchi CP.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1970 Mar;172(1):18-32. No abstract available



More articles by CP Bianchi  can be found at:[auth]

The following is one of the seminal books Dr. Bianchi authored:


Role of Calcium Channels of the Sarcolemma and the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum in Skeletal Muscle Functions


Advances in General and Cellular Pharmacology (1976)

Toshio Narahashi; Carmine Paul Bianchi

The author of the Advances in General and Cellular Pharmacology is Toshio Narahashi; Carmine Paul Bianchi – very good writer. You can download this e-book absolutely for free. This ebook’s ISBN number is 9781461582007. if you were searching for for free download of kindle books, google books, free pdf books, pdf ebooks, e-books, pdf files or pdf ebooks just stay here for a while, download what you wanted for free and enjoy!

Advances in General and Cellular Pharmacology – Toshio Narahashi; Carmine Paul Bianchi – PDF Free Download Ebook also for Kindle


Other articles in this series published on this site include:

Heroes in Medical Research: Dr. Robert Ting, Ph.D. and Retrovirus in AIDS and Cancer

Heroes in Medical Research: Barnett Rosenberg and the Discovery of Cisplatin

Volume Two: Interviews with Scientific Leaders



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The SCID Pig:  How Pigs are becoming a Great Alternate Model for Cancer Research[1]

Author/Writer: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.©

The need for alternate models of human cancer

Many worldwide regulatory bodies are in agreement that proper choice of animal model is necessary for adequate extrapolation of toxicity and efficacy data from animal to human, considering the varied classes of therapeutics now being developed for oncology.  The inability of screens, reliant on human xenografts grown in immunocompromised mice to evaluate host-immune and species-dependent effects, has made development of alternative animal-models a priority.   This is evident in the fact that ninety percent of new anticancer drugs which showed anti-tumor efficacy in mouse preclinical models failed in human clinical studies. A recently developed “humanized” mouse model may assist in testing the metabolism of cancer drugs but still relies on older “immunosuppression” mouse models ( This inadequacy of older, accepted models is clearly evident when evaluating safety and efficacy of adenoviral based gene therapies such as oncolytic conditionally-replicative adenovirus (CRAd).  Although new-generation CRAds present with a relative safe profile[2, 3], adenoviral particles, especially the Ad5 based virus used for most CRAds, have the tendency to replicate in non-tumor tissue, such as liver and lung, resulting in tissue-specific toxicities[4-7].  The manifestation of these toxicities is only evident in species permissive for viral replication, such as the pig. Indeed, one of the first clinical trials with older adenovirus gene therapy, resulting in severe hepatic toxicity and fatality, may have been prevented if more appropriate preclinical screens were conducted.  Thereafter, strict regulatory guidelines for adenoviral-based clinical trials have been issued, with particular emphasis on vector dosage, safety and toxicity[8]. Indeed, at Schering-Plough, a toxicology program was initiated to evaluate SCH 58500, and adenoviral gene therapy directed against p53, which involved use of non-immunogenic rats compared with testing in Yorkshire pigs made immunoreactive to the vector[9, 10].  In fact, data from the pig study revealed a faster clearance of virus as well as toxicities not seen in non-immunogenic, non-permissive hosts such as rat and mouse.

Therefore, development of a porcine model of cancer would permit both testing of both the efficacy and safety of these therapies in the same animal.

Development of large animal models of cancer

To date, large animal tumor models have been used for studying spontaneously formed tumors in dogs and cats [11](Vail, 2000, Cancer Invest), the most common being canine [12] and feline non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma [13]. The advantages of these companion models are the outbred nature of the animals, comparable size and kinetics to human tumors [14-18], and high incidence rates. Allografts of the outbred-canine transplanted venereal tumor have been used to test the ability to detect tumors using X-ray computed tomography and MRI with the ultimate goal of imaging-guided intervention. Researchers have recently utilized the spontaneously arising canine and feline soft tissue sarcomas to study effects of hyperthermia on chemotherapy pharmocokinetics, development of hypoxic cell markers, and cancer imaging techniques [15, 19-26]

Although it appears that, for a select number of tumor types, spontaneously arising tumors in large outbred animals can be useful to model the human disease, it is disappointing these spontaneous arising tumors are limited to discrete tumor types. However, due to recent advances in sequencing of several domestic animal genomes and the development of new cloning strategies, it is now very feasible to utilize other animal models more relevant to human disease, notably the miniature pig.

gottingen minipigThe Gottingen mini-pig

Large animals in medical research: Advantages of the minipig

Due to recent advances in sequencing of several domestic animal genomes [27, 28] and the development of new organism cloning technologies [29-31], it is now very feasible to utilize other species to model human disease, notably the pig. The development of porcine models of human disease has gained much interest lately. Advantages include the resemblance in anatomy, physiology, and genetic makeup with the human, as well as new methods to manipulate the pig genome [32, 33]. To date, porcine models of human metabolic syndrome [34] and diabetes [35], aortic aneurism [36], infectious disease resistance [32, 37], seizure [38], neurologic syndromes [33], and pancreatitis [39] have been developed. Recently, a genetically-engineered porcine model of cystic fibrosis was produced in collaboration with investigators at University of Iowa and Exemplar Genetics [40-42]. Additionally, Cho et al. successfully transplanted spontaneously transformed leukemic and lymphatic tumor cells in a major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-defined inbred miniature swine model [43], suggesting feasibility of an ex vivo strategy to develop a porcine tumor model. Porcine models have, also, been used to develop, test and refine surgical [44, 45] and laparoscopic techniques [46, 47], radio- and cryoablation protocols of tissues [48-52] and robotic surgery using the da Vinci Surgical SystemÒ [53, 54].  In addition, because of the size of porcine organs and their resemblance to the human (in genetics) the minipig is very useful and abundant of a source to isolate specific cell types for in vitro studies.  Below is a figure showing the comparable size of human and porcine ovaries to the mouse and  ability to purify  porcine ovarian epithelial cells and their similarity to human and mouse ovarian epithelial cells.


Figure 1.  The human and pig ovary have similar size and can yield a greater number of isolated cells than one can get from a mouse ovary.


Figure 2.  Isolation and morphology of ovarian epithelial cells from three sources:

A) Devonshire/Yorkshire pig

B) normal human ovary

c) SV129/BL6  mouse

note cobblestone epithelial morphology from all three sources©

To date, there has been no allograft or xenograft model of cancer in pigs. The consensus amongst many surgeons suggests development of a minipig tumor model would be an invaluable tool for developing surgical skills. 

A recent advancement in porcine tumor modeling was made by collaboration between researchers from the laboratories of Dr. Stefan Bossmann and Deryl Troyer at Kansas State and Iowa State, respectively[1].  The joint collaboration resulted in the development of the first severe combined immunodeficient pig line (SCID pig) which was shown to be able to accept human tumor xenografts.  The line of immunodeficient pig was discovered when Yorkshire pigs were bred for increased feed efficiency and a line of pigs exhibited SCID-like symptoms including:

  • Decreased levels of circulating lymphocytes
  • Atrophied thymus and lymph nodes

The SCID phenotype in mice have been ascribed to defects in a DNA-dependent protein kinase gene which prevents variable-diversity-joining [V(D)J] gene region recombination[55].  There have been multiple genetic defects found in humans resulting in SCID, including defects in adenylate kinase2, Janus kinase 3, the IL2 receptor, and the IL-7 receptor[56]. The SCID phenotype in this pig line has a simple autosomal recessive inheritance pattern which, as described below in an interview with the authors, allows for the propagation of this porcine line.

An important feature of SCID models is the ability of these animals to act as a recipient of human tumorigenic cell lines.  In fact, growth of cell lines in SCID mice is a common test for tumorigenicity.  Therefore, to test if these pigs could act as recipients for human cancer cell lines, the authors inoculated the SCID Yorkshire pigs with 4 million A3755M human melanoma cells or PANC1 human pancreatic carcinoma cells subcutaneously in the left and right ears respectively of three pigs.  Some features of the results include:

  • All injection sites showed evidence (either histologic or palpable) of tumor growth
  • Tumors showed characteristic histologic features of malignant neoplasm including
  1. Bizarre and atypical mitotic figures
  2. Anisocytosis (different cell sizes and shapes; feature of malignancy)
  3. Anisokaryosis (different size and shape of nucleus)
  • tumors stained with anti-human mitochondrial antibody (a marker of epithelial cancer cells) showed strong cytoplasmic staining of neoplastic cells
  • interestingly no necrotic regions in the tumor


scidpigfig1Figure 3. Visual evidence of human tumor cells growing in SCID pig ear (day 20). B) Same picture as A) but circle outlines growth.  From reference 1. Basel et al., used with permission from Mary Liebert.

It is interesting to note that these tumors only grew roughly 10 x 5.5 mm, which is genrally large enough to do preclinical studies but may be too expensive to be of use for xenograft studies.  However it would be very feasible to conduct allograft studies in these SCID pigs.

Dr. Jack Dekkers, C.F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor and Section Leader of Animal Breeding and Genetics at Iowa State University, was kind to answer a few questions about the SCID pig model.

Question: You had mentioned this line was identified after breeding Yorkshire pigs for increased feed efficiency.  Have you identified or hypothesize which altered pathway or molecular defect which results in a SCID phenotype?  Is this SCID phenotype a result of a metabolic syndrome these pigs could have?

Dr. Dekkers: We indeed identified the SCID phenotype in a line of pigs that we had selected for increased feed efficiency. However, I don’t think this phenotype has anything to do with the selection we practiced; it was either already present in the founders of the line or it was a random mutation that occurred in the line, independent of the selection for feed efficiency. We have narrowed the mutation that causes the SCID in our pigs down to a chromosomal region and have a very strong candidate gene in that region that we are currently pursuing.

Question: In your opinion, is it possible to produce a highly inbred immunocompromised strain of pig such as a Gottingen minipig?

Dr. Dekkers: We are working on breeding the SCID mutation into mini pigs. But in the meantime, we have used bone marrow transfer to create a male that is homozygous SCID (it’s an autosomal recessive) and reproducing. This allows us to produce litters that are 50% SCID and 50% normal (carriers) by mating him to carrier females.


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Other articles on this site pertaining to Alternate Animal Models and Cancer and Disease include:

Guidelines for the welfare and use of animals in cancer research

Demythologizing sharks, cancer, and shark fins

Predicting Drug Toxicity for Acute Cardiac Events

FDA Guidelines For Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) Studies for Small Molecules

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FDA Guidelines For Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) Studies for Small Molecules. Author-Writer: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

This posting is a follow-up on the Report on the Fall Mid-Atlantic Society of Toxicology Meeting “Reproductive Toxicology of Biologics: Challenges and Considerations post and gives a brief synopsis of the current state of FDA regulatory guidelines with respect to DART studies on small molecule (non-biological based) therapeutics.    The following is adapted from the book Principles and Methods of Toxicology by Dr. A Wallace Hayes (1) and is an excellent reference on reproductive toxicology and testing methods.

Chemical insult occurs to the human reproductive system at a multitude of stages in development and the life cycle, leading to the extensive testing which must be performed to diligently the reproductive and development toxicity of a chemical/drug.  Abnormalities and toxic manifestations in the offspring may result from insult to the adult reproductive (either female or male) and neuroendocrine systems, as well as damage to the embryo resulting in embryolethality, fetus at any period during organogenesis, juvenile development or, in the case of certain antibody therapies, immune system development.  The latter, toxic insult to the developing immune system could possibly be manifested as either an immune defect in the newborn or, later in life, as tolerance to said therapy.  It is estimated that exposure to the pregnant woman, of either environmental contaminants or drug, is significant.  It is estimated that a mother may be taking an average of 8-9 different drug preparations, mostly over the counter preparations such as antacids, vitamin preparations, cathartics etc. with the maximal drug intake occurring between 24 and 36 weeks of gestation.

Toxic insult to the developing embryo is dependent on

  • Fetal development stage during drug/chemical exposure
  • Maternal/placental xenobiotic metabolism
  • Pharmacokinetic parameters affecting bioavailability and fetal/maternal drug binding

The following table shows the dependency of developmental stage to teratogenicity: adapted from J. Manson, H. Zenick, and R.D. Costlow from Principles and Methods of Toxicology.

Developmental Stage Major Susceptibility
Preimplantation Embryolethality
Organogenesis Births defects; embryolethality
Fetal Growth retardation, fetal death, functional deficits
Neonatal Growth retardation, nervous system alterations, immune and endocrine systems

It is not generally accepted that there is a dose dependency of teratogenesis however most teratogens have specific mechanisms of action and teratogenic effects occur at much lower doses than result in maternal toxicity.   However, the developmental toxicity may be manifested later in life, including as reproductive toxicity affecting adult fertility and familial generations.

FDA Guidelines for DART Studies on Non-Biologics (Small Molecule Therapeutics)

The basic design for DART studies incorporate the aforementioned principles of tetralogy:

  • developmental stage of fetal exposure
  • parental effects on reproduction and development
  • toxicity may be manifested over multiple generations including fertility rates

Therefore two designs are generally used for DART studies

  1. exposure across several generations
  2. exposure during one generation

FDA requires one control group and two treatment groups, and evaluation of at least two species.  However, most studies will use two rodent and one nonrodent species.

Multigenerational Design

Multigenerational DART studies are conducted for compounds likely to concentrate in the body following long-term exposure.  Examples of types of compounds include pesticides and food additives.

Figure 1.  General Design of a Multigenerational DART study.  Weanlings (30-30 days of age) from the parental generation are treated for a period up to 60 days. At 100-120 days of parental generation, animals are mated.  Fx = filialx .

Three Segment, Single Generation Tests

The single generation design is more suitable for DART studies on drugs, as most therapeutic would be taken over short periods (during pregnancy) and have relatively short half-lives in the body.  FDA guidelines separate these studies in three phases:

I.            Phase I: evaluation of fertility and general reproductive performance

II.            Phase II: assessment of teratogenicity and embryotoxicity

III.            Phase III: peri- and postnatal evaluations.

All figures are adapted from Principles and Methods of Toxicology.(1)

FDA guidelines Guidance for Industry Reproductive and Developmental Toxicities —Integrating Study Results to Assess Concerns can be found at:

FDA Guideline for reproductive toxicity testing for small molecule therapeutics can be found at:

1.            Hayes, A. W. (1986) Principles and Methods of Toxicology, Raven Press, New York

Other research papers on Pharmaceutical Intelligence and Reproductive Biology, Bio Insrumentation, Endocrinology Genetics were published on this Scientific Web site as follows

Non-small Cell Lung Cancer drugs – where does the Future lie?

Reboot evidence-based medicine and reconsider the randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Every sperm is sacred: Sequencing DNA from individual cells vs “humans as a whole.”

Leptin and Puberty

Gene Trap Mutagenesis in Reproductive Research

Genes involved in Male Fertility and Sperm-egg Binding

Hope for Male Contraception: A small molecule that inhibits a protein important for chromatin organization can cause reversible sterility in male mice

Pregnancy with a Leptin-Receptor Mutation

The contribution of comparative genomic hybridization in reproductive medicine

Sperm collide and crawl the walls in chaotic journey to the ovum

Impact of evolutionary selection on functional regions: The imprint of evolutionary selection on ENCODE regulatory elements is manifested between species and within human populations

Biosimilars: CMC Issues and Regulatory Requirements

Biosimilars: Intellectual Property Creation and Protection by Pioneer and by Biosimilar Manufacturers

Assisted Reproductive Technology Cycles and Cumulative Birth Rates

Innovations in Bio instrumentation in Reproductive Clinical and Male Fertility Labs in the US

Increased risks of obesity and cancer, Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes: The role of Tumor-suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN)

Guidelines for the welfare and use of animals in cancer research

Every sperm is sacred: Sequencing DNA from individual cells vs “humans as a whole.”

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Report on the Fall Mid-Atlantic Society of Toxicology Meeting “Reproductive Toxicology of Biologics: Challenges and Considerations.  Author, Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

The fall 2012 Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Society of Toxicology (MASOT) focused on the challenges and solutions in developing proper Development and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) studies with regards to the newer classes of bio-therapeutics such as vaccines, antibody-based therapies, and viral-based therapies.  The full meeting and MASOT links can be found at   The overall synopsis of the meeting talks agreed, that although the general aim and design of DART studies for biological are very similar to DART studies for small molecule therapeutics, it is more necessary to take into consideration the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetic differences between biologics and small molecules.   In addition it is imperative to use pharmacologically-relevant species, such as non-rodent (guinea pig and non-human primate). The meeting was highlighted by the keynote speaker, Dr. A. Wallace Hayes, renowned board-certified toxicologist, committee and expert panel member for National Academy of Sciences, NIEHS, EPA and Department of Defense, and editor of well-known textbooks including Principles and Methods of Toxicology.  Dr. Hayes discussed a timeline of milestones in the field of toxicology.

The following are the meeting talk abstracts as well as notes for each presenter.

What’s So Different About DART Assessment of Biologics? Christopher Bowman Ph.D., DABT (Pfizer, Inc.)

Abstract:  The aim of developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART) safety assessment of a biologic is no different from that of a small molecule. Both cases consist of evaluating the potential for maternal toxicity, pre- and postnatal development toxicity (including juvenile toxicity) and effects of fertility (reproduction).  The differences lie in the in the product attributes of a specific biologic, the pharmacological response, the potential for undesirable toxicities and how these product attributes influence and are influenced by the biology.  Thus the primary challenge for developing a DART strategy for a biologic are derived from the complexities of these biomolecules and how that dictates a case-by-case strategy for appropriately evaluating the potential for developmental and reproductive toxicity. Most protein biologics have very limited potential for off-target toxicities, but this is not necessarily the case for other modalities such as anti-sense oligonucleotides and antibody-drug-conjugates.  In these cases, off-target toxicities can be a major feature of the DART safety assessment.  The most noticeable difference in DART assessment of biologics is the need to conduct these studies in pharmacologically relevant species and how that can influence the overall nonclinical strategy (including DART).  This has led to increased use of non-human primates as a model system and led to optimizations of this model for this purpose and revisions to international guidelines.

Notes:   Dr. Bowman emphasized the need to understand the type of biological you are testing and to both devise DART studies based on this information, additional endpoint you may want, as well as carefully choosing the correct species most relevant to the biologic.  He highlighted general differences between small molecules versus a biologic with respect to their pharmacology.  These differences are summarized in the Table below:

  Small Molecule Biologic-based therapy
Species specificity Low High
Route of administration Usually oral Parental
ADME (PK, bio-distribution etc.) Wide distribution Low distribution

He noted that clinical trials for biologics rarely include reproductive toxicity so the preclinical DART study is of utmost importance.  He also emphasized that currently, the FDA requires two species for DART testing of small molecule therapies (usually one rodent and one non-rodent).  However this is not possible with many biologics as species is to be taken in consideration when designing a meaningful DART study.  Study designs can be like most DART studies but want to have a steady exposure during fetal organogenesis, use high doses (10 times the clinical dose) to achieve maximal pharmacology, confirm exposure to fetus and to F1 generation, and determine embryolethality.  Some biologics like interferon and insulin-growth factor receptor (IGFR) antagonists are fetal abortifactants. In fact Lucentis (Ranibizumab) and Macugen (Pegaptanib) were approved with no or little DART studies, however these drugs showed reproductive toxicity, resulting in warning concerning pregnancy on the label. Also important is the effect on the immune system and reproductive system of offspring, as well as the pharmacodynamics profile in the offspring.

Species Selection for Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity Testing of Biologics; Elise M. Lewis, Ph.D. (Charles River Preclinical Services)

Abstract:  Regulatory guidelines for developmental and reproductive toxicology studies require selection of “relevant” animal models as determined by kinetic, pharmacological, and preceding toxicological data.  Rats, mice, and rabbits are the preferred animal models for these studies based on historical experience and well-established procedures and study protocols.  However, due to species specificity and immunogenicity issues, developmental and reproductive toxicology testing for biologics is limited to a pharmacologically relevant animal model as described in the ICH s6 guideline.

Notes:  Dr. Lewis notes that DART studies in guinea pigs and hamsters represent a cost effective alternative to large animal models as well as the benefit of shorter duration and ability to assess mating behavior.  She also notes that reproductive toxicology of vaccines should be done in an animal model that can elicit an immune-response to the vaccine, especially to determine any maternal-fetal interaction.  For example, a vaccine may be directed to a maternal protein which when suppressed, may negatively impact the developing fetus.  However it is important to remember that guinea pigs can spontaneously abort so it is good to have proper control arms of a substantial size in order to statistically determine the impact of those spontaneous abortions.



Placental Transfer of an Adnectin Protein During Organogenesis in Guinea Pigs Using a Radiolabeled Methodology; Lakshmi Sivaraman, Ph.D. (Bristol-Myers Squibb)

Abstract:  Knowledge regarding the placental transfer of large molecular weight therapeutics is important to support the enrollment of women of childbearing potential in clinical trials.  There is limited information in the scientific literature that reports the extent to which the conceptus is exposed to these large molecules during organogenesis.  Placental transfer of large therapeutics has been difficult to quantify, due to limited blood volumes that can be obtained from the embryo, as well as insufficient assay sensitivity.  Thus, it is possible that embryos are exposed to pharmacologically active concentrations after maternal drug exposure. We have adopted a radiolabeled approach to quantitate embryo-fetal exposure of a novel protein therapeutic platform (adnectins). Adnectins are fibronectin-based proteins containing domains engineered to bind to targets of therapeutic interests.

Notes: Adnectins molecular weight is typically less than monoclonal antibodies and while IgG is not transferred in great quantity past the placental barrier there have been studies in human indicating maternal-fetal transfer of monoclonal antibodies.  This is particularly important for two reasons:  the monoclonal interacts with a target important in development, or the fetal immune system could be augmented.  Their work will be published in Drug Metabolism and Disposition.  In general Dr. Siveraman engineered a radiolabel on adnectin and used different detection methods to quantify the fetal exposure to a single maternal dose.  Dr. Siverman was able to detect radiolabel in the fetus however it is not clear whether this is a significant amount.

Reproductive Toxicity Testing for Biological Products in Nonhuman Primates: Evolution and Current Perspectives: Gary J. Chellman, Ph.D., DABT (Charles River Preclinical Services)

Notes:  Dr. Chellman gave a review of the current trends being driven by regulatory agencies with regard to nonhuman primate DART studies of biopharmaceuticals.  He noted that an advantage using nonhuman primates were the close physiologic resemblance to humans and because a large animal could monitor pregnancy over time using ultrasound technology.  In general, Dr. Chellman spoke about new study designs which not only reduce the number of animals required but also significantly reduce costs.  For example, a DART study which cost upward of $750,000 now can be done for as little as $350,000.  Dr. Kary Thompson of Bristol Myers Squibb then gave a talk about use of these new enhanced designs to determine reproductive toxicity issues with ipilimumab (Yervoy).

Other research papers on Pharmaceutical Intelligence and Reproductive Biology, Bio Insrumentation, Endocrinology Genetics were published on this Scientific Web site as follows

Non-small Cell Lung Cancer drugs – where does the Future lie?

Reboot evidence-based medicine and reconsider the randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Every sperm is sacred: Sequencing DNA from individual cells vs “humans as a whole.”

Leptin and Puberty

Gene Trap Mutagenesis in Reproductive Research

Genes involved in Male Fertility and Sperm-egg Binding

Hope for Male Contraception: A small molecule that inhibits a protein important for chromatin organization can cause reversible sterility in male mice

Pregnancy with a Leptin-Receptor Mutation

The contribution of comparative genomic hybridization in reproductive medicine

Sperm collide and crawl the walls in chaotic journey to the ovum

Impact of evolutionary selection on functional regions: The imprint of evolutionary selection on ENCODE regulatory elements is manifested between species and within human populations

Biosimilars: CMC Issues and Regulatory Requirements

Biosimilars: Intellectual Property Creation and Protection by Pioneer and by Biosimilar Manufacturers

Assisted Reproductive Technology Cycles and Cumulative Birth Rates

Innovations in Bio instrumentation in Reproductive Clinical and Male Fertility Labs in the US

Increased risks of obesity and cancer, Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes: The role of Tumor-suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN)

Guidelines for the welfare and use of animals in cancer research

Every sperm is sacred: Sequencing DNA from individual cells vs “humans as a whole.”



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Reporter: Prabodh Kandala, PhD

As part of an ongoing and proactive effort to monitor food safety and address contaminants in food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today released preliminary data on arsenic levels in certain rice and rice products. The data are part of a larger FDA data collection and analysis about arsenic levels in rice and is based on the first set of approximately 200 samples of rice and rice products collected in the U.S. marketplace.

The FDA is in the process of collecting and analyzing a total of approximately 1,200 samples to examine the issue thoroughly. This data collection will be completed by the end of 2012. Once the data collection is completed, FDA will analyze these results and determine whether or not to issue additional recommendations.

Based on the currently available data and scientific literature the FDA does not have an adequate scientific basis to recommend changes by consumers regarding their consumption of rice and rice products.

“We understand that consumers are concerned about this matter. That’s why the FDA has prioritized analyzing arsenic levels in rice. The FDA is committed to ensuring that we understand the extent to which substances such as arsenic are present in our foods, what risks they may pose, whether these risks can be minimized, and to sharing what we know,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Our advice right now is that consumers should continue to eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of grains – not only for good nutrition but also to minimize any potential consequences from consuming any one particular food.”

There are two types of arsenic compounds found in water, food, air, and soil: organic and inorganic. Together, the two types are referred to as total arsenic.

The new data show how much inorganic arsenic the FDA found in its initial samples, which include various brands of rice (non-Basmati), Basmati rice, brown rice, rice cereals (puffed, non-puffed, hot cereal, and infant cereals), rice cakes, and rice milk.

The FDA’s analysis of these initial samples found average levels of inorganic arsenic for the various rice and rice products of 3.5 to 6.7 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per serving. Serving sizes varied depending on the rice product (for example, one serving of non-Basmati rice was equal to one cup cooked). A summary of the initial 200 sample findings can be found at www.fda.gov4.

While the FDA data is consistent with results that Consumer Reports published today, the initial data collection is a first step in the agency’s ongoing more thorough data analysis. There are many different types of rice and rice products that are grown in different areas and under different conditions. Further analysis is needed to assess how these variations may affect the results.

“It is critical to not get ahead of the science,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor. “The FDA’s ongoing data collection and other assessments will give us a solid scientific basis for determining what action levels and/or other steps are needed to reduce exposure to arsenic in rice and rice products.”


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