Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Translational Research’


Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019: June 4 Morning Sessions; Global Biotech Investment & Public-Private Partnerships

Reporter: Stephen J Williams PhD @StephenJWillia2

Each country have their own needs and most important drug cost structure. Must involve patients and providers.
BCI survey: countries output different, who improved who didnt
Is industry having collaboration with government? hardly ten percent by survey and worse vice versa
Transparancy and holistic view important for collaboration
Korea: lack of communication need input from government on pricing; wants global open innovation and enhance RD investments
Tawain: price, price but based on efficacy; pharma needs to talk with doctors hospital patients, find balance
Pitts: we need trust; staff that country offices with people who know that country. Price not defining value
Columbia:  need to attract investors

Please follow LIVE on TWITTER using the following @ handles and # hashtags:

@Handles

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

@BIOConvention

# Hashtags

#BIO2019 (official meeting hashtag)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


#JPM19 Conference: Lilly Announces Agreement To Acquire Loxo Oncology

Reporter: Gail S. Thornton

 

News announced during the 37th J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (#JPM19): Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Company announced its plans to acquire Loxo for $8 billion, as part of its oncology strategy, which focuses  “opportunities for first-in-class and best-in-class therapies.”   

 

Please read their press release below.


INDIANAPOLIS and STAMFORD, Conn.Jan. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ —

  • Acquisition will broaden the scope of Lilly’s oncology portfolio into precision medicines through the addition of a marketed therapy and a pipeline of highly selective potential medicines for patients with genomically defined cancers.
  • Loxo Oncology’s pipeline includes LOXO-292, an oral RET inhibitor being studied across multiple tumor types, which recently was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA and could launch in 2020.
  • Loxo Oncology’s Vitrakvi® (larotrectinib) is an oral TRK inhibitor developed and commercialized in collaboration with Bayer that was recently approved by the FDA.
  • Lilly will commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology for a purchase price of$235.00 per share in cash, or approximately $8.0 billion.
  • Lilly will conduct a conference call with the investment community and media today at 8:45 a.m. EST.

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) and Loxo Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ: LOXO) today announced a definitive agreement for Lilly to acquire Loxo Oncology for $235.00 per share in cash, or approximately $8.0 billion. Loxo Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of highly selective medicines for patients with genomically defined cancers.

The acquisition would be the largest and latest in a series of transactions Lilly has conducted to broaden its cancer treatment efforts with externally sourced opportunities for first-in-class and best-in-class therapies. Loxo Oncology is developing a pipeline of targeted medicines focused on cancers that are uniquely dependent on single gene abnormalities that can be detected by genomic testing.  For patients with cancers that harbor these genomic alterations, a targeted medicine could have the potential to treat the cancer with dramatic effect.

Loxo Oncology has a promising portfolio of approved and investigational medicines, including:

  • LOXO-292, a first-in-class oral RET inhibitor that has been granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA for three indications, with an initial potential launch in 2020.  LOXO-292 targets cancers with alterations to the rearranged during transfection (RET) kinase. RET fusions and mutations occur across multiple tumor types, including certain lung and thyroid cancers as well as a subset of other cancers.
  • LOXO-305, an oral BTK inhibitor currently in Phase 1/2. LOXO-305 targets cancers with alterations to the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK), and is designed to address acquired resistance to currently available BTK inhibitors. BTK is a validated molecular target found across numerous B-cell leukemias and lymphomas.
  • Vitrakvi, a first-in-class oral TRK inhibitor developed and commercialized in collaboration with Bayer that was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Vitrakvi is the first treatment that targets a specific genetic abnormality to receive a tumor-agnostic indication at the time of initial FDA approval.
  • LOXO-195, a follow-on TRK inhibitor also being studied by Loxo Oncology and Bayer for acquired resistance to TRK inhibition, with a potential launch in 2022.

“Using tailored medicines to target key tumor dependencies offers an increasingly robust approach to cancer treatment,” said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “Loxo Oncology’s portfolio of RET, BTK and TRK inhibitors targeted specifically to patients with mutations or fusions in these genes, in combination with advanced diagnostics that allow us to know exactly which patients may benefit, creates new opportunities to improve the lives of people with advanced cancer.”

“We are gratified that Lilly has recognized our contributions to the field of precision medicine and are excited to see our pipeline benefit from the resources and global reach of the Lilly organization,” said Josh Bilenker, M.D., chief executive officer of Loxo Oncology. “Tumor genomic profiling is becoming standard-of-care, and it will be critical to continue innovating against new targets, while anticipating mechanisms of resistance to available therapies, so that patients with advanced cancer have the chance to live longer and better lives.”

“Lilly Oncology is committed to developing innovative, breakthrough medicines that will make a meaningful difference for people with cancer and help them live longer, healthier lives,” said Anne White, president of Lilly Oncology. “The acquisition of Loxo Oncology represents an exciting and immediate opportunity to expand the breadth of our portfolio into precision medicines and target cancers that are caused by specific gene abnormalities. The ability to target tumor dependencies in these populations is a key part of our Lilly Oncology strategy. We look forward to continuing to advance the pioneering scientific innovation begun by Loxo Oncology.”

“We are excited to have reached this agreement with a team that shares our commitment to ensuring that emerging translational science reaches patients in need,” said Jacob Van Naarden, chief operating officer of Loxo Oncology. “We are confident that the work we have started, which includes an FDA approved drug, and a pipeline spanning from Phase 2 to discovery, will continue to thrive in Lilly’s hands.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology for a purchase price of $235.00 per share in cash, or approximately $8.0 billion. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals and the tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology’s common stock. Following the successful closing of the tender offer, Lilly will acquire any shares of Loxo Oncology that are not tendered into the tender offer through a second-step merger at the tender offer price.

The tender offer represents a premium of approximately 68 percent to Loxo Oncology’s closing stock price on January 4, 2019, the last trading day before the announcement of the transaction. Loxo Oncology’s board recommends that Loxo Oncology’s shareholders tender their shares in the tender offer.  Additionally, a Loxo Oncology shareholder, beneficially owning approximately 6.6 percent of Loxo Oncology’s outstanding common stock, has agreed to tender its shares in the tender offer.

This transaction will be reflected in Lilly’s financial results and financial guidance according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Lilly will provide an update to its 2019 financial guidance, including the expected impact from the acquisition of Loxo Oncology, as part of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 financial results announcement on February 13, 2019.

For Lilly, Deutsche Bank is acting as the exclusive financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is acting as legal advisor in this transaction. For Loxo Oncology, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Fenwick & West LLP is acting as legal advisor.

Conference Call and Webcast
Lilly will conduct a conference call with the investment community and media today at 8:45 a.m. EST to discuss the acquisition of Loxo Oncology.  Investors, media and the general public can access a live webcast of the conference call through the Webcasts & Presentations link that will be posted on Lilly’s website at www.lilly.com.  The webcast of the conference call will be available for replay through February 7, 2019.

About LOXO-292
LOXO-292 is an oral and selective investigational new drug in clinical development for the treatment of patients with cancers that harbor abnormalities in the rearranged during transfection (RET) kinase. RET fusions and mutations occur across multiple tumor types with varying frequency. LOXO-292 was designed to inhibit native RET signaling as well as anticipated acquired resistance mechanisms that could otherwise limit the activity of this therapeutic approach. LOXO-292 has been granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the U.S. FDA for three indications, and could launch as early as 2020.

About LOXO-305
LOXO-305 is an investigational, highly selective non-covalent Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor. BTK plays a key role in the B-cell antigen receptor signaling pathway, which is required for the development, activation and survival of normal white blood cells, known as B-cells, and malignant B-cells. BTK is a validated molecular target found across numerous B-cell leukemias and lymphomas including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, mantle cell lymphoma and marginal zone lymphoma.

About Vitrakvi® (larotrectinib)
Vitrakvi is an oral TRK inhibitor for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with solid tumors with a neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusion without a known acquired resistance mutation that are either metastatic or where surgical resection will likely result in severe morbidity, and have no satisfactory alternative treatments or have progressed following treatment. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

About LOXO-195
LOXO-195 is a selective TRK inhibitor that is being investigated to address potential mechanisms of acquired resistance that may emerge in patients receiving Vitrakvi® (larotrectinib) or other multikinase inhibitors with anti-TRK activity.

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at www.lilly.com and www.lilly.com/newsroom/social-channels. C-LLY

About Loxo Oncology
Loxo Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of highly selective medicines for patients with genomically defined cancers. Our pipeline focuses on cancers that are uniquely dependent on single gene abnormalities, such that a single drug has the potential to treat the cancer with dramatic effect. We believe that the most selective, purpose-built medicines have the highest probability of maximally inhibiting the intended target, with the intention of delivering best-in-class disease control and safety. Our management team seeks out experienced industry partners, world-class scientific advisors and innovative clinical-regulatory approaches to deliver new cancer therapies to patients as quickly and efficiently as possible. For more information, please visit the company’s website at http://www.loxooncology.com.

Lilly Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements about the benefits of Lilly’s acquisition of Loxo Oncology, Inc. (“Loxo Oncology”). It reflects Lillys current beliefs; however, as with any such undertaking, there are substantial risks and uncertainties in implementing the transaction and in drug developmentAmong other things, there can be no guarantee that the transaction will be completed in the anticipated timeframe, or at all, or that the conditions required to complete the transaction will be met, that Lilly will realize the expected benefits of the transaction, that the molecules will be approved on the anticipated timeline or at all, or that the potential products will be commercially successful. For further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, see Lillys most recent Form 10-K and Form 10-Q filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“the SEC”). Lilly will provide an update to certain elements of its 2019 financial guidance as part of its fourth quarter and full-year 2018 financial results announcement. Except as required by law, Lilly undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this release.

Loxo Oncology Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” relating to the acquisition of Loxo Oncology by Lilly. Such forward-looking statements include the ability of Loxo Oncology and Lilly to complete the transactions contemplated by the merger agreement, including the parties’ ability to satisfy the conditions to the consummation of the offer and the other conditions set forth in the merger agreement and the possibility of any termination of the merger agreement, as well as the role of targeted genomics and diagnostics in oncology treatment and acceleration of our work in developing medicines. Such forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations that involve risks, changes in circumstances, assumptions and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from current expectations because of risks associated with uncertainties as to the timing of the offer and the subsequent merger; uncertainties as to how many of Loxo Oncology’s stockholders will tender their shares in the offer; the risk that competing offers or acquisition proposals will be made; the possibility that various conditions to the consummation of the offer or the merger may not be satisfied or waived; the effects of disruption from the transactions contemplated by the merger agreement on Loxo Oncology’s business and the fact that the announcement and pendency of the transactions may make it more difficult to establish or maintain relationships with employees, suppliers and other business partners; the risk that stockholder litigation in connection with the offer or the merger may result in significant costs of defense, indemnification and liability; other uncertainties pertaining to the business of Loxo Oncology, including those set forth in the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of Loxo Oncology’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, which is on file with the SEC and available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Additional factors may be set forth in those sections of Loxo Oncology’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter endedSeptember 30, 2018, filed with the SEC in the fourth quarter of 2018.  In addition to the risks described above and in Loxo Oncology’s other filings with the SEC, other unknown or unpredictable factors could also affect Loxo Oncology’s results. No forward-looking statements can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from such statements. The information contained in this press release is provided only as of the date of this report, and Loxo Oncology undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements either contained in or incorporated by reference into this report on account of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.

Additional Information about the Acquisition and Where to Find It

The tender offer for the outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology referenced in this communication has not yet commenced. This announcement is for informational purposes only and is neither an offer to purchase nor a solicitation of an offer to sell shares of Loxo Oncology, nor is it a substitute for the tender offer materials that Lilly and its acquisition subsidiary will file with the SEC upon commencement of the tender offer. At the time the tender offer is commenced, Lilly and its acquisition subsidiary will file tender offer materials on Schedule TO, and Loxo Oncology will file a Solicitation/Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9 with the SEC with respect to the tender offer. THE TENDER OFFER MATERIALS (INCLUDING AN OFFER TO PURCHASE, A RELATED LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL AND CERTAIN OTHER TENDER OFFER DOCUMENTS) AND THE SOLICITATION/RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. HOLDERS OF SHARES OF LOXO ONCOLOGY ARE URGED TO READ THESE DOCUMENTS CAREFULLY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE (AS EACH MAY BE AMENDED OR SUPPLEMENTED FROM TIME TO TIME) BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT HOLDERS OF LOXO ONCOLOGY SECURITIES SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISION REGARDING TENDERING THEIR SECURITIES. The Offer to Purchase, the related Letter of Transmittal and certain other tender offer documents, as well as the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement, will be made available to all holders of shares of Loxo Oncology at no expense to them. The tender offer materials and the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement will be made available for free at the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov

In addition to the Offer to Purchase, the related Letter of Transmittal and certain other tender offer documents, as well as the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement, Lilly and Loxo Oncology file annual, quarterly and special reports and other information with the SEC.  You may read and copy any reports or other information filed by Lilly or Loxo Oncology at the SEC public reference room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the Commission at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the public reference room.  Lilly’s and Loxo Oncology’s filings with the SEC are also available to the public from commercial document-retrieval services and at the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov.

SOURCE

Eli Lilly and Company – https://www.lilly.com

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

2017

FDA has approved the world’s first CAR-T therapy, Novartis for Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) and Gilead’s $12 billion buy of Kite Pharma, no approved drug and Canakinumab for Lung Cancer (may be?)

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/08/30/fda-has-approved-the-worlds-first-car-t-therapy-novartis-for-kymriah-tisagenlecleucel-and-gileads-12-billion-buy-of-kite-pharma-no-approved-drug-and-canakinumab-for-lung-cancer-may-be/

2016

Pioneers of Cancer Cell Therapy:  Turbocharging the Immune System to Battle Cancer Cells — Success in Hematological Cancers vs. Solid Tumors

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/08/19/pioneers-of-cancer-cell-therapy-turbocharging-the-immune-system-to-battle-cancer-cells-success-in-hematological-cancers-vs-solid-tumors/

2015

Personalized Medicine – The California Initiative

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/10/12/personalized-medicine/

2013

Volume One: Genomics Orientations for Personalized Medicine

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/biomed-e-books/genomics-orientations-for-personalized-medicine/volume-one-genomics-orientations-for-personalized-medicine/

Read Full Post »


Brain Biobank and studies of disease structure correlates

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

Unveiling Psychiatric Diseases

Researchers create neuropsychiatric cellular biobank

Image: iStock/mstroz
Image: iStock/mstroz
Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have completed the first stage of an important collaboration aimed at understanding the intricate variables of neuropsychiatric disease—something that currently eludes clinicians and scientists.

The research team, led by Isaac Kohane at HMS and Roy Perlis at Mass General, has created a neuropsychiatric cellular biobank—one of the largest in the world.

It contains induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, derived from skin cells taken from 100 people with neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, and from 50 people without neuropsychiatric illness.

In addition, a detailed profile of each patient, obtained from hours of in-person assessment as well as from electronic medical records, is matched to each cell sample.

As a result, the scientific community can now for the first time access cells representing a broad swath of neuropsychiatric illness. This enables researchers to correlate molecular data with clinical information in areas such as variability of drug reactions between patients. The ultimate goal is to help treat, with greater precision, conditions that often elude effective management.

The cell collection and generation was led by investigators at Mass General, who in collaboration with Kohane and his team are working to characterize the cell lines at a molecular level. The cell repository, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is housed at Rutgers University.

“This biobank, in its current form, is only the beginning,” said Perlis, director of the MGH Psychiatry Center for Experimental Drugs and Diagnostics and HMS associate professor of psychiatry. “By next year we’ll have cells from a total of four hundred patients, with additional clinical detail and additional cell types that we will share with investigators.”

A current major limitation to understanding brain diseases is the inability to access brain biopsies on living patients. As a result, researchers typically study blood cells from patients or examine post-mortem tissue. This is in stark contrast with diseases such as cancer, for which there are many existing repositories of highly characterized cells from patients.

The new biobank offers a way to push beyond this limitation.

 

A Big Step Forward

While the biobank is already a boon to the scientific community, researchers at MGH and the HMS Department of Biomedical Informatics will be adding additional layers of molecular data to all of the cell samples. This information will include whole genome sequencing and transcriptomic and epigenetic profiling of brain cells made from the stem cell lines.

Collaborators in the HMS Department of Neurobiology, led by Michael Greenberg, department chair and Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor of Neurobiology,  will also work to examine characteristics of other types of neurons derived from these stem cells.

“This can potentially alter the entire way we look at and diagnose many neuropsychiatric conditions,” said Perlis.

One example may be to understand how the cellular responses to medication correspond to the patient’s documented responses, comparing in vitro with in vivo. “This would be a big step forward in bringing precision medicine to psychiatry,” Perlis said.

“It’s important to recall that in the field of genomics, we didn’t find interesting connections to disease until we had large enough samples to really investigate these complex conditions,” said Kohane, chair of the HMS Department of Biomedical Informatics.

“Our hypothesis is that here we will require far fewer patients,” he said. “By measuring the molecular functioning of the cells of each patient rather than only their genetic risk, and combining that all that’s known of these people in terms of treatment response and cognitive function, we will discover a great deal of valuable information about these conditions.”

Added Perlis, “In the early days of genetics, there were frequent false positives because we were studying so few people. We’re hoping to avoid the same problem in making cellular models, by ensuring that we have a sufficient number of cell lines to be confident in reporting differences between patient groups.”

The generation of stem cell lines and characterization of patients and brain cell lines is funded jointly by the the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Human Genome Research Institute and a grant from the Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science program.

 

On C.T.E. and Athletes, Science Remains in Its Infancy

Se Hoon ChoiYoung Hye KimMatthias Hebisch, et al.

http://www.nature.com/articles/nature13800.epdf

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, characterized by two pathological hallmarks: amyloid-β plaques and neurofibrillary tangles1. The amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease posits that the excessive accumulation of amyloid-β peptide leads to neurofibrillary tangles composed of aggregated hyperphosphorylated tau2, 3. However, to date, no single disease model has serially linked these two pathological events using human neuronal cells. Mouse models with familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) mutations exhibit amyloid-β-induced synaptic and memory deficits but they do not fully recapitulate other key pathological events of Alzheimer’s disease, including distinct neurofibrillary tangle pathology4, 5. Human neurons derived from Alzheimer’s disease patients have shown elevated levels of toxic amyloid-β species and phosphorylated tau but did not demonstrate amyloid-β plaques or neurofibrillary tangles6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Here we report that FAD mutations in β-amyloid precursor protein and presenilin 1 are able to induce robust extracellular deposition of amyloid-β, including amyloid-β plaques, in a human neural stem-cell-derived three-dimensional (3D) culture system. More importantly, the 3D-differentiated neuronal cells expressing FAD mutations exhibited high levels of detergent-resistant, silver-positive aggregates of phosphorylated tau in the soma and neurites, as well as filamentous tau, as detected by immunoelectron microscopy. Inhibition of amyloid-β generation with β- or γ-secretase inhibitors not only decreased amyloid-β pathology, but also attenuated tauopathy. We also found that glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) regulated amyloid-β-mediated tau phosphorylation. We have successfully recapitulated amyloid-β and tau pathology in a single 3D human neural cell culture system. Our unique strategy for recapitulating Alzheimer’s disease pathology in a 3D neural cell culture model should also serve to facilitate the development of more precise human neural cell models of other neurodegenerative disorders.

 

 

Figure 2: Robust increases of extracellular amyloid-β deposits in 3D-differentiated hNPCs with FAD mutations.close

Robust increases of extracellular amyloid-[bgr] deposits in 3D-differentiated hNPCs with FAD mutations.

a, Thin-layer 3D culture protocol. HC, histochemistry; IF, immunofluorescence; IHC, immunohistochemistry. b, Amyloid-β deposits in 6-week differentiated control and FAD ReN cells in 3D Matrigel (green, GFP; blue, 3D6; scale bar, …

 

Stem Cell-Based Spinal Cord Repair Enables Robust Corticospinal Regeneration

 

Novel use of EPR spectroscopy to study in vivo protein structure

http://www.news-medical.net/whitepaper/20160315/Novel-use-of-EPR-spectroscopy-to-study-in-vivo-protein-structure.aspx

α-synuclein

α-synuclein is a protein found abundantly throughout the brain. It is present mainly at the neuron ends where it is thought to play a role in ensuring the supply of synaptic vesicles in presynaptic terminals, which are required for the release of neurotransmitters to relay signals between neurons. It is critical for normal brain function.

However, α-synuclein is also the primary protein component of the cerebral amyloid deposits characteristic of Parkinson’s disease and its precursor is found in the amyloid plaques of Alzheimer’s disease. Although α-synuclein is present in all areas of the brain, these disease-state amyloid plaques only arise in distinct areas.

Alpha-synuclein protein. May play role in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.  © molekuul.be / Shutterstock.com

Imaging of isolated samples of α-synuclein in vitro indicate that it does not have the precise 3D folded structure usually associated with proteins. It is therefore classed as an intrinsically disordered protein. However, it was not known whether the protein also lacked a precise structure in vivo.

There have been reports that it can form helical tetramers. Since the 3D structure of a biological protein is usually precisely matched to the specific function it performs, knowing the structure of α-synuclein within a living cell will help elucidate its role and may also improve understanding of the disease states with which it is associated.

If α-synuclein remains disordered in vivo, it may be possible for the protein to achieve different structures, and have different properties, depending on its surroundings.

Techniques for determining protein structure

It has long been known that elucidating the structure of a protein at an atomic level is fundamental for understanding its normal function and behavior. Furthermore, such knowledge can also facilitate the development of targeted drug treatments. Unfortunately, observing the atomic structure of a protein in vivo is not straightforward.

X-ray diffraction is the technique usually adopted for visualizing structures at atomic resolution, but this requires crystals of the molecule to be produced and this cannot be done without separating the molecules of interest from their natural environment. Such processes can modify the protein from its usual state and, particularly with complex structures, such effects are difficult to predict.

The development of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy improved the situation by making it possible for molecules to be analyzed under in vivo conditions, i.e. same pH, temperature and ionic concentration.

More recently, increases in the sensitivity of NMR and the use of isotope labelling have enabled determinations of the atomic level structure and dynamics of proteins to be determined within living cells1. NMR has been used to determine the structure of a bacterial protein within living cells2 but it is difficult to achieve sufficient quantities of the required protein within mammalian cells and to keep the cells alive for NMR imaging to be conducted.

Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy for determining protein structure

Recently, researchers have managed to overcome these obstacles by using in-cell NMR and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. EPR spectroscopy is a technique that is similar to NMR spectroscopy in that it is based on the measurement and interpretation of the energy differences between excited and relaxed molecular states.

In EPR spectroscopy it is electrons that are excited, whereas in NMR signals are created through the spinning of atomic nuclei. EPR was developed to measure radicals and metal complexes, but has also been utilized to study the dynamic organization of lipids in biological membranes3.

EPR has now been used for the first time in protein structure investigations and has provided atomic-resolution information on the structure of α-synuclein in living mammalians4,5.

Bacterial forms of the α-synuclein protein labelled with 15N isotopes were introduced into five types of mammalian cell using electroporation. Concentrations of α-synuclein close to those found in vivo were achieved and the 15N isotopes allowed the protein to be clearly defined from other cellular components by NMR. The conformation of the protein was then determined using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR).

The results showed that within living mammalian cells α-synuclein remains as a disordered and highly dynamic monomer. Different intracellular environments did not induce major conformational changes.

Summary

The novel use of EPR spectroscopy has resolved the mystery surrounding the in vivo conformation of α-synuclein. It showed that α-synuclein maintains its disordered monomeric form under physiological cell conditions. It has been demonstrated for the first time that even in crowded intracellular environments α-synuclein does not form oligomers, showing that intrinsic structural disorder can be sustained within mammalian cells.

References

  1. Freedberg DI and Selenko P. Live cell NMR Annu. Rev. Biophys. 2014;43:171–192.
  2. Sakakibara D, et al. Protein structure determination in living cells by in-cell NMR spectroscopy. Nature 2009;458:102–105.
  3. Yashroy RC. Magnetic resonance studies of dynamic organisation of lipids in chloroplast membranes. Journal of Biosciences 1990;15(4):281.
  4. Alderson TA and Bax AD. Parkinson’s Disease. Disorder in the court. Nature 2016; doi:10.1038/nature16871.
  5. Theillet FX, et al. Structural disorder of monomeric α-synuclein persists in mammalian cells. Nature 2016; doi:10.1038/nature16531.

 

Read Full Post »


Larry Bernstein, MD, FCAP

http://pharmaceuticalinnovation.com/6-19-2014/larryhbern/Tang Prize for 2014: Immunity and Cancer

 

2014 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Sciences awards to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo For the discoveries of CTLA-4 and PD-1 as immune inhibitory molecules that led to their applications in cancer immunotherapy 2014/06/19.

Founded by Dr. Samuel Yin in December 2012, the Tang Prize recognizes scholars conducting revolutionary research in the four major fields of Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and the Rule of Law. The Prize is awarded with each category a cash reward of over US$1 million (NT$50 million). The Tang Prize Foundation hopes that recipients of the Prize will continue to innovate while cultivating and nurturing new talent in their respective fields.
Academia Sinica was commissioned by the Tang-Prize Foundation to administer the selection of Tang-Prize Laureates for the category of Biopharmaceutical Science, recognizing original biopharmaceutical or biomedical research that has led to significant advances towards preventing, diagnosing and/or treating major human diseases to improve human health.
James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo were chosen among nearly a hundred nominees for their discoveries of CTLA-4 and PD-1 as immune inhibitory molecules, revealing ways to harness our incredibly powerful immune system to fight cancer and marking the beginning of the immunotherapy revolution.
A critical process in the immune response involves presentation of antigens to T cells by antigen-presenting cells, two key cell types in our immune system. This process is highly regulated by molecules that stimulate the response to ensure our mounting a sufficient immune response, especially in the event of invasion by pathogens, but also by molecules that inhibit the process to ensure the response is not excessive. Indeed, there is now a family of proteins on T cells involved in this regulatory process, which is designated the “CD28 receptor family” co-receptors, as CD28 is the first protein identified to have such function. They are divided into co-receptors transmitting stimulatory signals and co-receptors transmitting inhibitory signals. Each of these has its counterpart (ligand) on antigen-presenting cells belonging to the “B7 family”. Two most prominent inhibitory receptors on T cells are called CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4, as it is first identified on cytotoxic T lymphocytes) and PD-1 (program death-1, as it is first identified to be associated with a type of cell death process called programmed cell death). Their ligands are designated as B7-1/B7-2 and PD-L1/PD-L2, respectively. These are also referred to as immune checkpoint receptors and ligands.
Our immune system is not perfect and at times, the regulatory mechanisms might be faulty, which in fact may be the basis of a variety of diseases. For example, autoimmune diseases may be related to the suppressive mechanism becoming weak and the individuals can mount excessive immune responses even to their own cells and tissues. Also, our immune system is capable of recognizing cancer cells and attacking them, in a process called immune surveillance. However, cancer cells are also equipped with machineries to evade the host anti-tumor activity, which is described as immune escape. For example, cancer cells can also express B7 family ligands on their surfaces and, by engaging the co-receptors transmitting inhibitory signals on T cells, they can inhibit the host anti-tumor T cell activity. By recognizing how cancer cells escape the immune surveillance, scientists have developed novel approaches to interfere with the ability of cancer cells to suppress the immune response, thus enhancing the ability of the host immune system to inhibit cancer cell growth.
Dr. James Allison, Chairman, Department of Immunology and Executive Director, Immunotherapy Platform at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, is one of two scientist to identify CTLA-4 as an inhibitory receptor on T-cells in 1995 and was the first to recognize it as a potential target for cancer therapy.  His team then developed an antibody that blocks CTLA-4 activity and showed in 1996 that this antibody is able to help reject several different types of tumors in mouse models. This subsequently led to development of a monoclonal antibody drug, which has undergone clinical trials against stage 4 melanoma and been approved for treatment of melanoma by the U.S. FDA in 2011.
Dr. Tasuku Honjo, Professor, Department of Immunology and Genomic Medicine, Kyoto University, discovered PD-1 in 1992. His group subsequently established that PD-1 is an inhibitor regulator of the T cell response. Additional studies from his and other laboratories established that this protein plays a critical role in the regulation of tumor immunity and stimulated many groups to generate its blocker for the treatment of cancer. Antibodies against PD-1 have been approved by the U.S. FDA as an investigational new drug and developed for the treatment of cancer. One such antibody produced complete or partial responses in non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, and renal-cell cancer in clinical trials, and is predicted to be launched in 2015 for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer; this has been stated by some as having the potential to “change the landscape” of the treatment for lung cancer. Another antibody, shown to achieve a substantial response rate also in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, is currently in clinical trial for many types of cancers. In addition, combination therapy (anti-CTLA-4 plus anti-PD-1) has been shown to dramatically improve the long-term survival rates in cancer patients.
This is an exciting time in our fight against cancer. The discoveries by Dr. Allison and Dr. Honjo have spurred additional development of therapeutic approaches along the line of immunotherapy and brought new hope that many types of cancers can be cured.
In addition, dysregulation in immune checkpoint pathways may be intimately involved in other illnesses, such as allergy, infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases. Thus, the approach of targeting immune stimulatory and inhibitory molecules also promises to lead to the development of new therapies for these diseases.
Dr. Allison’s and Dr. Honjo’s discoveries have opened a new therapeutic era in medicine.

 

Supplementary figure:

unleashes immune system to attack cancer cells

unleashes immune system to attack cancer cells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Samuel Yin, founder of the Tang Prize, is currently chairman of the Ruentex Group and chief development officer, chief technology officer, and chief engineer of Ruentex Construction & Development. He is also an adjunct professor in the department of civil engineering at National Taiwan University and a professor at Peking University, where he advises PhD students.

Dr. Yin read history at Chinese Culture University. He received a master’s degree in business administration at National Taiwan University and a doctorate in business administration at National Chengchi University.

In addition to his academic background in the humanities and business administration, Dr. Yin’s great interest in and devotion to interdisciplinary studies have made him an award-winning civil engineer and educator.

In 2004, Dr. Yin was named fellow of the Chinese Institute of Civil and Hydraulic Engineering. In 2008, he was invited to join Russia’s International Academy of Engineering and also awarded the Engineering Prowess Medal, the academy’s highest honour. In 2010, Dr. Yin received the Henry L. Michel Award for Industry Advancement of Research by the prestigious American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for his contribution in the area of construction technology research. He was the first person without an academic background in engineering to receive the award.

Driven by a firm belief that he should give back to the society that has enabled him to achieve so much, Dr. Yin has been investing in philanthropy and education for a long time, in the hope of creating a positive force in society and making a better world.

Dr. Yin’s biggest dream was to set up an international award. He has long had great respect and admiration for the Nobel Prize, so he established an award modeled on the Nobel. The Tang Prize rewards excellent research in the areas of Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology (excluding literary works), and Rule of Law. Dr. Yin hopes to encourage experts to dedicate themselves to innovative research in these fields and to spur human development with first-class research.

Dr. Yin’s relentless enthusiasm for philanthropy was instilled through his upbringing, particularly the example set by his late father Yin Shu-Tien. Dr. Yin established a foundation in memory of his grandfather, Yin Xun-Ruo, to provide scholarships to students of families originating in Shandong Province to study Chinese literature and history. When Yin senior passed away, Dr. Yin also set up the Kwang-Hua Education Foundation to help with China’s higher education programs.

In the past few years, Dr. Yin has set up a number of foundations to serve people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and to foster more talented people for the nation (the Yin Xun-Ruo Educational Foundation, the Yin Shu-Tien Medical Foundation, the Kwang-Hua Education Foundation, and the Guanghua School of Management of Peking University). In 2012, Dr. Yin set up a global award, the Tang Prize, to spread his philanthropy across the world.

Read Full Post »


Risk of Bias in Translational Science

Author: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

and

Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

Assessment of risk of bias in translational science

Andre Barkhordarian1, Peter Pellionisz2, Mona Dousti1, Vivian Lam1,Lauren Gleason1, Mahsa Dousti1, Josemar Moura3 and Francesco Chiappelli14*  

1Oral Biology & Medicine, School of Dentistry, UCLA, Evidence-Based Decisions Practice-Based Research Network, Los Angeles, USA

2Pre-medical program, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

3School of Medicine, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

4Evidence-Based Decisions Practice-Based Research Network, UCLA School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA

Journal of Translational Medicine 2013, 11:184   http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1479-5876-11-184
http://www.translational-medicine.com/content/11/1/184

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

Abstract

Risk of bias in translational medicine may take one of three forms:

  1. a systematic error of methodology as it pertains to measurement or sampling (e.g., selection bias),
  2. a systematic defect of design that leads to estimates of experimental and control groups, and of effect sizes that substantially deviate from true values (e.g., information bias), and
  3. a systematic distortion of the analytical process, which results in a misrepresentation of the data with consequential errors of inference (e.g., inferential bias).

Risk of bias can seriously adulterate the internal and the external validity of a clinical study, and, unless it is identified and systematically evaluated, can seriously hamper the process of comparative effectiveness and efficacy research and analysis for practice. The Cochrane Group and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have independently developed instruments for assessing the meta-construct of risk of bias. The present article begins to discuss this dialectic.

Background

As recently discussed in this journal [1], translational medicine is a rapidly evolving field. In its most recent conceptualization, it consists of two primary domains:

  • translational research proper and
  • translational effectiveness.

This distinction arises from a cogent articulation of the fundamental construct of translational medicine in particular, and of translational health care in general.

The Institute of Medicine’s Clinical Research Roundtable conceptualized the field as being composed by two fundamental “blocks”:

  • one translational “block” (T1) was defined as “…the transfer of new understandings of disease mechanisms gained in the laboratory into the development of new methods for diagnosis, therapy, and prevention and their first testing in humans…”, and
  • the second translational “block” (T2) was described as “…the translation of results from clinical studies into everyday clinical practice and health decision making…” [2].

These are clearly two distinct facets of one meta-construct, as outlined in Figure 1. As signaled by others, “…Referring to T1 and T2 by the same name—translational research—has become a source of some confusion. The 2 spheres are alike in name only. Their goals, settings, study designs, and investigators differ…” [3].

1479-5876-11-184-1  Fig 1. TM construct

Figure 1. Schematic representation of the meta-construct of translational health carein general, and translational medicine in particular, which consists of two fundamental constructs: the T1 “block” (as per Institute of Medicine’s Clinical Research Roundtable nomenclature), which represents the transfer of new understandings of disease mechanisms gained in the laboratory into the development of new methods for diagnosis, therapy, and prevention as well as their first testing in humans, and the T2 “block”, which pertains to translation of results from clinical studies into everyday clinical practice and health decision making [[3]]. The two “blocks” are inextricably intertwined because they jointly strive toward patient-centered research outcomes (PCOR) through the process of comparative effectiveness and efficacy research/review and analysis for clinical practice (CEERAP). The domain of each construct is distinct, since the “block” T1 is set in the context of a laboratory infrastructure within a nurturing academic institution, whereas the setting of “block” T2 is typically community-based (e.g., patient-centered medical/dental home/neighborhoods [4]; “communities of practice” [5]).

For the last five years at least, the Federal responsibilities for “block” T1 and T2 have been clearly delineated. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) predominantly concerns itself with translational research proper – the bench-to-bedside enterprise (T1); the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ) focuses on the result-translation enterprise (T2). Specifically: “…the ultimate goal [of AHRQ] is research translation—that is, making sure that findings from AHRQ research are widely disseminated and ready to be used in everyday health care decision-making…” [6]. The terminology of translational effectiveness has emerged as a means of distinguishing the T2 block from T1.

Therefore, the bench-to-bedside enterprise pertains to translational research, and the result-translation enterprise describes translational effectiveness. The meta-construct of translational health care (viz., translational medicine) thus consists of these two fundamental constructs:

  • translational research and
  • translational effectiveness,

which have distinct purposes, protocols and products, while both converging on the same goal of new and improved means of

  • individualized patient-centered diagnostic and prognostic care.

It is important to note that the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, 23 March 2010) has created an environment that facilitates the pursuit of translational health care because it emphasizes patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). That is to say, it fosters the transaction between translational research (i.e., “block” T1)(TR) and translational effectiveness (i.e., “block” T2)(TE), and favors the establishment of communities of practice-research interaction. The latter, now recognized as practice-based research networks, incorporate three or more clinical practices in the community into

  • a community of practices network coordinated by an academic center of research.

Practice-based research networks may be a third “block” (T3)(PBTN) in translational health care and they could be conceptualized as a stepping-stone, a go-between bench-to-bedside translational research and result-translation translational effectiveness [7]. Alternatively, practice-based research networks represent the practical entities where the transaction between

  • translational research and translational effectiveness can most optimally be undertaken.

It is within the context of the practice-based research network that the process of bench-to-bedside can best seamlessly proceed, and it is within the framework of the practice-based research network that

  • the best evidence of results can be most efficiently translated into practice and
  • be utilized in evidence-based clinical decision-making, viz. translational effectiveness.

Translational effectiveness

As noted, translational effectiveness represents the translation of the best available evidence in the clinical practice to ensure its utilization in clinical decisions. Translational effectiveness fosters evidence-based revisions of clinical practice guidelines. It also encourages

  • effectiveness-focused,
  • patient-centered and
  • evidence-based clinical decision-making.

Translational effectiveness rests not only on the expertise of the clinical staff and the empowerment of patients, caregivers and stakeholders, but also, and

  • most importantly on the best available evidence [8].

The pursuit of the best available evidence is the foundation of

  • translational effectiveness and more generally of
  • translational medicine in evidence-based health care.

The best available evidence is obtained through a systematic process driven by

  • a research question/hypothesis that is articulated about clearly stated criteria that pertain to the
  • patient (P), the interventions (I) under consideration (C), for the sought clinical outcome (O), within a given timeline (T) and clinical setting (S).

PICOTS is tested on the appropriate bibliometric sample, with tools of measurements designed to establish the level (e.g., CONSORT) and the quality of the evidence. Statistical and meta-analytical inferences, often enhanced by analyses of clinical relevance [9], converge into the formulation of the consensus of the best available evidence. Its dissemination to all stakeholders is key to increase their health literacy in order to ensure their full participation

  • in the utilization of the best available evidence in clinical decisions, viz., translational effectiveness.

To be clear, translational effectiveness – and, in the perspective discussed above, translational health care – is anchored on obtaining the best available evidence,

  • which emerges from highest quality research.
  • which is obtained when errors are minimized.

In an early conceptualization [10], errors in research were presented as

  • those situations that threaten the internal and the external validity of a research study –

that is, conditions that impede either the study’s reproducibility, or its generalization. In point of fact, threats to internal and external validity [10] represent specific aspects of systematic errors (i.e., bias) in the

  • research design,
  • methodology and
  • data analysis.

Thence emerged a branch of science that seeks to

  • understand,
  • control and
  • reduce risk of bias in research.

Risk of bias and the best available evidence

It follows that the best available evidence comes from research with the fewest threats to internal and to external validity – that is to say, the fewest systematic errors: the lowest risk of bias. Quality of research, as defined in the field of research synthesis [11], has become synonymous with

  • low bias and contained risk of bias [1215].

Several years ago, the Cochrane group embarked on a new strategy for assessing the quality of research studies by examining potential sources of bias. Certain original areas of potential bias in research were identified, which pertain to

(a) the sampling and the sample allocation process, to measurement, and to other related sources of errors (reliability of testing),

(b) design issues, including blinding, selection and drop-out, and design-specific caveats, and

(c) analysis-related biases.

A Risk of Bias tool was created (Cochrane Risk of Bias), which covered six specific domains:

1. selection bias,

2. performance bias,

3. detection bias,

4. attrition bias,

5. reporting bias, and

6. other research protocol-related biases.

Assessments were made within each domain by one or more items specific for certain aspects of the domain. Each items was scored in two distinct steps:

1. the support for judgment was intended to provide a succinct free-text description of the domain being queried;

2. each item was scored high, low, or unclear risk of material bias (defined here as “…bias of sufficient magnitude to have a notable effect on the results or conclusions…” [16]).

It was advocated that assessments across items in the tool should be critically summarized for each outcome within each report. These critical summaries were to inform the investigator so that the primary meta-analysis could be performed either

  • only on studies at low risk of bias, or for
  • the studies stratified according to risk of bias [16].

This is a form of acceptable sampling analysis designed to yield increased homogeneity of meta-analytical outcomes [17]. Alternatively, the homogeneity of the meta-analysis can be further enhanced by means of the more direct quality-effects meta-analysis inferential model [18].

Clearly, one among the major drawbacks of the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool is

  • the subjective nature of its assessment protocol.

In an effort to correct for this inherent weakness of the instrument, the Cochrane group produced

  • detailed criteria for making judgments about the risk of bias from each individual item[16], and
  • that judgments be made independently by at least two people, with any discrepancies resolved by discussion [16].

This approach to increase the reliability of measurement in research synthesis protocols

  • is akin to that described by us [19,20] and by AHRQ [21].

In an effort to aid clinicians and patients in making effective health care related decisions, AHRQ developed an alternative Risk of Bias instrument for enabling systematical evaluation of evidence reporting [22]. The AHRQ Risk of Bias instrument was created to monitor four primary domains:

1. risk of bias: design, methodology, analysis scoring – low, medium, high

2. consistency: extent of similarity in effect sizes across studies within a bibliome scoring – consistent, inconsistent, unknown

3. directness: unidirectional link between the interventions of interest and the sought outcome, as opposed to multiple links in a casual chain scoring – direct, indirect

4. precision: extent of certainty for estimate of effect with respect to the outcome scoring – precise, imprecise In addition, four secondary domains were identified:

a. Dose response association: pattern of a larger effect with greater exposure (Present/Not Present/Not Applicable or Not Tested)

a. Confounders: consideration of confounding variables (Present/Absent)

a. Strength of association: likelihood that the observed effect is large enough that it cannot have occurred solely as a result of bias from potential confounding factors (Strong/Weak)

a. Publication bias

The AHRQ Risk of Bias instrument is also designed to yield an overall grade of the estimated risk of bias in quality reporting:

•Strength of Evidence Grades (scored as high – moderate – low – insufficient)

This global assessment, in addition to incorporating the assessments above, also rates:

–major benefit

–major harm

–jointly benefits and harms

–outcomes most relevant to patients, clinicians, and stakeholders

The AHRQ Risk of Bias instrument suffers from the same two major limitations as the Cochrane tool:

1. lack of formal psychometric validation as most other tools in the field [21], and

2. providing a subjective and not quantifiable assessment.

To begin the process of engaging in a systematic dialectic of the two instruments in terms of their respective construct and content validity, it is necessary

  • to validate each for reliability and validity either by means of the classic psychometric theory or generalizability (G) theory, which allows
  • the simultaneous estimation of multiple sources of measurement error variance (i.e., facets)
  • while generalizing the main findings across the different study facets.

G theory is particularly useful in clinical care analysis of this type, because it permits the assessment of the reliability of clinical assessment protocols.

  • the reliability and minimal detectable changes across varied combinations of these facets are then simply calculated [23], but
  • it is recommended that G theory determination follow classic theory psychometric assessment.

Therefore, we have commenced a process of revision the AHRQ Risk of Bias instrument by rendering questions in primary domains quantifiable (scaled 1–4),

  • which established the intra-rater reliability (r = 0.94, p < 0.05), and
  • the criterion validity (r = 0.96, p < 0.05) for this instrument (Figure 2).

????????????????????????????????????????

 

Figure 2. Proportion of shared variance in criterion validity (A) and inter-rater reliability (B) in the AHRQ Risk of Bias instrument revised as described.
Two raters were trained and standardized 
[20] with the revised AHRQ Risk of Bias and with the R-Wong instrument, which has been previously validated[24]. Each rater independently produced ratings on a sample of research reports with both instruments on two separate occasions, 1–2 months apart. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to compute the respective associations. The figure shows Venn diagrams to illustrate the intersection between each two sets data used in the correlations. The overlap between the sets in each panel represents the proportion of shared variance for that correlation. The percent of unexplained variance is given in the insert of each panel.

A similar revision of the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool may also yield promising validation data. G theory validation of both tools will follow. Together, these results will enable a critical and systematic dialectical comparison of the Cochrane and the AHRQ Risk of Bias measures.

Discussion

The critical evaluation of the best available evidence is critical to patient-centered care, because biased research findings are fundamentally invalid and potentially harmful to the patient. Depending upon the tool of measurement, the validity of an instrument in a study is obtained by means of criterion validity through correlation coefficients. Criterion validity refers to the extent to which one measures or predicts the value of another measure or quality based on a previously well-established criterion. There are other domains of validity such as: construct validity and content validity that are rather more descriptive than quantitative. Reliability however is used to describe the consistency of a measure, the extent to which a measurement is repeatable. It is commonly assessed quantitatively by correlation coefficients. Inter-rater reliability is rendered as a Pearson correlation coefficient between two independent readers, and establishes equivalence of ratings produced by independent observers or readers. Intra-rater reliability is determined by repeated measurement performed by the same subject (rater/reader) at two different points in time to assess the correlation or strength of association of the two sets of scores.

To establish the reliability of research quality assessment tools it is necessary, as we previously noted [20]:

•a) to train multiple readers in sharing a common view for the cognitive interpretation of each item. Readers must possess declarative knowledge a factual form of information known to be static in nature a certain depth of knowledge and understanding of the facts about which they are reviewing the literature. They must also have procedural knowledge known as imperative knowledge that can be directly applied to a task in this case a clear understanding of the fundamental concepts of research methodology, design, analysis and inference.

•b) to train the readers to read and evaluate the quality of a set of papers independently and blindly. They must also be trained to self-monitor and self-assess their skills for the purpose of insuring quality control.

•c) to refine the process until the inter-rater correlation coefficient and Cohen coefficient of agreement are about 0.9 (over 81% shared variance). This will establishes that the degree of attained agreement among well-trained readers is beyond chance.

•d) to obtain independent and blind reading assessments from readers on reports under study.

•e) to compute means and standard deviation of scores for each question across the reports, repeat process if the coefficient of variations are greater than 5% (i.e., less than 5% error among the readers across each questions).

The quantification provided by instruments validated in such a manner to assess the quality and the relative lack of bias in the research evidence allows for the analysis of the scores by means of the acceptable sampling protocol. Acceptance sampling is a statistical procedure that uses statistical sampling to determine whether a given lot, in this case evidence gathered from an identified set of published reports, should be accepted or rejected [12,25]. Acceptable sampling of the best available evidence can be obtained by:

•convention: accept the top 10 percentile of papers based on the score of the quality of the evidence (e.g., low Risk of Bias);

•confidence interval (CI95): accept the papers whose scores fall at of beyond the upper confidence limit at 95%, obtained with mean and variance of the scores of the entire bibliome;

•statistical analysis: accept the papers that sustain sequential repeated Friedman analysis.

To be clear, the Friedman test is a non-parametric equivalent of the analysis of variance for factorial designs. The process requires the 4-E process outlined below:

•establishing a significant Friedman outcome, which indicates significant differences in scores among the individual reports being tested for quality;

•examining marginal means and standard deviations to identify inconsistencies, and to identify the uniformly strong reports across all the domains tested by the quality instrument

•excluding those reports that show quality weakness or bias

•executing the Friedman analysis again, and repeating the 4-E process as many times as necessary, in a statistical process akin to hierarchical regression, to eliminate the evidence reports that exhibit egregious weakness, based on the analysis of the marginal values, and to retain only the group of report that harbor homogeneously strong evidence.

Taken together, and considering the domain and the structure of both tools, expectations are that these analyses will confirm that these instruments are two related entities, each measuring distinct aspects of bias. We anticipate that future research will establish that both tools assess complementary sub-constructs of one and the same archetype meta-construct of research quality.

References

  1. Jiang F, Zhang J, Wang X, Shen X: Important steps to improve translation from medical research to health policy.

    J Trans Med 2013, 11:33. BioMed Central Full Text OpenURL

  2. Sung NS, Crowley WF Jr, Genel M, Salber P, Sandy L, Sherwood LM, Johnson SB, Catanese V, Tilson H, Getz K, Larson EL, Scheinberg D, Reece EA, Slavkin H, Dobs A, Grebb J, Martinez RA, Korn A, Rimoin D:Central challenges facing the national clinical research enterprise.

    JAMA 2003, 289:1278-1287. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  3. Woolf SH: The meaning of translational research and why it matters.

    JAMA 2008, 299(2):211-213. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  4. Chiappelli F: From translational research to translational effectiveness: the “patient-centered dental home” model.

    Dental Hypotheses 2011, 2:105-112. Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  5. Maida C: Building communities of practice in comparative effectiveness research. In Comparative effectiveness and efficacy research and analysis for practice (CEERAP): applications for treatment options in health care. Edited by Chiappelli F, Brant X, Cajulis C. Heidelberg: Springer–Verlag; 2012.

    Chapter 1

    OpenURL

  6. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Budget estimates for appropriations committees, fiscal year (FY) 2008: performance budget submission for congressional justification.

    Performance budget overview 2008.

    http://www.ahrq.gov/about/cj2008/cjweb08a.htm#Statement webcite. Accessed 11 May 2013

    OpenURL

  7. Westfall JM, Mold J, Fagnan L: Practice-based research—“blue highways” on the NIH roadmap.

    JAMA 2007, 297:403-406. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  8. Chiappelli F, Brant X, Cajulis C: Comparative effectiveness and efficacy research and analysis for practice (CEERAP) applications for treatment options in health care. Heidelberg: Springer–Verlag; 2012. OpenURL

  9. Dousti M, Ramchandani MH, Chiappelli F: Evidence-based clinical significance in health care: toward an inferential analysis of clinical relevance.

    Dental Hypotheses 2011, 2:165-177. Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  10. Campbell D, Stanley J: Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Chicago, IL: Rand-McNally; 1963. OpenURL

  11. Littell JH, Corcoran J, Pillai V: Research synthesis reports and meta-analysis. New York, NY: Oxford Univeristy Press; 2008. OpenURL

  12. Chiappelli F: The science of research synthesis: a manual of evidence-based research for the health sciences. Hauppauge NY: NovaScience Publisher, Inc; 2008. OpenURL

  13. Higgins JPT, Green S: Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions version 5.0.1. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons. The Cochrane collaboration; 2008. OpenURL

  14. CRD: Systematic Reviews: CRD’s guidance for undertaking reviews in health care. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). University of York, UK: Center for reviews and dissemination; 2009. PubMed Abstract| Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  15. McDonald KM, Chang C, Schultz E: Closing the quality Gap: revisiting the state of the science. Summary report. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. AHRQ, Rockville, MD: Summary report. AHRQ publication No. 12(13)-E017; 2013. OpenURL


Read Full Post »


The Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education, or Spectrum – NIH Awards Stanford $45.3M

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

NIH Awards Stanford $45.3M for Translational Research

October 07, 2013

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education, or Spectrum, is being awarded $45.3 million over four and a half years by the National Institutes of Health to push forward translational research in medicine.

Spectrum is one of 15 institutions to receive such an award being funded as part of the Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards, which were launched in 2006 by NIH “to help meet the nation’s urgent need to provide better healthcare to more people for less money,” the Stanford School of Medicine said.

Stanford won a first round of CTSA funding in 2008 of $30 million.

The new funding will be used to support two new programs at Stanford, one in disease diagnostics and one in population health sciences.

The diagnostics program seeks to develop new methods of testing and preventing disease through advances in omics, immune monitoring, molecular imaging, single-cell analysis, computation, and informatics, the school said. Atul Butte, chief of systems medicine and associate professor of pediatrics and genetics, will lead the program.

The Population Health Sciences Initiative will design systems to serve as a new source of practice-based evidence. The systems will be based on the daily experiences of practicing physicians and information drawn from clinical data warehouses, Stanford said.

This initiative is led by Robert Harrington, professor and chair of medicine; Mark Cullen, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of General Medical Disciplines; and Douglas Owens, professor of medicine and director of the Stanford Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research and the Center for Health Policy.

The new CTSA award also will be used to address the shortage of qualified clinical and translational researchers across the US by funding new training programs and online courses in clinical research, Stanford said.

Related Stories

SOURCE

http://www.genomeweb.com//node/1290106?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Stanford%20Nabs%20$45M%20NIH%20Award;%20Signal%20Genetics’%20BCBS%20Coverage;%20$1.4M%20Approval%20for%20Geisinger;%20More%20-%2010/07/2013%2003:45:00%20PM

 

Read Full Post »