Surgery (RMH) - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 104
Defining key design elements of registry-based randomised controlled trials: a scoping review
BACKGROUND: Traditional randomised controlled trials remain the gold standard for improving clinical care but they do have their limitations, including their associated high costs, high failure rate and limited external validity. An alternative methodology is the newly defined, prospective, registry-based randomised controlled trial (RRCT), where treatment and outcome data is collected in an existing registry. This scoping review explores the current literature regarding RRCTs to help identify the key design elements of RRCTs and the characteristics of clinical registries on which they are reliant on. METHODS: A scoping review methodology conducted in accordance with the Joanna Briggs Institute guidelines was performed. Four databases were searched for articles published from inception to June 2018: Medline; Embase; the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature and; Scopus. The search strategy included MeSH and text words related to RRCT. RESULTS: We identified 2369 articles of which 75 were selected for full-text screening. Of these, only 17 articles satisfied our inclusion criteria. All studies were published between 1996 and 2017 and all were investigator-initiated. Study designs were mainly multi-site comparative/effectiveness studies incorporating the use of disease registries (n = 8), procedure registries (n = 8) and a health services registry (n = 1). The low cost, reduced administrative burden and enhanced external validity of RRCTs make them an attractive research methodology which can be used to address questions of public health importance. We identified that that there are variable definitions of what constituted a RRCT and that issues related to ethical conduct and data integrity, completeness, timeliness, validation and endpoint adjudication need to be carefully addressed. CONCLUSION: RRCTs potentially have an important role to play in informing best clinical practice and health policy. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed to optimise the utility of this approach, including establishing universally accepted criteria for the definition of a RRCT.
A high-affinity ErbB4Fc fusion protein is a potent antagonist of heregulin-mediated receptor activation
(INFORMA HEALTHCARE, 2012-10-01)
Ligand-mediated activation of ErbB3 and ErbB4 is implicated in the pathogenesis of several human malignancies including cancer of the ovary and melanoma. We have used the broad ErbB ligand specificity of ErbB4 to assemble and express an ErbB4 fusion protein comprising the first 497 amino acids of the mature ErbB4 ectodomain fused to the human IgG Fc constant region. The purified fusion protein, designated sErbB4.497.Fc, binds the ErbB receptor ligands betacellulin and heregulin-β1 (HRG-β1) with high affinity (K(D) = 130 pM), an increase in affinity of 10- to 20-fold, respectively, compared with sErbB4.615.Fc. sErbB4.497.Fc inhibited ligand-stimulated phosphorylation of epidermal growth factor receptor and ErbB2, and blocked HRG-β1 activation of the IKB/MAP/JNK/AKT signalling pathways. sErbB4.497.Fc inhibited HRG-β1-stimulated proliferation in MCF7 cells. In a mouse tumour xenograft model, sErbB4.497.Fc as a monotherapy modestly inhibited the growth of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. sErbB4.497.Fc may be useful in an adjuvant setting in combination with conventional therapeutic agents.
The effects of nonspecific HIF1 alpha inhibitors on development of castrate resistance and metastases in prostate cancer
Expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)1α increases the risk of castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and metastases in patients on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer (PC). We aimed to investigate the effects of nonspecific HIF1α inhibitors (Digoxin, metformin, and angiotensin-2 receptor blockers) on development of CRPC and metastases while on ADT. A retrospective review of prospectively collected medical records was conducted of all men who had continuous ADT as first-line therapy for CRPC at the Austin Hospital from 1983 to 2011. Association between HIF1α inhibitor medications and time to develop CRPC was investigated using actuarial statistics. Ninety-eight patients meeting the criteria were identified. Eighteen patients (21.4%) were treated with the nonspecific HIF1α inhibitors. Both groups had similar characteristics, apart from patients on HIF1α inhibitors being older (70 years vs. 63.9 years). The median CRPC-free survival was longer in men using HIF1α inhibitors compared to those not on inhibitors (6.7 years vs. 2.7 years, P = 0.01) and there was a 71% reduction in the risk of developing CRPC (HR 0.29 [95% CI 0.10-0.78] P = 0.02) after adjustment for Gleason score, age, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The median metastasis-free survival in men on HIF1α inhibitors was also significantly longer compared to those on no inhibitors (5.1 years vs. 2.6 years, P = 0.01) with an 81% reduction in the risk of developing metastases (HR 0.19 [CI 0.05-0.76] P = 0.02) after adjustment for Gleason score, age, and PSA. Nonspecific HIF1α inhibitors appear to increase the progression-free survival and reduce the risk of developing CRPC and metastases in patients on continuous ADT.
Mathematical model of TGF-beta signalling: feedback coupling is consistent with signal switching
BACKGROUND: Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signalling regulates the development of embryos and tissue homeostasis in adults. In conjunction with other oncogenic changes, long-term perturbation of TGF-β signalling is associated with cancer metastasis. Although TGF-β signalling can be complex, many of the signalling components are well defined, so it is possible to develop mathematical models of TGF-β signalling using reduction and scaling methods. The parameterization of our TGF-β signalling model is consistent with experimental data. RESULTS: We developed our mathematical model for the TGF-β signalling pathway, i.e. the RF- model of TGF-β signalling, using the "rapid equilibrium assumption" to reduce the network of TGF-β signalling reactions based on the time scales of the individual reactions. By adding time-delayed positive feedback to the inherent time-delayed negative feedback for TGF-β signalling. We were able to simulate the sigmoidal, switch-like behaviour observed for the concentration dependence of long-term (> 3 hours) TGF-β stimulation. Computer simulations revealed the vital role of the coupling of the positive and negative feedback loops on the regulation of the TGF-β signalling system. The incorporation of time-delays for the negative feedback loop improved the accuracy, stability and robustness of the model. This model reproduces both the short-term and long-term switching responses for the intracellular signalling pathways at different TGF-β concentrations. We have tested the model against experimental data from MEF (mouse embryonic fibroblasts) WT, SV40-immortalized MEFs and Gp130 F/F MEFs. The predictions from the RF- model are consistent with the experimental data. CONCLUSIONS: Signalling feedback loops are required to model TGF-β signal transduction and its effects on normal and cancer cells. We focus on the effects of time-delayed feedback loops and their coupling to ligand stimulation in this system. The model was simplified and reduced to its key components using standard methods and the rapid equilibrium assumption. We detected differences in short-term and long-term signal switching. The results from the RF- model compare well with experimental data and predict the dynamics of TGF-β signalling in cancer cells with different mutations.
A urinary microRNA signature can predict the presence of bladder urothelial carcinoma in patients undergoing surveillance
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-02-16)
BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to determine whether microRNA (miRNA) profiling of urine could identify the presence of urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) and to compare its performance characteristics to that of cystoscopy. METHODS: In the discovery cohort we screened 81 patients, which included 21 benign controls, 30 non-recurrers and 30 patients with active cancer (recurrers), using a panel of 12 miRNAs. Data analysis was performed using a machine learning approach of a Support Vector Machine classifier with a Student's t-test feature selection procedure. This was trained using a three-fold cross validation approach and performance was measured using the area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC). The miRNA signature was validated in an independent cohort of a further 50 patients. RESULTS: The best predictor to distinguish patients with UCB from non-recurrers was achieved using a combination of six miRNAs (AUC=0.85). This validated in an independent cohort (AUC=0.74) and detected UCB with a high sensitivity (88%) and sufficient specificity (48%) with all significant cancers identified. The performance of the classifier was best in detecting clinically significant disease such as presence of T1 Stage disease (AUC=0.92) and high-volume disease (AUC=0.81). Cystoscopy rates in the validation cohort would have been reduced by 30%. CONCLUSIONS: Urinary profiling using this panel of miRNAs shows promise for detection of tumour recurrence in the surveillance of UCB. Such a panel may be useful in reducing the morbidity and costs associated with cystoscopic surveillance, and now merits prospective evaluation.
Prospective validation of the NCI Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (Gail Model) on 40,000 Australian women
BACKGROUND: There is a growing interest in delivering more personalised, risk-based breast cancer screening protocols. This requires population-level validation of practical models that can stratify women into breast cancer risk groups. Few studies have evaluated the Gail model (NCI Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool) in a population screening setting; we validated this tool in a large, screened population. METHODS: We used data from 40,158 women aged 50-69 years (via the lifepool cohort) participating in Australia's BreastScreen programme. We investigated the association between Gail scores and future invasive breast cancer, comparing observed and expected outcomes by Gail score ranked groups. We also used machine learning to rank Gail model input variables by importance and then assessed the incremental benefit in risk prediction obtained by adding variables in order of diminishing importance. RESULTS: Over a median of 4.3 years, the Gail model predicted 612 invasive breast cancers compared with 564 observed cancers (expected/observed (E/O) = 1.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00-1.18). There was good agreement across decile groups of Gail scores (χ2 = 7.1, p = 0.6) although there was some overestimation of cancer risk in the top decile of our study group (E/O = 1.65, 95% CI 1.33-2.07). Women in the highest quintile (Q5) of Gail scores had a 2.28-fold increased risk of breast cancer (95% CI 1.73-3.02, p < 0.0001) compared with the lowest quintile (Q1). Compared with the median quintile, women in Q5 had a 34% increased risk (95% CI 1.06-1.70, p = 0.014) and those in Q1 had a 41% reduced risk (95% CI 0.44-0.79, p < 0.0001). Similar patterns were observed separately for women aged 50-59 and 60-69 years. The model's overall discrimination was modest (area under the curve (AUC) 0.59, 95% CI 0.56-0.61). A reduced Gail model excluding information on ethnicity and hyperplasia was comparable to the full Gail model in terms of correctly stratifying women into risk groups. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms that the Gail model (or a reduced model excluding information on hyperplasia and ethnicity) can effectively stratify a screened population aged 50-69 years according to the risk of future invasive breast cancer. This information has the potential to enable more personalised, risk-based screening strategies that aim to improve the balance of the benefits and harms of screening.
Influence of continuous electrical stimulation on development of human cardiomyocytes from induced pluripotent stem cells
(Conditioning Medicine, 2018)
Regeneration of cardiac tissue remains an ideal approach to restore cardiac function after myocardial infarction. The ability of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to differentiate into bona fide cardiomyocytes also provides a platform for cardiac disease modeling, drug discovery and pharmacological safety testing of new drugs. One of the major limitations for the use of cardiomyocytes derived from iPSCs is that they resemble fetal cardiomyocytes and are immature compared to adult cardiomyocytes. Considering that the developing heart grows in an electric field, we investigated whether electrical stimulation can promote maturation of cardiomyocytes derived from human iPSCs. Two-dimensional cultures of immature cardiomyocytes at day 22 post-differentiation were subjected to continuous electrical stimulation at 200 mV/mm for 7 days using a custom-made electrical stimulator. This long-term electrical stimulation significantly increased the percentage of cardiomyocytes with organized sarcomeres and promoted alignment of cardiomyocytes parallel to the electric field. Electrical stimulation also decreased the circularity index of cardiomyocytes suggesting a more rod-like morphology. In conclusion, long-term continuous electrical stimulation promotes maturation of cardiomyocytes derived from human iPSCs. Mature cardiomyocytes can better recapitulate the pathophysiological conditions of the human heart for more accurate disease modeling and drug testing. Mature cardiomyocytes can also provide a substrate for cardiac regeneration and repair by tissue engineering in the future.
Screening of CRISPR/Cas base editors to target the AMD high-risk Y402H complement factor H variant
(MOLECULAR VISION, 2019-03-16)
Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of using a CRISPR/Cas-mediated strategy to correct a common high-risk allele that is associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD; rs1061170; NM_000186.3:c.1204T>C; NP_000177.2:p.His402Tyr) in the complement factor H (CFH) gene. Methods: A human embryonic kidney cell line (HEK293A) was engineered to contain the pathogenic risk variant for AMD (HEK293A-CFH). Several different base editor constructs (BE3, SaBE3, SaKKH-BE3, VQR-BE3, and Target-AID) and their respective single-guide RNA (sgRNA) expression cassettes targeting either the pathogenic risk variant allele in the CFH locus or the LacZ gene, as a negative control, were evaluated head-to-head for the incidence of a cytosine-to-thymine nucleotide correction. The base editor construct that showed appreciable editing activity was selected for further assessment in which the base-edited region was subjected to next-generation deep sequencing to quantify on-target and off-target editing efficacy. Results: The tandem use of the Target-AID base editor and its respective sgRNA demonstrated a base editing efficiency of facilitating a cytosine-to-thymine nucleotide correction in 21.5% of the total sequencing reads. Additionally, the incidence of insertions and deletions (indels) was detected in only 0.15% of the sequencing reads with virtually no off-target effects evident across the top 11 predicted off-target sites containing at least one cytosine in the activity window (n = 3, pooled amplicons). Conclusions: CRISPR-mediated base editing can be used to facilitate a permanent and stably inherited cytosine-to-thymine nucleotide correction of the rs1061170 SNP in the CFH gene with minimal off-target effects.
The Sternal Management Accelerated Recovery Trial (SMART) - standard restrictive versus an intervention of modified sternal precautions following cardiac surgery via median sternotomy: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial
BACKGROUND: The routine implementation of sternal precautions to prevent sternal complications that restrict the use of the upper limbs is currently worldwide practice following a median sternotomy. However, evidence is limited and drawn primarily from cadaver studies and orthopaedic research. Sternal precautions may delay recovery, prolong hospital discharge and be overly restrictive. Recent research has shown that upper limb exercise reduces post-operative sternal pain and results in minimal micromotion between the sternal edges as measured by ultrasound. The aims of this study are to evaluate the effects of modified sternal precautions on physical function, pain, recovery and health-related quality of life after cardiac surgery. METHODS/DESIGN: This study is a phase II, double-blind, randomised controlled trial with concealed allocation, blinding of patients and assessors, and intention-to-treat analysis. Patients (n = 72) will be recruited following cardiac surgery via a median sternotomy. Sample size calculations were based on the minimal important difference (two points) for the primary outcome: Short Physical Performance Battery. Thirty-six participants are required per group to counter dropout (20%). All participants will be randomised to receive either standard or modified sternal precautions. The intervention group will receive guidelines encouraging the safe use of the upper limbs. Secondary outcomes are upper limb function, pain, kinesiophobia and health-related quality of life. Descriptive statistics will be used to summarise data. The primary hypothesis will be examined by repeated-measures analysis of variance to evaluate the changes from baseline to 4 weeks post-operatively in the intervention arm compared with the usual-care arm. In all tests to be conducted, a p value <0.05 (two-tailed) will be considered statistically significant, and confidence intervals will be reported. DISCUSSION: The Sternal Management Accelerated Recovery Trial (S.M.A.R.T.) is a two-centre randomised controlled trial powered and designed to investigate whether the effects of modifying sternal precautions to include the safe use of the upper limbs and trunk impact patients' physical function and recovery following cardiac surgery via median sternotomy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry identifier: ACTRN12615000968572 . Registered on 16 September 2015 (prospectively registered).
Focused cardiac ultrasound is feasible in the general practice setting and alters diagnosis and management of cardiac disease
(BIOSCIENTIFICA LTD, 2016-09-01)
BACKGROUND: Ultrasound-assisted examination of the cardiovascular system with focused cardiac ultrasound by the treating physician is non-invasive and changes diagnosis and management of patient's with suspected cardiac disease. This has not been reported in a general practice setting. AIM: To determine whether focused cardiac ultrasound performed on patients aged over 50 years changes the diagnosis and management of cardiac disease by a general practitioner. DESIGN AND SETTING: A prospective observational study of 80 patients aged over 50years and who had not received echocardiography or chest CT within 12months presenting to a general practice. METHOD: Clinical assessment and management of significant cardiac disorders in patients presenting to general practitioners were recorded before and after focused cardiac ultrasound. Echocardiography was performed by a medical student with sufficient training, which was verified by an expert. Differences in diagnosis and management between conventional and ultrasound-assisted assessment were recorded. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Echocardiography and interpretation were acceptable in all patients. Significant cardiac disease was detected in 16 (20%) patients, including aortic stenosis in 9 (11%) and cardiac failure in 7 (9%), which were missed by clinical examination in 10 (62.5%) of these patients. Changes in management occurred in 12 patients (15% overall and 75% of those found to have significant cardiac disease) including referral for diagnostic echocardiography in 8 (10%), commencement of heart failure treatment in 3 (4%) and referral to a cardiologist in 1 patient (1%).Routine focused cardiac ultrasound is feasible and frequently alters the diagnosis and management of cardiac disease in patients aged over 50years presenting to a general practice.