UC Irvine Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) provides a clinical research home to speed up the often slow process that guides scientific discovery to clinical application. We provide a variety of forms of support to researchers along the translational spectrum from basic research to community-based dissemination research and everything in between. Support for clinical trials can include direct funding for pilot studies, processing and storage of biological samples, nursing services, biostatistical and research design consultations, and expert consults in the areas of imaging, community-based research and informatics. We also support education and training in translational research at all levels, from high school students through to post-doctoral students and medical residents.
Millions of children and adolescents in the US now live with chronic illnesses such as cancer, immuno-deficiency disorders, and others (Sexson & Madan-Swain, 1993). This has led to a growing population of homebound pediatric patients who are unable to physically attend school, due to symptoms or treatments of their illness, but who are still cognitively able to learn. In our study, we explored the use of telepresence robots by homebound pediatric patients to attend their local schools. In order to explore if this practice may have a positive effect on perceived well-being, we sought to answer the questions: 1) Why are students using these robots? 2) Do they feel happier using the robots? Remaining connected to peers and school community was the primary motivation for students using this technology. Almost all participants reported feeling” happy” or “good” when using the robot.
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Dkk-3, a Secreted Wnt Antagonist, Suppresses Tumorigenic Potential and Pulmonary Metastasis in Osteosarcoma
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary bone malignancy with a high propensity for local invasion and distant metastasis. Despite current multidisciplinary treatments, there has not been a drastic change in overall prognosis within the past 2 decades. Dickkopf-3 protein (Dkk-3/REIC) has been known to inhibit canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway, and its expression has been shown to be downregulated in OS cell lines. Using in vivo and in vitro studies, we demonstrated that Dkk-3-transfected 143B cells inhibited tumorigenesis and metastasis in an orthotopic xenograft model of OS. Inoculation of Dkk-3-transfected 143B cell lines into nude mice showed significant decreased tumor growth and less metastatic pulmonary nodules (88.7%) compared to the control vector. In vitro experiments examining cellular motility and viability demonstrated less anchorage-independent growth and decreased cellular motility for Dkk-3-transfected 143B and SaOS2 cell lines compared to the control vector. Downstream expressions of Met, MAPK, ALK, and S1004A were also downregulated in Dkk-3-transfected SaOS2 cells, suggesting the ability of Dkk-3 to inhibit tumorigenic potential of OS. Together, these data suggest that Dkk-3 has a negative impact on the progression of osteosarcoma. Reexpressing Dkk-3 in Dkk-3-deficient OS tumors may prove to be of benefit as a preventive or therapeutic strategy.
Defining the optimal window for cranial transplantation of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cells to ameliorate radiation-induced cognitive impairment.
Past preclinical studies have demonstrated the capability of using human stem cell transplantation in the irradiated brain to ameliorate radiation-induced cognitive dysfunction. Intrahippocampal transplantation of human embryonic stem cells and human neural stem cells (hNSCs) was found to functionally restore cognition in rats 1 and 4 months after cranial irradiation. To optimize the potential therapeutic benefits of human stem cell transplantation, we have further defined optimal transplantation windows for maximizing cognitive benefits after irradiation and used induced pluripotent stem cell-derived hNSCs (iPSC-hNSCs) that may eventually help minimize graft rejection in the host brain. For these studies, animals given an acute head-only dose of 10 Gy were grafted with iPSC-hNSCs at 2 days, 2 weeks, or 4 weeks following irradiation. Animals receiving stem cell grafts showed improved hippocampal spatial memory and contextual fear-conditioning performance compared with irradiated sham-surgery controls when analyzed 1 month after transplantation surgery. Importantly, superior performance was evident when stem cell grafting was delayed by 4 weeks following irradiation compared with animals grafted at earlier times. Analysis of the 4-week cohort showed that the surviving grafted cells migrated throughout the CA1 and CA3 subfields of the host hippocampus and differentiated into neuronal (∼39%) and astroglial (∼14%) subtypes. Furthermore, radiation-induced inflammation was significantly attenuated across multiple hippocampal subfields in animals receiving iPSC-hNSCs at 4 weeks after irradiation. These studies expand our prior findings to demonstrate that protracted stem cell grafting provides improved cognitive benefits following irradiation that are associated with reduced neuroinflammation.
Significant resources around the world have been invested in neuroimaging studies of brain function and disease. Easier access to this large body of work should have profound impact on research in cognitive neuroscience and psychiatry, leading to advances in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric and neurological disease. A trend toward increased sharing of neuroimaging data has emerged in recent years. Nevertheless, a number of barriers continue to impede momentum. Many researchers and institutions remain uncertain about how to share data or lack the tools and expertise to participate in data sharing. The use of electronic data capture (EDC) methods for neuroimaging greatly simplifies the task of data collection and has the potential to help standardize many aspects of data sharing. We review here the motivations for sharing neuroimaging data, the current data sharing landscape, and the sociological or technical barriers that still need to be addressed. The INCF Task Force on Neuroimaging Datasharing, in conjunction with several collaborative groups around the world, has started work on several tools to ease and eventually automate the practice of data sharing. It is hoped that such tools will allow researchers to easily share raw, processed, and derived neuroimaging data, with appropriate metadata and provenance records, and will improve the reproducibility of neuroimaging studies. By providing seamless integration of data sharing and analysis tools within a commodity research environment, the Task Force seeks to identify and minimize barriers to data sharing in the field of neuroimaging.