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  • Model-based integration analysis revealed presence of novel prognostic miRNA targets and important cancer driver genes in triple-negative breast cancers

    Zaka, M.; Sutton, Chris W.; Peng, Y.; Konur, Savas (2020-03)
    Background: miRNAs (microRNAs) play a key role in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) progression, and its heterogeneity at the expression, pathological and clinical levels. Stratification of breast cancer subtypes on the basis of genomics and transcriptomics profiling, along with the known biomarkers’ receptor status, has revealed the existence of subgroups known to have diverse clinical outcomes. Recently, several studies have analysed expression profiles of matched mRNA and miRNA to investigate the underlying heterogeneity of TNBC and the potential role of miRNA as a biomarker within cancers. However, the miRNA-mRNA regulatory network within TNBC has yet to be understood. Results and Findings: We performed model-based integrated analysis of miRNA and mRNA expression profiles on breast cancer, primarily focusing on triple-negative, to identify subtype-specific signatures involved in oncogenic pathways and their potential role in patient survival outcome. Using univariate and multivariate Cox analysis, we identified 25 unique miRNAs associated with the prognosis of overall survival (OS) and distant metastases-free survival (DMFS) with “risky” and “protective” outcomes. The association of these prognostic miRNAs with subtype-specific mRNA genes was established to investigate their potential regulatory role in the canonical pathways using anti-correlation analysis. The analysis showed that miRNAs contribute to the positive regulation of known breast cancer driver genes as well as the activation of respective oncogenic pathway during disease formation. Further analysis on the “risk associated” miRNAs group revealed significant regulation of critical pathways such as cell growth, voltage-gated ion channel function, ion transport and cell-to-cell signalling. Conclusion: The study findings provide new insights into the potential role of miRNAs in TNBC disease progression through the activation of key oncogenic pathways. The results showed previously unreported subtype-specific prognostic miRNAs associated with clinical outcome that may be used for further clinical evaluation.
  • MicroRNAs and Cancer

    Maher, S.G.; Bibby, B.A.S.; Moody, Hannah L.; Reid, G. (2015)
    MicroRNAs are a relatively new class of small, noncoding RNA species that represent a cornerstone of cell biology, with diverse roles ranging from embryonic development to aging. miRNAs function to regulate posttranscriptional gene expression, are critical to the normal function of cells, and as such are frequently dysregulated during disease processes. In this chapter, we discuss the biogenesis and mechanism of action of miRNA and their role in cancer initiation, promotion, and progression. In addition, we discuss the most recently identified dual roles of miRNA in epigenetic gene regulation; how they are both regulators and regulated. Finally, we discuss the emerging roles of miRNA as epigenetic anti-cancer therapeutics, the current research examining inhibition of oncogenic miRNAs, and studies now establishing the potential of replacing lost, tumor-suppressive miRNA.
  • MicroRNA-31 Regulates Chemosensitivity in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

    Moody, Hannah L.; Lind, M.; Maher, S.G. (2017-09-15)
    Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is associated with an extremely poor prognosis, and most patients initially are or rapidly become unresponsive to platinum-based chemotherapy. MicroRNA-31 (miR-31) is encoded on a genomic fragile site, 9p21.3, which is reportedly lost in many MPM tumors. Based on previous findings in a variety of other cancers, we hypothesized that miR-31 alters chemosensitivity and that miR-31 reconstitution may influence sensitivity to chemotherapeutics in MPM. Reintroduction of miR-31 into miR-31 null NCI-H2452 cells significantly enhanced clonogenic resistance to cisplatin and carboplatin. Although miR-31 re-expression increased chemoresistance, paradoxically, a higher relative intracellular accumulation of platinum was detected. This was coupled to a significantly decreased intranuclear concentration of platinum. Linked with a downregulation of OCT1, a bipotential transcriptional regulator with multiple miR-31 target binding sites, we subsequently identified an indirect miR-31-mediated upregulation of ABCB9, a transporter associated with drug accumulation in lysosomes, and increased uptake of platinum to lysosomes. However, when overexpressed directly, ABCB9 promoted cellular chemosensitivity, suggesting that miR-31 promotes chemoresistance largely via an ABCB9-independent mechanism. Overall, our data suggest that miR-31 loss from MPM tumors promotes chemosensitivity and may be prognostically beneficial in the context of therapeutic sensitivity.
  • Structural Basis for Mechanical Anisotropy in Polymorphs of Caffeine-Glutaric Acid Cocrystal

    Mishra, M.K.; Mishra, K.; Narayan, Aditya N.; Reddy, C.M.; Vangala, Venu R. (American Chemical Society, 2020)
    Insights into structure–mechanical property correlations in molecular and multicomponent crystals have recently attracted significant attention owing to their practical applications in the pharmaceutical and specialty fine chemicals manufacturing. In this contribution, we systematically examine the mechanical properties of dimorphic forms, Forms I and II of 1:1 caffeine-glutaric acid cocrystal on multiple faces using nanoindentation to fully understand their mechanical anisotropy and mechanical stability under applied load. Higher hardness, H, and elastic modulus, E, of stable Form II has been rationalized based on its corrugated layers, higher interlayer energy, lower interlayer separation, and presence of more intermolecular interactions in the crystal structure compared to metastable Form I. Our results show that mechanical anisotropy in both polymorphs arises due to the difference in orientation of the same 2D structural features, namely the number of possible slip systems, and strength of the intermolecular interactions with respect to the indentation direction. The mechanical properties results suggest that 1:1 caffeine-glutaric acid cocrystal, metastable form (Form I) could be a suitable candidate with desired tablet performance to that of stable Form II. The overall, it demonstrates that the multiple faces of nanoindentation is critical to determine mechanical anisotropy and structure- mechanical property correlation. Further, the structural-mechanical property correlations aids in the selection of the best solid phase for macroscopic pharmaceutical formulation.
  • The RAC1 target NCKAP1 plays a crucial role in progression of BRAF/PTEN -driven melanoma in mice

    Swaminathan, Karthic; Campbell, A.; Papalazarou, V.; Jaber-Hijazi, F.; Nixon, C.; McGhee, E.; Strathdee, D.; Sansom, O.J.; Machesky, L.M. (2020)
    BRAF V600E is the most common driver mutation in human cutaneous melanoma and is frequently accompanied by loss of the tumor suppressing phosphatase PTEN. Recent evidence suggests a co-operative role for RAC1 activity in BRAF V600E -driven melanoma progression and drug resistance. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms and the role of RAC1 downstream targets are not well explored. Here, we examine the role of the NCKAP1 subunit of the pentameric cytoskeletal SCAR/WAVE complex, a major downstream target of RAC1, in a mouse model of melanoma driven by BRAF V600E; PTEN loss. The SCAR/WAVE complex is the major driver of lamellipodia formation and cell migration downstream of RAC1 and depends on NCKAP1 for its integrity. Targeted deletion of Nckap1 in the melanocyte lineage delayed tumor onset and progression of a mutant Braf ; Pten loss driven melanoma mouse model. Nckap1 depleted tumors displayed fibrotic stroma with increased collagen deposition concomitant with enhanced immune infiltration. Nckap1 loss slowed proliferation and tumor growth, highlighting a role in cell cycle progression. Altogether, we propose that NCKAP1-orchestrated actin polymerization is essential for tumor progression and maintenance of tumor tissue integrity in a mutant Braf ; Pten loss driven mouse model for melanoma.
  • Effect of Education on Myopia: Evidence from the United Kingdom ROSLA 1972 Reform

    Plotnikov, D.; Williams, C.; Atan, D.; Davies, N.M.; Ghorbani Mojarrad, Neema; Guggenheim, J.A. (2020-09-04)
    Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have consistently reported an association between education and myopia. However, conventional observational studies are at risk of bias due to confounding by factors such as socioeconomic position and parental educational attainment. The current study aimed to estimate the causal effect of education on refractive error using regression discontinuity analysis. Methods: Regression discontinuity analysis was applied to assess the influence on refractive error of the raising of the school leaving age (ROSLA) from 15 to 16 years introduced in England and Wales in 1972. For comparison, a conventional ordinary least squares (OLS) analysis was performed. The analysis sample comprised 21,548 UK Biobank participants born in a nine-year interval centered on September 1957, the date of birth of those first affected by ROSLA. Results: In OLS analysis, the ROSLA 1972 reform was associated with a −0.29 D (95% confidence interval [CI]: −0.36 to −0.21, P < 0.001) more negative refractive error. In other words, the refractive error of the study sample became more negative by −0.29 D during the transition from a minimum school leaving age of 15 to 16 years of age. Regression discontinuity analysis estimated the causal effect of the ROSLA 1972 reform on refractive error as −0.77 D (95% CI: −1.53 to −0.02, P = 0.04). Conclusions: Additional compulsory schooling due to the ROSLA 1972 reform was associated with a more negative refractive error, providing additional support for a causal relationship between education and myopia.
  • Initial resistance to companion drugs should not be considered an exclusion criterion for the multidrug-resistant tuberculosis shorter treatment regimen

    Lempens, P.; Decroo, T.; Aung, K.J.M.; Hossain, M.A.; Rigouts, L.; Meehan, Conor J.; Van Deun, A.; de Jong, B.C. (2020)
    We investigated whether companion drug resistance was associated with adverse outcome of the shorter MDR-TB regimen in Bangladesh, after adjusting for fluoroquinolone resistance. MDR/RR-TB patients registered for treatment with a standardized gatifloxacin-based shorter MDR-TB regimen were selected for the study. Drug resistance was determined using the proportion method, gatifloxacin and isoniazid minimum inhibitory concentration testing for selected isolates, and whole genome sequencing. Low-level and high-level fluoroquinolone resistance were the most important predictors of adverse outcomes, with pyrazinamide resistance having a significant yet lower impact. In patients with fluoroquinolone-/second-line injectable-susceptible TB, non-eligibility to the shorter MDR-TB regimen (initial resistance to either pyrazinamide, ethionamide, or ethambutol) was not associated with adverse outcome (aOR 1.01; 95%CI 0.4-2.8). Kanamycin resistance was uncommon (1.3%). Increasing levels of resistance to isoniazid predicted treatment failure, also in a subgroup of patients with high-level fluoroquinolone-resistant TB. Our results suggest that resistance to companion drugs of the shorter MDR-TB regimen, except kanamycin resistance, is of no clinical importance as long as fluoroquinolone susceptibility is preserved. Hence, contrary to current WHO guidelines, exclusions to the standard regimen are justified only in the case of fluoroquinolone, and possibly kanamycin resistance.
  • Preclinical Anticancer Activity of an Electron-Deficient Organoruthenium(II) Complex

    Soldevila-Barreda, Joan J.; Azmanova, Maria; Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Cooper, Patricia A.; Shnyder, Steven D.; Barry, Nicolas P.E. (2020-06-04)
    Ruthenium compounds have been shown to be promising alternatives to platinum(II) drugs. However, their clinical success depends on achieving mechanisms of action that overcome Pt-resistance mechanisms. Electron-deficient organoruthenium complexes are an understudied class of compounds that exhibit unusual reactivity in solution and might offer novel anticancer mechanisms of action. Here, we evaluate the in vitro and in vivo anticancer properties of the electron-deficient organoruthenium complex [(p-cymene)Ru(maleonitriledithiolate)]. This compound is found to be highly cytotoxic: 5 to 60 times more potent than cisplatin towards ovarian (A2780 and A2780cisR), colon (HCT116 p53+/+ and HCT116 p53−/−), and non-small cell lung H460 cancer cell lines. It shows no cross-resistance and is equally cytotoxic to both A2780 and A2780cisR cell lines. Furthermore, unlike cisplatin, the remarkable in vitro antiproliferative activity of this compound appears to be p53-independent. In vivo evaluation in the hollow-fibre assay across a panel of cancer cell types and subcutaneous H460 non-small cell lung cancer xenograft model hints at the activity of the complex. Although the impressive in vitro data are not fully corroborated by the in vivo follow-up, this work is the first preclinical study of electron-deficient half-sandwich complexes and highlights their promise as anticancer drug candidates.
  • Ultrasound-triggered therapeutic microbubbles enhance the efficacy of cytotoxic drugs by increasing circulation and tumour drug accumulation and limiting bioavailability and toxicity in normal tissues

    Ingram, N.; McVeigh, L.E.; Abou-Saleh, R.H.; Maynard, J.; Peyman, S.A.; McLaughlan, J.R.; Fairclough, M.; Marston, G.; Valleley, E.M.A.; Jimenez-Macias, J.L.; et al. (2020)
    Most cancer patients receive chemotherapy at some stage of their treatment which makes improving the efficacy of cytotoxic drugs an ongoing and important goal. Despite large numbers of potent anti-cancer agents being developed, a major obstacle to clinical translation remains the inability to deliver therapeutic doses to a tumor without causing intolerable side effects. To address this problem, there has been intense interest in nanoformulations and targeted delivery to improve cancer outcomes. The aim of this work was to demonstrate how vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2)-targeted, ultrasound-triggered delivery with therapeutic microbubbles (thMBs) could improve the therapeutic range of cytotoxic drugs. Methods: Using a microfluidic microbubble production platform, we generated thMBs comprising VEGFR2-targeted microbubbles with attached liposomal payloads for localised ultrasound-triggered delivery of irinotecan and SN38 in mouse models of colorectal cancer. Intravenous injection into tumor-bearing mice was used to examine targeting efficiency and tumor pharmacodynamics. High-frequency ultrasound and bioluminescent imaging were used to visualise microbubbles in real-time. Tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was used to quantitate intratumoral drug delivery and tissue biodistribution. Finally, 89Zr PET radiotracing was used to compare biodistribution and tumor accumulation of ultrasound-triggered SN38 thMBs with VEGFR2 targeted SN38 liposomes alone. Results: ThMBs specifically bound VEGFR2 in vitro and significantly improved tumor responses to low dose irinotecan and SN38 in human colorectal cancer xenografts. An ultrasound trigger was essential to achieve the selective effects of thMBs as without it, thMBs failed to extend intratumoral drug delivery or demonstrate enhanced tumor responses. Sensitive LC-MS/MS quantification of drugs and their metabolites demonstrated that thMBs extended drug exposure in tumors but limited exposure in healthy tissues, not exposed to ultrasound, by persistent encapsulation of drug prior to elimination. 89Zr PET radiotracing showed that the percentage injected dose in tumors achieved with thMBs was twice that of VEGFR2-targeted SN38 liposomes alone. Conclusions: thMBs provide a generic platform for the targeted, ultrasound-triggered delivery of cytotoxic drugs by enhancing tumor responses to low dose drug delivery via combined effects on circulation, tumor drug accumulation and exposure and altered metabolism in normal tissues.
  • Dig! Arts Access Project: Finding Inspiration in the Park

    Giles, M.; Croucher, Karina T. (2019)
    Dig! Arts Access Project brought together excavation with artistic interpretations using collage, painting, drawing and poetry, to engage school learners in the legacy of the Whitworth Park Community Archaeology and History project. Through a series of workshops and site visits with local schools, participants expressed some of the ambiguities felt by urban children about parks. However, by the end of the sessions, they had increased their understanding of the history and heritage of their everyday places and were more confident about visiting parks.
  • Optimised patient information materials and recruitment to a study of behavioural activation in older adults: an embedded study within a trial

    Knapp, P.; Gilbody, S.; Holt, J.; Keding, A.; Mitchell, N.; Raynor, D.K.; Silcock, Jonathan; Torgerson, D. (2020-05-21)
    Printed participant information about randomised controlled trials is often long, technical and difficult to navigate. Improving information materials is possible through optimisation and user-testing, and may impact on participant understanding and rates of recruitment. Methods: A study within a trial (SWAT) was undertaken within the CASPER trial. Potential CASPER participants were randomised to receive either the standard trial information or revised information that had been optimised through information design and user testing. Results: A total of 11,531 patients were randomised in the SWAT. Rates of recruitment to the CASPER trial were 2.0% in the optimised information group and 1.9% in the standard information group (odds ratio 1.027; 95% CI 0.79 to 1.33; p=0.202). Conclusions: Participant information that had been optimised through information design and user testing did not result in any change to rate of recruitment to the host trial. Registration: ISRCTN ID ISRCTN02202951; registered on 3 June 2009.
  • Co-delivery of a RanGTP inhibitory peptide and doxorubicin using dual loaded liposomal carriers to combat chemotherapeutic resistance in breast cancer cells

    Haggag, Y.; Abu Ras, Bayan; El-Tanani, Yahia; Tambuwala, M.M.; McCarron, P.; Isreb, Mohammed; El-Tanani, Mohamed (2020-09-15)
    Multidrug resistance (MDR) limits the beneficial outcomes of conventional breast cancer chemotherapy. Ras-related nuclear protein (Ran-GTP) plays a key role in these resistance mechanisms, assisting cancer cells to repair damage to DNA. Herein, we investigate the co-delivery of Ran-RCC1 inhibitory peptide (RAN-IP) and doxorubicin (DOX) to breast cancer cells using liposomal nanocarriers. A liposomal delivery system, co-encapsulating DOX, and RAN-IP, was prepared using a thin-film rehydration technique. Dual-loaded liposomes were optimized by systematic modification of formulation variables. Real-Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction was used to determine Ran-GTP mRNA expression. In vitro cell lines were used to evaluate the effect of loaded liposomes on the viability of breast and lung cancer cell lines. In vivo testing was performed on a murine Solid Ehrlich Carcinoma model. RAN-IP reversed the Ran-expression-mediated MDR by inhibiting the Ran DNA damage repair function. Co-administration of RAN-IP enhanced sensitivity of DOX in breast cancer cell lines. Finally, liposome-mediated co-delivery with RAN-IP improved the anti-tumor effect of DOX in tumor-bearing mice when compared to single therapy. This study is the first to show the simultaneous delivery of RAN-IP and DOX using liposomes can be synergistic with DOX and lead to tumor regression in vitro and in vivo.
  • TEX264 coordinates p97- and SPRTN-mediated resolution of topoisomerase 1-DNA adducts

    Fielden, J.; Wiseman, K.; Torrecilla, I.; Li, S.; Hume, S.; Chiang, S.; Ruggiano, A.; Singh, A.N.; Freire, R.; Hassanieh, S.; et al. (2020-03)
    Eukaryotic topoisomerase 1 (TOP1) regulates DNA topology to ensure efficient DNA replication and transcription. TOP1 is also a major driver of endogenous genome instability, particularly when its catalytic intermediate-a covalent TOP1-DNA adduct known as a TOP1 cleavage complex (TOP1cc)-is stabilised. TOP1ccs are highly cytotoxic and a failure to resolve them underlies the pathology of neurological disorders but is also exploited in cancer therapy where TOP1ccs are the target of widely used frontline anti-cancer drugs. A critical enzyme for TOP1cc resolution is the tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase (TDP1), which hydrolyses the bond that links a tyrosine in the active site of TOP1 to a 3' phosphate group on a single-stranded (ss)DNA break. However, TDP1 can only process small peptide fragments from ssDNA ends, raising the question of how the ~90 kDa TOP1 protein is processed upstream of TDP1. Here we find that TEX264 fulfils this role by forming a complex with the p97 ATPase and the SPRTN metalloprotease. We show that TEX264 recognises both unmodified and SUMO1-modifed TOP1 and initiates TOP1cc repair by recruiting p97 and SPRTN. TEX264 localises to the nuclear periphery, associates with DNA replication forks, and counteracts TOP1ccs during DNA replication. Altogether, our study elucidates the existence of a specialised repair complex required for upstream proteolysis of TOP1ccs and their subsequent resolution.
  • Investigation of the role of VHL-HIF signaling in DNA repair and apoptosis in zebrafish

    Kim, H.R.; Santhakumar, K.; Markham, E.; Baldera, D.; Greenald, D.; Bryant, H.E.; El-Khamisy, Sherif F.; van Eeden, F.J. (2020-03)
    pVHL is a tumor suppressor. The lack of its function leads to various tumors, among which ccRCC (clear cell renal cell carcinoma) has the most serious outcome due to its resistance to chemotherapies and radiotherapies. Although HIF promotes the progression of ccRCC, the precise mechanism by which the loss of VHL leads to tumor initiation remains unclear. We exploited two zebrafish vhl mutants, vhl and vll, and Tg(phd3:: EGFP)i144 fish to identify crucial functions of Vhl in tumor initiation. Through the mutant analysis, we found that the role of pVHL in DNA repair is conserved in zebrafish Vll. Interestingly, we also discovered that Hif activation strongly suppressed genotoxic stress induced DNA repair defects and apoptosis in vll and brca2 mutants and in embryos lacking ATM activity. These results suggest the potential of HIF as a clinical modulator that can protect cells from accumulating DNA damage and apoptosis which can lead to cancers and neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Nucleosides Rescue Replication-Mediated Genome Instability of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

    Ivana, Barbaric,; Peter W, Andrews,; Halliwell, J.A.; Frith, T.J.R.; Laing, O.; Price, C.J.; Bower, O.J.; Stavish, T.; Gokhale, P.J.; Hewitt, Z.; et al. (2020-06-09)
    Human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are subject to the appearance of recurrent genetic variants on prolonged culture. We have now found that, compared with isogenic differentiated cells, PSCs exhibit evidence of considerably more DNA damage during the S phase of the cell cycle, apparently as a consequence of DNA replication stress marked by slower progression of DNA replication, activation of latent origins of replication, and collapse of replication forks. As in many cancers, which, like PSCs, exhibit a shortened G1 phase and DNA replication stress, the resulting DNA damage may underlie the higher incidence of abnormal and abortive mitoses in PSCs, resulting in chromosomal non-dysjunction or cell death. However, we have found that the extent of DNA replication stress, DNA damage, and consequent aberrant mitoses can be substantially reduced by culturing PSCs in the presence of exogenous nucleosides, resulting in improved survival, clonogenicity, and population growth.
  • Mechanistic understanding of competitive destabilization of carbamazepine cocrystals under solvent free conditions

    Alsirawan, M.H.D. Bashir; Lai, X.; Prohens, R.; Vangala, Venu R.; Shelley, P.; Bannan, T.J.; Topping, D.O.; Paradkar, Anant R. (2020-07)
    Mechanistic understanding of competitive destabilization of carbamazepine:nicotinamide and carbamazepine:saccharin cocrystals under solvent free conditions has been investigated. The crystal phase transformations were monitored using hot stage microscopy, variable-temperature powder X-ray diffraction, and sublimation experiments. The destabilization of the two cocrystals occurs via two distinct mechanisms: vapor and eutectic phase formations. Vapor pressure measurements and thermodynamic calculations using fusion and sublimation enthalpies were in good agreement with experimental findings. The mechanistic understanding is important to maintain the stability of cocrystals during solvent free green manufacturing.
  • Resolution of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

    Habas, Khaled S.A.; Nganwuchu, C.; Shahzad, F.; Gopalan, Rajendran C.; Haque, M.; Rahman, Sayeeda; Majumder, A.A.; Nasim, T. (2020)
    Introduction. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first detected in China in December, 2019, and declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. The current management of COVID-19 is based generally on supportive therapy and treatment to prevent respiratory failure. The effective option of antiviral therapy and vaccination are currently under evaluation and development. Areas covered. A literature search was performed using PubMed between December 1, 2019–June 23, 2020. This review highlights the current state of knowledge on the viral replication and pathogenicity, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, and management of COVID-19. This review will be of interest to scientists and clinicians and make a significant contribution toward development of vaccines and targeted therapies to contain the pandemic. Expert Opinion. The exit strategy for a path back to normal life is required, which should involve a multi-prong effort toward development of new treatment and a successful vaccine to protect public health worldwide and prevent future COVID-19 outbreaks. Therefore, the bench to bedside translational research as well as reverse translational works focusing bedside to bench is very important and would provide the foundation for the development of targeted drugs and vaccines for COVID-19 infections.
  • A massive, Late Neolithic pit structure associated with Durrington Walls Henge

    Gaffney, Vincent L.; Baldwin, E.; Bates, M.; Bates, C.R.; Gaffney, Christopher F.; Hamilton, D.; Kinnaird, T.; Neubauer, W.; Yorston, R.; Allaby, R.; et al. (2020-06)
    A series of massive geophysical anomalies, located south of the Durrington Walls henge monument, were identified during fluxgate gradiometer survey undertaken by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project (SHLP). Initially interpreted as dewponds, these data have been re-evaluated, along with information on similar features revealed by archaeological contractors undertaking survey and excavation to the north of the Durrington Walls henge. Analysis of the available data identified a total of 20 comparable features, which align within a series of arcs adjacent to Durrington Walls. Further geophysical survey, supported by mechanical coring, was undertaken on several geophysical anomalies to assess their nature, and to provide dating and environmental evidence. The results of fieldwork demonstrate that some of these features, at least, were massive, circular pits with a surface diameter of 20m or more and a depth of at least 5m. Struck flint and bone were recovered from primary silts and radiocarbon dating indicates a Late Neolithic date for the lower silts of one pit. The degree of similarity across the 20 features identified suggests that they could have formed part of a circuit of large pits around Durrington Walls, and this may also have incorporated the recently discovered Larkhill causewayed enclosure. The diameter of the circuit of pits exceeds 2km and there is some evidence that an intermittent, inner post alignment may have existed within the circuit of pits. One pit may provide evidence for a recut; suggesting that some of these features could have been maintained through to the Middle Bronze Age. Together, these features represent a unique group of features related to the henge at Durrington Walls, executed at a scale not previously recorded.
  • Additive Manufacturing of a Point-of-Care “Polypill:” Fabrication of Concept Capsules of Complex Geometry with Bespoke Release against Cardiovascular Disease

    Pereira, B.C.; Isreb, Abdullah; Isreb, Mohammad; Forbes, R.T.; Oga, E.F.; Alhnan, M.A. (2020-07)
    Polypharmacy is often needed for the management of cardiovascular diseases and is associated with poor adherence to treatment. Hence, highly flexible and adaptable systems are in high demand to accommodate complex therapeutic regimens. A novel design approach is employed to fabricate highly modular 3D printed “polypill” capsules with bespoke release patterns for multiple drugs. Complex structures are devised using combined fused deposition modeling 3D printing aligned with hot-filling syringes. Two unibody highly modular capsule skeletons with four separate compartments are devised: i) concentric format: two external compartments for early release while two inner compartments for delayed release, or ii) parallel format: where nondissolving capsule shells with free-pass corridors and dissolution rate-limiting pores are used to achieve immediate and extended drug releases, respectively. Controlling drug release is achieved through digital manipulation of shell thickness in the concentric format or the size of the rate limiting pores in the parallel format. Target drug release profiles are achieved with variable orders and configurations, hence confirming the modular nature with capacity to accommodate therapeutics of different properties. Projection of the pharmacokinetic profile of this digital system capsules reveal how the developed approach can be applied in dose individualization and achieving multiple desired pharmacokinetic profiles.
  • The assessment of intramolecular hydrogen bonding in ortho-substituted anilines by an NMR method

    Abraham, M.H.; Abraham, R.J.; Aghamohammadi, Amin; Afarinkia, Kamyar; Liu, Xiangli (2020-10-01)
    We describe the Δlog P method for the assessment of intramolecular hydrogen bonds (IMHBs), and show that it is not a very general method of distinguishing between molecules in which there is an IMHB and molecules in which there is no IMHB. The ‘double’ Δlog P method of Shalaeva et al. is a much more reliable method for the assessment of IMHB but requires the synthesis of a model compound and the determination of no less than four water-solvent partition coefficients. In addition, it is difficult to apply to compounds that contain more than one hydrogen bond acidic group capable of IMHB. We then describe our NMR method of assessing IMHB, based on 1H NMR chemical shifts in solvents DMSO and CDCl3. We have determined 1H NMR chemical shifts for a number of ortho-substituted anilines and show that the only compound we have studied that forms an IMHB is methyl 2-methylaminobenzoate though there is no IMHB present in methyl 2-aminobenzoate. This apparently anomalous result is supported by both MM and ab initio calculations. The NMR method is much simpler and less time consuming than other methods for the assessment of IMHB. It provides a quantitative assessment of IMHB and can be applied to molecules with more than one hydrogen bond acidic group.

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