Breast cancer vaccine shows promise in small clinical trial

29 12 2014

A breast cancer vaccine developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is safe in patients with metastatic breast cancer, results of an early clinical trial indicate. Preliminary evidence also suggests that the vaccine primed the patients ' immune systems to attack tumor cells and helped slow the concert progression.


A breast cancer vaccine designed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is safe in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Preliminary evidence from the small clinical trial, led by William Gillanders, MD, also suggests the vaccine helped slow the concert progression.

The study appears Dec. 1 in Clinical Cancer Research.

The new vaccine causes the body's immune system to home in on a protein called mammaglobin-A, found almost exclusively in breast tissue. The protein's role in healthy tissue is unclear, but breast tumors express it at abnormally high levels, past research has shown.

"Being able to target mammaglobin is exciting because it is expressed broadly in up to 80 percent of breast cancers, but not at meaningful levels in other tissues,"said breast cancer surgeon and senior author William E. Gillanders, MD, professor of surgery. "In theory, this means we could treat a large number of breast cancer patients with potentially fewer side effects.

"It's also exciting to see this work progress from identifying the importance of mammaglobin-A, to designing a therapeutic agent, manufacturing it and giving it to patients, all by investigators at Washington University,"he added.

The vaccine primes a type of white blood cell, part of the body's adaptive immune system, to seek out and destroy cells with the mammaglobin-A protein. In the smaller proportion of breast cancer patients whose tumors do not produce mammaglobin-A, this vaccine would not be effective.

In the new study, 14 patients with metastatic breast cancer that expressed mammaglobin-A were vaccinated. The Phase 1 trial was designed mainly to assess the vaccine's safety. According to the authors, patients experienced few side effects, reporting eight events classified as mild or moderate, including rash, tenderness at the vaccination site and mild flu-like symptoms. No severe or life-threatening side effects occurred.

Although the trial was designed to test vaccine safety, preliminary evidence indicated the vaccine slowed the concert progression, even in patients who tend to have less potent immune systems because of their advanced disease and exposure to chemotherapy.

"Despite the weakened immune systems in these patients, we did observe a biologic response to the vaccine while analyzing immune cells in their blood samples,"said Gillanders, who treats patients at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University. "That's very encouraging. We also saw preliminary evidence of improved outcome, with modestly longer progression-free survival. "

Of the 14 patients who received the vaccine, about half showed no progression of their cancer one year after receiving the vaccine. In a similar control group of 12 patients who were not vaccinated, about one-fifth showed no cancer progression at the one-year follow-up. Despite the small sample size, this difference is statistically significant.

Based on results of this study, Gillanders and his colleagues are planning a larger clinical trial to test the vaccine in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, who, in theory, should have more robust immune systems than patients who already have undergone extensive cancer therapy.

"If we give the vaccine to patients at the beginning of treatment, the immune systems should not be compromised like in patients with metastatic disease,"Gillanders said. "We also will be able to do more informative immune monitoring than we did in this preliminary trial. Now that we have good evidence that the vaccine is safe, we think testing it in newly diagnosed patients will give us a better idea of the effectiveness of the therapy. "



This work was supported by the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) of the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (DOD/CDMRP), grant number W81XWH-611-0677; Gateway for Cancer Research, P-06-016; The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital; the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), T32 CA009621; the NCI Cancer Center Support Grant, P30 CA91842; and George and Diana Holway.

Tiriveedhi V, Tucker N, Herndon J, Li L, Sturmoski M, Ellis M, My C, Naughton M, Lockhart AC, Gao F, Flemming T, Goedegebuure P, Mohanakumar T, Gillanders WE. Safety and preliminary evidence of biological efficacy of a mammaglobin-A DNA vaccine in patients with stable metastatic breast cancer. Clinical Cancer Research. Dec. 1, 2014.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.


By Julia Evangelou Strait [en línea] St Louis, MO (USA):, 29 de diciembre de 2014 [REF. 01 in December of 2014] Available on Internet:

The ICO achieved a cure of the 90% in high-risk prostate cancer

25 12 2014

A study in Radiotherapy and Oncology shows the results from the combination of external radiotherapy, brachytherapy and hormone use in these tumors


High risk prostate cancer cure is of the 91% at the age of five and the 89% at age seven with an innovative combination of treatments. So concluded it a study of the Catalan Institute of Oncology which has been published in the journal of Radiotherapy and Oncology. the work, collecting monitoring about 400 cancer patients, This morning it has been in the Auditorium Viladiu Pau of the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Hospitalet de Llobregat, and with the participation of:-Candela Street, Director general of the ICO. - Josep Ramon Germà, Assistant to the Manager of knowledge and research. - Ferrán Guedea, Head of the Department of radiation oncology of the ICO L ’ Hospitalet. - Anna Boladeras, Physician Assistant and referent of prostate of radiation oncology of the ICO service ’ Hospitalet. - Cristina Gutiérrez, health care coordinator of the brachytherapy unit of the service of radiation oncology of the ICO L ’ Hospitalet.


A common tumor

Prostate cancer is the most frequent in men in Catalonia. Some are given 5.000 new cases every year, above the colon and rectum (about 4.000 cases) and lung (3.500). It is a very age-associated cancer. The ageing of the population makes its incidence increases every year. According to the projections of the Plan Director of Oncology, in the year 2020 each will be produced 6.000 new cases per year. Despite the high incidence, It is a tumor of slow evolution in the majority of cases, with a survival of the 84% at five years, also according to the data of the Plan Director of Oncology. However, in a small proportion of cases, the tumor is more aggressive and may compromise the survival of patients.


High risk prostate cancer

Patients with high-risk prostate cancer can undergo different alternatives. In some cases are subjected to surgery, to remove the prostate, but this can lead to side effects (urinary and sexual dysfunctions). In others, treatment consists of the Administration every day for eight weeks (40 sessions) external beam radiation or the application of brachytherapy. treatment with brachytherapy involves placing of a radioactive source - in this case of iodine-125- within or in the proximity of the tumor; the radiation that emits destroys the malignant cells. This surgery should be done several times during the treatment. in the case of the ICO, from the year 2002 began to apply an innovative combination of external beam radiation and brachytherapy, associated with a hormonal treatment. In this way, external radiation therapy sessions are reduced and a unique intervention in the operating room is made to carry out the brachytherapy.


Follow-up of about 400 patients

The study presented shows the survival results of 377 high risk prostate cancer patients undergoing this treatment pioneer combination. The paper concludes that the cure (that is to say, biochemical control) five years is of the 91% and, at the age of seven, of the 89%. Also, It has been observed that the side effects are minimal. This places the ICO centres with a higher cure in Europe high risk prostate cancer. [en línea] Barcelona (ESP):, 25 de diciembre de 2014 [REF. 16 in December of 2014] Available on Internet:

They develop a portable "helmet" that projected brain images of high definition

22 12 2014

GE scientists are working in the development of a portable "helmet" that screened brain high resolution images and help doctors see our brains at the cellular level. The handheld device will facilitate the study of cerebral motor activity, Since patients may move during the test.

"If you did it, This effort would represent a monumental advance in the technology of imaging that would significantly increase our understanding of brain functions, both in healthy conditions and disease", says Nadeem Ishaque, Director of global Diagnostics and medical technologies of GE Global Research (GRC).

This project is part of the Brain initiative launched by President Obama in April of 2013. Their targets range from the development of new ways to observe the brain and study their functions to discover, treating and preventing diseases and brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Autism and bruises.

Last September, the National Institutes of Health Research Center (NIH) stated that a group of business, universities, foundations and federal agencies of the United States be allocated 46 millions of dollars "revolutionized the understanding of the human brain".

According to the daily New York Times, the group is formed by GE, Google, the Simmons Foundation, the Defense Advanced research projects Agency (DARPA) and the food and drug agency (FDA).

"The human brain is the most complex biological structure that is known in the universe", says Francis S. Collins, Director of National Institutes of Health. "So far", We have just scratched the surface of the brain to learn how it works or stops working when disorders and diseases are presented".


The "helmet" PET Scanner will be used new generation detectors called "silicon photo multipliers" which will replace the detectors called "bulk" (It measured physical and chemical properties) employees in PET scanners. New detectors will allow scientists to manufacture a light scanner, high resolution and high sensitivity to be placed at the head of the subject of the person under study.

GE makes this helmet in partnership with West Virginia University, the University of Washington and the University of California-Davis. You will use the technology of tomography positron emission (PET) to penetrate at the level of individual cells and locate misfolded proteins and other signs of brain disorders. "Many types of important neurons and glial cells are not searchable through the current imaging techniques because of its extremely low concentration", explains Ishaque. "This device could help us to understand the Organization and operation of the circuits and brain networks".

Unlike X-rays and MRI equipment, It served to explore physical organs and bone structures, PET devices are studying bodily functions. Is injected into the patient a molecular tracer that sticks to the tissues under study. Doctors can track radioactive isotopes of these substances and measure its distribution in the body. "With this method it is possible to detect cancer cells in multiplication", explains Ravindra Majeshwar, in charge of the laboratory of functional magnetic resonance of GRC. In fact, at present the PET is mainly used to observe the proliferation of cancer and observe your response to medical treatment.

GE scientists have developed new types of specific tracers to study neuroinflammation caused by contusion, as well as plaques amyloid and tau proteins, possibly associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Their intention is to take advantage of the hardware and the software super sensitive of the helmet to reduce the amount of required liners for imaging. Ishaque said that these "microdose will reduce the exposure to radiation of the patient to the equivalent percentage of a flight from coast to coast, and yet they will produce high quality images".

Majeshwar says that this new technology can help scientists to give a 'quantum leap' in its observation of the brain. "It is still very little what we know of the brain and imagery through the PET remain blurred and undefined", explains. "However, This technology could dramatically improve our powers of observation of the brain".
 [en línea] Fairfield, CT (USA):, 23 de diciembre de 2014 [REF. 11 in December of 2014] Available on Internet: http://post/104927371569/los-cientificos-de-ge-desarrollan-un-casco

White blood cells "scan" the bloodstream to cause cardiovascular damage

18 12 2014

A study published in Science and led by researchers at the CNIC discover that neutrophils scan actively blood within the vessels in search of activated platelets.

The study shows that many types of cardiovascular accidents, such as stroke or septic shock, they are caused by the action of white blood cells which are activated by this mechanism.

The study has important implications for understanding, and try to, cardiovascular accidents very broad in nature.


The IASB researchers have discovered that a subtype of the main defensive agents of the Agency, leukocytes or white blood cells, It carries out a "scanning" procedure within the blood vessels that triggers multiple types of cardiovascular accidents, including some as common as stroke, as published today in the journal Science.

If one were to ask a doctor that I predict you the probability that suffer a cardiovascular accident, for example, a stroke or myocardial infarction, This would answer you that the answer is not simple because it is not known exactly how these accidents are initiated. It will also say that there are certain markers that, However, they are highly predictive. One of these markers is the level of a specific type of white blood cells - neutrophils- in the blood. The other, It is the presence of platelet activated in the bloodstream, which are responsible for clotting and which have been developed as well known as aspirin drug. The question from the biological point of view is whether there is a merely casual relationship between both markers, or if it really is that both cell types, neutrophils and platelets, they cooperate to start a vascular accident.

In collaboration with groups from the complutense University, Department of advanced image of the CNIC, and groups in Germany, United States and Japan, the team of the Dr. Andres Hidalgo, researcher at the Department of atherosclerosis, Image and epidemiology of the IASB has discovered a surprising mechanism that explains how both types of cells, neutrophils and platelets, they cooperate to initiate cardiovascular accidents.

To scrutinize this phenomenon, researchers from the group have looked directly into blood vessels in living tissues with advanced microscopy techniques, which allow to see neutrophils and platelets individual during the inflammatory process. The first surprise that took was that neutrophils that stick to the inflamed vessel extend a kind of arm or cell protrusion toward the inside of the vessel in which a highly adhesive protein concentrates. The second unexpected observation is that some of the blood platelets fought to the protein present in this protrusion. Surprisingly, only platelets that were enabled (one of these predictive markers of cardiovascular accidents) they adhered to this structure. The last observation, Perhaps the most surprising, This adhesive protein is also able to send signals to the neutrophil to initiate an inflammatory response. This response is, in the end, the vascular damage responsible for.

To investigate as this process may underlie vascular accidents referred to above, the researchers induced strokes, septic shock or acute lung damage in mice in which the adhesive protein was absent or had blocked, and they found that in all of them the degree of damage to the affected tissues (brain, liver or lung) It was significantly reduced compared with untreated animals.

The work explains ancient clinical observations, and it has implications which can be immediate to understand how originate many types of cardiovascular accidents more prevalent in our society.

The work also illustrates how the use of cutting-edge techniques helps us discover the elegance of previously unknown biological processes, and that they can now be manipulated to prevent or treat diseases that otherwise can be devastating for human health.

Sreeramkumar V, Adrover JM, Ballesteros I, Cuartero MI, Rossaint J, Bilbao I, Nacher M, C Pitaval, Radovanovic I, Fukui and, McEver RP, Filippi MD, Lizasoain I, J Ruiz-Cabello, A Zarbock, MA and Hidalgo A Moro. Neutrophils scan for activated platelets to initiate inflammation. Science, In Press 2014.

Access to the video [en línea] Madrid (ESP):, 18 de diciembre de 2014 [REF. 05 in December of 2014] Available on Internet: es/noticias/index.php?ID = 3923

Drug tests on mothers ' hair links recreational drug use to birth defects

15 12 2014

Drug tests on 517 mothers in English inner city hospitals found that nearly 15% had taken recreational drugs during pregnancy and that mothers of babies with birth defects of the brain were significantly more likely to have taken drugs than mothers with normal babies. The study found no significant links between recreational drug use and any other type of birth defect.


Hair samples give a timeline of substance use (courtesy of Dr Anna David)

The study was led by a team of UCL researchers co-ordinating data collection from hospitals across London, Bristol and Birmingham and the results are published in the journal PLOS ONE. The study included 213 women whose baby had a type of birth defect with potential links to recreational drug use, 143 women whose baby had a birth defect with no previously reported links to drug use and 161 women whose baby was normally formed.

77 (14.9%) of the women who agreed to take part tested positive for at least one type of recreational drug, of whom 10 had taken more than one drug. 68 women tested positive for cannabis, 18 for cocaine, 1 for ketamine and 1 for MDMA. Drug use was highest around conception and reduced as the pregnancy progressed, but around half of the women who smoked cannabis continued to do so throughout the second trimester.

Evidence of drug use was found in a significantly higher proportion of women whose babies were born with brain birth defects (35%), compared to women whose babies were normally formed (13%). Brain birth defects included brain anomalies other than spina bifida, such as brain cysts and under-development of the brain. These can have severe consequences and lead to lifelong conditions such as cerebral palsy.

"Our findings suggest a link between brain birth defects and recreational drug use in expectant mothers,"Dr Anna David of the UCL Institute for Womens Health, lead author of the study and Consultant in Fetal Medicine at UCLH. "We were unable to identify significant links between specific drugs and brain birth defects. Therefore I would discourage women trying to get pregnant and those in early pregnancy from taking any recreational drugs including cannabis. Since only 20 of the mothers in our study had babies with brain birth defects, a larger study of such cases is now needed to examine the links with specific drug use more closely. "

The study set out to investigate the link between drug use around the time of conception and the first trimester and a variety of birth defects. Smaller studies had suggested that drug use might be a primary risk factor for gastroschisis, a defect in the babys belly that must be surgically repaired at birth. Other known risk factors for this abnormality include young maternal age and smoking. This larger study showed that the young age of the mother rather than recreational drug use was identified as the primary risk factor for gastroschisis. But for brain defects, drug use was a primary risk factor after taking into consideration the others age and use of tobacco and alcohol. Larger studies are now needed to investigate the link between the types of drug use and brain birth defects.

"Current evidence linking recreational drug use with birth defects is patchy as it relies on self-reporting which can be unreliable,"explains Dr David. "Our anonymised hair testing offers an objective measure of recreational drug use and showed that it is common in pregnancy. The risks of alcohol and tobacco in pregnancy are relatively well-researched, and we hope that research into drug use will catch up now that we have demonstrated its relevance to babies ' health and development. "

Researchers took hair samples from consenting mothers, which were then tested for evidence of recreational drug use. The laboratory performing the drug tests were not given access to patient clinical data and all results were anonymised.

When someone takes drugs, traces from the bloodstream are deposited in their hair as it grows. Hair grows at an average rate of one centimetre per month, so a 9cm sample of hair from the scalp will give an approximate timeline of drug use from the past 9 months. The researchers divided hair samples into three sections of 3cm each, in order to time drug use to the months before and during conception, the first trimester and the second trimester. [en línea] London (UK):, 15 in December of 2014 [REF. 03 November of 2014] Available on Internet:

Dyslexia independent of IQ

11 12 2014

Brain-imaging study suggests that reading difficulties are the same regardless of overall intelligence — and that more children could benefit from support in school.


new brain-imaging study suggests that reading difficulties are the same regardless of overall intelligence. Photo: Patrick Gillooly

About 5 to 10 percent of American children are diagnosed as dyslexic. Historically, the label has been assigned to kids who are bright, even verbally articulate, but who struggle with reading — in short, whose high IQs mismatch their low reading scores. On the other hand, reading troubles in children with low IQs have traditionally been considered a byproduct of their general cognitive limitations, not a reading disorder in particular.

Now, a new brain-imaging study challenges this understanding of dyslexia. "We found that children who are poor readers have the same brain difficulty in processing the sounds of language whether they have a high or low IQ,"says John D. E. Gabrieli, Mit's Grover Herman Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Cognitive Neuroscience, who performed the study with Fumiko Hoeft and colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine; Charles Hulme at York University in the U.K.; and Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, also at MIT. "Reading difficulty is independent of other cognitive abilities."

The study, which is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science, could change how educators diagnose dyslexia, opening up reading support to more children who could benefit from it.


Rhymes and results

The researchers recruited 131 children, from 7 to 17 years old. According to a simple reading test and an IQ measure, each child was assigned to one of three groups: typical readers with typical IQs; poor readers with typical IQs; and poor readers with low IQs. All were shown pairs of words and asked to judge whether the words rhymed. (Rhymes are an effective way to probe dyslexics ' reading performance, since dyslexia is thought to entail difficulty connecting written words to sounds.) For some pairs, the researchers used words that rhyme but don't share the same final letters — such as "bait" and "gate,"or" night "and" bite "— so that rhyme couldn't be inferred simply from spelling. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers observed the activity in six brain regions known to be important for reading.

The results? Neural activity in the two groups of poor readers was indistinguishable. "The brain patterns could not have been more similar, whether the child had a high or low IQ,"Gabrieli says. Poor readers of all IQ levels showed significantly less brain activity in the six observed areas than typical readers, suggesting that reading difficulty is due to the same underlying neural mechanism, regardless of general cognitive ability.


Ditching diagnostic discrimination

The findings could have an important impact on both diagnosis and education for kids who struggle to read. Currently, Gabrieli says, many public school systems still require that a child have an otherwise normal IQ score to receive a diagnosis of dyslexia — essentially, that the label be reserved for children with a "reading difficulty that can't be explained by anything else,” he says. But the new study suggests that even children with low IQ scores might benefit from treatment specific to dyslexia.

Jack Fletcher, a professor of psychology at the University of Houston Texas Medical Center Annex, says the study "adds to the evidence against" the notion that reading difficulty should be chalked up to general intellectual limitations in children with lower-than-average IQs. "Poor reading is poor reading,” he says. "IQ discrepancy doesn't make much difference."

Gabrieli, who says he hopes the new results will encourage educators to offer reading support to more struggling students, stresses the importance of diagnosing dyslexia and other behavioral disorders sooner rather than later. "Now, you basically diagnose dyslexia when a child seems miserable in school,” he says. "Maybe you could intervene before they ever get that way."


 Emily Finn, MIT News Office [en línea] Cambridge, MA (USA):, 11 in December of 2014 [REF. 23 de septiembre de 2011] Available on Internet:

Mechanical Thrombectomy in acute phase of stroke

8 12 2014

The mechanical thrombectomy in acute phase of stroke can improve the prognosis and recovery of some patients


In a selected group of patients, treatments of revascularization by mechanical thrombectomy in acute phase of stroke could improve the functional prognosis and clinical recovery of the patient. This is one of the conclusions of the study Outcomes of a contemporary cohort of 536 consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke treated with endovascular therapy, by Neurology and Neuroradiology services of the Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge, Hospital Vall d ' Hebron, Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol and Hospital Clínic, and where the Bellvitge University Hospital has provided the largest number of patients. Pere Cardona, M. Angels of Miguel and Francisco Rubio of the University Hospital de Bellvitge and the Group of neurological diseases and the IDIBELL neurogenetics have participated in the study.


Shorten the time in which the patient is assessed and that the treatment of reperfusion is performed are variables associated with good results, and corroborate the idea of "time is brain". The fact of getting an effective and complete recanalization via a next-generation stent retriever type has increased the success rate of these procedures. Variables such as the upper age to the 80 years, vertebrobasilar stroke or high blood pressure are that have been associated to a worse functional prognosis and a worse mortality, while severe neurological clinical and atrial fibrillation clinical debut are variable they were associated with some better results.


The objectives of the study are to assess the effectiveness in neurological recovery and functional independence of patients who were treated with Endovascular reperfusion in acute phase of stroke. The procedure followed was a multi-center prospective observational study of patients in acute phase of stroke with or without intravenous Thrombolysis after Endovascular treatment.


Sonia's Master Plan of cerebral vascular disease is an analysis of treatments of repefusion registration, the Department of health. We assessed patients treated with repefusion treatments and different variable and subgroups were analyzed to assess the functional independence, the prognosis and mortality in the third month of receiving them. This database is audited by the Department of health and the Agency's evaluation and sanitary quality of Catalonia.


access to the Abstract [en línea] Barcelona (ESP):, 08 de diciembre de 2014 [REF. 02 in December of 2014] Available on Internet:http://modul/noticies/es/741/la-trombectomia-mecanica-en-la-fase-aguda-del-ictus-puede-mejorar-el-pronostico-y-la-recuperacion-de-algunos-pacientes

SMUFIN: Quick and accurate genetic detection of tumors

4 12 2014

A new computational method allows to analyze the genetic changes in cancer patients in a few hours


  • The prestigious magazine Nature Biotechnology published today SMUFIN, a new computational method capable of detecting very easily, fast and accurate genetic alterations responsible for the onset and progression of tumors
  • SMUFIN locates almost all types of genomic changes responsible for the onset and progression of cancer, even the large reorganizations of hard detectable chromosomes so far
  • This new method is a firm and realistic step towards the horizon of personalized medicine, in which Genomic analysis of each patient will help your diagnosis and will allow the selection of a more effective and less aggressive treatment
  • SMUFIN provides a new way of analyzing genomes, also applicable to the study of the genetic basis of many diseases prevalent in our society


A new computational method makes possible the rapid detection, precise and simple genomic rearrangements responsible for the onset and progression of tumors. This method, called SMUFIN (by Somatic Mutations Finder), It is capable of analyzing the complete genome of a tumor and detect their mutations within a few hours, and it also manages to locate alterations which so far remained hidden even with methods requiring the use of supercomputers for weeks.

The prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology publishes today a Article describing the characteristics of SMUFIN, that has been developed by the Group of genomic computational of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) who leads the Dr and Professor of ICREA David Torrents, in collaboration with research groups from the Hospital Clinic, the Institute for research in biomedicine August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS) de Barcelona, the Institute of Oncology of the University of Oviedo (OVIEDO, SPAIN), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory(EMBL, Heidelberg) and the National Center for Genomic analysis Barcelonarcelona).


A new way of analyzing genomes

One of the main innovations provided by SMUFIN is that it implies a radical change in the method of analysis of genomes. To date, the identification of mutations responsible for the appearance of tumors has involved the comparison of genomes extracted tumor genomes obtained from healthy cells from the same patient through a human reference genome that is used as a guide. This slow and complex process entails a substantial loss of information and makes it difficult to identify many types of relevant mutations to tumor. The analysis, In addition, It runs on different computer programs, each of which is capable of detecting only specific types of variations.

SMUFIN, on the other hand, make a direct comparison between the genome of healthy cells and tumor cells from a patient's own genome and located virtually all detectable mutations at the same time without having to resort to various programs. In this way the analysis is much faster and more complete.


Advances in the study of aggressive tumors

Article in Nature Biotechnology reflects as SMUFIN, In addition to speed and cheapen the analysis, It is capable of discovering genetic alterations in hard-to-detect aggressive tumors. Analysis by SMUFIN of two types of aggressive tumors, one blood (cell Lymphoma of nanto) and other nervous system (Pediatric medulloblastoma), It has allowed to find, for the first time and with a precision superior to the 90%, virtually all types of mutations in their genomes, including alterations in the Organization of the chromosomes that have remained hidden to the methods used to date. This is the necessary first step to be able to understand how they affect these chromosomal evolution and the aggressiveness of the tumor.


Boost to biomedical research

The characteristics of SMUFIN will enable a large number of research groups to study the genomes of their patients in a way that before was not them accessible. On the other hand, in the hands of supercomputing centers, SMUFIN will allow to detect mutations in hundreds and thousands of tumor genomes in a few days. In this sense, the BSC already participates in major global Genomics cancer initiative through the international consortium of the Cancer genome (ICGC) (, which aims to analyze the genomes of thousands of patients to study the genetic basis of the emergence and evolution of a large number of tumor types.


Boost to personalized medicine

SMUFIN is a firm and realistic step in the horizon of personalized medicine, that analysis of each patient's genome will facilitate its diagnosis more quickly and accurately, and it will allow the development and implementation of personalized treatments more effective and less aggressive than the current. While existing methods so far are complex, limited and require days or weeks for the complete analysis of a tumor genome,SMUFIN is a realistic option in the process of incorporating Genomic analysis to health system, Since it is capable of analyzing, in a few hours, a precise and technically simple tumor genome.


A development in the framework of the CLL and Severo Ochoa

SMUFIN began to develop in the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación, in the 2011, hand of genomics equipment which is part of the program set BSC-CRG-IRB (Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Centre de Regulació Genòmica and Institut de Recerca Biomedica Barcelona) of computational biology.

The development has occurred in two research environments in which participates the Center. One is the chronic lymphocytic leukemia genome project, of which are scientific directors Elías Campo (Hospital Clínic, IDIBAPS) and Carlos Lopez-Otin (University of Oviedo) and has as objective the study of leukemia through Genomic analysis of more of 500 patients. This development is also part of the national Severo Ochoa, with that the Barcelona Supercomputing Center drives, among others, the creation of bioinformatic tools capable of managing and analyzing large amounts of data necessary to enable biomedical personalized medicine.



On the BSC-CNS

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) It is the leading center of Supercomputing in Spain. His specialty is the high performance computing, also known as HPC (High Performance Computing). Its function is twofold: provide infrastructure and service in Supercomputing to the Spanish and European scientists, and generate knowledge and technology transfer to society.

The BSC-CNS is a center of excellence Severo Ochoa, Member of the first level of the PRACE European research infrastructure (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe) and it manages the Spanish network of Supercomputing (RES).


Para más información:

BSC: Gemma Ribas, / View.: +34 620 429 956

 [en línea] Barcelona (ESP):, 04 in December of 2014 [REF. 24 October of 2014] Available on Internet:http://about-bsc/press/bsc-in-the-media/un-nuevo-metodo-computacional-permite-analizar-los-cambios

Antidepressant use during pregnancy may lead to childhood obesity and diabetes

1 12 2014

Women who take antidepressants during pregnancy may be unknowingly predisposing their infants to type 2 Diabetes and obesity later in life, according to new research from McMaster University.

The study finds a correlation between the use of the medication fluoxetine during pregnancy and an increased risk of obesity and diabetes in children.

From left: PhD student Nicole De Long and Alison Holloway, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at McMaster University


Currently, up to 20 per cent of woman in the United States and approximately seven per cent of Canadian women are prescribed an antidepressant during pregnancy.

“Obesity and Type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise and there is the argument that it is related to lifestyle and availability of high calorie foods and reduced physical activity, but our study has found that maternal antidepressant use may also be a contributing factor to the obesity and diabetes epidemic,” said the study’ s senior investigator Alison Holloway, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at McMaster University.

Previous studies have found that pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to depression, and it is estimated that up to one in five pregnant women have symptoms of depression during pregnancy.

“While it is known that these drugs can increase the risk of obesity in adults, it is unknown whether a woman’ s antidepressant use during pregnancy increases the risk of metabolic disturbances in her children,” Holloway says, adding the goal of their project was to determine whether maternal exposure to a commonly used antidepressant is related to the development of fatty liver, an outcome commonly seen with obesity, in the offspring.

“We have demonstrated for the first time in an animal model that maternal use of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, resulted in increased fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver of the adult offspring, raising new concerns about the long-term metabolic complications in children born to women who take SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy,” says PhD student Nicole De Long, who presented this research on June 22nd at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and The Endocrine Society.

Their study does not suggest women should avoid taking antidepressants during pregnancy, only that there may be risks associated with antidepressants that haven’ t been previously identified, Holloway says.

“The benefit of the study is it may help in the identification of a high-risk group of children who may require specific interventions to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life,” she says.

The next stage of their research will be to understand the mechanistic pathways behind why these drugs pose a risk. “If we can understand how the antidepressant causes adverse metabolic outcomes in the offspring than we can design therapeutic strategies to prevent the damage while allowing women who require these drugs to be treated but reduce the potential harm to the offspring.”

Funding for this project was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Salary support was provided by the CIHR training program in Reproduction, Early Development and the Impact on Health. [en línea] Hamilton, ON (CAN):, 01 in December of 2014 [REF. 08 in July of 2014] Available on Internet: