Publications by authors named "Vincenzo Pavone"

111 Publications

GITMO REGISTRY STUDY ON ALLOGENEIC TRANSPLANTATION IN PATIENTS AGED OVER 60 FROM 2000 TO 2017. IMPROVEMENTS AND CRITICISMS.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Nov 21. Epub 2021 Nov 21.

Unit of Haematology and Stem Cell Transplant Centre, "San Camillo" Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Background: Nowadays, allogeneic stem cell transplantation (Allo-SCT) can be offered to patients up to the age of 70-72 years and represents one of the most effective curative treatments for many hematological malignancies.

Objectives: The primary objective of the study is to collect data from the allo-SCTs performed in Italy from 2000 to 2017 in patients over 60 years of age to evaluate the changes in safety and efficacy outcomes as well as their distribution and characteristics over time.

Study Design: The GITMO AlloEld study (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04469985) is a retrospective, analysis of the allo-SCTs performed 30 Italian transplant Centers on older patients (≥ 60 years) from 2000 to 2017 (n=1,996).

Results: For the purpose of analysis, patients were grouped into three time periods: time A: 2000-2005, n=256 (12%); time B: 2006-2011, n=584 (29%); and time C: 2012-2017, n=1156 (59%). After a median follow-up of 5.6 years, the 5-year Non Relapse Mortality (NRM) remained stable (time A: 32.8%; time B: 36.2%; and time C: 35.0%, p = 0.5); the Overall Survival (OS) improved (time A: 28.4%; time B: 31.8%; and time C: 37.3%, p = 0.012); and the Cumulative Incidence of Relapse (CIR) reduced (time A: 45.3%; time B: 38.2%; time C: 30.0%, p < 0.0001). The 2-year incidence of extensive cGVHD reduced significantly (time A: 17.2%; time B: 15.8%; and time C: 12.2%, p = 0.004). Considering times A and B together (2000-2011), the 2-year NRM was positively correlated to the HCT-CI score; patients with HCT-CI of 0, 1 or 2, or ≥3 had rates of NRM of 25.2%, 33.9%, and 36.1%, respectively, (p < 0.001). Meanwhile, after 2012, the HCT-CI score was not significantlly predictive of NRM.

Conclusions: The study shows that the transplant procedure in elderly patients became more effective over time. Relapse incidence remains the major problem and strategies to prevent it are under investigation (e.g. post-transplant maintenance). Today, the selection of patients aged over 60 could be improved by combining HCT-CI and frailty assessments to better predict NRM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.11.006DOI Listing
November 2021

Adjusted comparison between elotuzumab and carfilzomib in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone as salvage therapy for multiple myeloma patients.

Eur J Haematol 2021 Oct 30. Epub 2021 Oct 30.

Department of Hematology, Hospital Vito Fazzi, Lecce, Italy.

The lack of a randomized trial comparing carfilzomib (K) versus elotuzumab (Elo) associated with lenalidomide and dexamethasone (Rd) prompted us to assess the relative usefulness of one triplet over the other. Five independent retrospective cohorts of 883 relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) patients, including 300 EloRd and 583 KRd cases, outside clinical trials, entered this non-randomized comparison. KRd cohort accounted for a higher incidence of younger patients, cases with ≥3 lines of therapy, already exposed to lenalidomide, International Staging System (ISS) stage III, and abnormal lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) level compared with EloRd cohort. Moreover, cytogenetic risk categories, detected in roughly one-third of cases, were equally distributed between the two therapy arms. The probability of CR+VGPR response was significantly higher in KRd (n = 314, 53.9%) than in EloRd patients (n = 111, 37.0%). Likewise, the cumulative incidence function of CR+VGPR, taking into account the competitive risk of death, was significantly higher in KRd arm patients than those in the EloRd arm (p = .003). Moreover, KRd treatment significantly reduced the progression or death risk by 46% in an adjusted multivariate analysis (HR: 0.54, 95% CI 0.42-0.69, p < .0001). Finally, in an adjusted illness-progression/death model, the effect of KRd versus EloRd was of higher magnitude among those who achieved CR+VGPR (-39% hazard ratio reduction, p = .02) than among those who achieved < VGPR (-29% hazard ratio reduction, p = .007). With limitations characteristic to any retrospective analysis, this current clinical practice study's overall results demonstrated potential benefits of KRd therapy compared with EloRd. This observation may help the daily clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.13723DOI Listing
October 2021

Response-Adapted Postinduction Strategy in Patients With Advanced-Stage Follicular Lymphoma: The FOLL12 Study.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Oct 28:JCO2101234. Epub 2021 Oct 28.

ASST Spedali Civili di Brescia-Ematologia, Brescia, Italy.

Purpose: We compared 2 years of rituximab maintenance (RM) with a response-adapted postinduction approach in patients with follicular lymphoma who responded to induction immunochemotherapy.

Methods: We randomly assigned treatment-naïve, advanced-stage, high-tumor burden follicular lymphoma patients to receive standard RM or a response-adapted postinduction approach on the basis of metabolic response and molecular assessment of minimal residual disease (MRD). The experimental arm used three types of postinduction therapies: for complete metabolic response (CMR) and MRD-negative patients, observation; for CMR and MRD-positive (end of induction or follow-up) patients, four doses of rituximab (one per week, maximum three courses) until MRD-negative; and for non-CMR patients, one dose of ibritumomab tiuxetan followed by standard RM. The study was designed as noninferiority trial with progression-free survival (PFS) as the primary end point.

Results: Overall, 807 patients were randomly assigned. After a median follow-up of 53 months (range 1-92 months), patients in the standard arm had a significantly better PFS than those in the experimental arm (3-year PFS 86% 72%; < .001). The better PFS of the standard vs experimental arm was confirmed in all the study subgroups except non-CMR patients (n = 65; = .274). The 3-year overall survival was 98% (95% CI, 96 to 99) and 97% (95% CI, 95 to 99) in the reference and experimental arms, respectively ( = .238).

Conclusion: A metabolic and molecular response-adapted therapy as assessed in the FOLL12 study was associated with significantly inferior PFS compared with 2-year RM. The better efficacy of standard RM was confirmed in the subgroup analysis and particularly for patients achieving both CMR and MRD-negative.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.21.01234DOI Listing
October 2021

Brentuximab vedotin consolidation after autologous stem cell transplantation for Hodgkin lymphoma: A Fondazione Italiana Linfomi real-life experience.

Hematol Oncol 2021 Oct 25. Epub 2021 Oct 25.

Hematology Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

The standard management for relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) is salvage therapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). This strategy allows almost 50% of patients to be cured. Post-ASCT maintenance treatment with brentuximab vedotin (BV) confers improved progression-free survival (PFS) to cHL patients at high risk of relapse. We investigated the outcome of 105 cHL patients receiving post-ASCT BV maintenance in the real-life setting of 23 Italian hematology centers. This population included naïve patients and those previously exposed to BV. Median follow-up was 20 months. Patients presented a median of two lines of treatment pre-ASCT, with 51% receiving BV. Twenty-nine percent of patients had at least two high-risk factors (refractory disease, complete response [CR] less than 12 months, extranodal disease at relapse), while 16% presented none. At PET-CT, a Deauville score (DS) of 1-3 was reported in 75% and 78% of pre- and post-ASCT evaluations, respectively. Grade 3-4 adverse events (AEs), mainly peripheral neuropathy, were observed in 16% of patients. Three-year PFS and overall survival (OS) were 62% and 86%, respectively. According to BV exposure, 3-year PFS and OS were 54% and 71%, respectively, for naïve and 77% and 96%, respectively, for previously exposed patients. Refractory disease (hazard ratio [HR] 4.46; p = 0.003) and post-ASCT DS 4-5 (HR 3.14; p = 0.005) were the only two factors significantly associated with PFS reduction in multivariable analysis. Post-ASCT BV maintenance is an effective, safe treatment option for cHL naïve patients and those previously exposed to BV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2939DOI Listing
October 2021

Brentuximab Vedotin and Bendamustine Produce Long-Term Clinical Benefit in Patients With Relapsed or Refractory Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Multicenter Real-Life Experience.

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk 2021 Sep 29. Epub 2021 Sep 29.

Lymphoma service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Electronic address:

Background: Patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (R/R cHL) have limited opportunities for curative therapy. High-dose therapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (HDT-ASCT) produces cure rates of 50% to 60%. Patients relapsing after, or ineligible for HDT-ASCT have limited therapeutic options and long-term remission is uncommon. Furthermore, few patients are candidate to allogeneic stem cell transplantation (AlSCT), a potentially curative approach. The combination of brentuximab vedotin and bendamustine (BVB) is a promising treatment for patients with R/R cHL, regardless of SCT eligibility.

Patients And Methods: We conducted a real-life study of BVB in 41 patients with R/R cHL after failure of ≥ 1 therapy including ASCT, AlSCT, or BV.

Results: Among 40 patients evaluable for efficacy, the overall response rate and complete response (CR) rate were 75% and 50%, respectively. No significant differences were observed between patients with primary refractory and relapsed disease, previously treated with ≤ 2 and ≥ 3 lines of therapy, or BV-exposed and BV-naïve. After a median follow-up of 38 months, the median progression free survival (PFS) for the entire population is 26 months; PFS is not reached, 10.5 months, and 4 months for patients achieving CR, partial response and no response, respectively (P < .0001). BVB was well tolerated and no grade 4 toxicity or new safety signals were observed. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events were infections.

Conclusion: Our experience supports the efficacy and tolerability of the BVB combination in R/R cHL as a bridge to SCT, or as a definitive therapy for SCT-ineligible patients. Larger comparative studies testing BVB against standards of care are warranted in both settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clml.2021.09.018DOI Listing
September 2021

Role of radiotherapy to bulky sites of advanced Hodgkin lymphoma treated with ABVD: final results of FIL HD0801 trial.

Blood Adv 2021 11;5(21):4504-4514

IRCCS AOU di Bologna; and.

The role of consolidation radiotherapy (RT) for bulky lesions is controversial in patients with advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma who achieve complete metabolic response (CMR) after doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, dacarbazine (ABVD)-based chemotherapy. We present the final results of the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi HD0801 trial, which investigated the potential benefit of RT in that setting. In this phase 3 randomized study, patients with a bulky lesion at baseline (a mass with largest diameter ≥5 cm) who have CMR after 2 and 6 ABVD cycles were randomly assigned 1:1 to RT vs observation (OBS) with a primary endpoint of event-free survival (EFS) at 2 years. The sample size was calculated estimating an EFS improvement for RT of 20% (from 60% to 80%). The secondary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). One hundred sixteen patients met the inclusion criteria and were randomly assigned to RT or OBS. Intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis showed a 2-year EFS of 87.8% vs 85.8% for RT vs OBS (hazard ratio [HR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.6-3.5; P = .34). At 2 years, ITT-PFS was 91.3% vs 85.8% (HR, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.5-3; P = .7). Patients in CMR randomly assigned to OBS had a good outcome, and the primary end point of a 20% benefit in EFS for RT was not met. However, the sample size was underpowered to detect a benefit of 10% or less, keeping open the question of a potential, more limited role of RT in this setting. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00784537.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005150DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8579271PMC
November 2021

Adherence to ruxolitinib, an oral JAK1/2 inhibitor, in patients with myelofibrosis: interim analysis from an Italian, prospective cohort study (ROMEI).

Leuk Lymphoma 2021 Sep 15:1-10. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

Hematology, Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Azienda Policlinico Umberto I, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

ROMEI, a prospective, observational study in patients with myelofibrosis receiving the oral JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib in real-world practice, assesses treatment adherence based on the 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8). Here, we present MMAS-8 results at week 24. Overall, 101 of 188 evaluable patients completed the questionnaire at every visit (full completers). Mean (±standard deviation) total MMAS-8 scores remained stable from week 4 to week 24 in the overall population (7.54 ± 0.77 and 7.67 ± 0.70, respectively) and full completers (7.53 ± 0.79 and 7.67 ± 0.73, respectively). Rates of low (MMAS-8 ˂6) or medium (MMAS-8 ≥ 6 to ˂8) adherence were 25-40% and 26-36%, respectively. Fifty-five full completers (54%) reported ≥1 change in adherence category (improvement and/or worsening), most of which were associated with unintentional behavior. The data suggest that one-third of patients receiving ruxolitinib may be undertreated due to non-adherence, potentially undermining disease control, and indicate a need for better interventions addressing noncompliance to oral therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2021.1969388DOI Listing
September 2021

Unravelling the Structure of the Tetrahedral Metal-Binding Site in METP3 through an Experimental and Computational Approach.

Molecules 2021 Aug 28;26(17). Epub 2021 Aug 28.

Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Napoli Federico II, Via Cintia, 80126 Napoli, Italy.

Understanding the structural determinants for metal ion coordination in metalloproteins is a fundamental issue for designing metal binding sites with predetermined geometry and activity. In order to achieve this, we report in this paper the design, synthesis and metal binding properties of METP3, a homodimer made up of a small peptide, which self assembles in the presence of tetrahedrally coordinating metal ions. METP3 was obtained through a redesign approach, starting from the previously developed METP molecule. The undecapeptide sequence of METP, which dimerizes to house a Cys tetrahedral binding site, was redesigned in order to accommodate a CysHis site. The binding properties of METP3 were determined toward different metal ions. Successful assembly of METP3 with Co(II), Zn(II) and Cd(II), in the expected 2:1 stoichiometry and tetrahedral geometry was proven by UV-visible spectroscopy. CD measurements on both the free and metal-bound forms revealed that the metal coordination drives the peptide chain to fold into a turned conformation. Finally, NMR data of the Zn(II)-METP3 complex, together with a retrostructural analysis of the Cys-X-X-His motif in metalloproteins, allowed us to define the model structure. All the results establish the suitability of the short METP sequence for accommodating tetrahedral metal binding sites, regardless of the first coordination ligands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules26175221DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8434281PMC
August 2021

Clickable artificial heme-peroxidases for the development of functional nanomaterials.

Biotechnol Appl Biochem 2020 Jul 26;67(4):549-562. Epub 2020 Jun 26.

Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Napoli "Federico II," Via Cintia, Napoli, Italy.

Artificial metalloenzymes as catalysts are promising candidates for their use in different technologies, such as bioremediation, biomass transformation, or biosensing. Despite this, their practical exploitation is still at an early stage. Immobilized natural enzymes have been proposed to enhance their applicability. Immobilization may offer several advantages: (i) catalyst reuse; (ii) easy separation of the enzyme from the reaction medium; (iii) better tolerance to harsh temperature and pH conditions. Here, we report an easy immobilization procedure of an artificial peroxidase on different surfaces, by means of click chemistry. FeMC6*a, a recently developed peroxidase mimic, has been functionalized with a pegylated aza-dibenzocyclooctyne to afford a "clickable" biocatalyst, namely FeMC6*[email protected], which easily reacts with azide-functionalized molecules and/or nanomaterials to afford functional bioconjugates. The clicked biocatalyst retains its structural and, to some extent, its functional behaviors, thus housing high potential for biotechnological applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bab.1969DOI Listing
July 2020

Histidine orientation in artificial peroxidase regioisomers as determined by paramagnetic NMR shifts.

Chem Commun (Camb) 2021 Feb;57(8):990-993

Department of Chemical Sciences, University Federico II of Naples, Via Cintia 21, Naples, 80126, Italy.

Fe-Mimochrome VI*a is a synthetic peroxidase and peroxygenase, featuring two different peptides that are covalently-linked to deuteroheme. To perform a systematic structure/function correlation, we purposely shortened the distance between the distal peptide and the heme, allowing for the separation and characterization of two regioisomers. They differ in both His axial-ligand orientation, as determined by paramagnetic NMR shifts, and activity. These findings highlight that synthetic metalloenzymes may provide an efficient tool for disentangling the role of axial ligand orientation over peroxidase activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0cc06676aDOI Listing
February 2021

Carfilzomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma patients: the real-life experience of Rete Ematologica Pugliese (REP).

Ann Hematol 2021 Feb 7;100(2):429-436. Epub 2020 Nov 7.

Department of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Hospital Card. G. Panico, Via San Pio X, 73039, Tricase (LE), Italy.

Carfilzomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone (KRd) have been approved for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) based on ASPIRE clinical trial. However, its effectiveness and safety profile in real clinical practice should be further assessed. We retrospectively evaluated 130 consecutive RRMM patients treated with KRd between December 2015 and August 2018, in 9 Hematology Departments of Rete Ematologica Pugliese (REP). The overall response rate (ORR) was 79%, with 37% complete response (CR). Treatment with KRd led to an improvement in response regardless of age, refractory disease, and number and type of previous therapies. After a median follow-up of 18 months, median PFS was 24 months and 2y-PFS was 54%. PFS was longer in patients achieving a very good partial response (VGPR) with median PFS of 32.4 months. The relapses after prior autologous transplant (ASCT) positively impact median PFS. Several baseline disease characteristics, such as III ISS scoring or elevated LDH, and prior exposure to lenalidomide were found to negatively impact PFS. Primary refractory or relapsed myeloma patients have been treated with KRd as bridge to ASCT with a great benefit. Thirty-four (83%) reached at least a partial response after KRd and 21 (61%) performed ASCT. In transplanted patients, median PFS was not reached and 2y-PFS was 100%. The treatment discontinuation rate due to adverse events (AEs) was 18%, most commonly for lenalidomide (11%). Overall, in 10% of patients, a KRd dose reduction was necessary at least once (2.5% for carfilzomib and 8% for lenalidomide). The most frequent AE was neutropenia (44%) and anemia (41%). Infections occurred in 14% of patients. Cardiovascular events occurred in 11% of patients. Elderly patients have tolerated therapy very well, without additional side effects compared to younger patients, except for cardiac impairment. Our analysis confirmed that KRd is effective in RRMM patients. It is well tolerated and applicable to the majority of patients outside clinical trials. A longer PFS was shown in patients achieving VGPR, in those lenalidomide naïve and in patients relapsing after previous ASCT. Previous ASCT should not hamper the option for KRd therapy. Accordingly, KRd should be used as bridge regimen to ASCT with remarkable improvement in response and PFS rates. Further clinical studies are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-020-04329-3DOI Listing
February 2021

Pharmacokinetics of the Urokinase Receptor-Derived Peptide UPARANT After Single and Multiple Doses Administration in Rats.

Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet 2021 Jan;46(1):119-128

MIR (Medicinal Investigational Research), Biogem Research Institute, Ariano Irpino, Italy.

Background And Objectives: UPARANT has emerged as a novel therapeutic agent with the potential to treat ocular diseases as assessed by studies in animal models. Since limited information is available on the pharmacokinetics of UPARANT, the aim of this study is to evaluate its pharmacokinetics after single and multiple ascending dose (SAD and MAD) administration in rats.

Methods: Male (n = 27) and female (n = 27) Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into six groups (n = 9/sex/group). UPARANT was administered via subcutaneous injection as single (10, 50 or 100 mg/kg; day 1) and multiple (10, 50 or 100 mg/kg/day; 7 consecutive days; day 7) dosing. Blood samples were collected on day 1 (pre-dose, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8 and 24 h post dose) and day 7 (pre-dose, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 24, 48 and 192 h post dose). The plasma concentration of UPARANT was determined by a validated liquid chromatography mass spectrometry method.

Results: The plasma concentration-time profiles of UPARANT were similar in SAD and MAD administration in both male and female rats. The compound reached maximum plasma concentration (C) at 1-2 h with a slow apparent plasma clearance and a moderate apparent volume of distribution. Moreover, SAD administration revealed a non-proportional increase in C and in the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC), whereas a dose-proportional increase in AUC was shown after MAD administration. Regarding the extent of accumulation, the data suggest negligible accumulation of the compound after multiple administrations.

Conclusion: The pharmacokinetics of UPARANT were not sex-related, and there was negligible accumulation in plasma after 7 days of treatment. However, the compound exhibited no dose-proportional pharmacokinetics after single and multiple ascending subcutaneous dosing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13318-020-00654-0DOI Listing
January 2021

Gaining insight on mitigation of rubeosis iridis by UPARANT in a mouse model associated with proliferative retinopathy.

J Mol Med (Berl) 2020 11 17;98(11):1629-1638. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Eye and Vision, St Erik Eye Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Polhemsgatan 50, 112 82, Stockholm, Sweden.

Proliferative retinopathies (PR) lead to an increase in neovascularization and inflammation factors, at times culminating in pathologic rubeosis iridis (RI). In mice, uveal puncture combined with injection of hypoxia-conditioned media mimics RI associated with proliferative retinopathies. Here, we investigated the effects of the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) antagonist-UPARANT-on the angiogenic and inflammatory processes that are dysregulated in this model. In addition, the effects of UPARANT were compared with those of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapies. Administration of UPARANT promptly decreased iris vasculature, while anti-VEGF effects were slower and less pronounced. Immunoblot and qPCR analysis suggested that UPARANT acts predominantly by reducing the upregulated inflammatory and extracellular matrix degradation responses. UPARANT appears to be more effective in comparison to anti-VEGF in the treatment of RI associated with PR in the murine model, by modulating multiple uPAR-associated signaling pathways. Furthermore, UPARANT effectiveness was maintained when systemically administered, which could open to novel improved therapies for proliferative ocular diseases, particularly those associated with PR. KEY MESSAGES: • Further evidence of UPARANT effectiveness in normalizing pathological iris neovascularization. • Both systemic and local administration of UPARANT reduce iris neovascularization in a model associated with proliferative retinopathies. • In the mouse models of rubeosis iridis associated with proliferative retinopathy, UPARANT displays stronger effects when compared with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00109-020-01979-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7591405PMC
November 2020

Mimochrome, a metalloporphyrin-based catalytic Swiss knife†.

Biotechnol Appl Biochem 2020 Jul 19;67(4):495-515. Epub 2020 Jul 19.

Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Napoli "Federico II", Napoli, Italy.

Over the years, mimochromes, a class of miniaturized porphyrin-based metalloproteins, have proven to be reliable but still versatile scaffolds. After two decades from their birth, we retrospectively review our work in mimochrome design and engineering, which allowed us developing functional models. They act as electron-transfer miniproteins or more elaborate artificial metalloenzymes, endowed with peroxidase, peroxygenase, and hydrogenase activities. Mimochromes represent simple yet functional synthetic models that respond to metal ion replacement and noncovalent modulation of the environment, similarly to natural heme-proteins. More recently, we have demonstrated that the most active analogue retains its functionality when immobilized on nanomaterials and surfaces, thus affording bioconjugates, useful in sensing and catalysis. This review also briefly summarizes the most important contributions to heme-protein design from leading groups in the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bab.1985DOI Listing
July 2020

Second autologous stem cell transplantation for relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma after a previous autograft: a study of the lymphoma working party of the EBMT.

Leuk Lymphoma 2020 12 11;61(12):2915-2922. Epub 2020 Jul 11.

Department of Haematology, Institut Catala d'Oncologia, Hospital Duran I Reynals, Barcelona, Spain.

The purpose of this study was to analyze the results of second autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (ASCT2) for patients with relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) after a first transplantation (ASCT1). Outcomes for 56 patients receiving an ASCT2 registered in the EBMT database were analyzed. The 4-year cumulative incidences of non-relapse mortality and disease relapse/progression were 5% and 67%, respectively. The 4-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 62% and 28%. In univariate analysis, relapse of HL within 12 months of ASCT1 was associated with a worse OS (35% versus 76%,  = 0.01) and PFS (19% versus 29%,  = 0.059). Chemosensitivity at ASCT2 predicted better outcomes (4-year OS 72% versus 29%,  = 0.002; PFS 31% versus 12%,  = 0.015). This series shows that ASCT2 is a safe procedure and a relatively effective option for patients with late relapses after ASCT1 and with chemosensitive disease who are not eligible for an allogeneic transplant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2020.1789624DOI Listing
December 2020

Use of an Artificial Miniaturized Enzyme in Hydrogen Peroxide Detection by Chemiluminescence.

Sensors (Basel) 2020 Jul 6;20(13). Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples "Federico II". Via Cintia, 80126 Napoli, Italy.

Advanced oxidation processes represent a viable alternative in water reclamation for potable reuse. Sensing methods of hydrogen peroxide are, therefore, needed to test both process progress and final quality of the produced water. Several bio-based assays have been developed so far, mainly relying on peroxidase enzymes, which have the advantage of being fast, efficient, reusable, and environmentally safe. However, their production/purification and, most of all, batch-to-batch consistency may inherently prevent their standardization. Here, we provide evidence that a synthetic de novo miniaturized designed heme-enzyme, namely Mimochrome VI*a, can be proficiently used in hydrogen peroxide assays. Furthermore, a fast and automated assay has been developed by using a lab-bench microplate reader. Under the best working conditions, the assay showed a linear response in the 10.0-120 μM range, together with a second linearity range between 120 and 500 μM for higher hydrogen peroxide concentrations. The detection limit was 4.6 μM and quantitation limits for the two datasets were 15.5 and 186 μM, respectively. In perspective, Mimochrome VI*a could be used as an active biological sensing unit in different sensor configurations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/s20133793DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7374304PMC
July 2020

COVID-19 and pneumonia: a role for the uPA/uPAR system.

Drug Discov Today 2020 08 18;25(8):1528-1534. Epub 2020 Jun 18.

University of Naples 'Federico II', Department of Chemical Sciences, Complesso Universitario di Monte Sant'Angelo, Via Cintia 46, 80126 Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

Here, we highlight recent findings on the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA)/uPA receptor (uPAR) system that suggest its potential role as a main orchestrator of fatal progression to pulmonary, kidney, and heart failure in patients with coronavirus. Patients with prolonged background inflammation can present aberrant inflammatory reactions, well recognized as the main factors that can result in death and probably sustained by a dysregulated uPA/uPAR system. SuPAR, the soluble form of uPAR, represents a biomarker of disease progression, and its levels correlate well with comorbidities associated with the death of patients with coronavirus. New drugs that regulate the uPA/uPAR system could help treat the severe complications of highly pathogenic human coronaviruses (hCoVs), including pandemic coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2020.06.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7299864PMC
August 2020

Hodgkin's lymphoma: post- autologous transplantation consolidation therapy.

Acta Biomed 2020 05 25;91(S-5):23-29. Epub 2020 May 25.

Onco-Hematology Division, IEO, European Institute of Oncology, IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

A first-line chemotherapy program based on the ABVD regimen is currently considered the golden standard by most hematologists, being able to achieve a cure without any need of subsequent therapies in >70% of patients with advanced-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL). To increase this percentage, efforts in recent decades focused on the development of new therapeutic strategies. A first major effort was the introduction of the BEACOPP chemotherapy regimen, which is able to increase the response rate and to reduce the need of salvage therapies. However, this result did not demonstrate an advantage in terms of overall survival compared to ABVD, mainly due to an excess of non lymphoma-related events in the follow-up phase. Here we describe three clinical cases of young HL patients who had relapsed/refractory disease after the induction chemotherapy. These three clinical cases provide practical and real world evidence in favor of the use of BV in monotherapy as consolidation treatment after autologous stem cells transplantation in patients with relapsed/refractory HL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23750/abm.v91iS-5.9914DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7944651PMC
May 2020

The classic prognostic factors in advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma patients are losing their meaning at the time of Pet-guided treatments.

Ann Hematol 2020 Feb 23;99(2):277-282. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

Policlinico S.Orsola-Malpighi, Istituto di Ematologia "Seragnoli", Bologna, Italy.

The International Prognostic Score (IPS) is the most commonly used risk stratification tool for patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). It incorporates seven clinical parameters independently associated with a poorer outcome: male sex, age, stage IV, hemoglobin level, white blood cell and lymphocyte counts, and albumin level. Since the development of the IPS, there have been significant advances in therapy and supportive care. Recent studies suggest that the IPS is less discriminating due to improved outcomes with ABVD therapy. The aim of the present study was to asses if classic prognostic factors maintain their prognostic meaning at the time of response-adapted treatment based on interim PET scans. We evaluated the prognostic significance of IPS in the 520 advanced stage HL patients enrolled in the PET-guided, HD0801 trial in which PET2-positive patients underwent a more intense treatment with an early stem-cell transplantation after 2 cycles of ABVD. We observed that in these patients, the IPS completely loses its prognostic value together with all the single parameters that contribute to the IPS. Furthermore, neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, and the ratio among them also no longer had any predictive value. We believe that the substantial improvement in survival outcomes in PET2-positive patients treated with early autologous transplantation could explain the complete disappearance of the residual prognostic significance of the IPS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-019-03893-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6976582PMC
February 2020

Every-other-day palonosetron plus aprepitant for prevention of emesis following induction chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia: A randomized, controlled study from the "Rete Ematologica Pugliese".

Cancer Med 2020 01 14;9(1):170-178. Epub 2019 Nov 14.

Hematology Unit, Casa di Cura La Maddalena, Palermo, Italy.

Background: Compared with older 5-HT receptor antagonists, palonosetron requires fewer drug administrations to prevent chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) following multiple-day chemotherapy. We conducted a phase II multicenter study comparing palonosetron plus aprepitant to palonosetron alone in patients undergoing a range of induction chemotherapy regimens for acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Methods: Patients were randomized to palonosetron (0.25 mg) every other day until the last dose of chemotherapy alone or with aprepitant on days 1-3. Patients mainly received an anthracycline on days 1-3 plus cytarabine administered for 5-10 days. The primary end point was complete response (CR; no emesis and no rescue medication) over the whole study period (days of chemotherapy plus two additional days). Unplanned analysis of time to anti-emetic treatment failure (TTF) was also performed.

Results: Of the 134 patients enrolled in the study, 130 were evaluable: 68 subjects received palonosetron plus aprepitant and 62 received palonosetron alone. Although the primary end point of CR was similar between the treatment arms (72% vs 69%; P = .55), a higher proportion of patients treated with palonosetron plus aprepitant were free from nausea during the whole study period (43% vs 27%; P = .03). There was also a significant difference in favor of the two-drug regimens in TTF (median: 5 days vs 3 days; P = .03).

Conclusions: The study suggests that every-other-day palonosetron plus 3-day aprepitant can add clinical benefit to the control of CINV caused by multiple-day, corticosteroid-free chemotherapy for AML. In this challenging setting of CINV, further investigations of palonosetron in combination with aprepitant administered with an expanded schedule are warranted. ClinicalTrial.gov identifier: NCT02205164.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.2628DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6943081PMC
January 2020

Lenalidomide-based induction and maintenance in elderly newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients: updated results of the EMN01 randomized trial.

Haematologica 2020 07 3;105(7):1937-1947. Epub 2019 Oct 3.

Myeloma Unit, Division of Hematology, University of Torino, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Torino, Italy.

n the EMN01 trial, the addition of an alkylator (melphalan or cyclophosphamide) to lenalidomide-steroid induction therapy was prospectively evaluated in transplant-ineligible patients with multiple myeloma. After induction, patients were randomly assigned to maintenance treatment with lenalidomide alone or with prednisone continuously. The analysis presented here (median follow-up of 71 months) is focused on maintenance treatment and on subgroup analyses defined according to the International Myeloma Working Group Frailty Score. Of the 654 evaluable patients, 217 were in the lenalidomide-dexamethasone arm, 217 in the melphalan-prednisone-lenalidomide arm and 220 in the cyclophosphamide-prednisone-lenalidomide arm. With regards to the Frailty Score, 284 (43%) patients were fit, 205 (31%) were intermediate-fit and 165 (25%) were frail. After induction, 402 patients were eligible for maintenance therapy (lenalidomide arm, n=204; lenalidomide-prednisone arm, n=198). After a median duration of maintenance of 22.0 months, progression-free survival from the start of maintenance was 22.2 months with lenalidomide-prednisone 18.6 months with lenalidomide (hazard ratio 0.85, =0.14), with no differences across frailty subgroups. The most frequent grade ≥3 toxicity was neutropenia (10% of lenalidomide-prednisone and 21% of lenalidomide patients; =0.001). Grade ≥3 non-hematologic adverse events were rare (<15%). In fit patients, melphalan-prednisone-lenalidomide significantly prolonged progression-free survival compared to cyclophosphamide-prednisone-lenalidomide (hazard ratio 0.72, =0.05) and lenalidomide-dexamethasone (hazard ratio 0.72, =0.04). Likewise, a trend towards a better overall survival was noted for patients treated with melphalan-prednisone-lenalidomide or cyclophosphamide-prednisone-lenalidomide, as compared to lenalidomide-dexamethasone. No differences were observed in intermediate-fit and frail patients. This analysis showed positive outcomes of maintenance with lenalidomide-based regimens, with a good safety profile. For the first time, we showed that fit patients benefit from a full-dose triplet regimen, while intermediate-fit and frail patients benefit from gentler regimens. ClinicalTrials.gov registration number: NCT01093196.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.226407DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7327625PMC
July 2020

The uPAR System as a Potential Therapeutic Target in the Diseased Eye.

Cells 2019 08 18;8(8). Epub 2019 Aug 18.

Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, 56127 Pisa, Italy.

Dysregulation of vascular networks is characteristic of eye diseases associated with retinal cell degeneration and visual loss. Visual impairment is also the consequence of photoreceptor degeneration in inherited eye diseases with a major inflammatory component, but without angiogenic profile. Among the pathways with high impact on vascular/degenerative diseases of the eye, a central role is played by a system formed by the ligand urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor uPAR. The uPAR system, although extensively investigated in tumors, still remains a key issue in vascular diseases of the eye and even less studied in inherited retinal pathologies such as retinitis pigmantosa (RP). Its spectrum of action has been extended far beyond a classical pro-angiogenic function and has emerged as a central actor in inflammation. Preclinical studies in more prevalent eye diseases characterized by neovascular formation, as in retinopathy of prematurity, wet macular degeneration and rubeosis iridis or vasopermeability excess as in diabetic retinopathy, suggest a critical role of increased uPAR signaling indicating the potentiality of its modulation to counteract neovessel formation and microvascular dysfunction. The additional observation that the uPAR system plays a major role in RP by limiting the inflammatory cascade triggered by rod degeneration rises further questions about its role in the diseased eye.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells8080925DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6721659PMC
August 2019

Engineering Metalloprotein Functions in Designed and Native Scaffolds.

Trends Biochem Sci 2019 12 13;44(12):1022-1040. Epub 2019 Jul 13.

Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Napoli 'Federico II', Via Cintia, I-80126 Napoli, Italy. Electronic address:

Metalloproteins are crucial for life. The mutual relationship between metal ions and proteins makes metalloproteins able to accomplish key processes in biological systems, often very difficult to reproduce with inorganic coordination compounds under mild conditions. Taking inspiration from nature, many efforts have been devoted to developing artificial molecules as metalloprotein mimics. We have witnessed an explosion of protein design strategies leading to designed metalloproteins, ranging from stable structures to functional molecules. This review illustrates the most recent results for inserting metalloprotein functions in designed and engineered protein scaffolds. The selected examples highlight the potential of different approaches for the construction of artificial molecules capable of simulating and even overcoming the features of natural metalloproteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tibs.2019.06.006DOI Listing
December 2019

Corrigendum to "Oocyte provision as a (quasi) social market: Insights from Spain" [Soc. Sci. Med. 234 (2019) 112381].

Soc Sci Med 2019 Aug 13;235:112402. Epub 2019 Jul 13.

Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), C\ Albasanz 26-28, 28037, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112402DOI Listing
August 2019

Tandem Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation Improves Outcomes in Newly Diagnosed Multiple Myeloma with Extramedullary Disease and High-Risk Cytogenetics: A Study from the Chronic Malignancies Working Party of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2019 11 6;25(11):2134-2142. Epub 2019 Jul 6.

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. Electronic address:

Although high-dose therapy and autologous stem cell transplant combined with novel agents continues to be the hallmark of first-line treatment in newly diagnosed transplant-eligible multiple myeloma patients, the impact of tandem autologous or autologous/reduced-intensity allogeneic transplant for patients with extramedullary disease (EMD) and high-risk cytogenetics is not yet defined. Here, we analyzed clinical and cytogenetic data from 488 adult myeloma patients with EMD undergoing single autologous (n = 373), tandem autologous (n = 84), or autologous-allogeneic transplant (n = 31) between 2003 and 2015. At least 1 high-risk abnormality was present in 41% (n = 202), with del(17p) (40%) and t(4;14) (45%) the most frequent. More than 1 high-risk abnormality was found in 54%. High-risk cytogenetics showed worse 4-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) of 54% and 29%, respectively, versus 78% and 49% for standard-risk cytogenetics (P < .001). Co-segregation of high-risk abnormalities did not seem to affect outcome. Regarding transplant regimen, OS and PFS were 70% and 43% for single autologous versus 83% and 52% for tandem autologous and 88% and 58% for autologous-allogeneic (P = .06 and P = .30). In multivariate analysis high-risk cytogenetics were associated with worse survival (hazard ratio [HR], 2.00; P = .003), whereas tandem autologous significantly improved outcome versus single autologous transplant (HRs, .46 and .64; P = .02 and P = .03). Autologous-allogeneic transplant did not significantly differ in outcome but appeared to improve survival, but results were limited because of small population (HR, .31). In conclusion, high-risk cytogenetics is frequently observed in newly diagnosed myeloma with EMD and significantly worsens outcome after single autologous, whereas a tandem autologous transplant strategy may overcome onset poor prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2019.07.004DOI Listing
November 2019

Bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine combined with nonpegylated liposomal doxorubicin (MBVD) in elderly (≥70 years) or cardiopathic patients with Hodgkin lymphoma: a phase-II study from Fondazione Italiana Linfomi (FIL).

Leuk Lymphoma 2019 12 8;60(12):2890-2898. Epub 2019 Jul 8.

Hematology Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale IRCCS, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

This phase-II study assessed activity and toxicity of substituting conventional doxorubicin with nonpegylated liposomal doxorubicin in the conventional ABVD regimen for the treatment of elderly or cardiopathic patients with HL. Stage I-IIA and IIB-IV patients were treated with three courses of MBVD plus radiotherapy, or six courses of MBVD, respectively, plus radiotherapy limited to bulky or residual disease areas. The primary endpoints were CR rate and the rate of cardiac events. Forty-seven patients were enrolled. Median age was 75 years, 13 had stage I-II disease. Overall, CR was achieved by 36 patients (77%, 95% CI: 62-88), 100% and 68% in stage I-II and III-IV, respectively. With a median follow-up of 40 months (IQR: 36-45). Three-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 70% and 43%, respectively. Cardiac events grades 3-5 were reported in two patients. In conclusion, MBVD's activity and safety profile was comparable to historical ABVD data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2019.1608529DOI Listing
December 2019

Oocyte provision as a (quasi) social market: Insights from Spain.

Soc Sci Med 2019 08 21;234:112381. Epub 2019 Jun 21.

Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), C\ Albasanz 26-28, 28037 Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:

The provision of oocytes plays an important role in human fertility treatments. Spain alone performs half of oocyte provision cycles in the European Union whilst all other European countries face an oocyte shortage. How do Spanish fertility clinics manage to match the increasing domestic and foreign demand for female oocytes? Adopting a weak performativity approach and drawing insights from interviews carried out with 20 fertility clinic representatives, this study suggests that Spanish clinics are successful thanks to an egg provision system designed as a (quasi) social market. In the absence of traditional market mechanisms based on price fluctuations, the combination of fixed monetary compensation for providers and altruistic framing of oocyte provision as an act of donation, are used to mobilize relatively high numbers of women. Fertility clinics optimize this supply through a set of supplementary strategies to ensure oocyte supply always meets oocyte demand. Though successful, this market design reinforces gender stereotypes and relies on manipulative notions of altruism. A clear but unacknowledged appropriation of women's bodies and reproductive labour are also operated, which reinforces and reproduces racial and social stratifications. Therefore, we ask whether alternative mechanisms to promote female solidarity across different generations, to raise awareness of the risks of advanced maternal age, and to explore alternative market designs should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112381DOI Listing
August 2019

The urokinase-type plasminogen activator system as drug target in retinitis pigmentosa: New pre-clinical evidence in the rd10 mouse model.

J Cell Mol Med 2019 08 28;23(8):5176-5192. Epub 2019 Jun 28.

Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is characterized by progressive loss of vision due to photoreceptor degeneration leading to secondary inflammation. The urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) system contributes to retinal inflammation, but its role in RP is unknown. In the rd10 mouse model of RP, we addressed this question with the use of the peptide UPARANT designed to interact with the uPA system. UPARANT was systemically administered from post-natal day (PD) 10 to PD30 when its efficacy in RP rescue was investigated using electroretinographic recordings, Western blot and immunocytochemistry. Temporal profile of protein expression in the uPA system was also investigated. UPARANT reduced both Müller cell gliosis and up-regulated levels of inflammatory markers and exerted major anti-apoptotic effects without influencing the autophagy cascade. Rescue from retinal cell degeneration was accompanied by improved retinal function. No scotopic phototransduction was rescued in the UPARANT-treated animals as determined by the kinetic analysis of rod-mediated a-waves and confirmed by rod photoreceptor markers. In contrast, the cone photopic b-wave was recovered and its rescue was confirmed in the whole mounts using cone arrestin antibody. Investigation of the uPA system regulation over RP progression revealed extremely low levels of uPA and its receptor uPAR both of which were recovered by HIF-1α stabilization indicating that HIF-1 regulates the expression of the uPA/uPAR gene in the retina. Ameliorative effects of UPARANT were likely to occur through an inhibitory action on up-regulated activity of the αvβ3 integrin/Rac1 pathway that was suggested as a novel target for the development of therapeutic approaches against RP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.14391DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6653070PMC
August 2019
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