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Browsing by master's degree program "Magisterprogrammet i farmaceutisk forskning, utveckling och säkerhet"

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  • Juntunen, Maiju (2020)
    Cancer immunotherapy refers to therapy strategies that utilise the mechanisms of the immune system to treat cancer patients. The benefits of the approach include the possibility for specific targeting and utilisation of the host immune system. The treatment methods include cancer vaccines, oncolytic viruses (OVs), cell-based immunotherapies and antibodies. The interplay between the cancer and the immune system has been observed crucial for the progress of the cancer and the success of immunotherapies. An immune inflamed tumour microenvironment has been observed beneficial for the success of several therapy methods. Many immunotherapy methods rely on detecting tumour specific antigens that are used to guide the therapy agent to the target site. This strategy poses challenges when considering tumour immune evasion mechanisms, which can cause downregulation of target antigens, and heterogeneity of tumour cells and patients. OVs have the advantage of not requiring predetermined target structures to exert their effect to the tumour cells. They cause direct tumour cell lysis and induce immune responses, and may be modified to express additional genes, including immunostimulatory agents. However, virus-related immunosuppressive mechanisms and a rapid viral clearance may limit their effects. A Western Reserve (WR) Vaccinia virus (VACV) is a highly oncolytic virus strain but the virus has been observed to suppress the function of the cyclic guanosine monophosphate adenosine monophosphate synthase – stimulator of interferon genes (cGAS STING) innate immune pathway which has been shown to have a significant role in anti-tumour immune responses. The aim of this study was to create a WR VACV encoding a dominantly active (D A) STING and to determine whether the virus is capable of activating the cGAS STING pathway. The effects were compared to a corresponding virus vvdd tdTomato that does not have the STING encoding gene. The pathogenicity of viruses was controlled by a double deletion of the thymidine kinase and vaccinia growth factor genes which restricts the virus replication to tumour cells. Transgene fragments were cloned from template plasmids by polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) and joined together in a Gibson Assembly (GA) reaction to form a STING-P2A-eGFP gene insert. The insert was attached to a shuttle vector pSC65-tdTomato by restriction enzyme digestion, ligation and transformation in Escherichia coli. The correct transgene plasmid construct was verified by Sanger sequencing and PCRs. The transgene was inserted to a modified WR VACV vvdd-tdTomato-hDAI by a homologous recombination. The newly created VVdd STING-P2A-eGFP virus was purified by plaque purification. The STING protein expression was studied by an immunocytochemistry (ICC) assay. The immune signalling pathway activation was examined by testing nuclear factor kappa-light chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) activation in RAW-Blue cells and dendritic cell activation and maturation in JAWS II cells. The cell viability after iinfection was studied with four cell lines; A549, B16-F10, HEK293 and MB49. The D-A STING expressing virus was produced successfully. The ICC experiment verified the capability of the VVdd STING-P2A eGFP to produce the STING protein in the infected cells. The preliminary findings indicate that the VVdd STING-P2A-eGFP virus activates the NF-κB signalling in the RAW-Blue cells and that the activation is dependent on the STING expression. The activation level is relative to the infection concentration at MOI range 0,001 to 0,1. The findings suggest that the VVdd-STING-eGFP virus can induce innate immune signalling via the STING pathway. The reference virus did not activate the signalling. The in vitro experiments also indicated that the STING virus may induce DC activation and maturation. We observed a trend of CD86 and CD40 expression upregulation on the JAWS II DCs. The effects to the cell viability were inconclusive. More studies should be conducted to verify the results. The effects of the virus should be studied in more advanced cancer models that take into account the complexity of the immune system. These preliminary results indicate the that the VVdd-STING-P2A-eGFP virus could stimulate the immune signalling through the STING pathway.
  • Parviainen, Heli (2020)
    Statins are a commonly used group of drugs that reduce the cholesterol levels in blood and have been shown to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, a considerable percentage of patients experience adverse effects during statin treatment. Statin adverse effects have been associated with genetic polymorphisms and drug-drug interactions that affect the elimination and active transport of these drugs. A more comprehensive knowledge of statin metabolism may be a step towards better management of statin treatments. Statin metabolism both in vivo and in vitro has been subject of study for years. In vitro incubation conditions may considerably affect the observed clearance, and results obtained with different methods or in different laboratories may not be directly comparable to each other. No single in vitro study on a wide panel of statins has previously been conducted. Six statins and some of their metabolites, fourteen compounds in total, were included in the study. The intrinsic clearance (CLint) of these molecules was investigated in vitro on human liver microsomes (HLM) and a panel of eleven cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes recombinantly expressed in E. coli. Observed CLint values for each compound in HLM and for each compound-CYP pair with observed depletion were calculated. The percentual contributions of each CYP enzyme to the metabolism of the compounds was calculated. The results obtained with recombinant CYP enzymes (rcCYP) were complemented with studies on HLM with specific chemical inhibitors of CYP enzymes. In this study the metabolism of statin lactones seemed to be faster than the metabolism of the corresponding statin acids. Atorvastatin lactone, 2-hydroxy atorvastatin lactone, 4-hydroxy atorvastatin lactone and simvastatin were extensively metabolized. Atorvastatin, 2-hydroxy atorvastatin, 3R,5S-fluvastatin, 3S,5R-fluvastatin, pitavastatin lactone and simvastatin acid showed intermediate metabolism. 4-hydroxy atorvastatin, pitavastatin, pravastatin and rosuvastatin rates of metabolism were below quantification limit. CYP3A4 had a major role in the metabolism of atorvastatin and its metabolites, simvastatin and simvastatin acid. CYP3A4 also had activity towards pitavastatin lactone. CYP2C9 had a high activity towards both 3R,5S-fluvastatin and 3S,5R-fluvastatin. CYP2D6 may play a part in the metabolism of pitavastatin lactone. CYP2C8 may have some activity towards simvastatin and simvastatin acid. The data is mostly in agreement with previous in vitro and in vivo studies regarding both the metabolism rate of statins and the contributions by different CYP enzymes to the metabolism of statins. Due to the screening nature of the study and some methodological constraints, these data should be considered as preliminary and require confirmation in further studies.
  • Eriksson, Veronica (2020)
    Migraine was ranked as the second largest cause of disability in 2016 in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. People with migraine have a greater disability and a lower health-related quality of life than those of the general population. Many migraine patients experience functional and emotional impairment due to their disease. Migraine can limit their daily activities and impact their private, professional and social life. Migraine affects the patient also in between the attacks and can impact their education, career and their family and loved ones. Comorbid diseases and failed treatment lines add to the burden of migraine. Furthermore, migraine also imposes an economic burden. Stigma is described as the hidden burden of disease. Chronic migraine patients have been found to have higher stigma than episodic migraine patients. Even though migraine is one of the most common disabling headache disorders, it is still both under-recognised, under-diagnosed and under-treated. The objectives of this study were to determine the extent of the burden and the stigma of migraine in adult Finnish migraine patients. This study aimed to produce comprehensive and current information about migraine and its severity in Finland, highlighting the burden it poses on the migraine patients as well as on society. Migraine is most prevalent among the working aged population, which increases the societal burden of the disease. This study was conducted as a cross-sectional electronic survey amongst adult Finnish migraine patients. The participants were contacted through the Finnish Migraine Patient Advocacy Group. The questionnaire consisted of the already existing and validated Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS) Questionnaire and of measures developed by the author. The final data consisted of 608 responses. Of all respondents with 8 or more headache days a month, over 90% were categorised in the severe disability group (MIDAS grade IV), thus having similar disability to those with 15 or more headache days a month (i.e. respondents with probable chronic migraine). The proportion of respondents with severe disability (MIDAS grade IV) was greater in the present study (65.0%) than in a study conducted in Finland in 2000 (47%), indicating that migraine disability in Finland might have become more severe during the past two decades. The mean level of headache pain in the present study was 6.2 (on a scale of 0-10) and pain was the aspect that most respondents viewed as the worst aspect of migraine. This highlights the importance of proper pain management in migraine care. Many of the respondents were also at risk for medication overuse, which highlights the importance of monitoring medication use and informing the patients about possible risks. Stress was reported as the most common migraine trigger, and reducing stress at the workplace was also reported as the most important way of how migraine could better be managed at the workplace. Almost half (44.4%) of all respondents felt stigmatised due to their migraine. Reasons for this stigma and suggested solutions on how to reduce/manage the stigma were quite similar. The ignorance of others was the most reported reason for their migraine stigma, and increasing awareness and correct information about migraine was the most reported way of reducing the stigma. Many of the respondents had faced, due to their migraine, belittlement at work, from family and friend and from healthcare professionals. Facing belittlement from healthcare professionals was reported to have happened often by 11.5% and sometimes by 34.7% of all respondents. Of all respondents, 55.6% worried often and 29.8% worried sometimes about the onset of the next migraine attack. The majority of the respondents had severe disability based on their MIDAS grades. Many other aspect of the burden were reported as well, inculding stigma, reported by almost half of the respondents. Further and future studies need to be conducted to get an even better understanding of the burden and stigma of migraine experienced by adult Finnish migraine patients. This includes further and more intricate quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data from this study, as´well as studies with new perspectives based on the results found in this study.