Special Issue "Research Topics in Medicines and How Our Board Members Are Engaged in Them"

A special issue of Medicines (ISSN 2305-6320).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Sakagami
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Meikai University Research Institute of Odontology (M-RIO), 1-1 Keyakidai, Sakado, Saitama 350-0283, Japan
Interests: informatics; information network; pharmacy; biological pharmacy; basic medicine; general pharmacology; boundary medicine; laboratory medicine; dentistry
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues:

The field of medicine is diverse and developing rapidly. Knowing the whole picture is necessary for future intellectuals. Medicines is a key journal that publishes information on drug development, mechanisms of action, and therapeutic effects.

In this Special Issue, the editorial committee will introduce the latest trends in medicines and their position and highlight the issues that must be addressed urgently.

Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Sakagami
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

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Article
Analgesic Efficacy of a Combination of Fentanyl and a Japanese Herbal Medicine “Yokukansan” in Rats with Acute Inflammatory Pain
Medicines 2020, 7(12), 75; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7120075 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1764
Abstract
Background: Fentanyl can induce acute opioid tolerance and postoperative hyperalgesia when administered at a single high dose; thus, this study examined the analgesic efficacy of a combination of fentanyl and Yokukansan (YKS). Methods: Rats were divided into control, formalin-injected (FOR), YKS-treated+FOR (YKS), fentanyl-treated+FOR [...] Read more.
Background: Fentanyl can induce acute opioid tolerance and postoperative hyperalgesia when administered at a single high dose; thus, this study examined the analgesic efficacy of a combination of fentanyl and Yokukansan (YKS). Methods: Rats were divided into control, formalin-injected (FOR), YKS-treated+FOR (YKS), fentanyl-treated+FOR (FEN), and YKS+FEN+FOR (YKS+FEN) groups. Acute pain was induced via subcutaneous injection of formalin into the paw. The time engaged in pain-related behavior was measured. Results: In the early (0–10 min) and intermediate (10–20 min) phases, pain-related behavior in the YKS+FEN group was significantly inhibited compared with the FOR group. In the late phase (20–60 min), pain-related behavior in the FEN group was the longest and significantly increased compared with the YKS group. We explored the influence on the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway in the spinal cord, and YKS suppressed the phosphorylated ERK expression, which may be related to the analgesic effect of YKS in the late phase. Conclusions: These findings suggest that YKS could reduce the use of fentanyl and combined use of YKS and fentanyl is considered clinically useful. Full article
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Article
Preventive Effect of the Japanese Traditional Herbal Medicine Boiogito on Posttraumatic Osteoarthritis in Rats
Medicines 2020, 7(12), 74; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7120074 - 04 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2395
Abstract
Background: Considering the anti-inflammatory properties of the Japanese traditional Kampo medicine Boiogito (BO), we aimed to investigate the therapeutic effect of BO to prevent the development of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) in rats with surgically induced KOA. Methods: Destabilization of the medial meniscus (DMM) [...] Read more.
Background: Considering the anti-inflammatory properties of the Japanese traditional Kampo medicine Boiogito (BO), we aimed to investigate the therapeutic effect of BO to prevent the development of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) in rats with surgically induced KOA. Methods: Destabilization of the medial meniscus (DMM) was performed to induce osteoarthritis in the right knees of 12-week-old Wistar rats under general anesthesia. The rats were orally administered 3% BO in standard powder chow for 4 weeks after surgery (controls: n = 6; sham group: n = 6; DMM group: n = 5; DMM + BO group: n = 5). During this period, the rotarod test was performed to monitor locomotive function. After 4 weeks, histological assessment was performed on the right knee. Results: Oral administration of BO improved locomotive function in the rotarod test. Walking time on postoperative days 1, 14, or later was significantly longer in the DMM + BO group than in the DMM group. Histologically, the DMM group showed significant progression of KOA, which, in the DMM + BO group, was strongly suppressed, as assessed by the Osteoarthritis Research Society International score. Conclusions: Our results showed that oral administration of BO had a clinically preventive effect on early stage posttraumatic KOA. Full article
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Article
Quantification of the Ability of Natural Products to Prevent Herpes Virus Infection
Medicines 2020, 7(10), 64; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7100064 - 06 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2077
Abstract
Background: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is usually dormant and becomes apparent when body conditions decline. We investigated the anti-HSV activity of various natural and synthetic compounds for future clinical application. Methods: Mock- and HSV-infected Vero cells were treated for three days with various [...] Read more.
Background: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is usually dormant and becomes apparent when body conditions decline. We investigated the anti-HSV activity of various natural and synthetic compounds for future clinical application. Methods: Mock- and HSV-infected Vero cells were treated for three days with various concentrations of samples. For short exposure, 100-fold concentrated virus were preincubated for 3 min with samples, diluted to normal multiplicity of infection (MOI), before the addition to the cells. Anti-HSV activity was evaluated by the chemotherapy index. Results: Alkaline extracts of the leaves of Sasa sp. (SE) and pine cone (PCE) showed higher anti-HSV activity than 20 Japanese traditional herb medicines (Kampo formulas), four popular polyphenols, and 119 chromone-related compounds. Exposure of HSV to SE or PCE for 3 min almost completely eliminated the infectivity of HSV, whereas much longer exposure time was required for Kakkonto, the most active Kampo formulae. Anti-HSV activity of PCE and Kakkonto could be detected only when they were dissolved by alkaline solution (pH 8.0), but not by neutral buffer (pH 7.4). Anti-HSV activity of SE and povidone iodine was stable if they were diluted with neutral buffer. Conclusions: The present study suggests the applicability of SE and PCE for treatment of oral HSV and possibly other viruses. Full article
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Article
Comorbidities Associated with Granuloma Annulare: A Cross-Sectional, Case-Control Study
Medicines 2020, 7(9), 53; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7090053 - 28 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2100
Abstract
Background: Granuloma annulare (GA) is a cutaneous granulomatous disorder of unknown etiology. There are conflicting data on the association between GA and multiple systemic conditions. As a result, we aimed to clarify the reported associations between GA and systemic conditions. Methods: A retrospective, [...] Read more.
Background: Granuloma annulare (GA) is a cutaneous granulomatous disorder of unknown etiology. There are conflicting data on the association between GA and multiple systemic conditions. As a result, we aimed to clarify the reported associations between GA and systemic conditions. Methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional, case-control study was performed in which the medical records of biopsy-confirmed GA patients ≥18 years of age, who presented to the Johns Hopkins Hospital System between 1 January 2009 and 1 June 2019, were reviewed. GA patients were compared to controls matched for age, race, and sex. Results: After adjusting for confounders, GA patients (n = 82) had higher odds of concurrent type II diabetes (odds ratio (OR) = 5.27; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.73–16.07; p < 0.01), non-migraine headache (OR = 8.70; 95% CI, 1.61–46.88; p = 0.01), and a positive smoking history (OR = 1.93; 95% CI, 1.10–3.38; p = 0.02) compared to controls (n = 164). Among GA patients, women were more likely to have ophthalmic conditions (p = 0.04), and men were more likely to have cardiovascular disease (p < 0.01) and type II diabetes (p = 0.05). No differences in systemic condition associations were observed among GA subtypes. Conclusions: Our results support the reported association between GA and type II diabetes. Furthermore, our findings indicate that GA may be associated with cigarette smoking and non-migraine headache disorders. Full article
Article
Modulation of Th1/Th2 Cytokine Balance by Quercetin In Vitro
Medicines 2020, 7(8), 46; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7080046 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1822
Abstract
Background: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is well known to be an IgE-mediated chronic inflammatory disease in the nasal wall, which is primarily mediated by Th2-type cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13. Although quercetin is also accepted to attenuate the development of allergic diseases [...] Read more.
Background: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is well known to be an IgE-mediated chronic inflammatory disease in the nasal wall, which is primarily mediated by Th2-type cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13. Although quercetin is also accepted to attenuate the development of allergic diseases such as AR, the influence of quercetin on Th2-type cytokine production is not well understood. The present study was designed to examine whether quercetin could attenuate the development of AR via the modulation of Th2-type cytokine production using an in vitro cell culture technique. Methods: Human peripheral-blood CD4+ T cells (1 × 106 cells/mL) were cultured with 10.0 ng/mL IL-4 in the presence or absence of quercetin. The levels of IL-5, IL-13, and INF-γ in 24 h culture supernatants were examined by ELISA. The influence of quercetin on the phosphorylation of transcription factors NF-κB and STAT6, and mRNA expression for cytokines were also examined by ELISA and RT-PCR, respectively. Results: Treatment of cells with quercetin at more than 5.0 μM inhibited the production of IL-5 and IL-13 from CD4+ T cells induced by IL-4 stimulation through the suppression of transcription factor activation and cytokine mRNA expression. On the other hand, quercetin at more than 5.0 μM abrogated the inhibitory action of IL-4 on INF-γ production from CD4+ T cells in vitro. Conclusions: The immunomodulatory effects of quercetin, especially on cytokine production, may be responsible, in part, for the mode of therapeutic action of quercetin on allergic diseases, including AR. Full article
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Article
Chromatographic, Chemometric and Antioxidant Assessment of the Equivalence of Granules and Herbal Materials of Angelicae Sinensis Radix
Medicines 2020, 7(6), 35; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7060035 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 1809
Abstract
Background: Granules are a popular way of administrating herbal decoctions. However, there are no standardised quality control methods for granules, with few studies comparing the granules to traditional herbal decoctions. This study developed a multi-analytical platform to compare the quality of granule products [...] Read more.
Background: Granules are a popular way of administrating herbal decoctions. However, there are no standardised quality control methods for granules, with few studies comparing the granules to traditional herbal decoctions. This study developed a multi-analytical platform to compare the quality of granule products to herb/decoction pieces of Angelicae Sinensis Radix (Danggui). Methods: A validated ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with photodiode array detector (UPLC-PDA) method quantitatively compared the aqueous extracts. Hierarchical agglomerative clustering analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) clustered the samples according to three chemical compounds: ferulic acid, caffeic acid and Z-ligustilide. Ferric ion-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging capacity (DPPH) assessed the antioxidant activity of the samples. Results: HCA and PCA allocated the samples into two main groups: granule products and herb/decoction pieces. Greater differentiation between the samples was obtained with three chemical markers compared to using one marker. The herb/decoction pieces group showed comparatively higher extraction yields and significantly higher DPPH and FRAP (p < 0.05), which was positively correlated to caffeic acid and ferulic acid, respectively. Conclusions: The results confirm the need for the quality assessment of granule products using more than one chemical marker for widespread practitioner and consumer use. Full article
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Review

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Review
Purification and Biological Function of Caldecrin
Medicines 2021, 8(8), 41; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines8080041 - 23 Jul 2021
Viewed by 812
Abstract
Blood calcium homeostasis is critical for biological function. Caldecrin, or chymotrypsin-like elastase, was originally identified in the pancreas as a serum calcium-decreasing factor. The serum calcium-decreasing activity of caldecrin requires the trypsin-mediated activation of the protein. Protease activity-deficient mature caldecrin can also reduce [...] Read more.
Blood calcium homeostasis is critical for biological function. Caldecrin, or chymotrypsin-like elastase, was originally identified in the pancreas as a serum calcium-decreasing factor. The serum calcium-decreasing activity of caldecrin requires the trypsin-mediated activation of the protein. Protease activity-deficient mature caldecrin can also reduce serum calcium concentration, indicating that structural processing is necessary for serum calcium-decreasing activity. Caldecrin suppresses the differentiation of bone-resorbing osteoclasts from bone marrow macrophages (BMMs) by inhibiting receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL)-induced nuclear factor of activated T-cell cytoplasmic 1 expression via the Syk–PLCγ–Ca2+ oscillation-calcineurin signaling pathway. It also suppresses mature osteoclastic bone resorption by RANKL-stimulated TRAF6–c-Src–Syk–calcium entry and actin ring formation. Caldecrin inhibits lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced osteoclast formation in RANKL-primed BMMs by inducing the NF-κB negative regulator A20. In addition, caldecrin suppresses LPS-mediated M1 macrophage polarization through the immunoreceptor triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM) 2, suggesting that caldecrin may function as an anti-osteoclastogenic and anti-inflammatory factor via TREM2. The ectopic intramuscular expression of caldecrin cDNA prevents bone resorption in ovariectomized mice, and the administration of caldecrin protein also prevents skeletal muscle destruction in dystrophic mice. In vivo and in vitro studies have indicated that caldecrin is a unique multifunctional protease and a possible therapeutic target for skeletal and inflammatory diseases. Full article
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Review
Effects of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Health: A Narrative Review
Medicines 2020, 7(10), 65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7100065 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4211
Abstract
Background: Breathing is an essential part of life. Diaphragmatic breathing (DB) is slow and deep breathing that affects the brain and the cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems through the modulation of autonomic nervous functions. However, the effects of DB on human health need [...] Read more.
Background: Breathing is an essential part of life. Diaphragmatic breathing (DB) is slow and deep breathing that affects the brain and the cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems through the modulation of autonomic nervous functions. However, the effects of DB on human health need to be further investigated. Methods: The author conducted a PubMed search regarding the current evidence of the effect of DB on health. Results: This review consists of a total of 10 systematic reviews and 15 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). DB appears to be effective for improving the exercise capacity and respiratory function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although the effect of DB on the quality of life (QoL) of patients with asthma needs to be investigated, it may also help in reducing stress; treating eating disorders, chronic functional constipation, hypertension, migraine, and anxiety; and improving the QoL of patients with cancer and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the cardiorespiratory fitness of patients with heart failure. Conclusions: Based on this narrative review, the exact usefulness of DB in clinical practice is unclear due to the poor quality of studies. However, it may be a feasible and practical treatment method for various disorders. Full article
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Review
Genus Stachys: A Review of Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry and Bioactivity
Medicines 2020, 7(10), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7100063 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2073
Abstract
Background: The genus Stachys L. (Lamiaceae) includes about 300 species as annual or perennial herbs or small shrubs, spread in temperate regions of Mediterranean, Asia, America and southern Africa. Several species of this genus are extensively used in various traditional medicines. They [...] Read more.
Background: The genus Stachys L. (Lamiaceae) includes about 300 species as annual or perennial herbs or small shrubs, spread in temperate regions of Mediterranean, Asia, America and southern Africa. Several species of this genus are extensively used in various traditional medicines. They are consumed as herbal preparations for the treatment of stress, skin inflammations, gastrointestinal disorders, asthma and genital tumors. Previous studies have investigated the chemical constituents and the biological activities of these species. Thus, the present review compiles literature data on ethnomedicine, phytochemistry, pharmacological activities, clinical studies and the toxicity of genus Stachys. Methods: Comprehensive research of previously published literature was performed for studies on the traditional uses, bioactive compounds and pharmacological properties of the genus Stachys, using databases with different key search words. Results: This survey documented 60 Stachys species and 10 subspecies for their phytochemical profiles, including 254 chemical compounds and reported 19 species and 4 subspecies for their pharmacological properties. Furthermore, 25 species and 6 subspecies were found for their traditional uses. Conclusions: The present review highlights that Stachys spp. consist an important source of bioactive phytochemicals and exemplifies the uncharted territory of this genus for new research studies. Full article
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Review
Worldwide Use of RUCAM for Causality Assessment in 81,856 Idiosyncratic DILI and 14,029 HILI Cases Published 1993–Mid 2020: A Comprehensive Analysis
Medicines 2020, 7(10), 62; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7100062 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1948
Abstract
Background: A large number of idiosyncratic drug induced liver injury (iDILI) and herb induced liver injury(HILI) cases of variable quality has been published but some are a matter of concern if the cases were not evaluated for causality using a robust causality assessment [...] Read more.
Background: A large number of idiosyncratic drug induced liver injury (iDILI) and herb induced liver injury(HILI) cases of variable quality has been published but some are a matter of concern if the cases were not evaluated for causality using a robust causality assessment method (CAM) such as RUCAM (Roussel Uclaf Causality Assessment Method) as diagnostiinjuryc algorithm. The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate the worldwide use of RUCAM in iDILI and HILI cases. Methods: The PubMed database (1993–30 June 2020) was searched for articles by using the following key terms: Roussel Uclaf Causality Assessment Method; RUCAM; Idiosyncratic drug induced liver injury; iDILI; Herb induced liver injury; HILI. Results: Considering reports published worldwide since 1993, our analysis showed the use of RUCAM for causality assessment in 95,885 cases of liver injury including 81,856 cases of idiosyncratic DILI and 14,029 cases of HILI. Among the top countries providing RUCAM based DILI cases were, in decreasing order, China, the US, Germany, Korea, and Italy, with China, Korea, Germany, India, and the US as the top countries for HILI. Conclusions: Since 1993 RUCAM is certainly the most widely used method to assess causality in IDILI and HILI. This should encourage practitioner, experts, and regulatory agencies to use it in order to reinforce their diagnosis and to take sound decisions. Full article
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Review
PARP Inhibitors in Biliary Tract Cancer: A New Kid on the Block?
Medicines 2020, 7(9), 54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7090054 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2221
Abstract
Poly adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) represent an effective therapeutic strategy for cancer patients harboring germline and somatic aberrations in DNA damage repair (DDR) genes. BRCA1/2 mutations occur at 1–7% across biliary tract cancers (BTCs), but a broader spectrum of DDR gene alterations [...] Read more.
Poly adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) represent an effective therapeutic strategy for cancer patients harboring germline and somatic aberrations in DNA damage repair (DDR) genes. BRCA1/2 mutations occur at 1–7% across biliary tract cancers (BTCs), but a broader spectrum of DDR gene alterations is reported in 28.9–63.5% of newly diagnosed BTC patients. The open question is whether alterations in genes that are well established to have a role in DDR could be considered as emerging predictive biomarkers of response to platinum compounds and PARPi. Currently, data regarding PARPi in BTC patients harboring BRCA and DDR mutations are sparse and anecdotal; nevertheless, a variety of clinical trials are testing PARPi as monotherapy or in combination with other anticancer agents. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview regarding the genetic landscape of DDR pathway deficiency, state of the art and future therapeutic implications of PARPi in BTC, looking at combination strategies with immune-checkpoint inhibitors and other anticancer agents in order to improve survival and quality of life in BTC patients. Full article
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Review
Development of Newly Synthesized Chromone Derivatives with High Tumor Specificity against Human Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Medicines 2020, 7(9), 50; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7090050 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1802
Abstract
Since many anticancer drugs show severe adverse effects such as mucositis, peripheral neurotoxicity, and extravasation, it was crucial to explore new compounds with much reduced adverse effects. Comprehensive investigation with human malignant and nonmalignant cells demonstrated that derivatives of chromone, back-bone structure of [...] Read more.
Since many anticancer drugs show severe adverse effects such as mucositis, peripheral neurotoxicity, and extravasation, it was crucial to explore new compounds with much reduced adverse effects. Comprehensive investigation with human malignant and nonmalignant cells demonstrated that derivatives of chromone, back-bone structure of flavonoid, showed much higher tumor specificity as compared with three major polyphenols in the natural kingdom, such as lignin-carbohydrate complex, tannin, and flavonoid. A total 291 newly synthesized compounds of 17 groups (consisting of 12 chromones, 2 esters, and 3 amides) gave a wide range of the intensity of tumor specificity, possibly reflecting the fitness for the optimal 3D structure and electric state. Among them, 7-methoxy-3-[(1E)-2-phenylethenyl]-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one (compound 22), which belongs to 3-styrylchromones, showed the highest tumor specificity. 22 induced subG1 and G2 + M cell population in human oral squamous cell carcinoma cell line, with much less keratinocyte toxicity as compared with doxorubicin and 5-FU. However, 12 active compounds selected did not necessarily induce apoptosis and mitotic arrest. This compound can be used as a lead compound to manufacture more active compound. Full article
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Review
Minimising Blood Stream Infection: Developing New Materials for Intravascular Catheters
Medicines 2020, 7(9), 49; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7090049 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
Catheter related blood stream infection is an ever present hazard for those patients requiring venous access and particularly for those requiring long term medication. The implementation of more rigorous care bundles and greater adherence to aseptic techniques have yielded substantial reductions in infection [...] Read more.
Catheter related blood stream infection is an ever present hazard for those patients requiring venous access and particularly for those requiring long term medication. The implementation of more rigorous care bundles and greater adherence to aseptic techniques have yielded substantial reductions in infection rates but the latter is still far from acceptable and continues to place a heavy burden on patients and healthcare providers. While advances in engineering design and the arrival of functional materials hold considerable promise for the development of a new generation of catheters, many challenges remain. The aim of this review is to identify the issues that presently impact catheter performance and provide a critical evaluation of the design considerations that are emerging in the pursuit of these new catheter systems. Full article
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Review
Genetic Alterations in Renal Cancers: Identification of The Mechanisms Underlying Cancer Initiation and Progression and of Therapeutic Targets
Medicines 2020, 7(8), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7080044 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2001
Abstract
Renal cell cancer (RCC) involves three most recurrent sporadic types: clear-cell RCC (70–75%, CCRCC), papillary RCCC (10–15%, PRCC), and chromophobe RCC (5%, CHRCC). Hereditary cases account for about 5% of all cases of RCC and are caused by germline pathogenic variants. Herein, we [...] Read more.
Renal cell cancer (RCC) involves three most recurrent sporadic types: clear-cell RCC (70–75%, CCRCC), papillary RCCC (10–15%, PRCC), and chromophobe RCC (5%, CHRCC). Hereditary cases account for about 5% of all cases of RCC and are caused by germline pathogenic variants. Herein, we review how a better understanding of the molecular biology of RCCs has driven the inception of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Genomic research has identified relevant genetic alterations associated with each RCC subtype. Molecular studies have clearly shown that CCRCC is universally initiated by Von Hippel Lindau (VHL) gene dysregulation, followed by different types of additional genetic events involving epigenetic regulatory genes, dictating disease progression, aggressiveness, and differential response to treatments. The understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the development and progression of RCC has considerably expanded treatment options; genomic data might guide treatment options by enabling patients to be matched with therapeutics that specifically target the genetic alterations present in their tumors. These new targeted treatments have led to a moderate improvement of the survival of metastatic RCC patients. Ongoing studies based on the combination of immunotherapeutic agents (immune check inhibitors) with VEGF inhibitors are expected to further improve the survival of these patients. Full article
Review
The Effects of Tai Chi and Qigong on Immune Responses: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Medicines 2020, 7(7), 39; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7070039 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3242
Abstract
Background: Effective preventative health interventions are essential to maintain well-being among healthcare professionals and the public, especially during times of health crises. Several studies have suggested that Tai Chi and Qigong (TQ) have positive impacts on the immune system and its response to [...] Read more.
Background: Effective preventative health interventions are essential to maintain well-being among healthcare professionals and the public, especially during times of health crises. Several studies have suggested that Tai Chi and Qigong (TQ) have positive impacts on the immune system and its response to inflammation. The aim of this review is to evaluate the current evidence of the effects of TQ on these parameters. Methods: Electronic searches were conducted on databases (Medline, PubMed, Embase and ScienceDirect). Searches were performed using the following keywords: “Tai Chi or Qigong” and “immune system, immune function, immunity, Immun*, inflammation and cytokines”. Studies published as full-text randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in English were included. Estimates of change in the levels of immune cells and inflammatory biomarkers were pooled using a random-effects meta-analysis where randomised comparisons were available for TQ versus active controls and TQ versus non-active controls. Results: Nineteen RCTs were selected for review with a total of 1686 participants and a range of 32 to 252 participants within the studies. Overall, a random-effects meta-analysis found that, compared with control conditions, TQ has a significant small effect of increasing the levels of immune cells (SMD, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.43, p = 0.00), I2 = 45%, but not a significant effect on reducing the levels of inflammation (SMD, −0.15; 95% CI, −0.39 to 0.09, p = 0.21), I2 = 85%, as measured by the systemic inflammation biomarker C-reactive protein (CRP) and cell mediated biomarker cytokines. This difference in results is due to the bidirectional regulation of cytokines. An overall risk of bias assessment found three RCTs with a low risk of bias, six RCTs with some concerns of bias, and ten RCTs with a high risk of bias. Conclusions: Current evidence indicates that practising TQ has a physiologic impact on immune system functioning and inflammatory responses. Rigorous studies are needed to guide clinical guidelines and harness the power of TQ to promote health and wellbeing. Full article
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Review
Oral Manifestations of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the Role of Non-Invasive Surrogate Markers of Disease Activity
Medicines 2020, 7(6), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7060033 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2503
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), can be associated with several extra-intestinal manifestations requiring a multidisciplinary management both in terms of work-up and therapy. Oral lesions are common in patients with IBD, with a prevalence ranging [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), can be associated with several extra-intestinal manifestations requiring a multidisciplinary management both in terms of work-up and therapy. Oral lesions are common in patients with IBD, with a prevalence ranging from 5% to 50%. These can represent an oral location of IBD as well as a side-effect of drugs used to treat the intestinal disease. Oral manifestations, occurring in patients with IBD, can be divided in nonmalignant, specific, and non-specific ones, and malignant lesions. While there is undoubtedly a need to search for an IBD in patients with oral lesions associated with intestinal symptoms, the work-up of those with an exclusive oral lesion should be personalized. Fecal calprotectin is a non-invasive marker of intestinal inflammation and may be used to select which patients need to undergo endoscopic examination, thereby avoiding unnecessary investigations. The pharmacological armamentarium to treat oral lesions associated with IBD includes topical or systemic corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents, and biologic drugs. Full article
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Review
Genista tridentata L.: A Rich Source of Flavonoids with Anti-Inflammatory Activity
Medicines 2020, 7(6), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7060031 - 30 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1871
Abstract
Background: Genista tridentata L. is an endemic species from the Iberian Peninsula used in Portuguese traditional medicine to treat inflammation-related diseases; this and other health-promoting effects are usually associated with the flavonoids produced by this species. In fact, anti-inflammatory properties were established for [...] Read more.
Background: Genista tridentata L. is an endemic species from the Iberian Peninsula used in Portuguese traditional medicine to treat inflammation-related diseases; this and other health-promoting effects are usually associated with the flavonoids produced by this species. In fact, anti-inflammatory properties were established for several of these flavonoid derivatives. Methods: A careful survey of the reported data, using mainly the Scopus database and Genista tridentata and Pterospartum tridentatum as keywords, was done. We have examined the papers involving the plant and those about the most relevant flavonoids anti-inflammatory activity. Results: The literature survey demonstrates that species are used to treat several health problems such as antihyperglycemia, hypertension, and inflammatory episodes. It was also possible to establish its richness in flavonoid derivatives, from which several are potential anti-inflammatory agents. Conclusions: From our described and discussed analysis, it can be concluded that Genista tridentata is an excellent source of bioactive flavonoids. Moreover, its traditional use to treat inflammation episodes may be due to its flavonoid content, from which genistein, biochanin A, rutin, and daidzein can be emphasized. Full article
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Review
Uncharted Source of Medicinal Products: The Case of the Hedychium Genus
Medicines 2020, 7(5), 23; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7050023 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2433
Abstract
A current research topic of great interest is the study of the therapeutic properties of plants and of their bioactive secondary metabolites. Plants have been used to treat all types of health problems from allergies to cancer, in addition to their use in [...] Read more.
A current research topic of great interest is the study of the therapeutic properties of plants and of their bioactive secondary metabolites. Plants have been used to treat all types of health problems from allergies to cancer, in addition to their use in the perfumery industry and as food. Hedychium species are among those plants used in folk medicine in several countries and several works have been reported to verify if and how effectively these plants exert the effects reported in folk medicine, studying their essential oils, extracts and pure secondary metabolites. Hedychium coronarium and Hedychium spicatum are the most studied species. Interesting compounds have been identified like coronarin D, which possesses antibacterial, antifungal and antitumor activities, as well as isocoronarin D, linalool and villosin that exhibit better cytotoxicity towards tumor cell lines than the reference compounds used, with villosin not affecting the non-tumor cell line. Linalool and α-pinene are the most active compounds found in Hedychium essential oils, while β-pinene is identified as the most widespread compound, being reported in 12 different Hedychium species. Since only some Hedychium species have been investigated, this review hopes to shed some light on the uncharted territory that is the Hedychium genus. Full article
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Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Protocol
Auricular Acupuncture for Preoperative Anxiety—Protocol of Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Medicines 2020, 7(12), 73; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7120073 - 26 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1890
Abstract
Background: Preoperative anxiety causes profound psychological and physiological reactions that may lead to a worse postoperative recovery, higher intensity of acute and persistent postsurgical pain and impaired quality of life in the postoperative period. Previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) suggest that auricular acupuncture [...] Read more.
Background: Preoperative anxiety causes profound psychological and physiological reactions that may lead to a worse postoperative recovery, higher intensity of acute and persistent postsurgical pain and impaired quality of life in the postoperative period. Previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) suggest that auricular acupuncture (AA) is safe and effective in the treatment of preoperative anxiety; however there is a lack of systematic evidence on this topic. Therefore, this protocol was developed following the PRISMA guidelines to adequately evaluate the existing literature regarding the value of AA for the reduction in anxiety in patients in a preoperative setting, compared to other forms of acupuncture, pharmacological, or no control interventions and measured with questionnaires regarding anxiety and fear. Methods: The following databases will be searched: MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), ISI Web of Science, and Scopus Database. RCTs will be included if an abstract is available in English. Data collection and analysis will be conducted by two reviewers independently. Quality and risk assessment of included studies will be done using the Cochrane 5.1.0 handbook criteria and meta-analysis of effectiveness and symptom scores will be conducted using the statistical software RevMan V.5.3. Conclusions: This systematic review will evaluate the efficacy and safety of AA for preoperative anxiety. Since all data used in this systematic review and meta-analysis have been published, this review does not require ethical approval. The results may be published in a peer-reviewed journal or be presented in relevant conferences. Registration number: PROSPERO ID CRD42020. Full article
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Case Report
Recurrent Superior Vena Cava Syndrome in a Patient with Sarcoidosis and Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: A Case Report and Literature Review
Medicines 2020, 7(9), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7090056 - 04 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1631
Abstract
Background: Superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome may result from extravascular compression or intravascular obstruction such as thrombosis. Recurrent venous thrombosis is typically associated with a hypercoagulable state such as malignancy, and inheritable or acquired coagulopathy. Sarcoidosis is a derangement of the immune system, [...] Read more.
Background: Superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome may result from extravascular compression or intravascular obstruction such as thrombosis. Recurrent venous thrombosis is typically associated with a hypercoagulable state such as malignancy, and inheritable or acquired coagulopathy. Sarcoidosis is a derangement of the immune system, and it has been associated with malignant diseases and hypercoagulation. The association of pancreatic cancer and sarcoidosis with SVC syndrome has not been reported previously. Here, we present a case of recurrent venous thrombosis causing SVC syndrome in a patient with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and underlying thoracic sarcoidosis. Methods: The patient’s electronic health record was retrospectively analyzed. Results: A 66-year-old woman with pancreatic adenocarcinoma was treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by Whipple procedure, before developing tumor recurrence in the liver. Her treatment course was complicated with repeated incidents of venous thrombosis in the presence of a central venous catheter leading to recurrent SVC syndrome, which resolved with anti-coagulation. Conclusions: This case raises a plausible inter-relationship between sarcoidosis, pancreatic cancer, and hypercoagulable state. We suggest that patients with multiple risk factors for developing venous thrombosis should be carefully monitored for any thrombotic event, and they may benefit from prophylactic anti-coagulation. Full article
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Case Report
Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasonography for Screening and Diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Case Series and Review of the Literature
Medicines 2020, 7(9), 51; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7090051 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1951
Abstract
Background: Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is a safe and noninvasive imaging technique that can characterize and evaluate liver lesions, and has been approved for this use in the Unites States since 2016. CEUS has been shown to be similar in accuracy to computed tomography [...] Read more.
Background: Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is a safe and noninvasive imaging technique that can characterize and evaluate liver lesions, and has been approved for this use in the Unites States since 2016. CEUS has been shown to be similar in accuracy to computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for noninvasive diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and offers several advantages in certain patient populations who have contraindications for CT or MRI. However, CEUS has inherent limitations and has not been widely employed for evaluation of HCC. Methods: We present three retrospective cases of liver lesions in patients with cirrhosis, who underwent screening for HCC using concurrent, well-timed CT and CEUS. Results: In these cases, the liver lesions were better visualized and then diagnosed as malignancy via CEUS, whereas the lesions were best appreciated on CT only in retrospect. Conclusions: In some cirrhotic patients, a focal lesion may be more easily identifiable via CEUS than on CT and thus accurately characterized, suggesting an important and complementary role of CEUS with CT or MRI. Further studies are indicated to support the use of CEUS for the diagnosis and characterization of liver lesions in screening patients at risk for developing HCC. Full article
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Concept Paper
e-Health: A Future Solution for Optimized Management of Elderly Patients. GER-e-TEC™ Project
Medicines 2020, 7(8), 41; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicines7080041 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1928
Abstract
Background: Elderly residents in nursing homes have multiple comorbidities (including cognitive and psycho-behavioral pathologies, malnutrition, heart failure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and renal failure) and use multiple medications. Methods: The GER-e-TEC project aims to provide these fragile and complex patients with telemedicine [...] Read more.
Background: Elderly residents in nursing homes have multiple comorbidities (including cognitive and psycho-behavioral pathologies, malnutrition, heart failure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and renal failure) and use multiple medications. Methods: The GER-e-TEC project aims to provide these fragile and complex patients with telemedicine tools, more specifically telemonitoring, backed by a well-defined and personalized protocol. Results: Medically, this implies the need for regular monitoring and a high level of medical and multidisciplinary expertise for the healthcare team. The tools use non-invasive communicating sensors and artificial intelligence techniques, allowing daily monitoring with the ability to detect any abnormal changes in the patient’s condition early. Conclusions: The GER-e-TEC project specifically considers the challenges of aging residents and significant challenges in nursing homes, with the main geriatric syndromes (falls, malnutrition, cognitive-behavioral disorders, and iatrogenic conditions). Full article
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