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Secure Advanced Monitoring Systems

Maintaining secure networks is critical for large and high-value institutions, but providing technical staff with remote direct access to sensitive systems and real-time operational data can be vital to protecting value. For example, UC San Diego maintains highly-secure networks, yet there is a need to provide monitoring for freezer systems that contain priceless samples and materials that are often irreplaceable

Prediction Tools for Vedolizumab Drug Exposure and Efficacy for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease

Vedolizumab (VDZ) is an effective therapy for the management of patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease (CD) who have failed conventional therapy with aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, and thiopurines, as well as biologic therapy with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists. Several studies have identified potential predictors of treatment outcomes; however, the optimal approach to integrating predictors into routine practice is uncertain.No prior decision support tools exist to predict VDZ drug exposure in UC and CD and link this back to differences in effectiveness or response to VDZ dose escalation. By having a tool that can predict at baseline prior to start of therapy whether VDZ will be effective and what a patients drug exposure profile will be with VDZ, the provider can 1) determine if VDZ is an appropriate therapy to begin, 2) proactively monitor those patients deemed high risk for treatment failure with VDZ, and 3) proactively measure drug concentrations for VDZ to then increase the dose or the interval at which VDZ is administered to improve outcomes.

Immunotherapy For HIV/AIDS

Chronic HIV infection results in exhaustion and loss of the immune system, a phenomenon characterized by dysfunctional HIV-specific killer T cells. The exhausted T cells display inhibitory proteins on their surface, and scientists hope to be able to restore immune function by interfering with the negative signals transmitted by such proteins. PD-1, Lag-3 and Tim-3, some examples of T-cell exhaustion markers that are associated with immune activation. In fact, expression of multiple inhibitory receptors has been demonstrated to correlate positively with both plasma viral load and disease progression in HIV infected individuals. However, little is known about the development and maintenance, as well as heterogeneity of immune cell exhaustion. Another problem with chronic HIV infection is that a large number of people that are receiving antiviral therapy (ART) become resistant to treatment. 

Circulating Lipidomic Signature To Identify Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease (or steatohepatis) is often associated with excessive alcohol intake or obesity, but also has other causes such as metabolic deficiencies including insulin resistance and diabetes. The causation of a fatty liver results from triglyceride fat accumulation in vacuoles of the liver cells resulting in decreased liver function, and possibly leading to cirrhosis or hepatic cancer. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents a spectrum of disease occurring in the absence of alcohol abuse. There is a clinical need for a simple test to identify individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in the population. While circulating lipids have been used for this purpose, the large number of analytes within the human lipidome makes it cumbersome to utilize this approach for high throughput screening.

Expression-based Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Potential Prognosis of other Complex Diseases

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with prenatal and early postnatal biological onset. Genetic factors contribute to the predisposition and development of ASD with estimated heritability rates of 50-83%. Large-scale genetic studies have implicated several hundred risk (rASD) genes that appear to be associated with many different pathways, cell processes, and neurodevelopmental stages. This highly heterogeneous genetic landscape has raised challenges in elucidating the biological mechanisms involved in the disorder. While rigorous proof remains lacking, current evidence suggests that rASD genes fall into networks and biological processes that modulate one or more critical stages of prenatal and early postnatal brain development, including neuronal proliferation, migration, neurite growth, synapse formation and function. However, these insights are mostly gained from focused studies on single rASD genes or based on transcriptome data of non-ASD brains, leaving an incomplete picture of rASD-induced molecular changes at the individual level and relationships with early-age clinical heterogeneity.

DNA Methylation: A New Method for the Quantitative Predictor Of Age In Dogs

The ability to properly estimate the age of dogs would be quite useful in a variety of ways. For example, proper age estimation is important because age often plays a significant role when making medical decisions for pets. Currently, the accepted method to estimate age in dogs is based on the quality of teeth as well as ocular features. Estimating age based on tooth-wear (the commonly used metric in shelters) is very inaccurate after the teeth have fully erupted, generally by 6-7 months of age in dogs. Unfortunately, these methods have an accuracy of ~50% at best for domesticated pets and is error-prone for dogs between 2-8 years, encompassing a large portion of a dog’s adult life. Thus, shelters commonly underestimate the ages of these dogs to increase the likelihood of dogs being adopted, as people generally have a preference for younger pets. 

New Method for the Detection of Vulnerable Plaques in Coronary Artery Atherosclerotic Disease (CAD)

Heart disease is a major leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. largely due to coronary artery atherosclerotic disease (CAD), which affects millions and costs billions annually. The concept of plaque vulnerability, based on likelihood of fibroatheroma rupture, has prompted many pursuits to identify high risk lesions, costing $150 million per year. However, identifying vulnerable plaques based on structure, via coronary angiograms or CT/MRI scans, has not translated to improved clinical outcome. Thus, the failure to identify and predict plaques at high risk of rupture, which may lead to myocardial infarction, heart failure and/or sudden cardiac death, is likely because structure may not optimally discern plaque vulnerability. Molecular imaging, in contrast, offers an innovative approach for discriminating the vulnerable plaque in that it not only visualizes structure, but also interrogates underlying molecular function. Based on the current methods to detect plaques, there is a need for a better method for measuring plaque rupture vulnerability.

A Method to Diagnose, Monitor, and Treat Cancer Using Information from Non-Human Nucleic Acids

Increasing evidence indicates a key role for the bacterial microbiota in carcinogenesis. In fact, as much as 20% of the global cancer burden has been estimated to be caused by microbial agents. Many researchers believe the potential mechanism is through resident microbes’ influence on the immune system, with their abilities to dial up or dampen inflammation, as well as to manipulate the capabilities of various immune cells. Based on data from studies using gnotobiotic mouse models colonized with one or more specific bacteria, it appears that microbiota can alter cancer susceptibility and progression by diverse mechanisms, such as modulating inflammation, inducing DNA damage, and producing metabolites involved in oncogenesis or tumor suppression. Emerging evidence suggests that microbiota can be manipulated for improving cancer treatment. However, nothing has been published on the possibility of using tissue microbiome population analyses in patient samples to diagnose, monitor, or treat cancer.