Collections

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    Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain the No. 1 killer in industrial countries and a main reason for frequent re-hospitalization. Biomarker testing may play a central role in promoting improved clinical outcome, better quality of life, and alleviated socio-economic burden of CVD. Even in this post-cTn (cardiac troponin) and post-BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide) era, there are still significant gaps and demands for more reliable and innovative biomarker-based tools for diagnosis and evidence-guided management of CVD. This Special Issue of Acta Pharmacologica Sinica consists of 18 original research or review articles authored by 108 scientists from 15 countries to showcase recent advances in translational and clinical investigations focusing on biomarkers that are released from injured cardiovascular tissues into circulation during various CVD events, such as acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, aortic aneurysms, carotid restenosis, pulmonary hypertension, and cardiac amyloidosis. These collective efforts can benefit future technological development of novel tests for CVD biomarkers.

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    In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the main therapeutics is the unique TCM medicinal formula, so called Fangji, which is usually composed of multiple herbs and medical materials with integrated multiple therapeutic objects. The modern pharmacological approach to the study of Fangji, however, has been focusing on the isolation and identification of individual active components within a Fangji for cellular and molecular targets. This not only has led to the misinterpretations of mechanisms of Fangji’s therapeutic actions and clinical effectiveness but also has seriously hampered the scientific research and development of TCM in general. Clearly, new omic/systematic and networking paradigms are urgently needed for deep understanding of the unique composition theories and mechanisms of effective combination therapy through TCM Fangji. In this special issue, we continued to introduce Fangjiomics-based combination therapy applications to the discovery of rational combination therapy and precision medicine.

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    This special issue attributes to the 2017 China-Canada-USA Pharmacology/Physiology Conference (CCUPPC), one of the largest initiatives promoting scientific exchanges and research collaborations in the field of pharmacology, physiology and drug development. Specifically, this special issue features review and original articles highlighting the most recent innovations in drug discovery and drug delivery in stroke, mental health, and neurodegenerative disorders; potential mechanisms of novel endogenous peptides, and natural products broadly used in metabolic, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders; and organ preservation, etc. The conference brought scientists from China, Canada, and USA together, and created a new platform for international interaction and collaboration. The conference took place at the University of Toronto, known as the birthplace for insulin, the alma mater of Dr. Norman Bethune, and one of the world’s top research-intensive universities.

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    Nanobiotechnology plays a more and more important role in combating cancer. Ideal delivery should maximize drug accumulation at tumors while minimize the unwanted drug exposure to the normal tissues, thus executing cytotoxicity specifically in cancer cells and sparing the healthy cells. Nanotechnology-based targeting delivery has been generally believed as the most promising method to achieve this ultimate goal of pharmacotherapy. Nano drug delivery systems can improve the pharmacokinetics profiles and tumor biodistribution of the antitumor drugs, and enhance their intracellular delivery as well; in addition, the drug instability and water insolubility problems can be solved by encapsulation into nano carriers.

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    Ion channels are integral membrane proteins that catalyze the flux of ions across cell membranes, and play fundamental roles in a wide variety of functions throughout the body. In this post-genomic era, when the genes encoding most ion channels have been deciphered with their function remaining elusive yet, a full exploration of the channel proteins has become a new frontier of biological and biomedical research. The present ion channel study is a multidisciplinary research embracing various fields of science. We wish that the Ion Channel special issue would provide new insights into ion channel research and drug discovery.

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    Nuclear receptors are DNA-binding and ligand-regulated transcriptional factors that play crucial roles in many aspects of human physiology and consist of an important family of drug targets. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the cloning of the first member of the nuclear receptor family and 25th year of the discovery of orphan nuclear receptors, for which No. cognate ligands were known at the time of their cloning. Since then we have witnessed a tremendous expansion of our knowledge of this family of receptors. In this special issue, 11 review articles highlight our key understanding of structure, function, disease relevance, and drug discovery of nuclear receptors.

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    In this special issue, we have invited 7 reviews to discuss recent advances in precision cancer medicine, which include new PI3K/mTOR pathway inhibitors, endogenous angiogenesis inhibitors, NK cell-based cancer immunotherapy, microRNAs and alternative splicing as potential new diagnostic markers and cancer drug targets, and intra-tumor heterogeneity of cancer cells and their implications in cancer treatment. All of these studies support the new exciting development in cancer medicine in order to tailor effective cancer treatment precisely based on the molecular signatures of cancers in target.

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    In the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), diseases are treated with a combination of herbs (Fangji) according to the Jun-Chen-Zuo-Shi principle for well-defined roles of targeting major and minor problems. While the empirical Fangji therapy of disease has been proven clinically effective the underlying mechanisms for the combined targets remain mysteries. Fangjiomics systematically studies myriad compatible combinations that act through multiple targets and balance on- and off-targets. By prioritizing targets, Fangjiomics addresses the key components and issues in combination therapies and may lead to novel controllable array-designed therapies to combine less potent elements with more on-target and fewer off-target effects. This forthcoming Special Issue of Acta Pharmacologica Sinica assembles a series of updated omic studies on several famous Fangjis from view of systems biology and network pharmacology.