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    Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Smoking is the largest cause of preventable death globally. Most smokers smoke their first cigarette in early adolescence. We took advantage of the widespread availability of mobile phones and adolescents' interest in appearance to develop a free photoaging app which is promoted via a poster campaign in secondary schools. This study aims to evaluate its effectiveness regarding smoking prevalence and students' attitudes towards smoking. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A randomised controlled trial is conducted with 9851 students of both genders with an average age of 12 years in grades 6 and 7 of 126 secondary schools in Germany. At present, cigarette smoking prevalence in our sample is 4.7%, with 4.6% of the students currently using e-cigarettes (1.6% use both). The prospective experimental study design includes measurements at baseline and at 6, 12 and 24 months postintervention via a questionnaire plus a random cotinine saliva sample at 24 months postintervention. The study groups consist of randomised schools receiving the Smokerface poster campaign and control schools with comparable baseline data (no intervention). The primary end point is the difference of change in smoking prevalence in the intervention group versus the difference in the control group at 24 months follow-up. Longitudinal changes in smoking-related attitudes, the number of new smokers and quitters and the change in the number of never-smokers will be compared between the two groups as secondary outcomes. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was obtained from the ethics committee of the University of Giessen and the ministries of cultural affairs, both in Germany. Results will be disseminated at conferences, in peer-reviewed journals, on our websites and throughout the multinational Education Against Tobacco network. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT02544360, Pre-results.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27821601
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  • 2
    Abstract: The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) establishes lifelong infections in 〉 90% of the human population. Although contained as asymptomatic infection by the immune system in most individuals, EBV is associated with the pathogenesis of approximately 1.5% of all cancers in humans. Some of these EBV-associated tumors have been successfully treated by the infusion of virus-specific T-cell lines. Recent sequence analyses of a large number of viral isolates suggested that distinct EBV strains have evolved in different parts of the world. Here, we assessed the impact of such sequence variations on EBV-specific T-cell immunity. With the exceptions of EBNA2 and the EBNA3 family of proteins, an overall low protein sequence disparity of about 1% was noted between Asian viral isolates, including the newly characterized M81 strain, and the prototypic EBV type 1 and type 2 strains. However, when T-cell epitopes including their flanking regions were compared, a substantial proportion was found to be polymorphic in different EBV strains. Importantly, CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell clones specific for viral epitopes from one strain often showed diminished recognition of the corresponding epitopes in other strains. In addition, T-cell recognition of a conserved epitope was affected by amino acid exchanges within the epitope flanking region. Moreover, the CD8+ T-cell response against polymorphic epitopes varied between donors and often ignored antigen variants. These results demonstrate that viral strain heterogeneity may impair antiviral T-cell immunity and suggest that immunotherapeutic approaches against EBV should preferably target broad sets of conserved epitopes including their flanking regions.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29374782
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