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Cash T.P.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Cash T.P.,University of Pennsylvania | Gruber J.J.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Hartman T.R.,Chase Medical | And 4 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2011

Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome is an inherited cancer susceptibility disease characterized by skin and kidney tumors, as well as cystic lung disease, which results from loss-of-function mutations in the BHD gene. BHD is also inactivated in a significant fraction of patients with sporadic renal cancers and idiopathic cystic lung disease, and little is known about its mode of action. To investigate the molecular and cellular basis of BHD tumor suppressor activity, we generated mutant Bhd mice and embryonic stem cell lines. BHD-deficient cells exhibited defects in cell-intrinsic apoptosis that correlated with reduced expression of the BH3-only protein Bim, which was similarly observed in all human and murine BHD-related tumors examined. We further demonstrate that Bim deficiency in Bhd/cells is not a consequence of elevated mTOR or ERK activity, but results instead from reduced Bim transcription associated with a general loss of TGFΒ-mediated transcription and chromatin modifications. In aggregate, this work identifies a specific tumor suppressive mechanism for BHD in regulating TGFΒ-dependent transcription and apoptosis, which has implications for the development of targeted therapies. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Ascierto P.A.,Instituto Nazionale Tumori Fondazione G Pascale | Kalos M.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Kalos M.,University of Pennsylvania | Schaer D.A.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | And 5 more authors.
Clinical Cancer Research | Year: 2013

Modulation of the immune system by targeting coinhibitory and costimulatory receptors has become a promising newapproach of immunotherapy for cancer. The recent approval of the CTLA-4-blocking antibody ipilimumab for the treatment of melanoma was a watershed event, opening up a new era in the field of immunotherapy. Ipilimumab was the first treatment to ever show enhanced overall survival (OS) for patients with stage IVmelanoma. However, measuring response rates using standard Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) or modified World Health Organization criteria or progression-free survival does not accurately capture the potential for clinical benefit for ipilimumab-treated patients. As immunotherapy approaches are translated into more tumor types, it is important to study biomarkers, which may be more predictive of OS to identify the patients most likely to have clinical benefit. Ipilimumab is the first-in-class of a series of immunomodulating antibodies that are in clinical development. Anti-PD1 (nivolumab and MK-3475), anti-PD-L1 (BMS-936 559, RG7446, and MEDI4736), anti-CD137 (urelumab), anti-OX40, anti- GITR, and anti-CD40 monoclonal antibodies are just some of the agents that are being actively investigated in clinical trials, each having the potential for combination with the ipilimumab to enhance its effectiveness. Development of rational combinations of immunomodulatory antibodies with small-molecule pathway inhibitor therapies such as vemurafenib makes the discovery of predictive biomarkers even more important. Identifying reliable biomarkers is a necessary step in personalizing the treatment of each patient's cancer through a baseline assessment of tumor gene expression and/or immune profile to optimize therapy for the best chance of therapeutic success. © 2012 American Association for Cancer Research.

Beatty G.L.,University of Pennsylvania | Torigian D.A.,University of Pennsylvania | Gabriela Chiorean E.,University of Washington | Saboury B.,University of Pennsylvania | And 8 more authors.
Clinical Cancer Research | Year: 2013

Purpose: This phase I study investigated the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), safety, pharmacodynamics, immunologic correlatives, and antitumor activity of CP-870,893, an agonist CD40 antibody, when administered in combination with gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). Experimental Design: Twenty-two patients with chemotherapy-naive advanced PDA were treated with 1,000 mg/m2 gemcitabine once weekly for three weeks with infusion of CP-870,893 at 0.1 or 0.2 mg/kg on day three of each 28-day cycle. Results: CP-870,893 was well-tolerated; one dose-limiting toxicity (grade 4, cerebrovascular accident) occurred at the 0.2 mg/kg dose level, which was estimated as the MTD. The most common adverse event was cytokine release syndrome (grade 1 to 2). CP-870,893 infusion triggered immune activation marked by an increase in inflammatory cytokines, an increase in B-cell expression of costimulatory molecules, and a transient depletion of B cells. Four patients achieved a partial response (PR). 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) showed more than 25% decrease in FDG uptake within primary pancreatic lesions in six of eight patients; however, responses observed in metastatic lesions were heterogeneous, with some lesions responding with complete loss of FDG uptake, whereas other lesions in the same patient failed to respond. Improved overall survival correlated with a decrease in FDG uptake in hepatic lesions (R = -0.929; P - 0.007). Conclusions: CP-870,893 in combination with gemcitabine was well-tolerated and associated with antitumor activity in patients with PDA. Changes in FDG uptake detected on PET/CT imaging provide insight into therapeutic benefit. Phase II studies are warranted. Clin Cancer Res; 19(22); 6286-95. © 2013 AACR. © 2013 American Association for Cancer Research.

Thiel A.T.,University of Pennsylvania | Blessington P.,University of Pennsylvania | Zou T.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Feather D.,University of Pennsylvania | And 7 more authors.
Cancer Cell | Year: 2010

Oncogenic fusion proteins are capable of initiating tumorigenesis, but the role of their wild-type counterparts in this process is poorly understood. The mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene undergoes chromosomal translocations, resulting in the formation of oncogenic MLL fusion proteins (MLL-FPs). Here, we show that menin recruits both wild-type MLL and oncogenic MLL-AF9 fusion protein to the loci of HOX genes to activate their transcription. Wild-type MLL not only catalyzes histone methylation at key target genes but also controls distinct MLL-AF9-induced histone methylation. Notably, the wild-type Mll allele is required for MLL-AF9-induced leukemogenesis and maintenance of MLL-AF9-transformed cells. These findings suggest an essential cooperation between an oncogene and its wild-type counterpart in MLL-AF9-induced leukemogenesis. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Yzaguirre A.D.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Speck N.A.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
Developmental Biology | Year: 2016

The de novo generation of hematopoietic cells occurs during midgestation when a population of endothelial cells called hemogenic endothelium transitions into hematopoietic progenitors and stem cells. In mammalian embryos, the newly formed hematopoietic cells form clusters in the lumens of the major arteries in the embryo proper and in the vascular plexus of the yolk sac. Small clusters of hematopoietic cells that are independent of the vasculature (referred to here as extravascular islands) were shown to form in the mesentery during vascular remodeling of the vitelline artery. Using three-dimensional imaging of whole mouse embryos we demonstrate that extravascular budding of hematopoietic clusters is a more widespread phenomenon that occurs from the vitelline and the umbilical arteries both proximal to the embryo proper and distal in the extraembryonic yolk sac and placenta. Furthermore, we show that there are several mechanisms by which hematopoietic clusters leave the arteries, including vascular remodeling and extrusion. Lastly, we provide static images suggesting that extravascular islands contribute to the formation of new blood vessels. Thus, extravascular islands may represent a novel mechanism of vasculogenesis whereby established vessels contribute endothelial and hematopoietic cells to developing vascular beds. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.

Gordon S.M.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Chaix J.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Chaix J.,Columbia University | Rupp L.J.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | And 6 more authors.
Immunity | Year: 2012

Natural killer (NK) cells play critical roles defending against tumors and pathogens. We show that mice lacking both transcription factors Eomesodermin (Eomes) and T-bet failed to develop NK cells. Developmental stability of immature NK cells constitutively expressing the death ligand TRAIL depended on T-bet. Conversely, maturation characterized by loss of constitutive TRAIL expression and induction of Ly49 receptor diversity and integrin CD49b (DX5 +) required Eomes. Mature NK cells from which Eomes was deleted reverted to phenotypic immaturity if T-bet was present or downregulated NK lineage antigens if T-bet was absent, despite retaining expression of Ly49 receptors. Fetal and adult hepatic hematopoiesis restricted Eomes expression and limited NK development to the T-bet-dependent, immature stage, whereas medullary hematopoiesis permitted Eomes-dependent NK maturation in adult mice. These findings reveal two sequential, genetically separable checkpoints of NK cell maturation, the progression of which is metered largely by the anatomic localization of hematopoiesis. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Dilley R.L.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Greenberg R.A.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
Trends in Cancer | Year: 2015

Activation of a telomere maintenance mechanism (TMM) is permissive for replicative immortality and a hallmark of human cancer. While most cancers rely on reactivation of telomerase, a significant fraction utilizes the recombination-dependent alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway. ALT is enriched in tumors of mesenchymal origin, including those arising from bone, soft tissue, and the nervous system, and usually portends a poor prognosis. Recent insights into the mechanisms of ALT are uncovering novel avenues to exploit vulnerabilities and may facilitate clinical development of ALT-detection assays and personalized treatment decisions based on TMM status. Treatments targeting ALT may hold promise for a broadly-applicable therapeutic modality specific to mesenchymal lineage tumors, something that has thus far remained elusive. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Lee K.E.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Lee K.E.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Simon M.C.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Simon M.C.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Current Opinion in Cell Biology | Year: 2012

Hypoxia, a condition of insufficient oxygen availability, occurs during normal development as well as tumorigenesis. Cellular responses to hypoxia are primarily mediated by hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). Recent studies have revealed that dormant hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside within hypoxic regions of the bone marrow and that HIF is a critical player in HSC homeostasis. The functional significance of HIF in maintaining stemness also applies to cancer stem cells in hematological malignancies. These findings indicate that better understanding of the mechanisms underlying HIF functions in stem cells should permit the development of new therapies for tissue regeneration and cancer. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Brignier A.C.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Gewirtz A.M.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2010

There are many types of stem cells. All share the characteristics of being able to self-renew and to give rise to differentiated progeny. Over the last decades, great excitement has been generated by the prospect of being able to exploit these properties for the repair, improvement, and/or replacement of damaged organs. However, many hurdles, both scientific and ethical, remain in the path of using human embryonic stem cells for tissue-engineering purposes. In this report we review current strategies for isolating, enriching, and, most recently, inducing the development of human pluripotent stem cells. In so doing, we discuss the scientific and ethical issues associated with this endeavor. Finally, progress in the use of stem cells as therapies for type 1 diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, and various neurologic and immunohematologic disorders, and as vehicles for the delivery of gene therapy, is briefly discussed. © 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Harding S.M.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Boiarsky J.A.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute | Greenberg R.A.,Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
Cell Reports | Year: 2015

Resolution of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is essential for the suppression of genome instability. DSB repair in transcriptionally active genomic regions represents a unique challenge that is associated with ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase-mediated transcriptional silencing. Despite emerging insights into the underlying mechanisms, how DSB silencing connects to DNA repair remains undefined. We observe that silencing within the rDNA depends on persistent DSBs. Non-homologous end-joining was the predominant mode of DSB repair allowing transcription to resume. ATM-dependent rDNA silencing in the presence of persistent DSBs led to the large-scale reorganization of nucleolar architecture, with movement of damaged chromatin to nucleolar cap regions. These findings identify ATM-dependent temporal and spatial control of DNA repair and provide insights into how communication between DSB signaling and ongoing transcription promotes genome integrity. © 2015 The Authors.

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