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San Pedro, CA, United States

Herrmann I.,Micromet AG | Baeuerle P.A.,Micromet AG | Baeuerle P.A.,Micromet Inc | Friedrich M.,Micromet AG | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

With their resistance to genotoxic and anti-proliferative drugs and potential to grow tumors and metastases from very few cells, cancer stem or tumor-initiating cells (TICs) are a severe limitation for the treatment of cancer by conventional therapies. Here, we explored whether human T cells that are redirected via an EpCAM/CD3-bispecific antibody called MT110 can lyse colorectal TICs and prevent tumor growth from TICs. MT110 recognizes EpCAM, a cell adhesion molecule expressed on TICs from diverse human carcinoma, which was recently shown to promote tumor growth through engagement of elements of the wnt pathway. MT110 was highly potent in mediating complete redirected lysis of KRAS-, PI3 kinase- and BRAF-mutated colorectal TICs, as demonstrated in a soft agar assay. In immunodeficient mice, MT110 prevented growth of tumors from a 5,000-fold excess of a minimally tumorigenic TIC dose. T cells engaged by MT110 may provide a potent therapeutic means to eradicate TICs and bulk tumor cells derived thereof. © 2010 Herrmann et al. Source


Sharma N.,University of Kansas Medical Center | Nanta R.,University of Kansas Medical Center | Sharma J.,Celprogen Inc. | Gunewardena S.,University of Kansas Medical Center | And 5 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play major roles in cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis. It is evident from growing reports that PI3K/Akt/mTOR and Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathways are aberrantly reactivated in pancreatic CSCs. Here, we examined the efficacy of combining NVP-LDE-225 (PI3K/mTOR inhibitor) and NVP-BEZ-235 (Smoothened inhibitor) on pancreatic CSCs characteristics, microRNA regulatory network, and tumor growth. NVP-LDE-225 co-operated with NVP-BEZ-235 in inhibiting pancreatic CSC's characteristics and tumor growth in mice by acting at the level of Gli. Combination of NVP-LDE-225 and NVP-BEZ-235 inhibited self-renewal capacity of CSCs by suppressing the expression of pluripotency maintaining factors Nanog, Oct-4, Sox-2 and c-Myc, and transcription of Gli. NVP-LDE-225 co-operated with NVP-BEZ-235 to inhibit Lin28/Let7a/Kras axis in pancreatic CSCs. Furthermore, a superior interaction of these drugs was observed on spheroid formation by pancreatic CSCs isolated from Pankras/p53 mice. The combination of these drugs also showed superior effects on the expression of proteins involved in cell proliferation, survival and apoptosis. In addition, NVP-LDE-225 co-operated with NVP-BEZ-235 in inhibiting EMT through modulation of cadherin, vimentin and transcription factors Snail, Slug and Zeb1. In conclusion, these data suggest that the combined inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTOR and Shh pathways may be beneficial for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Source


Meng F.,Texas A&M University | Meng F.,Research and Education | Glaser S.S.,Texas A&M University | Francis H.,Texas A&M University | And 15 more authors.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine | Year: 2012

MicroRNAs are endogenous small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression and cancer development. A rare population of hepatocellular cancer stem cells (HSCs) holds the extensive proliferative and self-renewal potential necessary to form a liver tumour. We postulated that specific transcriptional factors might regulate the expression of microRNAs and subsequently modulate the expression of gene products involved in phenotypic characteristics of HSCs. We evaluated the expression of microRNA in human HSCs by microarray profiling, and defined the target genes and functional effects of two groups of microRNA regulated by IL-6 and transcriptional factor Twist. A subset of highly chemoresistant and invasive HSCs was screened with aberrant expressions of cytokine IL-6 and Twist. We demonstrated that conserved let-7 and miR-181 family members were up-regulated in HSCs by global microarray-based microRNA profiling followed by validation with real-time polymerase chain reaction. Importantly, inhibition of let-7 increases the chemosensitivity of HSCs to sorafenib and doxorubicin whereas silencing of miR-181 led to a reduction in HSCs motility and invasion. Knocking down IL-6 and Twist in HSCs significantly reduced let-7 and miR-181 expression and subsequently inhibited chemoresistance and cell invasion. We showed that let-7 directly targets SOCS-1 and caspase-3, whereas miR-181 directly targets RASSF1A, TIMP3 as well as nemo-like kinase (NLK). In conclusion, alterations of IL-6- and Twist-regulated microRNA expression in HSCs play a part in tumour spreading and responsiveness to chemotherapy. Our results define a novel regulatory mechanism of let-7/miR-181s suggesting that let-7 and miR-181 may be molecular targets for eradication of hepatocellular malignancies. © 2011 The Authors Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine © 2011 Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

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