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Boston, MA, United States

Dana–Farber Cancer Institute is a center for cancer treatment and research in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a major affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and a founding member of Dana–Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, a Comprehensive Cancer Center designated by the National Cancer Institute. Wikipedia.

PGC1α is a key transcriptional coregulator of oxidative metabolism and thermogenesis. Through a high-throughput chemical screen, we found that molecules antagonizing the TRPVs (transient receptor potential vanilloid), a family of ion channels, induced PGC1α expression in adipocytes. In particular, TRPV4 negatively regulated the expression of PGC1α, UCP1, and cellular respiration. Additionally, it potently controlled the expression of multiple proinflammatory genes involved in the development of insulin resistance. Mice with a null mutation for TRPV4 or wild-type mice treated with a TRPV4 antagonist showed elevated thermogenesis in adipose tissues and were protected from diet-induced obesity, adipose inflammation, and insulin resistance. This role of TRPV4 as a cell-autonomous mediator for both the thermogenic and proinflammatory programs in adipocytes could offer a target for treating obesity and related metabolic diseases. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Goldberg M.S.,Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Although cancer immunotherapy can lead to durable outcomes, the percentage of patients who respond to this disruptive approach remains modest to date. Encouragingly, nanotechnology can enhance the efficacy of immunostimulatory small molecules and biologics by altering their co-localization, biodistribution, and release kinetics. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Source

Kaelin Jr. W.G.,Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Realizing the full potential of si/shRNA technology requires more sophisticated approaches to address the pitfalls. Source

Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MYD88) L265P somatic mutation is highly prevalent in Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) and supports malignant growth through nuclear factor κB (NF-κB). The signaling cascade(s) by which MYD88 L265P promotes NF-κB activation in WM remain unclear. By lentiviral knockdown or use of a MYD88 inhibitor, decreased phosphorylation of the NF-κB gatekeeper IκBα and survival occurred in MYD88 L265P-expressing WM cells. Conversely, WM cells engineered to overexpress MYD88 L265P showed enhanced survival. Coimmunoprecipitation studies identified Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) complexed to MYD88 in L265P-expressing WM cells, with preferential binding of MYD88 to phosphorylated BTK (pBTK). Increased pBTK was also observed in WM cells transduced to overexpress L265P vs wild-type MYD88. Importantly, MYD88 binding to BTK was abrogated following treatment of MYD88 L265P-expressing cells with a BTK kinase inhibitor. Inhibition of BTK or interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 and 4 (IRAK-1 and -4) kinase activity induced apoptosis of WM cells, and their combination resulted in more robust inhibition of NF-κB signaling and synergistic WM cell killing. The results establish BTK as a downstream target of MYD88 L265P signaling, and provide a framework for the study of BTK inhibitors alone, and in combination with IRAK inhibitors for the treatment of WM. Source

Kimmelman A.C.,Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Genes and Development

Macroautophagy (referred to hereafter as autophagy) is a highly regulated cellular process that serves to remove damaged proteins and organelles from the cell. Autophagy contributes to an array of normal and pathological processes, and has recently emerged as a key regulator of multiple aspects of cancer biology. The role of autophagy in cancer is complex and is likely dependent on tumor type, stage, and genetic context. This complexity is illustrated by the identification of settings where autophagy acts potently to either promote or inhibit tumorigenesis. In this review, I discuss the underlying basis for these opposing functions and propose a model suggesting a dynamic role for autophagy in malignancy. Collectively, the data point to autophagy as serving as a barrier to limit tumor initiation. Once neoplastic lesions are established, it appears that adaptive changes occur that now result in positive roles for autophagy in malignant progression and in subsequent tumor maintenance. Remarkably, constitutive activation of autophagy is critical for continued growth of some tumors, serving to both reduce oxidative stress and provide key intermediates to sustain cell metabolism. Autophagy is also induced in response to cancer therapies where it can function as a survival mechanism that limits drug efficacy. These findings have inspired significant interest in applying anti-autophagy therapies as an entirely new approach to cancer treatment. It is now apparent that aberrant control of autophagy is among the key hallmarks of cancer. While much needs to be learned about the regulation and context-dependent biological functions of autophagy, it seems clear that modulation of this process will be an attractive avenue for future cancer therapeutic approaches. © 2011 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Source

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