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Gupta K.,Case Western Reserve University | Chakrabarti A.,Invenio Therapeutics, Inc. | Rana S.,Invenio Therapeutics, Inc. | Ramdeo R.,Case Western Reserve University | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

As the defining feature of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a maturation arrest, a highly desirable therapeutic strategy is to induce leukemic cell maturation. This therapeutic strategy has the potential of avoiding the significant side effects that occur with the traditional AML therapeutics. We identified a natural compound securinine, as a leukemia differentiation-inducing agent. Securinine is a plant-derived alkaloid that has previously been used clinically as a therapeutic for primarily neurological related diseases. Securinine induces monocytic differentiation of a wide range of myeloid leukemia cell lines as well as primary leukemic patient samples. Securinine's clinical potential for AML can be seen from its ability to induce significant growth arrest in cell lines and patient samples as well as its activity in significantly impairing the growth of AML tumors in nude mice. In addition, securinine can synergize with currently employed agents such as ATRA and decitabine to induce differentiation. This study has revealed securinine induces differentiation through the activation of DNA damage signaling. Securinine is a promising new monocytic differentiation inducing agent for AML that has seen previous clinical use for non-related disorders. © 2011 Gupta et al.


Rana S.,Invenio Therapeutics, Inc. | Gupta K.,Case Western Reserve University | Gomez J.,Case Western Reserve University | Matsuyama S.,Invenio Therapeutics, Inc. | And 6 more authors.
FASEB Journal | Year: 2010

The identification of agents that preferentially kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells offers the potential to overcome toxicities found in many existing chemotherapeutic agents. Because p53 is frequently inactivated in cancer, agents that preferentially kill p53-null cells and protect wild-type p53-expressing cells are highly desirable chemotherapeutic agents. By using pairs of isogenic colon cancer cell lines that differ only in p53 expression (RKO and HCT116), securinine was found to exhibit these properties. Securinine (30 μM) induces apoptosis in 73% of p53-null HCT116 cells (LD50 17.5 μM) as opposed to 17.6% of HCT116 parental cells (LD50 50 μM) at 72 h after treatment. The mechanism of securinine-mediated death in p53-deficient cells involves the induction of the p53 family member, p73. Interestingly, the proapoptotic protein p73 is down-regulated in colon cancer cells expressing p53. This differential regulation of p73 in a p53-dependent fashion reveals a novel pathway for preferentially targeting cancer cells. In contrast to p53-deficient cells, cells expressing p53 are protected from cell death through the p53-mediated upregulation of p21. These studies reveal a novel approach to specifically target colon cancer cells lacking p53 as well as identify a novel clinically relevant pathway to selectively induce p73 in p53-null cells. © FASEB.


Ruhul Amin A.R.M.,Case Western Reserve University | Ruhul Amin A.R.M.,Emory University | Thakur V.S.,Case Western Reserve University | Gupta K.,Case Western Reserve University | And 4 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2013

p53 is essential for the cellular responses to DNA damage that help to maintain genomic stability. However, the great majority of human cancers undergo disruption of the p53-network. Identification and characterization of molecular components important in both p53-dependent and-independent apoptosis might be useful in developing novel therapies for cancers. In the complete absence of p53, cells treated with N-(phosphonacetyl)-L-aspartate (PALA) continue to synthesize DNA slowly and eventually progress through S-phase, suffering severe DNA damage that in turn triggers apoptosis, whereas cells with functional p53 undergo growth arrest. In this study, we investigated apoptotic signaling in response to PALA and the role of p53 expression in this pathway. We found that treatment of cells lacking p53 with PALA induced TAp73, Noxa and Bim and inactivation of these proteins with dominant-negative plasmids or small interfering RNAs significantly inhibited apoptosis, suggesting that PALA-induced apoptosis was mediated via TAp73-dependent expression of Noxa and Bim. However, PALA treatment inhibited the expression of ΔNp73 only in cells lacking p53 but not in cells expressing p53. In addition, PALA treatment inhibited Bcl-2, and overexpression of Bcl-2 significantly inhibited PALA-induced apoptosis. Moreover, expression of p53 in these cells protected them from PALA-induced apoptosis by activating p21, sustaining the expression of ΔNp73 and inhibiting the induction of Noxa and Bim. Taken together, our study identifies novel but opposing roles for the p53 and TAp73 in the induction of Noxa and Bim and regulation of apoptosis. Our data will help to develop strategies to eliminate cancer cells lacking p53 while protecting normal cells with wild-type p53. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Ruhul Amin A.R.M.,Case Western Reserve University | Ruhul Amin A.R.M.,Emory Winship Cancer Institute | Thakur V.S.,Case Western Reserve University | Gupta K.,Case Western Reserve University | And 6 more authors.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics | Year: 2010

A great majority of human cancers encounter disruption of the p53 network. Identification and characterization of molecular components important in both p53-dependent and p53-independent apoptosis might be useful in developing novel therapies. Previously, we reported that concanavalin A (Con A) induced p73-dependent apoptosis of cells lacking functional p53. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism and role of p53 in protection from apoptosis induced by Con A. Treatment with Con A resulted in apoptosis of p53-null ovarian cancer, SKOV3, or Li-Fraumeni syndrome, MDAH041 (041), cells. However, their isogenic pairs, SKP53 and TR9-7, expressing wild-type p53 were much less sensitive and were protected by G1 arrest. Inhibition of p53 function rendered these cells sensitive to Con A. Con A-induced apoptosis was accompanied by upregulation of forkhead box O1a (FOXO1a) and Bcl-2-interacting mediator (Bim), which were strongly inhibited after p53 expression and rescued after p53 ablation. Moreover, ablation of Bim by short hairpin RNA protected cells from apoptosis. Taken together, our study suggests that Con A induces apoptosis of cells lacking p53 by activating FOXO1a-Bim signaling and that expression of p53 protects these cells by inducing G1 arrest and by downregulating the expression of both FOXO1a and Bim, identifying a novel cross-talk between FOXO1a and p53 transcription factors. ©2010 AACR.


Thakur V.S.,Case Western Reserve University | Ruhul Amin A.R.M.,Case Western Reserve University | Ruhul Amin A.R.M.,Emory University | Paul R.K.,Case Western Reserve University | And 7 more authors.
Cancer Letters | Year: 2010

The tumor suppressor protein p53 plays a key role in regulation of negative cellular growth in response to EGCG. To further explore the role of p53 signaling and elucidate the molecular mechanism, we employed colon cancer HCT116 cell line and its derivatives in which a specific transcriptional target of p53 is knocked down by homologous recombination. Cells expressing p53 and p21 accumulate in G1 upon treatment with EGCG. In contrast, same cells lacking p21 traverse through the cell cycle and eventually undergo apoptosis as revealed by TUNEL staining. Treatment with EGCG leads to induction of p53, p21 and PUMA in p21 wild-type, and p53 and PUMA in p21-/- cells. Ablation of p53 by RNAi protects p21-/- cells, thus indicating a p53-dependent apoptosis by EGCG. Furthermore, analysis of cells lacking PUMA or Bax with or without p21 but with p53 reveals that all the cells expressing p53 and p21 survived after EGCG treatment. More interestingly, cells lacking both PUMA and p21 survived ECGC treatment whereas those lacking p21 and Bax did not. Taken together, our results present a novel concept wherein p21-dependent growth arrest pre-empts and protects cells from otherwise, in its absence, apoptosis which is mediated by activation of pro-apoptotic protein PUMA. Furthermore, we find that p53-dependent activation of PUMA in response to EGCG directly leads to apoptosis with out requiring Bax as is the case in response to agents that induce DNA damage. p21, thus can be used as a molecular switch for therapeutic intervention of colon cancer. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


PubMed | Cleveland Clinic, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Case Western Reserve University and Invenio Therapeutics, Inc.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Molecular cancer therapeutics | Year: 2016

Inactivation of the p53 tumor suppressor by mutation or overexpression of negative regulators occurs frequently in cancer. As p53 plays a key role in regulating proliferation or apoptosis in response to DNA-damaging chemotherapies, strategies aimed at reactivating p53 are increasingly being sought. Strategies to reactivate wild-type p53 include the use of small molecules capable of releasing wild-type p53 from key, cellular negative regulators, such as Hdm2 and HdmX. Derivatives of the Hdm2 antagonist Nutlin-3 are in clinical trials. However, Nutlin-3 specifically disrupts Hdm2-p53, leaving tumors harboring high levels of HdmX resistant to Nutlin-3 treatment. Here, we identify CTX1, a novel small molecule that overcomes HdmX-mediated p53 repression. CTX1 binds directly to HdmX to prevent p53-HdmX complex formation, resulting in the rapid induction of p53 in a DNA damage-independent manner. Treatment of a panel of cancer cells with CTX1 induced apoptosis or suppressed proliferation and, importantly, CTX1 demonstrates promising activity as a single agent in a mouse model of circulating primary human leukemia. CTX1 is a small molecule HdmX inhibitor that demonstrates promise as a cancer therapeutic candidate. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(4); 574-82. 2016 AACR.


PubMed | Xi'an Jiaotong University, Case Western Reserve University and Invenio Therapeutics, Inc.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Leukemia | Year: 2015

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive disease with a poor 5-year survival of 21% that is characterized by the differentiation arrest of immature myeloid cells. For a rare subtype of AML (acute promyeloctyic leukemia, 5-10% of cases), all-trans retinoic acid therapy removes the differentiation block, yielding over a 90% cure rate. However, this treatment is not effective for the other 90-95% of AML patients, suggesting that new differentiation strategies are needed. Interestingly, differentiation is induced in normal hematopoietic cells through Toll-like receptor (TLR) stimulation and TLRs are expressed on AML cells. We present evidence that the TLR8 activation promotes AML differentiation and growth inhibition in a TLR8/MyD88/p38-dependent manner. We also show that that TLR7/TLR8 agonist, R848, considerably impairs the growth of human AML cells in immunodeficient mice. Our data suggests TLR8 activation has direct anti-leukemic effects independent of its immunomodulating properties that are currently under investigation for cancer therapy. Taken together, our results suggest that treatment with TLR8 agonists may be a promising new therapeutic strategy for AML.


PubMed | Ohio University, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Case Western Reserve University and Invenio Therapeutics, Inc.
Type: | Journal: Nature communications | Year: 2016

Natural killer cells from acute myeloid leukaemia patients (AML-NK) show a dramatic impairment in cytotoxic activity. The exact reasons for this dysfunction are not fully understood. Here we show that the glycogen synthase kinase beta (GSK3) expression is elevated in AML-NK cells. Interestingly, GSK3 overexpression in normal NK cells impairs their ability to kill AML cells, while genetic or pharmacological GSK3 inactivation enhances their cytotoxic activity. Mechanistic studies reveal that the increased cytotoxic activity correlates with an increase in AML-NK cell conjugates. GSK3 inhibition promotes the conjugate formation by upregulating LFA expression on NK cells and by inducing ICAM-1 expression on AML cells. The latter is mediated by increased NF-B activation in response to TNF- production by NK cells. Finally, GSK3-inhibited NK cells show significant efficacy in human AML mouse models. Overall, our work provides mechanistic insights into the AML-NK dysfunction and a potential NK cell therapy strategy.


The present invention relates to novel securinine and norsecurine analogs and their applicapility in treating cellular proliferative disorders.

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