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Cloning and expression of antigen-specific T cell receptors

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Cancer poses a significant burden on the global health system and represents a leading cause of death worldwide. For late-stage cancers, the traditional treatments of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are not always viable, and they can pose unnecessary health risks

Cancer poses a significant burden on the global health system and represents a leading cause of death worldwide. For late-stage cancers, the traditional treatments of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are not always viable, and they can pose unnecessary health risks to the patients. New immunotherapies, such as adoptive cell transfer, are being developed and refined to treat such cancers. T cell immunotherapies in particular, where a patient’s T cell lymphocytes are isolated and amplified to be re-infused into the patient or where human cell lines are engineered to express T cell receptors for the recognition of common cancer antigens, are being expanded on because for some cancers, they could be the only option. Constructing an optimal pipeline for cloning and expression of antigen-specific TCRs has significant bearing on the efficacy of engineered cell lines for ACT. Adoptive T cell transfer, while making great strides, has to overcome a diverse T cell repertoire – cloning and expressing antigen-specific TCRs can mediate this understanding. Having identified the high frequency FluM1-specific TCR sequences in stimulated donor PBMCs, it was hypothesized that the antigen-specific TCR could be reconstructed via Gateway cloning methods and tested for expression and functionality. Establishing this pipeline would confirm an ability to properly pair and express the heterodimeric chains. In the context of downstream applications, neoantigens would be used to stimulate T cells, the α and β chains would be paired via single-cell or bulk methods, and instead of Gateway cloning, the CDR3 hypervariable regions α and β chains alone would be co-expressed using Golden Gate assembly methods.

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2019-05

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Expression of 12 High and Low Risk HPV Type Proteomes for the Development of a Protein Microarray

Description

Introduction: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is seen in up to 90% of cases of cervical cancer, the third leading cancer cause of death in women. Current HPV screening focuses on only two HPV types and covers roughly 75% of HPV-associated

Introduction: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is seen in up to 90% of cases of cervical cancer, the third leading cancer cause of death in women. Current HPV screening focuses on only two HPV types and covers roughly 75% of HPV-associated cervical cancers. A protein based assay to test for antibody biomarkers against 98 HPV antigens from both high and low risk types could provide an inexpensive and reliable method to screen for patients at risk of developing invasive cervical cancer. Methods: 98 codon optimized, commercially produced HPV genes were cloned into the pANT7_cGST vector, amplified in a bacterial host, and purified for mammalian expression using in vitro transcription/translation (IVTT) in a luminescence-based RAPID ELISA (RELISA) assay. Monoclonal antibodies were used to determine immune cross-reactivity between phylogenetically similar antigens. Lastly, several protein characteristics were examined to determine if they correlated with protein expression. Results: All genes were successfully moved into the destination vector and 86 of the 98 genes (88%) expressed protein at an adequate level. A difference was noted in expression by gene across HPV types but no correlation was found between protein size, pI, or aliphatic index and expression. Discussion: Further testing is needed to express the remaining 12 HPV genes. Once all genes have been successfully expressed and purified at high concentrations, DNA will be printed on microscope slides to create a protein microarray. This microarray will be used to screen HPV-positive patient sera for antibody biomarkers that may be indicative of cervical cancer and precancerous cervical neoplasias.

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2015-05

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Needle in a Haystack: the search for immunogenic epitopes for TPD52

Description

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths of women in the united states. Traditionally, Breast cancer is predominantly treated by a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, due to the significant negative side effects associated with

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths of women in the united states. Traditionally, Breast cancer is predominantly treated by a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, due to the significant negative side effects associated with these traditional treatments, there has been substantial efforts to develop alternative therapies to treat cancer. One such alternative therapy is a peptide-based therapeutic cancer vaccine. Therapeutic cancer vaccines enhance an individual's immune response to a specific tumor. They are capable of doing this through artificial activation of tumor specific CTLs (Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes). However, in order to artificially activate tumor specific CTLs, a patient must be treated with immunogenic epitopes derived from their specific cancer type. We have identified that the tumor associated antigen, TPD52, is an ideal target for a therapeutic cancer vaccine. This designation was due to the overexpression of TPD52 in a variety of different cancer types. In order to start the development of a therapeutic cancer vaccine for TPD52-related cancers, we have devised a two-step strategy. First, we plan to create a list of potential TPD52 epitopes by using epitope binding and processing prediction tools. Second, we plan to attempt to experimentally identify MHC class I TPD52 epitopes in vitro. We identified 942 potential 9 and 10 amino acid epitopes for the HLAs A1, A2, A3, A11, A24, B07, B27, B35, B44. These epitopes were predicted by using a combination of 3 binding prediction tools and 2 processing prediction tools. From these 942 potential epitopes, we selected the top 50 epitopes ranked by a combination of binding and processing scores. Due to the promiscuity of some predicted epitopes for multiple HLAs, we ordered 38 synthetic epitopes from the list of the top 50 epitope. We also performed a frequency analysis of the TPD52 protein sequence and identified 3 high volume regions of high epitope production. After the epitope predictions were completed, we proceeded to attempt to experimentally detected presented TPD52 epitopes. First, we successful transduced parental K562 cells with TPD52. After transduction, we started the optimization process for the immunoprecipitation protocol. The optimization of the immunoprecipitation protocol proved to be more difficult than originally believed and was the main reason that we were unable to progress past the transduction of the parental cells. However, we believe that we have identified the issues and will be able to complete the experiment in the coming months.

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2016-05

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Creating an artificial antigen presenting cell system for HPV16 proteins

Description

Background: High risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause cancer, including cervical (99%) and oropharyngeal cancer (70%). HPV type 16 is the most common subtype. Three antigens that are critical for integration or tumor progression are E2,

Background: High risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause cancer, including cervical (99%) and oropharyngeal cancer (70%). HPV type 16 is the most common subtype. Three antigens that are critical for integration or tumor progression are E2, E6 and E7. In this study, we developed a systematic approach to identify naturally-processed HPV16-derived HLA class I epitopes for immunotherapy development. Methods: K562 cells, which lack HLA expression, were transduced with each HPV16 antigen using lentivirus and supertransfected with HLA-A2 by nucleofection. Stable cell lines expressing each antigen were selected for and maintained throughout the investigation. In order to establish a Gateway-compatible vector for robust transient gene expression, a Gateway recombination expression cloning cassette was inserted into the commercial Lonza pMAX GFP backbone, which has been experimentally shown to display high transfection expression efficiency. GFP was cloned into the vector and plain K562 cells were transfected with the plasmid by nucleofection. Results: Expression of K562-A2 was tested at various time points by flow cytometry and A2 expression was confirmed. Protein expression was shown for the transduced K562 E7 by Western blot analysis. High transfection efficiency of the pMAX_GFP_Dest vector (up to 97% GFP+ cells) was obtained 48 hours post transfection, comparable to the commercial GFP-plasmid. Conclusion: We have established a rapid system for target viral antigen co-expression with single HLA molecules for analysis of antigen presentation. Using HPV as a model system, our goal is to identify specific antigenic peptide sequences to develop immunotherapeutic treatments for HPV-associated cancers.

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2016-05

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Assessing the Evolutionary Divergence Between Four Multiple Myeloma Patient Tumors and Their Established Cell Lines

Description

Current studies in Multiple Myeloma suggest that patient tumors and cell lines cluster separately based on gene expression profiles. Hyperdiploid patients are also extremely underrepresented in established human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs). This suggests that the average HMCL model system

Current studies in Multiple Myeloma suggest that patient tumors and cell lines cluster separately based on gene expression profiles. Hyperdiploid patients are also extremely underrepresented in established human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs). This suggests that the average HMCL model system does not accurately represent the average myeloma patient. To investigate this question we performed a combined CNA and SNV evolutionary comparison between four myeloma tumors and their established HMCLs (JMW-1, VP-6, KAS-6/1-KAS-6/2 and KP-6). We identified copy number changes shared between the tumors and their cell lines (mean of 74 events - 59%), those unique to patients (mean of 21.25 events - 17%), and those only in the cell lines (mean of 30.75 events \u2014 24%). A relapse sample from the JMW-1 patient showed 58% similarity to the primary diagnostic tumor. These data suggest that, on the level of copy number abnormalities, HMCLs show equal levels of evolutionary divergence as that observed within patients. By exome sequencing, patient tumors were 71% similar to their representative HMCLs, with ~12.5% and ~16.5% of SNVs unique to the tumors and HMCLs respectively. The HMCLs studied appear highly representative of the patient from which they were derived, with most differences associated with an enrichment of sub-populations present in the primary tumor. Additionally, our analysis of the KP-6 aCGH data showed that the patient's hyperdiploid karyotype was maintained in its respective HMCL. This discovery confirms the establishment and validation of a novel and potentially clinically relevant hyperdiploid HMCL that could provide a major advance in our ability to understand the pathogenesis and progression of this prominent patient population.

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Date Created
2016-05

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TWEAK functions as chemotactic factor for glioma cells via Lyn activation

Description

The long-term survival of patients with glioblastoma multiforme is compromised by the tumor's proclivity for local invasion into the surrounding normal brain. These invasive cells escape surgery and display resistance to chemotherapeutic- and radiation-induced apoptosis. We have previously shown that

The long-term survival of patients with glioblastoma multiforme is compromised by the tumor's proclivity for local invasion into the surrounding normal brain. These invasive cells escape surgery and display resistance to chemotherapeutic- and radiation-induced apoptosis. We have previously shown that tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK), a member of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily, can stimulate glioma cell invasion and survival via binding to the fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14) receptor and subsequent activation of the Rac1/NF-kappaB pathway. In addition, we have reported previously that Fn14 is expressed at high levels in migrating glioma cells in vitro and invading glioma cells in vivo. Here we demonstrate that TWEAK can act as a chemotactic factor for glioma cells, a potential process to drive cell invasion into the surrounding brain tissue. Specifically, we detected a chemotactic migration of glioma cells to the concentration gradient of TWEAK. Since Src family kinases (SFK) have been implicated in chemotaxis, we next determined whether TWEAK:Fn14 engagement activated these cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases. Our data shows that TWEAK stimulation of glioma cells results in a rapid phosphorylation of the SFK member Lyn as determined by multiplex Luminex assay and verified by immunoprecipitation. Immunodepletion of Lyn by siRNA oligonucleotides suppressed the chemoattractive effect of TWEAK on glioma cells. We hypothesize that TWEAK secretion by cells present in the glioma microenvironment induce invasion of glioma cells into the brain parenchyma. Understanding the function and signaling of the TWEAK-Fn14 ligand-receptor system may lead to development of novel therapies to therapeutically target invasive glioma cells.

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2013-05

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Understanding the Biochemistry of Different P53 Mutants Having Different Sensitivities to Simvastatin

Description

The p53 gene functions as a tumor suppressor that inhibits proliferation, regulates apoptosis, DNA repair, and normal cell cycle arrest. Mutation of the p53 gene is linked to be prevalent in 50% of all human cancers. In this paper, we

The p53 gene functions as a tumor suppressor that inhibits proliferation, regulates apoptosis, DNA repair, and normal cell cycle arrest. Mutation of the p53 gene is linked to be prevalent in 50% of all human cancers. In this paper, we are exploring triple negative breast cancer and the effects of simvastatin on tumor growth and survival. Simvastatin is a drug that is primarily used to treat high cholesterol and heart disease. Simvastatin is unique because it is able to inhibit protein prenylation through regulation of the mevalonate pathway. This makes it a potential targeted drug for therapy against p53 mutant cancer. The mechanism behind this is hypothesized to be correlated to aberrant activation of the Ras pathway. The Ras subfamily functions to transcriptionally regulate cell growth and survival, and will therefore allow for a tumor to thrive if the pathway is continually and abnormally activated. The Ras protein has to be prenylated in order for activation of this pathway to occur, making statin drug treatment a viable option as a cancer treatment. This is because it acts as a regulator of the mevalonate pathway which is upstream of protein prenylation. It is thus vital to understand these pathways at both the gene and protein level in different p53 mutants to further understand if simvastatin is indeed a drug with anti-cancer properties and can be used to target cancers with p53 mutation. The goal of this project is to study the biochemistry behind the mutation of p53's sensitivity to statin. With this information we can create a possible signature for those who could benefit from Simvastatin drug treatment as a possible targeted treatment for p53 mutant cancers.

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Date Created
2016-12

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PDZ-binding kinase promotes adrenocortical carcinoma cell proliferation and tumorigenesis

Description

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare and deadly disease that affects 0.5-2 people per million per year in the US. Currently, the first line clinical management includes surgical resection, followed by treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent mitotane. These interventions, however,

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare and deadly disease that affects 0.5-2 people per million per year in the US. Currently, the first line clinical management includes surgical resection, followed by treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent mitotane. These interventions, however, have limited effectiveness, as the overall five-year survival rate of patients with ACC is less than 35%. Therefore, further scientific investigation underlying the molecular mechanisms and biomarkers of this disease is of high importance. The aim of this project was to identify potential biomarkers that may be used as prognosticators as well as candidate genes that might be targeted to develop new therapies for patients with ACC. An analysis of publicly-available datasets revealed PDZ-binding kinase (PBK) as being upregulated roughly 9-fold in ACC tissue compared to normal adrenal tissue. PBK has been implicated as an oncogene in several other systems, and its expression has been shown to negatively impact patient survival. Initial experiments have confirmed the upregulation of PBK in H295R cells, a human ACC cell line. We effectively silenced PBK (>95% reduction in protein content) in H295R cells using lentiviral shRNA constructs. Using high and low PBK expressing cells, we performed soft agar assays for colony formation, and found that the PBK-silenced cells produced two-fold fewer colonies than the vector control (p<0.05). This indicates that PBK likely plays a role in tumorigenicity. We further conducted functional studies for apoptosis and proliferation to elucidate the mechanism by which PBK increases tumorigenicity. Preliminary results from MTS assays showed that after 9 days, PBK-silenced cells proliferated significantly less than the vector control, so PBK likely increases proliferation. Together these data identify PBK as a kinase implicated in ACC tumorigenesis. Further in vitro and in vivo studies will be conducted to evaluate PBK as a potential therapeutic target in adrenocortical carcinoma.

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Date Created
2016-12

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The Integration of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) into Western Biomedical Oncology Treatment

Description

Through a standpoint feminist perspective (Harding 2009) I conducted a situational analysis (Clarke, 2015) that examined academic literature and cancer support discussion boards (DBs) to identify how Western biomedicine, specifically oncology, can integrate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to improve

Through a standpoint feminist perspective (Harding 2009) I conducted a situational analysis (Clarke, 2015) that examined academic literature and cancer support discussion boards (DBs) to identify how Western biomedicine, specifically oncology, can integrate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to improve cancer treatment in children. The aims of this project were: 1) to identify the CAM treatments that are being used to alleviate the side effects from oncological treatments and/or treat pediatric cancers; 2) to compare the subjective experience of CAM to Western biomedicine of cancer patients who leave comments on Group Loop, Cancer Compass and Cancer Forums, which are online support groups (N=20). I used grounded theory and situational mapping to analyze discussion threads. The participants identified using the following CAM treatments: herbs, imagery, prayer, stinging nettle, meditation, mind-body therapies and supplements. The participants turned to CAM treatments when their cancer was late-stage or terminal, often as an integrative and not exclusively to treat their cancer. CAM was more "effective" than biomedical oncology treatment at improving their overall quality of life and functionality. We found that youth on discussion boards did not discuss CAM treatments like the adult participants, but all participants visited these sites for support and verification of their cancer treatments. My main integration recommendation is to combine mind-body CAM therapies with biomedical treatment. This project fills the gap in literature that ignores the ideas of vulnerable populations by providing the experiences of adult and pediatric cancer patients, and that of their families. It is applicable to areas of the social studies of medicine, patient care, and families suffering from cancer. KEYWORDS: Cancer; Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Situational Analysis; Standpoint Feminism

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Date Created
2016-12

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Targeted Delivery DNA-Tetrahedron Assembled Therapeutics

Description

As advanced as current cancer therapeutics are, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of them is the non-specific killing of normal cells in addition to cancerous cells. Ideal cancer therapeutics should be targeted specifically toward tumor

As advanced as current cancer therapeutics are, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of them is the non-specific killing of normal cells in addition to cancerous cells. Ideal cancer therapeutics should be targeted specifically toward tumor cells. Due to the robust self-assembly and versatile addressability of DNA-nanostructures, a DNA tetrahedron nanostructure was explored as a drug carrier. The nanostructure can be decorated with various molecules to either increase immunogenicity, toxicity, or affinity to a specific cell type. The efficiency of the specific binding and internalization of the chosen molecules was measured via flow cytometry. Using a murine B cell lymphoma as the model system, several targeting molecules have been evaluated for their specific binding and induced internalization of DNA nanostructures, including an anti-Igκ antibody, an idiotype-binding peptide, and a g-quadruplex nucleolin specific aptamer. It was found that adding the anti-Igκ antibody appeared to provide increased binding and facilitated cellular internalization. Also, it was found that the presence of CpG appeared to aid in the binding of nanostructures decorated with other molecules, as compared to nanostructures without CpG. The g-quadruplex aptamer thought to specifically bind cancer cells that overexpress nucleolin was tested and found to have better binding to cells when linked to the nanostructure than when alone. The drug doxorubicin was used to load the DNA-nanostructure and attempt to inhibit cancer cell growth. The DNA-nanostructure has the benefit of being self-assembled and customizable, and it has been shown to bind to and internalize into a cancer cell line. The next steps are to test the toxicity of the nanostructure as well as its specificity for cancerous cells compared to noncancerous cells. Furthermore, once those tests are completed the structure’s drug delivery capacity will be tested in tumor bearing mice. The DNA-nanostructure exhibits potential as a cancer specific therapeutic.

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2016-12