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The Effects of Human Hairless Gene Overexpression on U87 MG Glioblastoma Cell Function

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Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive malignant brain tumor with a median prognosis of 14 months. Human hairless protein (HR) is a 130 kDa nuclear transcription factor that plays a critical role in skin and hair function but was found

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive malignant brain tumor with a median prognosis of 14 months. Human hairless protein (HR) is a 130 kDa nuclear transcription factor that plays a critical role in skin and hair function but was found to be highly expressed in neural tissue as well. The expression of HR in GBM tumor cells is significantly decreased compared to the normal brain tissue and low levels of HR expression is associated with shortened patient survival. We have recently reported that HR is a DNA binding phosphoprotein, which binds to p53 protein and p53 responsive element (p53RE) in vitro and in intact cells. We hypothesized that HR can regulate p53 downstream target genes, and consequently affects cellular function and activity. To test the hypothesis, we overexpressed HR in normal human embryonic kidney HEK293 and GBM U87MG cell lines and characterized these cells by analyzing p53 target gene expression, viability, cell-cycle arrest, and apoptosis. The results revealed that the overexpressed HR not only regulates p53-mediated target gene expression, but also significantly inhibit cell viability, induced early apoptosis, and G2/M cell cycle arrest in U87MG cells, compared to mock groups. Translating the knowledge gained from this research on the connections between HR and GBM could aid in identifying novel therapies to circumvent GBM progression or improve clinical outcome.

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2018-05

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Immune Blockade Therapy in Metastatic Osteosarcoma

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Since Metastatic Osteosarcoma is unresponsive to most of the current standards of care currently available, and yields a survival rate of 20%, it is pertinent that novel approaches to treating it be undertaken in scientific research. Past studies in our

Since Metastatic Osteosarcoma is unresponsive to most of the current standards of care currently available, and yields a survival rate of 20%, it is pertinent that novel approaches to treating it be undertaken in scientific research. Past studies in our lab have used a The Immune Blockade Therapy, utilizing α-CTLA-4 and α-PD-L1 to treat mice with metastatic osteosarcoma; this resulted in 60% of mice achieving disease-free survival and protective immunity against metastatic osteosarcoma. 12 We originally wanted to see if the survival rate could be boosted by pairing the immune blockade therapy with another current, standard of care, radiation. We had found that there were certain, key features to experimental design that had to be maintained and explored further in order to raise survival rates, ultimately with the goal of reestablishing the 60% survival rate seen in mice treated with the immune blockade therapy. Our results show that mice with mature immune systems, which develop by 6-8 weeks, should be used in experiments testing an immune blockade, or other forms of immunotherapy, as they are capable of properly responding to treatment. Treatment as early as one day after should be maintained in future experiments looking at the immune blockade therapy for the treatment of metastatic osteosarcoma in mice. The immune blockade therapy, using α-PD-L1 and α-CTLA-4, seems to work synergistically with radiation, a current standard of care. The combination of these therapies could potentially boost the 60% survival rate, as previously seen in mice treated with α-PD-L1 and α-CTLA-4, to a higher percent by means of reducing tumor burden and prolonging length of life in metastatic osteosarcoma.

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2017-05

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Initial experiment of Adaptive Therapy to control Breast Cancer

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Adaptive therapy utilizes competitive interactions between resistant and sensitive cells by keeping some sensitive cells to control tumor burden with the aim of increasing overall survival and time to progression. The use of adaptive therapy to treat breast cancer, ovarian

Adaptive therapy utilizes competitive interactions between resistant and sensitive cells by keeping some sensitive cells to control tumor burden with the aim of increasing overall survival and time to progression. The use of adaptive therapy to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and pancreatic cancer in preclinical models has shown significant results in controlling tumor growth. The purpose of this thesis is to draft a protocol to study adaptive therapy in a preclinical model of breast cancer on MCF7, estrogen receptor-positive, cells that have evolved resistance to fulvestrant and palbociclib (MCF7 R). In this study, we used two protocols: drug dose adjustment and intermittent therapy. The MCF7 R cell lines were injected into the mammary fat pads of 11-month-old NOD/SCID gamma (NSG) mice (18 mice) which were then treated with gemcitabine.<br/>The results of this experiment did not provide complete information because of the short-term treatments. In addition, we saw an increase in the tumor size of a few of the treated mice, which could be due to the metabolism of the drug at that age, or because of the difference in injection times. Therefore, these adaptive therapy protocols on hormone-refractory breast cancer cell lines will be repeated on young, 6-week old mice by injecting the cell lines at the same time for all mice, which helps the results to be more consistent and accurate.

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2021-05

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

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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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2016-12

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PDZ-binding kinase promotes adrenocortical carcinoma cell proliferation and tumorigenesis

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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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Development of Synbody Peptides for PD-L1 Blockade for use as a Cancer Vaccine Adjuvant

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PD-L1 blockade has shown recent success in cancer therapy and cancer vaccine regimens. One approach for anti-PD-L1 antibodies has been their application as adjuvants for cancer vaccines. Given the disadvantages of such antibodies, including long half-life and adverse events related

PD-L1 blockade has shown recent success in cancer therapy and cancer vaccine regimens. One approach for anti-PD-L1 antibodies has been their application as adjuvants for cancer vaccines. Given the disadvantages of such antibodies, including long half-life and adverse events related to their use, a novel strategy using synbodies in place of antibodies can be tested. Synbodies offer a variety of advantages, including shorter half-life, smaller size, and cheaper cost. Peptides that could bind PD-L1 were identified via peptide arrays and used to construct synbodies. These synbodies were tested with inhibition ELISA assays, SPR, and pull down assays. Additional flow cytometry analysis was done to determine the binding specificity of the synbodies to PD-L1 and the ability of those synbodies to inhibit the PD-L1/PD-1 interaction. Although analysis of permeabilized cells expressing PD-L1 indicated that the synbodies could successfully bind PD-L1, those results were not replicated in non-permeabilized cells. Further assays suggested that the binding of the synbodies was non-specific. Other tests were done to see if the synbodies could inhibit the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction. This assay did not yield any conclusive results and further experimentation is needed to determine the efficacy of the synbodies in inhibiting this interaction.

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2016-12