Matching Items (4)

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Synthesis and Characterization of LD2 Peptide Analogs to Inhibit Focal Adhesion Kinase in Cancer

Description

In cancer, various genetic and epigenetic alterations cause cancer cells to hyperproliferate and to bypass the survival and migration mechanisms that typically regulate healthy cells. The focal adhesion kinase (FAK) gene produces FAK, a protein that has been implicated in

In cancer, various genetic and epigenetic alterations cause cancer cells to hyperproliferate and to bypass the survival and migration mechanisms that typically regulate healthy cells. The focal adhesion kinase (FAK) gene produces FAK, a protein that has been implicated in tumor progression in various cancers. Compared with normal tissue counterparts, FAK is overexpressed in many cancers. FAK is therefore a promising cancer drug target due to its demonstrated role in cancer invasion and metastasis and inhibition of FAK is important to achieve an optimal tumor response. Small molecule FAK inhibitors have been shown to decrease tumor growth and metastasis in several preclinical trials. However, these inhibitors focus narrowly on the enzymatic portion of FAK and neglect its scaffolding function, leaving FAK’s scaffolding of oncogenic drivers intact. Paxillin, a major focal adhesion-associated protein, binds to FAK, enabling it to localize to focal adhesions, and this is essential for FAK’s activation and function. Therefore, disrupting the protein-protein interaction between FAK and paxillin has been hypothesized to prevent tumor progression. The binding of FAK to paxillin at its focal adhesion targeting (FAT) domain is mediated by two highly conserved leucine-rich sequences, the leucine-aspartic acid (LD) motifs LD2 and LD4. The purpose of this project was to develop novel stapled LD2 peptide analogs that target the protein-protein interaction of FAT to LD2. Peptide stapling was performed to enhance the pharmacological performance of the LD2 peptide analogs. Based on the native LD2 peptide sequence, stapled LD2 peptide analogs were developed with the intent to improve efficacy of cell permeability, while maintaining or improving FAK binding. The LD2 peptide analogs were characterized via surface plasmon resonance, fluorescence polarization, immunofluorescence, and circular dichroism spectroscopy. Successful LD2 stapled peptide analogs can be therapeutically relevant inhibitors of the FAT-LD2 protein-protein interaction in cancer and have the potential for greater efficacy in FAK inhibition, proteolytic resistance, and cell permeability, which is key in preventing tumor progression in cancer.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Armed Oncolytic Myxoma Viruses to Eliminate Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma Cells

Description

Novel biological strategies for cancer therapy have recently been able to generate antitumor effects in the clinic. Of these new advancements, oncolytic virotherapy seems to be a promising strategy through a dual mechanism of oncolysis and immunogenicity of the host

Novel biological strategies for cancer therapy have recently been able to generate antitumor effects in the clinic. Of these new advancements, oncolytic virotherapy seems to be a promising strategy through a dual mechanism of oncolysis and immunogenicity of the host to the target cells. Myxoma virus (MYXV) is an oncolytic poxvirus that has a natural tropism for European rabbits, being nonpathogenic in humans and all other known vertebrates. MYXV is able to infect cancer cells which, due to mutations, have defects in many signaling pathways, notably pathways involved in antiviral responses. While MYXV alone elicits lysis of cancer cells, recombinant techniques allow for the implementation of transgenes, which have the potential of ‘arming’ the virus to enhance its potential as an oncolytic virus. The implementation of certain transgenes allow for the promotion of robust anti-tumor immune responses. To investigate the potential of immune-inducing transgenes in MYXV, in vitro experiments were performed with several armed recombinant MYXVs as well as unarmed wild-type and rabbit-attenuated MYXV. As recent studies have shown the ability of MYXV to uniquely target malignant human hematopoietic stem cells, the potential of oncolytic MYXV armed with immune-inducing transgenes was investigated through in vitro killing analysis using human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines. Furthermore, in vitro experiments were also performed using primary bone marrow (BM) cells obtained from human patients diagnosed with MM. In this study, armed MYXV-infected human AML and MM cells resulted in increased cell death relative to unarmed MYXV-infected cells, suggesting enhanced killing via induced mechanisms of cell death from the immune-inducing transgenes. Furthermore, increased killing of primary BM cells with multiple myeloma was seen in armed MYXV-infected primary cells relative to unarmed MYXV-infected primary cells.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Targeting Tumors: Inclusion of Functional Groups on Ion-Containing Block Copolymers to Combat Cancer

Description

This research attempts to determine the most effective method of synthesizing a peptide such that it can be utilized as a targeting moiety for polymeric micelles. Two melanoma-associated peptides with high in vitro and in vivo binding affinity for TNF

This research attempts to determine the most effective method of synthesizing a peptide such that it can be utilized as a targeting moiety for polymeric micelles. Two melanoma-associated peptides with high in vitro and in vivo binding affinity for TNF receptors have been identified and synthesized. Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-ToF) was used to help verify the structure of both peptides, which were purified using Reversed-Phase High Performance Liquid Chromatography (RP-HPLC). The next steps in the research are to attach the peptides to a micelle and determine their impact on micelle stability.

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Date Created
2016-05

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The Development of a T Cell Receptor Expression System to Verify TCR Specificity of Expanded Clones from Whole Blood: The beginnings of Adoptive T cell Therapy and T Cell Receptor Prediction

Description

Immunology, the study of the immune system and its ability to distinguish self from non-self, is a rapidly advancing sector of molecular biology. Cancer, being host derived, provides a difficult challenge for immune cells to distinguish it from normal tissue.

Immunology, the study of the immune system and its ability to distinguish self from non-self, is a rapidly advancing sector of molecular biology. Cancer, being host derived, provides a difficult challenge for immune cells to distinguish it from normal tissue. The historic treatment of cancer has had three main methods: radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery (1). Due to recent advancements in understanding the regulatory role of adaptive immunity against cancer, researchers have been attempting to engineer therapies to enhance patients’ immunities against their cancer. Immunotherapies, both passive and active, demonstrate potential for combating many diseases. Passive immunization provides temporary protection against a pathogen, whereas active immunization teaches the patient’s system to respond to the antigen independently, giving life-long immunity. Passive immunization, generally, is a much more expensive method of providing immunity and is commonly used in emergency situations. Anti-venom, for example, uses antibodies grown in lab to neutralize venom. Examples of active immunization are vaccines, which mimic the wild-type pathogen in a way that elicits an immune response, specifically naïve lymphocyte activation and maturation into memory lymphocytes. In terms of cancer therapy, both passive and active immunization are being tested for efficacy (2).

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Date Created
2020-05