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- Member of: Theses and Dissertations
Multiple myeloma is a genetically heterogeneous disease, which can be divided into several genetic subtypes based upon gene expression profiles and chromosomal abnormalities. Unlike older techniques employed in myeloma research, such as cytogenetics, FISH, and microarray technologies, RNA sequencing offers a unique approach to examine the aforementioned genetic characteristics in that it allows for gene expression profiling and the detection of novel fusion transcripts arising from chromosomal rearrangements. This study utilized RNA sequencing to analyze the transcriptomes of 84 multiple myeloma patients and 69 human myeloma cell lines. FCHSD2 was found to be involved in five novel fusion events along with known oncogenes, MMSET and MYC, as well as three previously unreported genes in myeloma, including CHMP4B, NCF2, and CARNS1. An analysis of FCHSD2 expression within myeloma cell lines indicated that it is highly expressed in comparison to other tissues, suggesting that FCHSD2 translocations could lead to promoter replacement events in which the expression of partnering genes is dysregulated. The presence of the five FCHSD2 hybrid transcripts was confirmed by reverse transcription-PCR and Sanger sequencing. Overexpression of the FCHSD2 fusion transcripts in HEK293 cells resulted in the production of N-terminally truncated fusion partner proteins and a novel FCHSD2-CARNS1 fusion protein.
Currently, treatment for multiple myeloma (MM), a hematological cancer, is limited to post-symptomatic chemotherapy combined with other pharmaceuticals and steroids. Even so, the immuno-depressing cancer can continue to proliferate, leading to a median survival period of two to five years. B cells in the bone marrow are responsible for generating antigen-specific antibodies, but in MM the B cells express mutated, non-specific monoclonal antibodies. Therefore, it is hypothesized that antibody-based assay and therapy may be feasible for detecting and treating the disease. In this project, 330k peptide microarrays were used to ascertain the binding affinity of sera antibodies for MM patients with random sequence peptides; these results were then contrasted with normal donor assays to determine the "immunosignatures" for MM. From this data, high-binding peptides with target-specificity (high fluorescent intensity for one patient, low in all other patients and normal donors) were selected for two MM patients. These peptides were narrowed down to two lists of five (10 total peptides) to analyze in a synthetic antibody study. The rationale behind this originates from the idea that antibodies present specific binding sites on either of their branches, thus relating high binding peptides from the arrays to potential binding targets of the monoclonal antibodies. Furthermore, these peptides may be synthesized on a synthetic antibody scaffold with the potential to induce targeted delivery of radioactive or chemotherapeutic molecular tags to only myelomic B cells. If successful, this would provide a novel alternative to current treatments that is less invasive, has fewer side effects, more specifically targets the cause of MM, and reliably diagnoses the cancer in the presymptomatic stage.
Novel biological strategies for cancer therapy have recently been able to generate improved anti-tumor effects in the clinic. Of these new advancements, oncolytic virotherapy is a promising strategy through a dual mechanism of oncolysis and stimulation of tumor immunogenicity against the target cancer cells. Myxoma virus (MYXV) is an oncolytic poxvirus that has a natural tropism for Leporids, being nonpathogenic in humans and all other known vertebrates. MYXV is able to infect cancer cells due to mutations and defects in many innate signaling pathways, such as those involved in anti-viral responses. While MYXV alone infects and kills many classes of human cancer cells, recombinant techniques allow for the implementation of therapeutic transgenes, which have the potential of ‘arming’ the virus to enhance its potential as an oncolytic virus. The implementation of certain transgenes allows improved cancer cell killing and/or promotion of more robust anti-tumor immune responses. To investigate the potential of immune-inducing transgenes in MYXV, in vitro screening experiments were performed with several single transgene-armed recombinant MYXVs. As recent studies have shown the ability of MYXV to uniquely target malignant human hematopoietic stem cells, the potential of oncolytic MYXV armed with individual immune-enhancing transgenes was investigated through in vitro killing analysis using human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines. Additionally, in vitro experiments were performed using primary bone marrow (BM) cells obtained from human patients diagnosed with MM. Furthermore, the action of an engineered bispecific killer engager (huBIKE) was investigated through co-culture studies between the CD138 surface marker of target MM cells and the CD16 surface marker of primary effector peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), particularly NK cells and neutrophils. In this study, several of the test armed MYXV-infected human AML and MM cell lines resulted in increased cell death compared to unarmed MYXV-infected cells. Additionally, increased killing of CD138+ MM cells from primary human BM samples was observed following infection with huBIKE-armed MYXV relative to infection with unarmed MYXV. Furthermore, analysis of co-culture studies performed suggests enhanced killing of target MM cells via engagement of NK cells with U266 MM cells by huBIKE.