Matching Items (7)

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Informatics approaches for integrative analysis of disparate high-throughput genomic datasets in cancer

Description

The processes of a human somatic cell are very complex with various genetic mechanisms governing its fate. Such cells undergo various genetic mutations, which translate to the genetic aberrations that

The processes of a human somatic cell are very complex with various genetic mechanisms governing its fate. Such cells undergo various genetic mutations, which translate to the genetic aberrations that we see in cancer. There are more than 100 types of cancer, each having many more subtypes with aberrations being unique to each. In the past two decades, the widespread application of high-throughput genomic technologies, such as micro-arrays and next-generation sequencing, has led to the revelation of many such aberrations. Known types and subtypes can be readily identified using gene-expression profiling and more importantly, high-throughput genomic datasets have helped identify novel sub-types with distinct signatures. Recent studies showing usage of gene-expression profiling in clinical decision making in breast cancer patients underscore the utility of high-throughput datasets. Beyond prognosis, understanding the underlying cellular processes is essential for effective cancer treatment. Various high-throughput techniques are now available to look at a particular aspect of a genetic mechanism in cancer tissue. To look at these mechanisms individually is akin to looking at a broken watch; taking apart each of its parts, looking at them individually and finally making a list of all the faulty ones. Integrative approaches are needed to transform one-dimensional cancer signatures into multi-dimensional interaction and regulatory networks, consequently bettering our understanding of cellular processes in cancer. Here, I attempt to (i) address ways to effectively identify high quality variants when multiple assays on the same sample samples are available through two novel tools, snpSniffer and NGSPE; (ii) glean new biological insight into multiple myeloma through two novel integrative analysis approaches making use of disparate high-throughput datasets. While these methods focus on multiple myeloma datasets, the informatics approaches are applicable to all cancer datasets and will thus help advance cancer genomics.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Genome-driven targeted cancer therapy

Description

Cancer is a heterogeneous disease with discrete oncogenic mechanisms. P53 mutation is the most common oncogenic mutation in many cancers including breast cancer. This dissertation focuses on fundamental genetic alterations

Cancer is a heterogeneous disease with discrete oncogenic mechanisms. P53 mutation is the most common oncogenic mutation in many cancers including breast cancer. This dissertation focuses on fundamental genetic alterations enforced by p53 mutation as an indirect target. p53 mutation upregulates the mevalonate pathway genes altering cholesterol biosynthesis and prenylation. Prenylation, a lipid modification, is required for small GTPases signaling cascades. Project 1 demonstrates that prenylation inhibition can specifically target cells harboring p53 mutation resulting in reduced tumor proliferation and migration. Mutating p53 is associated with Ras and RhoA activation and statin prevents this activity by inhibiting prenylation. Ras-related pathway genes were selected from the transcriptomic analysis for evaluating correlation to statin sensitivity. A gene signature of seventeen genes and TP53 genotype (referred to as MPR signature) is generated to predict response to statins. MPR signature is validated through two datasets of drug screening in cell lines. As advancements in targeted gene modification are rising, the CRISPR-Cas9 technology has emerged as a new cancer therapeutic strategy. One of the important risk factors in gene therapy is the immune recognition of the exogenous therapeutic tool, resulting in obstruction of treatment and possibly serious health consequences. Project 2 describes a method development that can potentially improve the safety and efficacy of gene-targeting proteins. A cohort of 155 healthy individuals was screened for pre-existing B cell and T cell immune response to the S. pyogenes Cas9 protein. We detected antibodies against Cas9 in more than 10% of the healthy population and identified two immunodominant T cell epitopes of this protein. A de-immunized Cas9 that maintains the wild-type functionality was engineered by mutating the identified T cell epitopes. The gene signature and method described here have the potential to improve strategies for genome-driven tumor targeting.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Integrative analysis of genomic aberrations in cancer and xenograft Models

Description

No two cancers are alike. Cancer is a dynamic and heterogeneous disease, such heterogeneity arise among patients with the same cancer type, among cancer cells within the same individual’s tumor

No two cancers are alike. Cancer is a dynamic and heterogeneous disease, such heterogeneity arise among patients with the same cancer type, among cancer cells within the same individual’s tumor and even among cells within the same sub-clone over time. The recent application of next-generation sequencing and precision medicine techniques is the driving force to uncover the complexity of cancer and the best clinical practice. The core concept of precision medicine is to move away from crowd-based, best-for-most treatment and take individual variability into account when optimizing the prevention and treatment strategies. Next-generation sequencing is the method to sift through the entire 3 billion letters of each patient’s DNA genetic code in a massively parallel fashion.

The deluge of next-generation sequencing data nowadays has shifted the bottleneck of cancer research from multiple “-omics” data collection to integrative analysis and data interpretation. In this dissertation, I attempt to address two distinct, but dependent, challenges. The first is to design specific computational algorithms and tools that can process and extract useful information from the raw data in an efficient, robust, and reproducible manner. The second challenge is to develop high-level computational methods and data frameworks for integrating and interpreting these data. Specifically, Chapter 2 presents a tool called Snipea (SNv Integration, Prioritization, Ensemble, and Annotation) to further identify, prioritize and annotate somatic SNVs (Single Nucleotide Variant) called from multiple variant callers. Chapter 3 describes a novel alignment-based algorithm to accurately and losslessly classify sequencing reads from xenograft models. Chapter 4 describes a direct and biologically motivated framework and associated methods for identification of putative aberrations causing survival difference in GBM patients by integrating whole-genome sequencing, exome sequencing, RNA-Sequencing, methylation array and clinical data. Lastly, chapter 5 explores longitudinal and intratumor heterogeneity studies to reveal the temporal and spatial context of tumor evolution. The long-term goal is to help patients with cancer, particularly those who are in front of us today. Genome-based analysis of the patient tumor can identify genomic alterations unique to each patient’s tumor that are candidate therapeutic targets to decrease therapy resistance and improve clinical outcome.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Frameshift antigens for cancer vaccine development

Description

Immunotherapy has been revitalized with the advent of immune checkpoint blockade

treatments, and neo-antigens are the targets of immune system in cancer patients who

respond to the treatments. The cancer vaccine field

Immunotherapy has been revitalized with the advent of immune checkpoint blockade

treatments, and neo-antigens are the targets of immune system in cancer patients who

respond to the treatments. The cancer vaccine field is focused on using neo-antigens from

unique point mutations of genomic sequence in the cancer patient for making

personalized cancer vaccines. However, we choose a different path to find frameshift

neo-antigens at the mRNA level and develop broadly effective cancer vaccines based on

frameshift antigens.

In this dissertation, I have summarized and characterized all the potential frameshift

antigens from microsatellite regions in human, dog and mouse. A list of frameshift

antigens was validated by PCR in tumor samples and the mutation rate was calculated for

one candidate – SEC62. I develop a method to screen the antibody response against

frameshift antigens in human and dog cancer patients by using frameshift peptide arrays.

Frameshift antigens selected by positive antibody response in cancer patients or by MHC

predictions show protection in different mouse tumor models. A dog version of the

cancer vaccine based on frameshift antigens was developed and tested in a small safety

trial. The results demonstrate that the vaccine is safe and it can induce strong B and T cell

immune responses. Further, I built the human exon junction frameshift database which

includes all possible frameshift antigens from mis-splicing events in exon junctions, and I

develop a method to find potential frameshift antigens from large cancer

immunosignature dataset with these databases. In addition, I test the idea of ‘early cancer

diagnosis, early treatment’ in a transgenic mouse cancer model. The results show that

ii

early treatment gives significantly better protection than late treatment and the correct

time point for treatment is crucial to give the best clinical benefit. A model for early

treatment is developed with these results.

Frameshift neo-antigens from microsatellite regions and mis-splicing events are

abundant at mRNA level and they are better antigens than neo-antigens from point

mutations in the genomic sequences of cancer patients in terms of high immunogenicity,

low probability to cause autoimmune diseases and low cost to develop a broadly effective

vaccine. This dissertation demonstrates the feasibility of using frameshift antigens for

cancer vaccine development.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Topological analysis of biological pathways : genes, microRNAs and pathways involved in hepatocellular carcinoma

Description

Rewired biological pathways and/or rewired microRNA (miRNA)-mRNA interactions might also influence the activity of biological pathways. Here, rewired biological pathways is defined as differential (rewiring) effect of genes on the

Rewired biological pathways and/or rewired microRNA (miRNA)-mRNA interactions might also influence the activity of biological pathways. Here, rewired biological pathways is defined as differential (rewiring) effect of genes on the topology of biological pathways between controls and cases. Similarly, rewired miRNA-mRNA interactions are defined as the differential (rewiring) effects of miRNAs on the topology of biological pathways between controls and cases. In the dissertation, it is discussed that how rewired biological pathways (Chapter 1) and/or rewired miRNA-mRNA interactions (Chapter 2) aberrantly influence the activity of biological pathways and their association with disease.

This dissertation proposes two PageRank-based analytical methods, Pathways of Topological Rank Analysis (PoTRA) and miR2Pathway, discussed in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, respectively. PoTRA focuses on detecting pathways with an altered number of hub genes in corresponding pathways between two phenotypes. The basis for PoTRA is that the loss of connectivity is a common topological trait of cancer networks, as well as the prior knowledge that a normal biological network is a scale-free network whose degree distribution follows a power law where a small number of nodes are hubs and a large number of nodes are non-hubs. However, from normal to cancer, the process of the network losing connectivity might be the process of disrupting the scale-free structure of the network, namely, the number of hub genes might be altered in cancer compared to that in normal samples. Hence, it is hypothesized that if the number of hub genes is different in a pathway between normal and cancer, this pathway might be involved in cancer. MiR2Pathway focuses on quantifying the differential effects of miRNAs on the activity of a biological pathway when miRNA-mRNA connections are altered from normal to disease and rank disease risk of rewired miRNA-mediated biological pathways. This dissertation explores how rewired gene-gene interactions and rewired miRNA-mRNA interactions lead to aberrant activity of biological pathways, and rank pathways for their disease risk. The two methods proposed here can be used to complement existing genomics analysis methods to facilitate the study of biological mechanisms behind disease at the systems-level.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Identification of neo-antigens for a cancer vaccine by transcriptome analysis

Description

We propose a novel solution to prevent cancer by developing a prophylactic cancer. Several sources of antigens for cancer vaccines have been published. Among these, antigens that contain a frame-shift

We propose a novel solution to prevent cancer by developing a prophylactic cancer. Several sources of antigens for cancer vaccines have been published. Among these, antigens that contain a frame-shift (FS) peptide or viral peptide are quite attractive for a variety of reasons. FS sequences, from either mistake in RNA processing or in genomic DNA, may lead to generation of neo-peptides that are foreign to the immune system. Viral peptides presumably would originate from exogenous but integrated viral nucleic acid sequences. Both are non-self, therefore lessen concerns about development of autoimmunity. I have developed a bioinformatical approach to identify these aberrant transcripts in the cancer transcriptome. Their suitability for use in a vaccine is evaluated by establishing their frequencies and predicting possible epitopes along with their population coverage according to the prevalence of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) types. Viral transcripts and transcripts with FS mutations from gene fusion, insertion/deletion at coding microsatellite DNA, and alternative splicing were identified in NCBI Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) database. 48 FS chimeric transcripts were validated in 50 breast cell lines and 68 primary breast tumor samples with their frequencies from 4% to 98% by RT-PCR and sequencing confirmation. These 48 FS peptides, if translated and presented, could be used to protect more than 90% of the population in Northern America based on the prediction of epitopes derived from them. Furthermore, we synthesized 150 peptides that correspond to FS and viral peptides that we predicted would exist in tumor patients and we tested over 200 different cancer patient sera. We found a number of serological reactive peptide sequences in cancer patients that had little to no reactivity in healthy controls; strong support for the strength of our bioinformatic approach. This study describes a process used to identify aberrant transcripts that lead to a new source of antigens that can be tested and used in a prophylactic cancer vaccine. The vast amount of transcriptome data of various cancers from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project will enhance our ability to further select better cancer antigen candidates.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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An investigation of the interaction of DNA with selected peptides and proteins

Description

The communication of genetic material with biomolecules has been a major interest in cancer biology research for decades. Among its different levels of involvement, DNA is known to be a

The communication of genetic material with biomolecules has been a major interest in cancer biology research for decades. Among its different levels of involvement, DNA is known to be a target of several antitumor agents. Additionally, tissue specific interaction between macromolecules such as proteins and structurally important regions of DNA has been reported to define the onset of certain types of cancers.

Illustrated in Chapter 1 is the general history of research on the interaction of DNA and anticancer drugs, most importantly different congener of bleomycin (BLM). Additionally, several synthetic analogues of bleomycin, including the structural components and functionalities, are discussed.

Chapter 2 describes a new approach to study the double-strand DNA lesion caused by antitumor drug bleomycin. The hairpin DNA library used in this study displays numerous cleavage sites demonstrating the versatility of bleomycin interaction with DNA. Interestingly, some of those cleavage sites suggest a novel mechanism of bleomycin interaction, which has not been reported before.

Cytidine methylation has generally been found to decrease site-specific cleavage of DNA by BLM, possibly due to structural change and subsequent reduced bleomycin-mediated recognition of DNA. As illustrated in Chapter 3, three hairpin DNAs known to be strongly bound by bleomycin, and their methylated counterparts, were used to study the dynamics of bleomycin-induced degradation of DNAs in cancer cells. Interestingly, cytidine methylation on one of the DNAs has also shown a major shift in the intensity of bleomycin induced double-strand DNA cleavage pattern, which is known to be a more potent form of bleomycin induced cleavages.

DNA secondary structures are known to play important roles in gene regulation. Chapter 4 demonstrates a structural change of the BCL2 promoter element as a result of its dynamic interaction with the individual domains of hnRNP LL, which is essential to facilitate the transcription of BCL2. Furthermore, an in vitro protein synthesis technique has been employed to study the dynamic interaction between protein domains and the i-motif DNA within the promoter element. Several constructs were made involving replacement of a single amino acid with a fluorescent analogue, and these were used to study FRET between domain 1 and the i-motif, the later of which harbored a fluorescent acceptor nucleotide analogue.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014