Matching Items (9)

156030-Thumbnail Image.png

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

158275-Thumbnail Image.png

Biomarker Discovery for Alzheimer’s Disease Using NAPPA and In Vivo Crystallization in Baculovirus-Infected Insect Cells for Structural Biology

Description

Proteins are a large collection of biomolecules that orchestrate the vital

cellular processes of life. The last decade has witnessed dramatic advances in the

field of proteomics, which broadly include characterizing the

Proteins are a large collection of biomolecules that orchestrate the vital

cellular processes of life. The last decade has witnessed dramatic advances in the

field of proteomics, which broadly include characterizing the composition, structure,

functions, interactions, and modifications of numerous proteins in biological systems,

and elucidating how the miscellaneous components collectively contribute to the

phenotypes associated with various disorders. Such large-scale proteomics studies

have steadily gained momentum with the evolution of diverse high-throughput

technologies. This work illustrates the development of novel high-throughput

proteomics platforms and their applications in translational and structural biology. In

Chapter 1, nucleic acid programmable protein arrays displaying the human

proteomes were applied to immunoprofiling of paired serum and cerebrospinal fluid

samples from patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This high-throughput

immunoproteomic approach allows us to investigate the global antibody responses

associated with Alzheimer’s disease and potentially identify the diagnostic

autoantibody biomarkers. In Chapter 2, a versatile proteomic pipeline based on the

baculovirus-insect cell expression system was established to enable high-throughput

gene cloning, protein production, in vivo crystallization and sample preparation for Xray diffraction. In conjunction with the advanced crystallography methods, this endto-end pipeline promises to substantially facilitate the protein structural

determination. In Chapter 3, modified nucleic acid programmable protein arrays

were developed and used for probing protein-protein interactions at the proteome

level. From the perspective of biomarker discovery, structural proteomics, and

protein interaction networks, this work demonstrated the power of high-throughput

proteomics technologies in myriad applications for proteome-scale structural,

functional, and biomedical research.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

158793-Thumbnail Image.png

CD8+ T Cell Receptor Characterization in HPV Associated Head and Neck Cancer

Description

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a double-stranded DNA virus responsible for causing upwards of 80% of head and neck cancers in the oropharyngeal region. Current treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and/or

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a double-stranded DNA virus responsible for causing upwards of 80% of head and neck cancers in the oropharyngeal region. Current treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation, are aggressive and elicit toxic effects. HPV is a pathogen that expresses viral-specific oncogenic proteins that play a role in cancer progression. These proteins may serve as potential targets for immunotherapeutic applications. Engineered T cell receptor (TCR) therapy may be an advantageous approach for HPV-associated cancers. In TCR therapy, TCRs are modified to express a receptor that is specific to an immunogenic antigen (part of the virus/cancer capable of eliciting an immune response). Since HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers typically express unique viral proteins, it is important to identify the TCRs capable of recognizing these proteins. Evidence supports that head and neck cancers typically experience high levels of immune cell infiltration and are subsequently associated with increased survival rates. Most of the immune cell infiltrations in HPV+ HNSCC are CD8+ T lymphocytes, drawing attention to their prospective use in cellular immunotherapies. While TCRs are highly specific, the TCR repertoire is extremely diverse; enabling the immune system to fight off numerous pathogens. In project 1, I review approaches to analyzing TCR diversity and explore the use of DNA origami in retrieving paired TCR sequences from a population. The results determine that DNA origami can be used within a monoclonal population but requires further optimization before being applied in a polyclonal setting. In project 2, I investigate HPV-specific T-cell dysfunction; I detect low frequency HPV-specific CD8+ T cells, determine that they are tumor specific, and show that HPV+HNSCC patients exhibit increased epitope-specific levels of CD8+T cell exhaustion. In project 3, I apply methods to expand and isolate TCRαβ sequences derived from donors stimulated with a previously identified HPV epitope. Single-cell analysis provide ten unique TCRαβ pairs with corresponding CDR3 sequences that may serve as therapeutic candidates. This thesis contributes to fundamental immunology by contributing to the knowledge of T cell dysfunction within HPV+HNSCC and further reveals TCR gene usage within an HPV stimulated population, thus identifying potential TCR pairs for adoptive cell therapies.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

157749-Thumbnail Image.png

Expression and Purification of HPV Proteins for Early Detection of Head and Neck Cancer

Description

Recent studies have shown that human papillomavirus (HPV) plays a role in development of cancers, one of which is head and neck cancer. There is strong and consistent molecular evidence

Recent studies have shown that human papillomavirus (HPV) plays a role in development of cancers, one of which is head and neck cancer. There is strong and consistent molecular evidence demonstrating that human papillomavirus (HPV) is an etiological cause of these oropharyngeal cancers. Despite the introduction of HPV vaccines, there is still an increase in human papillomavirus associated OPC (HPVOPC) and it is expected that the incidence of head and neck cancer, specifically oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) will increase. The aim of this study is to utilize human papillomavirus (HPV) seropositivity for rapid detection of HPV early specific antigen-antibodies using a lateral flow assay.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) 16 proteins of interest, E7, E6 and CE2 were expressed and purified in E. coli for detection of specific antibodies using lateral flow assay because viral and host factors impact the serologic responses to HPV early antigens in HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer. 17 samples and 5 controls with already known antibody reactivity from ELISA analysis were selected for HPV serologic responses. The lateral flow strip was evaluated for its color band intensity using Image J software. Peak area was used to quantify the color intensity of the lateral flow strip. Out of the 17 samples, 11 (64.7%) showed high antibody levels to E7, 12 (70.6%) showed high Ab levels to E6 and 6 (35.3%) showed high Ab levels to CE2. Correlation coefficient between antibody detection by sight and ELISA for E7, CE2 and E6 were 0.6614, 0.4845 and 0.2372 respectively and correlation coefficient between lateral flow assay and ELISA for E7, CE2 and E6 were 0.3480, 0.1716 and 0.1644 respectively. This further proves patients or samples with HPV 16 oropharyngeal cancer have detectable antibodies to early E7, E6 and E2 proteins, which are potential biomarkers for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

154969-Thumbnail Image.png

Mathematical and computational models of cancer and the immune system

Description

The immune system plays a dual role during neoplastic progression. It can suppress tumor growth by eliminating cancer cells, and also promote neoplastic expansion by either selecting for tumor cells

The immune system plays a dual role during neoplastic progression. It can suppress tumor growth by eliminating cancer cells, and also promote neoplastic expansion by either selecting for tumor cells that are fitter to survive in an immunocompetent host or by establishing the right conditions within the tumor microenvironment. First, I present a model to study the dynamics of subclonal evolution of cancer. I model selection through time as an epistatic process. That is, the fitness change in a given cell is not simply additive, but depends on previous mutations. Simulation studies indicate that tumors are composed of myriads of small subclones at the time of diagnosis. Because some of these rare subclones harbor pre-existing treatment-resistant mutations, they present a major challenge to precision medicine. Second, I study the question of self and non-self discrimination by the immune system, which is fundamental in the field in cancer immunology. By performing a quantitative analysis of the biochemical properties of thousands of MHC class I peptides, I find that hydrophobicity of T cell receptors contact residues is a hallmark of immunogenic epitopes. Based on these findings, I further develop a computational model to predict immunogenic epitopes which facilitate the development of T cell vaccines against pathogen and tumor antigens. Lastly, I study the effect of early detection in the context of Ebola. I develope a simple mathematical model calibrated to the transmission dynamics of Ebola virus in West Africa. My findings suggest that a strategy that focuses on early diagnosis of high-risk individuals, caregivers, and health-care workers at the pre-symptomatic stage, when combined with public health measures to improve the speed and efficacy of isolation of infectious individuals, can lead to rapid reductions in Ebola transmission.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

153561-Thumbnail Image.png

Cancer autoantibody biomarker discovery and validation using nucleic acid programmable protein array

Description

Currently in the US, many patients with cancer do not benefit from the population-based screening, due to challenges associated with the existing cancer screening scheme. Blood-based diagnostic assays have the

Currently in the US, many patients with cancer do not benefit from the population-based screening, due to challenges associated with the existing cancer screening scheme. Blood-based diagnostic assays have the potential to detect diseases in a non-invasive way. Proteins released from small early tumors may only be present intermittently and get diluted to tiny concentrations in the blood, making them difficult to use as biomarkers. However, they can induce autoantibody (AAb) responses, which can amplify the signal and persist in the blood even if the antigen is gone. Circulating autoantibodies is a promising class of molecules that have potential to serve as early detection biomarkers for cancers. This Ph.D thesis aims to screen for autoantibody biomarkers for the early detection of two deadly cancer, basal-like breast cancer and lung adenocarcinoma. First, a method was developed to display proteins in both native and denatured conformation on protein array. This method adopted a novel protein tag technology, called HaloTag, to covalently immobilize proteins on glass slide surface. The covalent attachment allowed these proteins to endure harsh treatment without getting dissociated from slide surface, which enabled the profiling of antibody responses against both conformational and linear epitopes. Next, a plasma screening protocol was optimized to significantly increase signal to noise ratio of protein array based AAb detection. Following this, the AAb responses in basal-like breast cancer were explored using nucleic acid programmable protein arrays (NAPPA) containing 10,000 full-length human proteins in 45 cases and 45 controls. After verification in a large sample set (145 basal-like breast cancer cases / 145 controls / 70 non-basal breast cancer) by ELISA, a 13-AAb classifier was developed to differentiate patients from controls with a sensitivity of 33% at 98% specificity. Similar approach was also applied to the lung cancer study to identify AAbs that distinguished lung cancer patients from computed-tomography positive benign pulmonary nodules (137 lung cancer cases, 127 smoker controls, 170 benign controls). In this study, two panels of AAbs were discovered that showed promising sensitivity and specificity. Six out of eight AAb targets were also found to have elevated mRNA level in lung adenocarcinoma patients using TCGA data. These projects as a whole provide novel insights on the association between AAbs and cancer, as well as general B cell antigenicity against self-proteins.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

157007-Thumbnail Image.png

Circulating Biomarkers for Cancer Immunoprofiling

Description

Biomarkers find a wide variety of applications in oncology from risk assessment to diagnosis and predicting and monitoring recurrence and response to therapy. Developing clinically useful biomarkers for cancer is

Biomarkers find a wide variety of applications in oncology from risk assessment to diagnosis and predicting and monitoring recurrence and response to therapy. Developing clinically useful biomarkers for cancer is faced with several challenges, including cancer heterogeneity and factors related to assay development and biomarker performance. Circulating biomarkers offer a rapid, cost-effective, and minimally-invasive window to disease and are ideal for population-based screening. Circulating immune biomarkers are stable, measurable, and can betray the underlying antigen when present below detection levels or even no longer present. This dissertation aims to investigate potential circulating immune biomarkers with applications in cancer detection and novel therapies. Over 600,000 cancers each year are attributed to the human papillomavirus (HPV), including cervical, anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers. A key challenge in understanding HPV immunobiology and developing immune biomarkers is the diversity of HPV types and the need for multiplexed display of HPV antigens. In Project 1, nucleic acid programmable protein arrays displaying the proteomes of 12 HPV types were developed and used for serum immunoprofiling of women with cervical lesions or invasive cervical cancer. These arrays provide a valuable high-throughput tool for measuring the breadth, specificity, heterogeneity, and cross-reactivity of the serologic response to HPV. Project 2 investigates potential biomarkers of immunity to the bacterial CRISPR/Cas9 system that is currently in clinical trials for cancer. Pre-existing B cell and T cell immune responses to Cas9 were detected in humans and Cas9 was modified to eliminate immunodominant epitopes while preserving its function and specificity. This dissertation broadens our understanding of the immunobiology of cervical cancer and provides insights into the immune profiles that could serve as biomarkers of various applications in cancer.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

156930-Thumbnail Image.png

Modeling, Design, Fabrication, and Characterization of a Highly Sensitive Fluorescence-based Detection Platform for Point-of-Care Applications

Description

Over the past several decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of fluorescent probes in low-cost diagnostic devices for resource-limited environments. This dissertation details the design, development,

Over the past several decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of fluorescent probes in low-cost diagnostic devices for resource-limited environments. This dissertation details the design, development, and deployment of an inexpensive, multiplexed, and quantitative, fluorescence-based lateral flow immunoassay platform, in light of the specific constraints associated with resource-limited settings.

This effort grew out of the need to develop a highly sensitive, field-deployable platform to be used as a primary screening and early detection tool for serologic biomarkers for the high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) infection. A hrHPV infection is a precursor for developing high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN 2/3+). Early detection requires high sensitivity and a low limit-of-detection (LOD). To this end, the developed platform (DxArray) takes advantage of the specificity of immunoassays and the selectivity of fluorescence for early disease detection. The long term goal is to improve the quality of life for several hundred million women globally, at risk of being infected with hrHPV.

The developed platform uses fluorescent labels over the gold-standard colorimetric labels in a compact, high-sensitivity lateral flow assay configuration. It is also compatible with POC settings as it substitutes expensive and bulky light sources for LEDs, low-light CMOS cameras, and photomultiplier tubes for photodiodes, in a transillumination architecture, and eliminates the need for expensive focusing/transfer optics. The platform uses high-quality interference filters at less than $1 each, enabling a rugged and robust design suitable for field use.

The limit of detection (LOD) of the developed platform is within an order of magnitude of centralized laboratory diagnostic instruments. It enhances the LOD of absorbance or reflectometric and visual readout lateral flow assays by 2 - 3 orders of magnitude. This system could be applied toward any chemical or bioanalytical procedure that requires a high performance at low-cost.

The knowledge and techniques developed in this effort is relevant to the community of researchers and industry developers looking to deploy inexpensive, quantitative, and highly sensitive diagnostic devices to resource-limited settings.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

155948-Thumbnail Image.png

T-Cell Immunogenicity and Dysfunction in Cancer and Viral Diseases

Description

CD8+ T-lymphocytes (CTLs) are central to the immunologic control of infections and are currently at the forefront of strategies that enhance immune based treatment of a variety of tumors. Effective

CD8+ T-lymphocytes (CTLs) are central to the immunologic control of infections and are currently at the forefront of strategies that enhance immune based treatment of a variety of tumors. Effective T-cell based vaccines and immunotherapies fundamentally rely on the interaction of CTLs with peptide-human leukocyte antigen class I (HLA-I) complexes on the infected/malignant cell surface. However, how CTLs are able to respond to antigenic peptides with high specificity is largely unknown. Also unknown, are the different mechanisms underlying tumor immune evasion from CTL-mediated cytotoxicity. In this dissertation, I investigate the immunogenicity and dysfunction of CTLs for the development of novel T-cell therapies. Project 1 explores the biochemical hallmarks associated with HLA-I binding peptides that result in a CTL-immune response. The results reveal amino acid hydrophobicity of T-cell receptor (TCR) contact residues within immunogenic CTL-epitopes as a critical parameter for CTL-self
onself discrimination. Project 2 develops a bioinformatic and experimental methodology for the identification of CTL-epitopes from low frequency T-cells against tumor antigens and chronic viruses. This methodology is employed in Project 3 to identify novel immunogenic CTL-epitopes from human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancer patients. In Project 3, I further study the mechanisms of HPV-specific T-cell dysfunction, and I demonstrate that combination inhibition of Indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase (IDO-1) and programmed cell death protein (PD-1) can be a potential immunotherapy against HPV+ head and neck cancers. Lastly, in Project 4, I develop a single-cell assay for high-throughput identification of antigens targeted by CTLs from whole pathogenome libraries. Thus, this dissertation contributes to fundamental T-cell immunobiology by identifying rules of T-cell immunogenicity and dysfunction, as well as to translational immunology by identifying novel CTL-epitopes, and therapeutic targets for T-cell immunotherapy.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017