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  • Allen Lab

    The Allen Lab focuses on immunologic aspects of cancer development and progression, with a focus on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, the most common form of head and neck cancer. Work also aims to translate key knowledge learned from our investigation into anti-tumor immunity to other diseases in otolaryngology, including inflammatory and infectious disorders.

    Research Areas: anti-tumor immunity, otolaryngology, cancer, head and neck cancer, Squamous cell carcinoma

  • Amit Pahwa Lab

    The Amit Pahwa Lab conducts research on a variety of topics within internal medicine. Our most recent studies have explored misanalysis of urinalysis results, urinary fractional excretion indices in the evaluation of acute kidney injury and nocturnal enuresis as a risk factor for falls in older women. We also investigate cancer diagnostics and treatments. In this area, our recent research has included studying cutaneous shave biopsies for diagnosing primary colonic adenocarcinoma as well as growth inhibition and apoptosis in human brain tumor cell lines using selenium.

    Research Areas: acute kidney injury, cancer, internal medicine, urology

    Principal Investigator

    Amit Pahwa, M.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Atul Bedi Lab

    The Atul Bedi Lab in the Head and Neck cancer research program provides fundamental insights into the molecular determinants and mechanisms by which tumor cells evade death signals entrained by the immune system and anticancer agents. Their recent studies show that tumor-induced immune tolerance limits the in vivo anti-tumor efficacy of tumor-targeted antibodies and that the tumor cell-autonomous expression of transforming growth factor-b (TGF-b) is a key molecular determinant of the de novo or acquired resistance of cancers to EGFR-targeted antibody. Their laboratory has developed novel bi-functional antibody-based strategies to simultaneously counteract immune tolerance in the tumor microenvironment and to enhance the anti-tumor efficacy of targeted antibody therapies for the treatment of cancer.

    Research Areas: targeted antibody therapies, transforming growth factor-b, cancer, head and neck cancer, tumor-targeted antibodies

  • Bert Vogelstein Laboratory

    The Bert Vogelstein Laboratory seeks to develop new approaches to the prevention or treatment of cancers through a better understanding of the genes and pathways underlying their pathogenesis.

    Our major focus is on cancers of the colon and rectum. We have shown that each colon neoplasm arises from a clonal expansion of one transformed cell. This expansion gives rise to a small benign colon tumor (called a polyp or adenoma). This clonal expansion and subsequent growth of the tumors appears to be caused by mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, and the whole process is accelerated by defects in genes required for maintaining genetic instability. Mutations in four or five such genes are required for a malignant tumor to form, while fewer mutations suffice for benign tumorigenesis. As the mutations accumulate, the tumors become progressively more dangerous.

    Current studies are aimed at the further characterization of the mechanisms through which these genes act, the ident...ification of other genes that play a role in this tumor type, and the application of this knowledge to patient management. view less

    Research Areas: rectal cancer, colon cancer, genomics, pathogenesis

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Bert Vogelstein, M.D.

    Department

    Oncology

  • Best Laboratory

    The Best Laboratory focus on therapeutic vaccine development for HPV-related diseases by developing a murine model of papilloma analogous to Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP) for testing of DNA vaccine technology. We also work to understand the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment that facilitates RRP development, and translate this work into novel therapies and clinical practice.

    Research Areas: Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis, HPV-related diseases, vaccines, Laryngeal papillomas, otolaryngology, papillomas, DNA vaccine technologies

  • Borahay Lab: Uterine Fibroid Research

    Dr. Borahay's lab focuses on understanding pathobiology, developing novel treatments, and carrying out high quality clinical trials for common gynecologic problems with a special focus on uterine fibroids.

    Research Areas: uterine fibroids, endometriosis, stem cells, tumor biology, novel therapeutics, signaling pathways, Uterine biology, tissue engineering, uterine model

  • Brain Cancer Biology and Therapy Lab

    The goal of the Johns Hopkins Brain Cancer Biology and Therapy Laboratory is to locate the genetic and genomic changes that lead to brain cancer. These molecular changes are evaluated for their potential as therapeutic targets and are often mutated genes, or genes that are over-expressed during the development of a brain cancer. The brain cancers that the Riggins Laboratory studies are medulloblastomas and glioblastomas. Medulloblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumor for children and glioblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumor for adults. Both tumors are difficult to treat, and new therapies are urgently needed for these cancers. Our laboratory uses large-scale genomic approaches to locate and analyze the genes that are mutated during brain cancer development. The technologies we now employ are capable of searching nearly all of a cancer genome for molecular alterations that can lead to cancer. The new molecular targets for cancer therapy are first located by l...arge scale gene expression analysis, whole-genome scans for altered gene copy number and high throughput sequence analysis of cancer genomes. The alterations we find are then studied in-depth to determine how they contribute to the development of cancer, whether it is promoting tumor growth, enhancing the ability for the cancer to invade into normal tissue, or preventing the various fail-safe mechanisms programmed into our cells. view less

    Research Areas: brain cancer

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Gregory Riggins, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurosurgery

  • Brennen Lab

    The Brennen laboratory takes a rigorous, multi-disciplinary, team-based approach towards developing innovative therapeutic and prognostic strategies for prostate cancer with an emphasis on exploiting vulnerabilities within the tumor microenvironment towards this goal. To accomplish this goal, we are strategically pursuing novel therapeutic platforms, including stromal-targeted prodrugs, protoxins, and radiolabeled antibodies, in addition to cell-based therapy and drug delivery; all of which are designed to reduce toxicity to peripheral non-target tissue (i.e. side effects) while maximizing anti-tumor efficacy (i.e. therapeutic benefit). Currently, many of these strategies are focused on overcoming stromal barriers to anti-tumor immune responses such that men suffering from prostate cancer can share in the immense, revolutionary power of immunotherapy that is transforming care for many with advanced disease in other tumor types previously thought to be unmanageable using conventional ap...proaches. Unfortunately, prostate cancer has largely proven refractory to these powerful approaches thus far and requires novel mono- or combinatorial treatment strategies to unleash the full potential of the immune system and generate personalized anti-tumor responses with the capability of producing long-term durable responses or even cures in these men. view less

    Research Areas: prostate cancer, prodrugs, cell-based therapy, tumor microenvironment

    Principal Investigator

    William Brennen, Ph.D.

    Department

    Oncology

  • Cervical Cancer Research Lab

    Johns Hopkins is a member of the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Cervical Cancer. With a $11.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, we are conducting lab, translational and clinical studies to prevent and treat cervical cancers. Previous studies have identified connections between immune system genes and HPV16. Current projects include the development of next-generation HPV vaccines to control HPV-associated precursor lesions and invasive cancer. Our dedicated researchers are working to extend the techniques used in HPV vaccine development to the creation of vaccines targeting other cancers with defined tumor antigens.

    Research Areas: HPV vaccines, cervical cancer, HPV

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Tzyy-Choou Wu, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

    Department

    Pathology

  • Cervical Dysplasia Research Lab

    We are interested in how immune responses occur in the cervix. The focus of our translational research is on developing immune therapies for disease caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infection causes more cancers than any other virus in the world. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer caused by HPV, and although we have known how to screen for it for over half a century, it remains the second most common cause of cancer death in women. Although the preventive vaccines are a public health milestone, they prevent HPV infections, but are not designed to make immune responses to treat HPV. We are testing different strategies to make immune responses that could treat HPV disease. Our dedicated researchers are working to extend the techniques used in HPV vaccine development to the creation of vaccines targeting other cancers with defined tumor antigens.

    Research Areas: cervical cancer, HPV, cancer vaccines

  • Dmitri Artemov Lab

    The Artemov lab is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The lab focuses on 1) Use of advanced dynamic contrast enhanced-MRI and activated dual-contrast MRI to perform image-guided combination therapy of triple negative breast cancer and to assess therapeutic response. 2) Development of noninvasive MR markers of cell viability based on a dual-contrast technique that enables simultaneous tracking and monitoring of viability of transplanted stems cells in vivo. 3) Development of Tc-99m and Ga-68 angiogenic SPECT/PET tracers to image expression of VEGF receptors that are involved in tumor angiogenesis and can be important therapeutic targets. 4) Development of the concept of “click therapy” that combines advantages of multi-component targeting, bio-orthogonal conjugation and image guidance and preclinical validation in breast and prostate cancer models.

    Research Areas: VEGF receptors image expression, SPECT/PET tracers, tracking stem cells in vivo, triple-negative breast cancer, image-guided combination therapy, MRI, noninvasive MR markers, cancer imaging

  • Drew Pardoll Lab

    The Pardoll Lab focuses on the regulation of antigen-specific T cell responses and studies approaches to modify these responses for immunotherapy. Pardoll has a particular interest in cancer immunology and his lab’s studies on basic immunologic mechanisms have led to the development and design of a number of cancer vaccines and discovery of key checkpoint ligands and receptors, such as PD-L2, LAG-3 and neuritin, many of which are being targeted clinically.

    Our primary pursuits are discovering and elucidating new molecules that regulate immune responses, investigating the biology of regulatory T cells, and better understanding the specific biochemical signatures that allow a patient’s T cells to selectively target cancer cells.

    Research Areas: tumor antigens, cancer, immunotherapy, regulatory T cells, T cells

    Principal Investigator

    Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Medicine
    Oncology
    Pathology

  • Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer Laboratory

    The goal of the lab's research is to identify molecular abnormalities that can improve the outcome of patients with pancreatic cancer and those at risk of developing this disease. Much of our work is focused on translational research evaluating markers and marker technologies that can help screen patients with an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

    Thus, marker efforts have been focused mostly on identifying markers of advanced precancerous neoplasia (PanINs and IPMNs) that could improve our ability to effectively screen patients at risk of developing pancreatic cancer. We lead or participate in a number of clinical research protocols involved in the screening and early detection of pancreatic neoplasia including the CAPS clinical trials. We maintain a large repository of specimens from cases and controls with and without pancreatic disease and use this repository to investigate candidate markers of pancreatic cancer for their utility to predict pancreatic cancer risk.
    ...
    In addition, we have been working to identify familial pancreatic cancer susceptibility genes and identified BRCA2 as a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene in 1996. We participate in the PACGENE consortium and the familial pancreatic cancer sequencing initiative. My lab also investigates pancreatic cancer genetics, epigenetics, molecular pathology, tumor stromal interactions and functional analysis of candidate genes and miRNAs. Dr. Goggins is the principal investigator of a phase I/II clinical trial evaluating the Parp inhibitor, olaparib along with irinotecan and cisplatin for patients with pancreatic cancer.
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    Research Areas: pancreatic cancer

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Michael Goggins, M.B.B.Ch., M.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Eberhart, Rodriguez and Raabe Lab

    Utilizing a combination of tissue-based, cell-based, and molecular approaches, our research goals focus on abnormal telomere biology as it relates to cancer initiation and tumor progression, with a particular interest in the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) phenotype. In addition, our laboratories focus on cancer biomarker discovery and validation with the ultimate aim to utilize these novel tissue-based biomarkers to improve individualized prevention, detection, and treatment strategies.

    Research Areas: cancer therapies, preventing cancer metastasis, cancer, cancer biomarkers

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Charles Eberhart, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Pathology

  • Eberhart, Rodriguez and Raabe Lab

    Utilizing a combination of tissue-based, cell-based, and molecular approaches, our research goals focus on abnormal telomere biology as it relates to cancer initiation and tumor progression, with a particular interest in the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) phenotype. In addition, our laboratories focus on cancer biomarker discovery and validation with the ultimate aim to utilize these novel tissue-based biomarkers to improve individualized prevention, detection, and treatment strategies.

    Research Areas: stem cells, eye tumor, tumor cell metastasis, brain tumor

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Charles Eberhart, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Pathology

  • Elizabeth M. Jaffee, M.D.

    Current projects include:

    The evaluation of mechanisms of immune tolerance to cancer in mouse models of breast and pancreatic cancer. We have characterized the HER-2/neu transgenic mouse model of spontaneous mammary tumors.
    This model demonstrates immune tolerance to the HER-2/neu gene product. This model is being used to better understand the mechanisms of tolerance to tumor. In addition, this model is being used to develop vaccine strategies that can overcome this tolerance and induce immunity potent enough to prevent and treat naturally developing tumors. More recently, we are using a genetic model of pancreatic cancer developed to understand the early inflammatory changes that promote cancer development.

    The identification of human tumor antigens recognized by T cells. We are using a novel functional genetic approach developed in our laboratory. Human tumor specific T cells from vaccinated patients are used to identify immune relevant antigens that are chosen... based on an initial genomic screen of overexpressed gene products. Several candidate targets have been identified and the prevelence of vaccine induced immunity has been assessed .
    This rapid screen to identify relevant antigenic targets will allow us to begin to dissect the mechanisms of tumor immunity induction and downregulation at the molecular level in cancer patients. More recently, we are using proteomics to identify proteins involved in pancreatic cancer development. We recently identified Annexin A2 as a molecule involved in metastases.

    The analysis of antitumor immune responses in patients enrolled on vaccine studies. The focus is on breast and pancreatic cancers. We are atttempting to identify in vitro correlates of in vivo antitumor immunity induced by vaccine strategies developed in the laboratory and currently under study in the clinics.
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    Research Areas: immunology, cancer, anti-cancer drugs

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D.

    Department

    Oncology

  • Follow the Leader: Specialized Cancer Cells Lead Collective Invasion (Ewald Lab)

    Research in the Ewald laboratory starts from a simple question: Which cells in a breast tumor are the most dangerous to the patient and most responsible for metastatic disease? To answer this question, we developed novel 3-D culture assays to allow real-time analysis of invasion. Our data reveal that K14+ cancer cells play a central role in metastatic disease and suggest that the development of clinical strategies targeting these cells will provide novel breast cancer treatments.

    Research Areas: breast cancer, cellular biology, molecular biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Andrew Ewald, Ph.D.

    Department

    Cell Biology

  • Franck Housseau Lab

    The Franck Housseau Lab focuses on the role of the microbiome in colorectal tumorigenesis and on developing a better understanding of the tumor immune microenvironment. The lab is currently working to define the biomarkers of a pre-existing antitumor immune response in metastatic colorectal cancer to define a population of patients eligible for checkpoint blockade therapies.

    Research Areas: microbiology, tumor immunology, microbiome, colorectal cancer, cancer, colon cancer, tumor microenvironment, immunotherapy

    Principal Investigator

    Franck Housseau, Ph.D.

    Department

    Oncology

  • GI Early Detection Biomarkers Lab

    Dr. Meltzer is an internationally renowned leader in the molecular pathobiology of gastrointestinal malignancy and premalignancy. He invented molecular methods to detect loss of heterozygosity in tiny biopsies, triggering an avalanche of research on precancerous lesions. He was the first to comprehensively study coding region microsatellite instability, leading to the identification of several important tumor suppressor genes. He performed several groundbreaking genomic, epigenomic and bioinformatic studies of esophageal and colonic neoplasms, shifting the GI research paradigm toward genome-wide approaches. He directed an ambitious nationwide validation study of DNA methylation-based biomarkers for the prediction of neoplastic progression in Barrett’s esophagus.

    Dr. Meltzer founded and led the Aerodigestive Cancer and Biomarker Interdisciplinary Programs at the University of Maryland, also becoming associate director for core sciences at that school’s Cancer Center. He currently hol...ds an endowed professorship and is the director of GI biomarker research at Johns Hopkins.

    The laboratory group focuses its efforts on the molecular genetics of gastrointestinal cancers and premalignant lesions, as well as on translational research to improve early detection, prognostic evaluation, and treatment of these conditions. Below, some examples of this work are described.
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    Research Areas: gastrointestinal cancer, gastrointestinal

    Principal Investigator

    Stephen Meltzer, M.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Greider Lab

    The Greider lab uses biochemistry to study telomerase and cellular and organismal consequences of telomere dysfunction. Telomeres protect chromosome ends from being recognized as DNA damage and chromosomal rearrangements. Conventional replication leads to telomere shortening, but telomere length is maintained by the enzyme telomerase. Telomerase is required for cells that undergo many rounds of divisions, especially tumor cells and some stem cells. The lab has generated telomerase null mice that are viable and show progressive telomere shortening for up to six generations. In the later generations, when telomeres are short, cells die via apoptosis or senescence. Crosses of these telomerase null mice to other tumor prone mice show that tumor formation can be greatly reduced by short telomeres. The lab also is using the telomerase null mice to explore the essential role of telomerase stem cell viability. Telomerase mutations cause autosomal dominant dyskeratosis congenita. People with ...this disease die of bone marrow failure, likely due to stem cell loss. The lab has developed a mouse model to study this disease. Future work in the lab will focus on identifying genes that induce DNA damage in response to short telomeres, identifying how telomeres are processed and how telomere elongation is regulated. view more

    Research Areas: telomerase, biochemistry, stem cells, cell biology, DNA

  • Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Trials and Tissue Bank

    The Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer Tissue Bank enrolls patients and collects research specimens from Head and Neck Tumor patients, both cancerous and benign, with particular focus on Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer patients. It provides specimens to researchers both within the institution and outside.

    Research Areas: benign, malignant, cancer, tumor, head and neck tumors, Squamous cell carcinoma

  • In-vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center

    The In-vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center conducts multidisciplinary research on cellular and molecular imaging related to cancer. We provide resources, such as consultation on biostatistics and bioinformatics and optical imaging and probe development, to understand and effectively treat cancer. Our molecular oncology experts consult on preclinical studies, use of human tissues, interpretation of data and molecular characterization of cells and tumor tissue.

    Research Areas: optical imaging, molecular characterization of tumor tissue, bioinformatics, molecular oncology, biostatistics, probe development, molecular characterization of cells, cancer imaging

  • Ivan Borrello Lab

    The Ivan Borrello Lab focuses on the development of a novel approach of adoptive T cell therapy utilizing marrow-infiltrating lymphocytes (MILs) as a more tumor-specific T cell approach. This has led to establishing the first adoptive T cell trials at Johns Hopkins and an exploration of this approach in other diseases, including nonhematologic malignancies. The lab also examines strategies for treating minimal residual disease (MRD) in myeloma with the combination of immune modulation and whole cell-based vaccines.

    Research Areas: immunology, vaccines, multiple myeloma, cancer, translational research, immunotherapy, T cells

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Ivan Borrello, M.D.

    Department

    Oncology

  • Jinyuan Zhou Lab

    Dr. Zhou's research focuses on developing new in vivo MRI and MRS methodologies to study brain function and disease. His most recent work includes absolute quantification of cerebral blood flow, quantification of functional MRI, high-resolution diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), magnetization transfer mechanism, development of chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) technology, brain pH MR imaging, and tissue protein MR imaging. Notably, Dr. Zhou and his colleagues invented the amide proton transfer (APT) approach for brain pH imaging and tumor protein imaging. His initial paper on brain pH imaging was published in Nature Medicine in 2003 and his most recent paper on tumor treatment effects was published in Nature Medicine in 2011. A major part of his current research is the pre-clinical and clinical imaging of brain tumors, strokes, and other neurologic disorders using the APT and other novel MRI techniques. The overall goal is to achieve the MRI contrast at the protein and peptide ...level without injection of exogenous agents and improve the diagnostic capability of MRI and the patient outcomes. view more

    Research Areas: magnetic resonance, functional magnetic resonance imaging, brain, stroke

  • John T. Isaacs Laboratory

    While there has been an explosion of knowledge about human carcinogenesis over the last 2 decades, unfortunately, this has not translated into the development of effective therapies for either preventing or treating the common human cancers. The goal of the Isaacs’ lab is to change this situation by translating theory into therapy for solid malignancies, particularly Prostate cancer. Presently, a series of drugs discovered in the Isaacs’ lab are undergoing clinical trials in patients with metastatic cancer.

    The ongoing drug discovery in the lab continues to focus upon developing agents to eliminate the cancer initiating stem cells within metastatic sites of cancer. To do this, a variety of bacterial and natural product toxins are being chemically modified to produce “prodrugs” whose cytotoxicity is selectively activated by proteases produced in high levels only by cancer cells or tumor associated blood vessel cells. In this way, these prodrugs can be given systemically to metastati...c patients without un-acceptable toxicity to the host while being selectively activated to potent killing molecules within metastatic sites of cancer.

    Such a “Trojan Horse” approach is also being developed using allogeneic bone marrow derived Mesenchymal Stem cells which are genetically engineered to secrete “prodrugs” so that when they are infused into the patient, they selectively “home” to sites of cancers where the appropriate enzymatic activity is present to liberate the killing toxin sterilizing the cancer “neighborhood”.
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    Research Areas: anti-cancer drugs, stem cell biology

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    John Isaacs, Ph.D.

    Department

    Oncology

  • Jonathan D. Powell Lab

    The program in cancer and immunometabolism seeks to both understand and target metabolic programming in both the cancer and immune cells in order to enhance immunotherapy for cancer. To this end, in collaboration in with the Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery Program, the lab is developing novel agents that target tumor glutamine metabolism. These compounds not only inhibit tumor growth but render tumors more susceptible to immunotherapies such as checkpoint blockade and adoptive cellular therapy. Additionally, the group is dissecting key metabolic pathways that regulate immune cell activation, differentiation and function. By targeting these pathways, they are discovering new ways to both enhance the efficacy of antitumor T cells as well as inhibit T regulatory cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells.

    Research Areas: T cells

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Jonathan Powell, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Oncology

  • Kenneth W. Kinzler Laboratory

    Dr. Kinzler’s laboratory has focused on the genetics of human cancer. They have identified a variety of genetic mutations that underlie cancer, including mutations of the APC pathway that appear to initiate the majority of colorectal cancers and IDH1/2 mutations that underlying many gliomas. In addition, they have developed a variety of powerful tools for analysis of expression and genetic alterations in cancer.
    Most recently, they have pioneered integrated whole genome analyses of human cancers through expression, copy number, and mutational analyses of all the coding genes in several human cancer types including colorectal, breast, pancreatic and brain. The identification of genetic differences between normal and tumor tissues provide new therapeutic targets, new opportunities for the early diagnosis of cancer, and important insights into the neoplastic process.

    Research Areas: cancer, molecular genetics

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Kenneth Kinzler, Ph.D.

    Department

    Oncology

  • Le Cancer Metabolism Research Lab

    Dr. Anne Le's research primarily focuses on cancer metabolism and metabolic aspects of other diseases. Using metabolomics technologies, her work has led to breakthrough discoveries revealing several characteristic features of the metabolism of cancer. One of these, the dependence of cancer cells on glutamine metabolism, has translated into clinical trials as a novel therapy for cancer patients. Furthermore, her lab tracked the metabolic pathways in the remaining tumor cells after this novel therapy and identified the best-suited drugs for combined synergistic therapy. The depth of Dr. Le's expertise in cancer metabolism, in collaboration with other experts at Johns Hopkins, will lead to improved outcomes for cancer therapy.

    Research Areas: cancer, metabolomics technologies, cancer metabolism

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Anne Le, H.D.R., M.D., M.S.

    Department

    Oncology
    Pathology

  • Lei Zheng Lab

    Zheng’s research focuses on two R01-funded projects; first, the group has developed a pancreatic cancer immunotherapy research program on a neoadjuvant therapy platform as well as a number of preclinical models of pancreatic cancer for developing innovative immunotherapy strategies. The group has applied the knowledge gained from pancreatic cancer immune-based therapies to the development of a colorectal cancer GVAX vaccine. Second, the group is aimed at understanding the mechanistic roles of the tumor microenvironment in cancer development and metastasis and identifying new targets for pancreatic cancer therapies by dissecting the tumor microenvironment of pancreatic cancer.

    Research Areas: cancer, pancreatic cancer, translational research, tumor microenvironment, immunotherapy

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Lei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Oncology
    Surgery

  • Marie-France Penet Lab

    The Penet lab is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The lab research focuses on using multimodal imaging techniques to better understand the microenvironment and improve cancer early detection, especially in ovarian cancer. By combining MRI, MRS and optical imaging, we are studying the tumor microenvironment to understand the role of hypoxia, tumor vascularization, macromolecular transport and tumor metabolism in tumor progression, metastasis and ascites formation in orthotopic models of cancer. We also are studying the role of tumor-associated macrophages in tumor progression.

    Research Areas: tumor vascularization, prostate cancer, tumor metabolism, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, macromolecular transport, optical imaging, pancreatic cancer, MRI, tumor-associated macrophages, hypoxia, ovarian cancer, cancer-induced cachexia, cancer imaging

  • Mihail Zilbermint Lab

    Research in the Mihail Zilbermint Lab focuses on diabetes, adrenal disease and thyroid disease. Recent areas of focus include pseudohypoaldosteronism type 1 related to novel variants of SCNN1B gene, genetic variance in the ARMC5 gene in primary macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia and hyperaldosteronism due to de novo KCNJ5 mutation.

    Research Areas: hypoaldosteronism, genetics, tumor, diabetes, hyperplasia, protein kinases

    Principal Investigator

    Mihail Zilbermint, M.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Mohamed Farah Lab

    The Mohamed Farah Lab studies axonal regeneration in the peripheral nervous system. We've found that genetic deletion and pharmacological inhibition of beta-amyloid cleaving enzyme (BACE1) markedly accelerate axonal regeneration in the injured peripheral nerves of mice. We postulate that accelerated nerve regeneration is due to blockade of BACE1 cleavage of two different BACE1 substrates. The two candidate substrates are the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in axons and tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR1) on macrophages, which infiltrate injured nerves and clear the inhibitory myelin debris. In the coming years, we will systematically explore genetic manipulations of these two substrates in regard to accelerated axonal regeneration and rapid myelin debris removal seen in BACE1 KO mice. We also study axonal sprouting and regeneration in motor neuron disease models.

    Research Areas: genomics, nerve regeneration, nervous system

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Mohamed Farah, Ph.D.

    Department

    Neurology

  • Richard W. TeLinde Endowed Gynecologic Pathology Lab

    Our scientists pursue out-of-the-box approaches at the very edge of knowledge to:
    1) Elucidate the molecular/cellular/physiological landscapes of ovarian and uterine cancers.
    2) Understand the earliest events in their development and mechanisms of tumor evolution/dormancy and drug resistance.
    3) Deliver promises for better prevention, detection and treatment to women who have diseases or are at an increased risk to have these cancers.

    Research Areas: uterine cancer, gestational trophoblastic disease, ovarian cancer

  • Samuel R. Denmeade Laboratory

    The main research goals of my laboratory are: (1) to identify and study the biology of novel cancer selective targets whose enzymatic function can be exploited for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes; (2) to develop methods to target novel agents for activiation by these cancer selective targets while avoiding or minimizing systemic toxicity; (3) to develop novel agents for imaging cancer sites at earliest stages. To accomplish these objectives the lab has originally focused on the development of prodrugs or protoxins that are inactive when given systemically via the blood and only become activated by tumor or tissue specific proteases present within sites of tumor. Using this approach, we are developing therapies targeted for activation by the serine proteases prostate-specific antigen (PSA), human glandular kallikrein 2 (hK2) and fibroblast activation protein (FAP) as well as the membrane carboxypeptidase prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). One such approach developed in the l...ab consists of a potent bacterial protoxin that we have reengineered to be selectively activated by PSA within the Prostate. This PSA-activated toxin is currently being tested clinically as treatment for men with recurrent prostate cancer following radiation therapy. In a related approach, a novel peptide-cytotoxin prodrug candidate that is activated by PSMA has been identified and is this prodrug candidate is now entering early phase clinical development. In addition, we have also identified a series of potent inhibitors of PSA that are now under study as drug targeting and imaging agents to be used in the treatment and detection of prostate cancer.
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    Research Areas: cancer therapies, prodrugs, cancer, protease inhibitors, protoxins, cancer imaging

  • Schneck Lab

    Effective immune responses are critical for control of a variety of infectious disease including bacterial, viral and protozoan infections as well as in protection from development of tumors. Central to the development of an effective immune response is the T lymphocyte which, as part of the adaptive immune system, is central in achieving sterilization and long lasting immunity. While the normal immune responses is tightly regulated there are also notable defects leading to pathologic diseases. Inactivity of tumor antigen-specific T cells, either by suppression or passive ignorance allows tumors to grow and eventually actively suppress the immune response. Conversely, hyperactivation of antigen-specific T cells to self antigens is the underlying basis for many autoimmune diseases including: multiple sclerosis; arthritis; and diabetes. Secondary to their central role in a wide variety of physiologic and pathophysiologic responses my lab takes a broad-based approach to studying T cell re...sponses. view more

    Research Areas: t-cell responses, pathologic diseases, autoimmune diseases, pathology, immune system

    Lab Website

    Principal Investigator

    Jonathan Schneck, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Pathology

  • Suzanne Topalian Lab

    Our lab currently focuses on three areas of immunotherapy research: gaining a deeper knowledge of the biological underpinnings of human autoimmune response; discovering biomarkers that will help us identify which patients and tumor types are most likely to respond to various immune therapies; and developing immune-based treatment combinations that could deliver a more powerful anti-tumor response than monotherapies.

    Research Areas: cancer, PD-1, melanoma, immunotherapy, cancer immunology

    Principal Investigator

    Suzanne Topalian, M.D.

    Department

    Oncology

  • Systems Biology Laboratory

    The Systems Biology Lab applies methods of multiscale modeling to problems of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and examines the systems biology of angiogenesis, breast cancer and peripheral artery disease (PAD).

    Using coordinated computational and experimental approaches, the lab studies the mechanisms of breast cancer tumor growth and metastasis to find ways to inhibit those processes.

    We use bioinformatics to discover novel agents that affect angiogenesis and perform in vitro and in vivo experiments to test these predictions. In addition we study protein networks that determine processes of angiogenesis, arteriogenesis and inflammation in PAD. The lab also investigates drug repurposing for potential applications as stimulators of therapeutic angiogenesis, examines signal transduction pathways and builds 3D models of angiogenesis.

    The lab has discovered over a hundred novel anti-angiogenic peptides, and has undertaken in vitro and in vivo studies testing their activity unde...r different conditions. We have investigated structure-activity relationship (SAR) doing point mutations and amino acid substitutions and constructed biomimetic peptides derived from their endogenous progenitors. They have demonstrated the efficacy of selected peptides in mouse models of breast, lung and brain cancers, and in age-related macular degeneration.

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    Research Areas: peripheral artery disease, breast cancer, systems biology, computational biology, cancer, cardiovascular, age-related macular degeneration, bioinformatics, angiogenesis, microcirculation

    Principal Investigator

    Aleksander Popel, Ph.D.

    Department

    Biomedical Engineering

  • Victor Velculescu Lab

    The lab currently focuses on identifying genetic alterations in cancer affecting sensitivity and resistance to targeted therapies, and connecting such changes to key clinical characteristics and novel therapeutic approaches. We have recently developed methods that allow noninvasive characterization of cancer, including the PARE method that provided the first whole genome analysis of tumor DNA in the circulation of cancer patients. These analyses provide a window into real-time genomic analyses of cancer patients and provide new avenues for personalized diagnostic and therapeutic intervention.

    Research Areas: cancer, genomics, immunotherapy

  • Zaver M. Bhujwalla Lab – Cancer Imaging Research

    Dr. Bhujwalla’s lab promotes preclinical and clinical multimodal imaging applications to understand and effectively treat cancer. The lab’s work is dedicated to the applications of molecular imaging to understand cancer and the tumor environment. Significant research contributions include 1) developing ‘theranostic agents’ for image-guided targeting of cancer, including effective delivery of siRNA in combination with a prodrug enzyme 2) understanding the role of inflammation and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in cancer using molecular and functional imaging 3) developing noninvasive imaging techniques to detect COX-2 expressing in tumors 4) understanding the role of hypoxia and choline pathways to reduce the stem-like breast cancer cell burden in tumors 5) using molecular and functional imaging to understand the role of the tumor microenvironment including the extracellular matrix, hypoxia, vascularization, and choline phospholipid metabolism in prostate and breast cancer invasion and metast...asis, with the ultimate goal of preventing cancer metastasis and 6) molecular and functional imaging characterization of cancer-induced cachexia to understand the cachexia-cascade and identify novel targets in the treatment of this condition. view more

    Research Areas: molecular and functional imaging, preventing cancer metastasis, metastasis, image-guided targeting of cancer, cancer-induced cachexia, cancer imaging

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