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1.  The EphB4 Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Promotes Lung Cancer Growth: A Potential Novel Therapeutic Target 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67668.
Despite progress in locoregional and systemic therapies, patient survival from lung cancer remains a challenge. Receptor tyrosine kinases are frequently implicated in lung cancer pathogenesis, and some tyrosine kinase inhibition strategies have been effective clinically. The EphB4 receptor tyrosine kinase has recently emerged as a potential target in several other cancers. We sought to systematically study the role of EphB4 in lung cancer. Here, we demonstrate that EphB4 is overexpressed 3-fold in lung tumors compared to paired normal tissues and frequently exhibits gene copy number increases in lung cancer. We also show that overexpression of EphB4 promotes cellular proliferation, colony formation, and motility, while EphB4 inhibition reduces cellular viability in vitro, halts the growth of established tumors in mouse xenograft models when used as a single-target strategy, and causes near-complete regression of established tumors when used in combination with paclitaxel. Taken together, these data suggest an important role for EphB4 as a potential novel therapeutic target in lung cancer. Clinical trials investigating the efficacy of anti-EphB4 therapies as well as combination therapy involving EphB4 inhibition may be warranted.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067668
PMCID: PMC3699624  PMID: 23844053
2.  Utilisation of a thoracic oncology database to capture radiological and pathological images for evaluation of response to chemotherapy in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001620.
Objective
An area of need in cancer informatics is the ability to store images in a comprehensive database as part of translational cancer research. To meet this need, we have implemented a novel tandem database infrastructure that facilitates image storage and utilisation.
Background
We had previously implemented the Thoracic Oncology Program Database Project (TOPDP) database for our translational cancer research needs. While useful for many research endeavours, it is unable to store images, hence our need to implement an imaging database which could communicate easily with the TOPDP database.
Methods
The Thoracic Oncology Research Program (TORP) imaging database was designed using the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) platform, which was developed by Vanderbilt University. To demonstrate proof of principle and evaluate utility, we performed a retrospective investigation into tumour response for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) patients treated at the University of Chicago Medical Center with either of two analogous chemotherapy regimens and consented to at least one of two UCMC IRB protocols, 9571 and 13473A.
Results
A cohort of 22 MPM patients was identified using clinical data in the TOPDP database. After measurements were acquired, two representative CT images and 0–35 histological images per patient were successfully stored in the TORP database, along with clinical and demographic data.
Discussion
We implemented the TORP imaging database to be used in conjunction with our comprehensive TOPDP database. While it requires an additional effort to use two databases, our database infrastructure facilitates more comprehensive translational research.
Conclusions
The investigation described herein demonstrates the successful implementation of this novel tandem imaging database infrastructure, as well as the potential utility of investigations enabled by it. The data model presented here can be utilised as the basis for further development of other larger, more streamlined databases in the future.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001620
PMCID: PMC3488720  PMID: 23103606
Basic Sciences
3.  Proteomic characterization of non-small cell lung cancer in a comprehensive translational thoracic oncology database 
Background
In recent years, there has been tremendous growth and interest in translational research, particularly in cancer biology. This area of study clearly establishes the connection between laboratory experimentation and practical human application. Though it is common for laboratory and clinical data regarding patient specimens to be maintained separately, the storage of such heterogeneous data in one database offers many benefits as it may facilitate more rapid accession of data and provide researchers access to greater numbers of tissue samples.
Description
The Thoracic Oncology Program Database Project was developed to serve as a repository for well-annotated cancer specimen, clinical, genomic, and proteomic data obtained from tumor tissue studies. The TOPDP is not merely a library—it is a dynamic tool that may be used for data mining and exploratory analysis. Using the example of non-small cell lung cancer cases within the database, this study will demonstrate how clinical data may be combined with proteomic analyses of patient tissue samples in determining the functional relevance of protein over and under expression in this disease.
Clinical data for 1323 patients with non-small cell lung cancer has been captured to date. Proteomic studies have been performed on tissue samples from 105 of these patients. These tissues have been analyzed for the expression of 33 different protein biomarkers using tissue microarrays. The expression of 15 potential biomarkers was found to be significantly higher in tumor versus matched normal tissue. Proteins belonging to the receptor tyrosine kinase family were particularly likely to be over expressed in tumor tissues. There was no difference in protein expression across various histologies or stages of non-small cell lung cancer. Though not differentially expressed between tumor and non-tumor tissues, the over expression of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) was associated improved overall survival. However, this finding is preliminary and warrants further investigation.
Conclusion
Though the database project is still under development, the application of such a database has the potential to enhance our understanding of cancer biology and will help researchers to identify targets to modify the course of thoracic malignancies.
doi:10.1186/2043-9113-1-8
PMCID: PMC3097094  PMID: 21884620
4.  Proteomic characterization of non-small cell lung cancer in a comprehensive translational thoracic oncology database 
Background
In recent years, there has been tremendous growth and interest in translational research, particularly in cancer biology. This area of study clearly establishes the connection between laboratory experimentation and practical human application. Though it is common for laboratory and clinical data regarding patient specimens to be maintained separately, the storage of such heterogeneous data in one database offers many benefits as it may facilitate more rapid accession of data and provide researchers access to greater numbers of tissue samples.
Description
The Thoracic Oncology Program Database Project was developed to serve as a repository for well-annotated cancer specimen, clinical, genomic, and proteomic data obtained from tumor tissue studies. The TOPDP is not merely a library--it is a dynamic tool that may be used for data mining and exploratory analysis. Using the example of non-small cell lung cancer cases within the database, this study will demonstrate how clinical data may be combined with proteomic analyses of patient tissue samples in determining the functional relevance of protein over and under expression in this disease.
Clinical data for 1323 patients with non-small cell lung cancer has been captured to date. Proteomic studies have been performed on tissue samples from 105 of these patients. These tissues have been analyzed for the expression of 33 different protein biomarkers using tissue microarrays. The expression of 15 potential biomarkers was found to be significantly higher in tumor versus matched normal tissue. Proteins belonging to the receptor tyrosine kinase family were particularly likely to be over expressed in tumor tissues. There was no difference in protein expression across various histologies or stages of non-small cell lung cancer. Though not differentially expressed between tumor and non-tumor tissues, the over expression of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) was associated improved overall survival. However, this finding is preliminary and warrants further investigation.
Conclusion
Though the database project is still under development, the application of such a database has the potential to enhance our understanding of cancer biology and will help researchers to identify targets to modify the course of thoracic malignancies.
doi:10.1186/2043-9113-1-8
PMCID: PMC3164615  PMID: 21603121
5.  Challenges in Clinical Design of Immunotherapy Trials for Malignant Glioma 
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and lethal primary malignant brain tumor. The traditional treatments for GBM, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, only modestly improve patient survival. Therefore, immunotherapy has emerged as a novel therapeutic modality. Immunotherapeutic strategies exploit the immune system's ability to recognize and mount a specific response against tumor cells, but not normal cells. Current immunotherapeutic approaches for glioma can be divided into three categories: immune priming (active immunotherapy), immunomodulation (passive immunotherapy), and adoptive immunotherapy. Immune priming sensitizes the patient's immune cells to tumor antigens using various vaccination protocols. In the case of immunomodulation, strategies are aimed at reducing suppressive cytokines in the tumor microenvironment or using immune molecules to specifically target tumor cells. Adoptive immunotherapy involves harvesting the patient's immune cells, followed by ex vivo activation and expansion prior to re-infusion. This review will provide an overview of the interactions between the central nervous system and the immune system and discuss the challenges facing current immunotherapeutic strategies.
doi:10.1016/j.nec.2009.08.002
PMCID: PMC2786905  PMID: 19944979
glioblastoma multiforme (GBM); immunotherapy; clinical trials; brain tumors; vaccines; dendritic cells; cytokines
6.  A chimeric adenovirus with an Ad 3 fiber knob modification augments glioma virotherapy 
The journal of gene medicine  2009;11(11):1005-1011.
Background
Malignant gliomas remain refractory to treatment despite advances in chemotherapy and surgical techniques. Viral vectors developed to treat gliomas have had low transduction capabilities, limiting their use. Gliomas over-express CD46, CD80, and CD86, all of which bind adenovirus serotype 3.
Methods
To increase the infectivity and replication of oncolytic vectors in malignant brain tumors, we created a conditionally replicating adenovirus, CRAd-Survivin-5/3, which contains a survivin promoter-driving E1A and a chimeric fiber consisting of adenovirus serotype 3 knob.
Results
In vitro, this modified CRAd showed ten- to 100-fold increased cytotoxicity against glioma cells. Ex vivo analysis of primary glioblastoma multiforme samples infected with CRAd-Survivin-5/3 showed an increase in cytotoxicity of 20–30% compared to adenovirus wild-type (AdWT). Innormal human astrocytes and normal brain tissues, CRAd-Survivin-5/3 exhibited 30–40% and 10–15% lower cytotoxicity than AdWT, respectively. In an intracranial xenograft model of glioma, this oncolytic virus increased tumor-free survival and overall lifespan by 50% compared to controls (p < 0.05).
Conclusions
CRAd-Survivin-5/3 represents an attractive alternative to existing vectors and should be tested further in the pre-clinical setting.
doi:10.1002/jgm.1385
PMCID: PMC2793323  PMID: 19688792
adenovirus; brain tumor; glioma; survivin; virotherapy

Results 1-6 (6)