Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling Program
The mission of the Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling (CCBS) Program is to make fundamental mechanistic discoveries into signaling pathways that are dysregulated in human cancer. CCBS investigators aim to translate findings into new treatment opportunities that address the high incidence of lung cancer and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (H&N SCC) in our catchment area and leverage the unique clinical strengths of SKCC.
The Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling Program (CCBS) is led by Andrew Aplin PhD and George Prendergast PhD (LIMR, consortium member). The program has 42 members who span basic science, population research, and clinical research disciplines. The scientific mission of the CCBS Program is to integrate genomic, biochemical and functional analyses to make fundamental mechanistic discoveries into signaling pathways that are dysregulated in human cancer. From these studies, we aim to inform future investigator-initiated clinical trials and epidemiological studies. CCBS is a Discipline-Based program that looks towards translation. In the last funding period, fundamental discoveries have been made in key signaling pathways that are altered in human cancers resulting in high impact publications. Findings were moved into pre-clinical models and a subset were translated to the clinic for cancer types with high incidence in the SKCC catchment area (head & neck squamous cell carcinoma, H&N SCC, and lung carcinoma) and for which SKCC is a national referral center (uveal melanoma).
Program Leader- Andrew Aplin PhD has served as CCBS Leader since 2013, when after 21 years of leadership, Dr. Jeffrey Benovic stepped down as Leader of the Program. Dr. Aplin’s research elucidates mechanisms underlying aberrant growth and invasion in different subsets of cutaneous melanoma and the influence of the tumor microenvironment. An area of focus is the determinants of response and mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibitors and his findings on next generation BRAF inhibitors are translating to an industry-sponsored clinical trial in mutant BRAF-harboring solid tumors (e.g. lung, thyroid, skin (NCT02428712)). He also has a patent pending on an in vivo signaling reporter model for melanoma. Dr. Aplin serves multiple roles at the national level. In June 2016, he cycled off as a regular member of the NIH study section, Tumor Microenvironment (TME). Prior to this term, he was a frequent Discussion Leader on NCI SPORE review panels and Chair for the American Cancer Society Cell Structure and Metastasis Committee. He currently serves on the grant review panel for Melanoma Research Alliance and Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF). He also participates in the Scientific Advisory Council for MRF and on the EAB for two Skin SPORE Programs (Wistar/U-Penn and MD Anderson) and two P01 programs (Wistar and NYU). In terms of journal service, he is an Associate Editor of Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research and serves on the editorial boards of Cancer Research and Molecular Cancer Research.
Co-Leader George Prendergast PhD has served as CCBS Co-Leader since 2006. He is an international leader in cancer research with special expertise in the preclinical discovery and development of molecular therapeutics. He has over 200 publications and 35 patents and has co-founded or served as director at several startup companies. Since 2010, Dr. Prendergast has served as Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Research, the one of the field’s most highly-cited journals. At the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR), Dr. Prendergast is creating a unique ‘acapreneurial’ (Academic-Entrepreneurial) organization that integrates biotech start-up companies with non-profit laboratories and clinical groups to speed basic science discoveries to the clinic. Dr. Prendergast and his colleagues pioneered the preclinical discovery and validation of the first structural classes of enzymatic small molecule inhibitors of IDO1, an exciting therapeutic target on the leading edge of immunotherapies being explored by many pharmaceutical groups worldwide in phase I/II oncology clinical trials. Ten U.S. patents issued or pending include Dr. Prendergast as an inventor in this important new arena of immune modulation emerging as pivotal in human cancer, autoimmunity, chronic viral infection and other chronic inflammatory conditions.
ALNEMRI, EMAD S.
BENOVIC, JEFFREY L.
JIMENEZ, SERGIO A.
KEEN, JAMES H
MAHONEY, MY G.
MENKO, A. SUE
NAIK, ULHAS P.
SCOTT, CHARLES P.
SUMMER, ROSS S