Bachelor of Arts, Washington State University (2012)
Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, IMMUN-PHD (2021)
Bachelor of Science, Washington State University, Biochemistry (2012)
Bachelor of Arts, Washington State University, Philosophy (2012)
Edgar Engleman, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Reprogramming Cancer into Antigen Presenting Cells as a Novel Immunotherapy.
Therapeutic cancer vaccination seeks to elicit activation of tumor-reactive T cells capable of recognizing tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) and eradicating malignant cells. Here, we present a cancer vaccination approach utilizing myeloid lineage reprogramming to directly convert cancer cells into tumor reprogrammed-antigen presenting cells (TR-APCs). Using syngeneic murine leukemia models, we demonstrate that TR-APCs acquire both myeloid phenotype and function, process and present endogenous TAAs, and potently stimulate TAA-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In vivo TR-APC induction elicits clonal expansion of cancer-specific T cells, establishes cancer-specific immune memory, and ultimately promotes leukemia eradication. We further show that both hematologic cancers and solid tumors, including sarcomas and carcinomas, are amenable to myeloid-lineage reprogramming into TR-APCs. Finally, we demonstrate the clinical applicability of this approach by generating TR-APCs from primary clinical specimens and stimulating autologous patient-derived T cells. Thus, TR-APCs represent a cancer vaccination therapeutic strategy with broad implications for clinical immuno-oncology.
View details for DOI 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-21-0502
View details for PubMedID 36856575
Neutrophil-activating therapy for the treatment of cancer.
Despite their cytotoxic capacity, neutrophils are often co-opted by cancers to promote immunosuppression, tumor growth, and metastasis. Consequently, these cells have received little attention as potential cancer immunotherapeutic agents. Here, we demonstrate in mouse models that neutrophils can be harnessed to induce eradication of tumors and reduce metastatic seeding through the combined actions of tumor necrosis factor, CD40 agonist, and tumor-binding antibody. The same combination activates human neutrophils invitro, enabling their lysis of human tumor cells. Mechanistically, this therapy induces rapid mobilization and tumor infiltration of neutrophils along with complement activation in tumors. Complement component C5a activates neutrophils to produce leukotriene B4, which stimulates reactive oxygen species production via xanthine oxidase, resulting in oxidative damage and Tcell-independent clearance of multiple tumor types. These data establish neutrophils as potent anti-tumor immune mediators and define an inflammatory pathway that can be harnessed to drive neutrophil-mediated eradication of cancer.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ccell.2023.01.002
View details for PubMedID 36706760
Lymph node colonization induces tumor-immune tolerance to promote distant metastasis.
For many solid malignancies, lymph node (LN) involvement represents a harbinger of distant metastatic disease and, therefore, an important prognostic factor. Beyond its utility as a biomarker, whether and how LN metastasis plays an active role in shaping distant metastasis remains an open question. Here, we develop a syngeneic melanoma mouse model of LN metastasis to investigate how tumors spread to LNs and whether LN colonization influences metastasis to distant tissues. We show that an epigenetically instilled tumor-intrinsic interferon response program confers enhanced LN metastatic potential by enabling the evasion of NK cells and promoting LN colonization. LN metastases resist T cell-mediated cytotoxicity, induce antigen-specific regulatory T cells, and generate tumor-specific immune tolerance that subsequently facilitates distant tumor colonization. These effects extend to human cancers and other murine cancer models, implicating a conserved systemic mechanism by which malignancies spread to distant organs.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2022.04.019
View details for PubMedID 35525247
A versatile system to record cell-cell interactions.
Cell-cell interactions influence all aspects of development, homeostasis, and disease. In cancer, interactions between cancer cells and stromal cells play a major role in nearly every step of carcinogenesis. Thus, the ability to record cell-cell interactions would facilitate mechanistic delineation of the role of cancer microenvironment. Here, we describe GFP-based Touching Nexus (G-baToN) which relies upon nanobody-directed fluorescent protein transfer to enable sensitive and specific labeling of cells after cell-cell interactions. G-baToN is a generalizable system that enables physical contact-based labeling between various human and mouse cell types, including endothelial cell-pericyte, neuron-astrocyte, and diverse cancer-stromal cell pairs. A suite of orthogonal baToN tools enables reciprocal cell-cell labeling, interaction-dependent cargo transfer, and the identification of higher-order cell-cell interactions across a wide range of cell types. The ability to track physically interacting cells with these simple and sensitive systems will greatly accelerate our understanding of the outputs of cell-cell interactions in cancer as well as across many biological processes.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.61080
View details for PubMedID 33025906
Melanoma-secreted lysosomes trigger monocyte-derived dendritic cell apoptosis and limit cancer immunotherapy.
The recent success of checkpoint blockade therapies has established immunotherapy as one of the most promising treatments for melanoma. Nonetheless, a complete curative response following immunotherapy is observed only in a fraction of patients. To identify what factors limit the efficacy of immunotherapies, we established mouse models that cease to respond to immunotherapies once their tumors exceed a certain stage. Analysis of the immune systems of the organisms revealed that the numbers of tumor-infiltrating dendritic cells (TIDC) drastically decreased with time. Further, in contrast to the current paradigm, once melanoma was established, TIDC did not migrate into sentinel lymph nodes. Instead, they underwent local cell death due to excessive phagocytosis of lysosomes. Importantly, TIDC were required to license the cytotoxic activity of tumor CD8+ T cells, and in their absence, T cells did not lyse melanoma cells. Our results offer a paradigm shift regarding the role of TIDC and a framework to increase the efficacy of immunotherapies.
View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-2944
View details for PubMedID 32127354
Akt and SHP-1 are DC-intrinsic checkpoints for tumor immunity.
2016; 1 (18)
BM-derived DC (BMDC) are powerful antigen-presenting cells. When loaded with immune complexes (IC), consisting of tumor antigens bound to antitumor antibody, BMDC induce powerful antitumor immunity in mice. However, attempts to employ this strategy clinically with either tumor-associated DC (TADC) or monocyte-derived DC (MoDC) have been disappointing. To investigate the basis for this phenomenon, we compared the response of BMDC, TADC, and MoDC to tumor IgG-IC. Our findings revealed, in both mice and humans, that upon exposure to IgG-IC, BMDC internalized the IC, increased costimulatory molecule expression, and stimulated autologous T cells. In contrast, TADC and, surprisingly, MoDC remained inert upon contact with IC due to dysfunctional signaling following engagement of Fcγ receptors. Such dysfunction is associated with elevated levels of the Src homology region 2 domain-containing phosphatase-1 (SHP-1) and phosphatases regulating Akt activation. Indeed, concomitant inhibition of both SHP-1 and phosphatases that regulate Akt activation conferred upon TADC and MoDC the capacity to take up and process IC and induce antitumor immunity in vivo. This work identifies the molecular checkpoints that govern activation of MoDC and TADC and their capacity to elicit T cell immunity.
View details for PubMedID 27812544
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5085602
Allogeneic IgG combined with dendritic cell stimuli induce antitumour T-cell immunity.
2015; 521 (7550): 99-104
Whereas cancers grow within host tissues and evade host immunity through immune-editing and immunosuppression, tumours are rarely transmissible between individuals. Much like transplanted allogeneic organs, allogeneic tumours are reliably rejected by host T cells, even when the tumour and host share the same major histocompatibility complex alleles, the most potent determinants of transplant rejection. How such tumour-eradicating immunity is initiated remains unknown, although elucidating this process could provide the basis for inducing similar responses against naturally arising tumours. Here we find that allogeneic tumour rejection is initiated in mice by naturally occurring tumour-binding IgG antibodies, which enable dendritic cells (DCs) to internalize tumour antigens and subsequently activate tumour-reactive T cells. We exploited this mechanism to treat autologous and autochthonous tumours successfully. Either systemic administration of DCs loaded with allogeneic-IgG-coated tumour cells or intratumoral injection of allogeneic IgG in combination with DC stimuli induced potent T-cell-mediated antitumour immune responses, resulting in tumour eradication in mouse models of melanoma, pancreas, lung and breast cancer. Moreover, this strategy led to eradication of distant tumours and metastases, as well as the injected primary tumours. To assess the clinical relevance of these findings, we studied antibodies and cells from patients with lung cancer. T cells from these patients responded vigorously to autologous tumour antigens after culture with allogeneic-IgG-loaded DCs, recapitulating our findings in mice. These results reveal that tumour-binding allogeneic IgG can induce powerful antitumour immunity that can be exploited for cancer immunotherapy.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature14424
View details for PubMedID 25924063
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4877172