Academic Appointments

Professional Education

  • PhD, Cornell / Rockefeller / Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program, Cancer Biology (2011)

Clinical Trials

  • SD-101 and BMS-986178 in Treating Patients With Advanced or Metastatic Solid Malignancies Not Recruiting

    This phase I trial studies the side effects of intratumoral injection of SD-101 and BMS-986178 in treating patients with solid malignancies that have spread to other places in the body. The TLR9 agonist SD-101 may stimulate the immune system in different ways and stop cancer cells from growing. BMS-986178 is a monoclonal anti-OX40 antibody that enhances the activation of T cells, immune cells that are important for fighting tumors. Giving TLR9 agonist SD-101 together with anti-OX40 antibody BMS-986178 may work better in treating patients with advanced solid tumors.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial. For more information, please contact Jee Min Lee, 650-497-5240.

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  • TLR9 Agonist SD-101, Anti-OX40 Antibody BMS 986178, and Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients With Low-Grade B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas Not Recruiting

    This phase I trial studies the side effects and best dose of the anti-OX40 antibody BMS-986178 when given together with the TLR9 agonist SD-101 and radiation therapy in treating patients with low-grade B-cell Non-Hodgkin lymphomas. TLR9 agonist SD-101 may stimulate the immune system in different ways and stop cancer cells from growing. Anti-OX40 antibody is a monoclonal antibody that enhances the activation of T cells, immune cells that are important for fighting tumors Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and may make them more easily detected by the immune system. Giving TLR9 agonist SD-101 together with anti-OX40 antibody BMS 986178 and radiation therapy may work better in treating patients with low-grade B-cell non-hodgkin lymphomas.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial. For more information, please contact Destiny Phillips, 650-498-1313.

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  • TLR9 Agonist SD-101, Ibrutinib, and Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients With Relapsed or Refractory Grade 1-3A Follicular Lymphoma Not Recruiting

    This phase Ib/II trial studies the side effects and best dose of toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist SD-101 when given together with ibrutinib and radiation therapy and to see how well they work in treating patients with Low Grade Follicular Lymphoma, Marginal Zone Lymphoma, or Mantle Cell Lymphoma that has come back after a period of improvement or no longer responds to treatment. Immunostimulants such as TLR9 agonist SD-101 may increase the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease. Ibrutinib may stop the growth of cancer cells by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth. Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to kill tumor cells and shrink tumors. Giving TLR9 agonist SD-101 with ibrutinib and radiation therapy may induce an immune response and prolong anti-tumor response.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial. For more information, please contact Ami Okada, 650-725-4968.

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All Publications

  • PARP14 is a novel target in STAT6 mutant follicular lymphoma. Leukemia Mentz, M., Keay, W., Strobl, C. D., Antoniolli, M., Adolph, L., Heide, M., Lechner, A., Haebe, S., Osterode, E., Kridel, R., Ziegenhain, C., Wange, L. E., Hildebrand, J. A., Shree, T., Silkenstedt, E., Staiger, A. M., Ott, G., Horn, H., Szczepanowski, M., Richter, J., Levy, R., Rosenwald, A., Enard, W., Zimber-Strobl, U., von Bergwelt-Baildon, M., Hiddemann, W., Klapper, W., Schmidt-Supprian, M., Rudelius, M., Bararia, D., Passerini, V., Weigert, O. 2022


    The variable clinical course of follicular lymphoma (FL) is determined by the molecular heterogeneity of tumor cells and complex interactions within the tumor microenvironment (TME). IL-4 producing follicular helper T cells (TFH) are critical components of the FL TME. Binding of IL-4 to IL-4R on FL cells activates JAK/STAT signaling. We identified STAT6 mutations (STAT6MUT) in 13% of FL (N=33/258), all clustered within the DNA binding domain. Gene expression data and immunohistochemistry showed upregulation of IL-4/STAT6 target genes in STAT6MUT FL, including CCL17, CCL22, and FCER2 (CD23). Functionally, STAT6MUT was gain-of-function by serial replating phenotype in pre-B CFU assays. Expression of STAT6MUT enhanced IL-4 induced FCER2/CD23, CCL17 and CCL22 expression and was associated with nuclear accumulation of pSTAT6. RNA sequencing identified PARP14 -a transcriptional switch and co-activator of STAT6- among the top differentially upregulated genes in IL-4 stimulated STAT6MUT lymphoma cells and in STAT6MUT primary FL cells. Quantitative chromatin immunoprecipitation (qChIP) demonstrated binding of STAT6MUT but not STAT6WT to the PARP14 promotor. Reporter assays showed increased IL-4 induced transactivation activity of STAT6MUT at the PARP14 promotor, suggesting a self-reinforcing regulatory circuit. Knock-down of PARP14 or PARP-inhibition abrogated the STAT6MUT gain-of-function phenotype. Thus, our results identify PARP14 as a novel therapeutic target in STAT6MUT FL.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41375-022-01641-x

    View details for PubMedID 35851155

  • Intratumoral immunotherapy relies on B and T cell collaboration. Science immunology Sagiv-Barfi, I., Czerwinski, D. K., Shree, T., Lohmeyer, J. J., Levy, R. 2022; 7 (71): eabn5859


    Antitumor T cell responses are the primary mediators of cancer immunotherapy. However, many other components of the immune system are needed for efficient T cell responses to be generated. Here, we developed a combinatorial approach where a Toll-like receptor 9 agonist (CpG) and Fc-fused IL-12 protein were injected together into just one of several tumor sites in a mouse. This combination led to body-wide (abscopal) therapeutic responses in multiple cancer models. These systemic responses were dependent not only on T cells but also on B cells. B cells were activated by the treatment and were required for optimal T cell activation. This cross-talk was dependent on MHC and was tumor antigen specific. The addition of an agonistic antibody against OX40 further enhanced T cell activation and therapeutic responses. Our data suggest that the combination of CpG, anti-OX40, and IL-12Fc may have success in patients with cancer and that B and T cell collaboration is crucial for the efficacy of this combination immunotherapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciimmunol.abn5859

    View details for PubMedID 35622903

  • Can B cell-deficient patients rely on COVID-19 vaccine-induced T cell immunity? British journal of haematology Shree, T. 2022

    View details for DOI 10.1111/bjh.18210

    View details for PubMedID 35412649

  • CD20-Targeted Therapy Ablates De Novo Antibody Response to Vaccination but Spares Pre-Established Immunity. Blood cancer discovery Shree, T., Shankar, V., Lohmeyer, J. J., Czerwinski, D. K., Schroers-Martin, J. G., Rodriguez, G. M., Beygi, S., Kanegai, A. M., Corbelli, K. S., Gabriel, E., Kurtz, D. M., Khodadoust, M. S., Gupta, N. K., Maeda, L. S., Advani, R. H., Alizadeh, A. A., Levy, R. 2022


    To obtain a deeper understanding of poor responses to COVID-19 vaccination in lymphoma patients, we assessed blocking antibodies, total anti-spike IgG, and spike-specific memory B cells in the peripheral blood of 126 patients with lymphoma and 20 age-matched healthy controls 1 and 4 months after COVID-19 vaccination. Fifty-five percent of patients developed blocking antibodies post-vaccination, compared to 100% of controls. Evaluating patients last treated from days to nearly 18 years prior to vaccination, time since last anti-CD20 was a significant independent predictor of vaccine response. None of 31 patients who had received anti-CD20 treatment within 6 months prior to vaccination developed blocking antibodies. In contrast, patients who initiated anti-CD20 treatment shortly after achieving a vaccine-induced antibody response tended to retain that response during treatment, suggesting a policy of immunizing prior to treatment whenever possible.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/2643-3230.BCD-21-0222

    View details for PubMedID 35015688

  • Serial FNA allows direct sampling of malignant and infiltrating immune cells in patients with B-cell lymphoma receiving immunotherapy. Cancer cytopathology Mooney, K. L., Czerwinski, D. K., Shree, T., Frank, M. J., Haebe, S., Martin, B. A., Testa, S., Levy, R., Long, S. R. 2021


    Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) is used to diagnose malignancies, recurrences, and metastases. The procedure is quick and well tolerated and can be facilitated by ultrasound guidance.This article describes the authors' experience in using serial FNA to harvest cellular material during 4 clinical trials of immunotherapy by in situ vaccination in patients with low-grade lymphoma.Two hundred ninety-six FNA samples were collected from 44 patients over a span of approximately 6 weeks for each patient. Samples were sufficient in quantity and quality to be analyzed by flow cytometry and/or single-cell messenger RNA sequencing. FNA samples yielded an average of 12 × 106 cells with a mean cellular viability of 86%. Material collected from the tumor lymph nodes differed significantly in the proportions and phenotypes of cellular populations in comparison with matched peripheral blood samples. A comparison of flow cytometry results obtained by FNA directly from the patient and by FNA performed ex vivo and a dissociation of the same lymph node after surgical excision confirmed that FNA sampling of the patient accurately represented the tumor and the microenvironment. An analysis of the FNA samples from immunotherapy-treated target lymph nodes versus nodes from nontreated tumor sites provided insight into the impact of specific immunotherapy regimens.This is the largest study describing the use of serial FNA sampling to harvest cellular material during immunotherapy clinical trials. The success of this technique opens the door for FNA sampling to expand significantly future investigations of the dynamic effects of investigational agents, be they immunotherapies or targeted therapies.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/cncy.22531

    View details for PubMedID 34780125

  • Single Cell Analysis Can Define Distinct Evolution of Tumor Sites in Follicular Lymphoma. Blood Haebe, S. E., Shree, T. n., Sathe, A. n., Day, G. n., Czerwinski, D. K., Grimes, S. n., Lee, H. n., Binkley, M. S., Long, S. R., Martin, B. A., Ji, H. P., Levy, R. n. 2021


    Tumor heterogeneity complicates biomarker development and fosters drug resistance in solid malignancies. In lymphoma, our knowledge of site-to-site heterogeneity and its clinical implications is still limited. Here, we profiled two nodal, synchronously-acquired tumor samples from ten follicular lymphoma patients using single cell RNA, B cell receptor (BCR) and T cell receptor sequencing, and flow cytometry. By following the rapidly mutating tumor immunoglobulin genes, we discovered that BCR subclones were shared between the two tumor sites in some patients, but in many patients the disease had evolved separately with limited tumor cell migration between the sites. Patients exhibiting divergent BCR evolution also exhibited divergent tumor gene expression and cell surface protein profiles. While the overall composition of the tumor microenvironment did not differ significantly between sites, we did detect a specific correlation between site-to-site tumor heterogeneity and T follicular helper (Tfh) cell abundance. We further observed enrichment of particular ligand-receptor pairs between tumor and Tfh cells, including CD40 and CD40LG, and a significant correlation between tumor CD40 expression and Tfh proliferation. Our study may explain discordant responses to systemic therapies, underscores the difficulty of capturing a patient's disease with a single biopsy, and furthers our understanding of tumor-immune networks in follicular lymphoma.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood.2020009855

    View details for PubMedID 33728464

  • Impaired Immune Health in Survivors of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Shree, T., Li, Q., Glaser, S. L., Brunson, A., Maecker, H. T., Haile, R. W., Levy, R., Keegan, T. H. 2020: JCO1901937


    PURPOSE: Therapeutic advances for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) have led to an increasing number of survivors. Both DLBCL and its treatments perturb the immune system, yet little is known about immune health during extended survivorship.METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we compared 21,690 survivors of DLBCL from the California Cancer Registry (CCR) to survivors of breast, prostate, head and neck, and melanoma cancers. We linked their CCR records to a statewide database documenting hospital, emergency room, and ambulatory surgery visits and investigated the incidence of autoimmune conditions, immune deficiencies, and infections 1-10 years after cancer diagnosis.RESULTS: We found elevated incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for many immune-related conditions in survivors of DLBCL compared with other cancer survivors, including significantly and consistently elevated IRRs for viral and fungal pneumonias (up to 10.8-fold), meningitis (up to 5.3-fold), as well as humoral deficiency (up to 17.6-fold) and autoimmune cytopenias (up to 12-fold). IRRs for most conditions remained high even in the late survivorship period (5-10 years after cancer diagnosis). The elevated risks could not be explained by exposure to chemotherapy, stem-cell transplantation, or rituximab, except for IRRs for humoral deficiency, which were consistently higher after the incorporation of rituximab into DLBCL treatments.CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the largest cohort study with extended follow-up to demonstrate impaired immune health in survivors of DLBCL. The observed persistent, elevated risks for autoimmune diseases, immune deficiencies, and infectious conditions may reflect persistent immune dysregulation caused by lymphoma or treatment and may lead to excess morbidity and mortality during survivorship. Improved understanding of these risks could meaningfully improve long-term care of patients with DLBCL.

    View details for DOI 10.1200/JCO.19.01937

    View details for PubMedID 32083991

  • Single cell RNA sequencing of serial tumor and blood biopsies from lymphoma patients undergoing in situ vaccination Shree, T., Sathe, A., Ji, H., Levy, R. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2019
  • Interim results of a Phase I/II trial of intratumoral CpG, local low-dose radiation, and oral ibrutinib in patients with low-grade B-cell lymphoma Shree, T., Khodadoust, M. S., Czerwinski, D., Frank, M. J., Hong, W. X., Greenstein, R., Guo, S., Long, S., Martin, B. A., Levy, R. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2019
  • B-cell lymphomas present immunoglobulin neoantigens BLOOD Khodadoust, M. S., Olsson, N., Chen, B., Sworder, B., Shree, T., Liu, C., Zhang, L., Czerwinski, D. K., Davis, M. M., Levy, R., Elias, J. E., Alizadeh, A. A. 2019; 133 (8): 878–81
  • Macrophages and cathepsin proteases blunt chemotherapeutic response in breast cancer. Genes & development Shree, T., Olson, O. C., Elie, B. T., Kester, J. C., Garfall, A. L., Simpson, K., Bell-McGuinn, K. M., Zabor, E. C., Brogi, E., Joyce, J. A. 2011; 25 (23): 2465-79


    The microenvironment is known to critically modulate tumor progression, yet its role in regulating treatment response is poorly understood. Here we found increased macrophage infiltration and cathepsin protease levels in mammary tumors following paclitaxel (Taxol) chemotherapy. Cathepsin-expressing macrophages protected against Taxol-induced tumor cell death in coculture, an effect fully reversed by cathepsin inhibition and mediated partially by cathepsins B and S. Macrophages were also found to protect against tumor cell death induced by additional chemotherapeutics, specifically etoposide and doxorubicin. Combining Taxol with cathepsin inhibition in vivo significantly enhanced efficacy against primary and metastatic tumors, supporting the therapeutic relevance of this effect. Additionally incorporating continuous low-dose cyclophosphamide dramatically impaired tumor growth and metastasis and improved survival. This study highlights the importance of integrated targeting of the tumor and its microenvironment and implicates macrophages and cathepsins in blunting chemotherapeutic response.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/gad.180331.111

    View details for PubMedID 22156207

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3243057

  • Identification and pre-clinical testing of a reversible cathepsin protease inhibitor reveals anti-tumor efficacy in a pancreatic cancer model. Biochimie Elie, B. T., Gocheva, V., Shree, T., Dalrymple, S. A., Holsinger, L. J., Joyce, J. A. 2010; 92 (11): 1618-24


    Proteolytic activity is required for several key processes in cancer development and progression, including tumor growth, invasion and metastasis. Accordingly, high levels of protease expression and activity have been found to correlate with malignant progression and poor patient prognosis in a wide variety of human cancers. Members of the papain family of cysteine cathepsins are among the protease classes that have been functionally implicated in cancer. Therefore, the discovery of effective cathepsin inhibitors has considerable potential for anti-cancer therapy. In this study we describe the identification of a novel, reversible cathepsin inhibitor, VBY-825, which has high potency against cathepsins B, L, S and V. VBY-825 was tested in a pre-clinical model of pancreatic islet cancer and found to significantly decrease tumor burden and tumor number. Thus, the identification of VBY-825 as a new and effective anti-tumor drug encourages the therapeutic application of cathepsin inhibitors in cancer.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biochi.2010.04.023

    View details for PubMedID 20447439

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3814225

  • IL-4 induces cathepsin protease activity in tumor-associated macrophages to promote cancer growth and invasion. Genes & development Gocheva, V., Wang, H. W., Gadea, B. B., Shree, T., Hunter, K. E., Garfall, A. L., Berman, T., Joyce, J. A. 2010; 24 (3): 241-55


    Innate immune cells can constitute a substantial proportion of the cells within the tumor microenvironment and have been associated with tumor malignancy in patients and animal models of cancer; however, the mechanisms by which they modulate cancer progression are incompletely understood. Here, we show that high levels of cathepsin protease activity are induced in the majority of macrophages in the microenvironment of pancreatic islet cancers, mammary tumors, and lung metastases during malignant progression. We further show that tumor-associated macrophage (TAM)-supplied cathepsins B and S are critical for promoting pancreatic tumor growth, angiogenesis, and invasion in vivo, and markedly enhance the invasiveness of cancer cells in culture. Finally, we demonstrate that interleukin-4 (IL-4) is responsible for inducing cathepsin activity in macrophages in vitro and in vivo. Together, these data establish IL-4 as an important regulator, and cathepsin proteases as critical mediators, of the cancer-promoting functions of TAMs.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/gad.1874010

    View details for PubMedID 20080943

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2811826

  • Regulation of dopaminergic loss by Fas in a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine model of Parkinson's disease. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience Hayley, S., Crocker, S. J., Smith, P. D., Shree, T., Jackson-Lewis, V., Przedborski, S., Mount, M., Slack, R., Anisman, H., Park, D. S. 2004; 24 (8): 2045-53


    Accumulating evidence suggests that apoptotic and inflammatory factors contribute to the demise of dopaminergic neurons. In this respect, Fas, a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family with proapoptotic and inflammatory functions, was reported to be elevated within the striatum and substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. Accordingly, the present investigation evaluated the function of Fas in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) model of PD. Injection of MPTP increased nigral Fas expression, and mice lacking Fas displayed attenuated MPTP-induced SNc dopaminergic loss and microglial activation. In addition, Fas induction was blocked by expression of a dominant-negative c-Jun adenovirus that also protected dopamine neurons from MPTP-induced damage. Together, these data suggest the critical nature of the c-Jun-Fas signaling pathway in MPTP-induced neuronal loss. Although critical for degeneration of the soma, Fas deficiency did not significantly prevent the reduction of dopaminergic terminal fibers within the striatum or normalize the activation of striatal microglia and elevation of the postsynaptic activity marker DeltaFosB induced by denervation. Interestingly, Fas-deficient mice displayed a pre-existing reduction in striatal dopamine levels and locomotor behavior when compared with wild-type mice. Despite the reduced terminals, dopamine levels were not further suppressed by MPTP treatment in mutant mice, raising the possibility of a compensatory response in basal ganglia function in Fas-deficient mice.

    View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4564-03.2004

    View details for PubMedID 14985447

  • Interaction of the c-Jun/JNK pathway and cyclin-dependent kinases in death of embryonic cortical neurons evoked by DNA damage. The Journal of biological chemistry Ghahremani, M. H., Keramaris, E., Shree, T., Xia, Z., Davis, R. J., Flavell, R., Slack, R. S., Park, D. S. 2002; 277 (38): 35586-96


    DNA damage, an important initiator of neuronal death, has been implicated in numerous neurodegenerative conditions. We previously delineated several pathways that control embryonic cortical neuronal death evoked by the DNA-damaging agent, camptothecin. In this model, the tumor suppressor p53 and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are activated independently and cooperate to mediate the conserved death pathway. To further our understanding, we presently examined whether the c-Jun/JNK pathway modulates death and whether this pathway is regulated by CDKs, p53, and Bax. We show that c-Jun/JNK is activated following DNA damage. Moreover, the c-Jun pathway is one mediator of death, because expression of dominant negative c-Jun and cdc42, and JNK pathway inhibitors are neuroprotective. Although previous evidences indicate that JNK3 is required for neuronal death under certain conditions, we show that JNK3 deficiency only partially mediates c-Jun phosphorylation and its deficiency does not protect neurons from death. Interestingly, we provide evidence that CDK activity regulates c-Jun but does not affect upstream pathways that lead to JNK phosphorylation. Finally, c-Jun activation is independent of p53 and Bax. Accordingly, we propose that c-Jun is regulated by the JNK and CDK pathways and that both must be activated for efficient c-Jun activation to occur.

    View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M204362200

    View details for PubMedID 12091388