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Pioneers in Medicine and Research
Dr. Kenneth Shroyer, Dr. Luisa Escobar Hoyos, and their team at Shroyer-Escobar Hoyos Lab, have effectively linked pancreatic cancer aggression to Keratin 17. Their paper with Dr. Lucia Roa, Assistant Professor of Pathology, published in the journal Scientific Reports documents how the level of this protein can indicate prognosis for patients. K17 above a certain level typically suggests a worse prognosis. The paper helps establish and confirm Keratin 17 as an important and promising prognostic biomarker in pancreatic cancer, and lays the foundation for all subsequent mechanistic studies that are in progress to understand how K17 drives cancer aggression. Read more: http://tbrnewsmedia.com/sbus-pathology-team-links-protein-level-to-pancreatic-cancer-aggression/
Chun-Hao Pan, a graduate student in the lab of Drs. Kenneth Shroyer and Luisa Escobar-Hoyos, has been selected as a recipient of the Mow Shiah Lin Scholarship. Dr. Lin was a renowned scientist and beloved mentor at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). He emigrated to the United States from his home in Taiwan in 1972, to pursue his doctoral training and later joined the ranks of the scientific community at BNL as an independent investigator where he published 85 papers and won many national awards. Dr. Lin passed away suddenly on a flight to scientific meetings in China in 2003. The scholarship was established in remembrance of Dr. Lin, to recognize a student during Ph.D. training who demonstrates scientific talent and dedication to nurturing their community. In addition, the scholarship candidates must be students of Asian heritage that are pursuing a doctorate at an institution on Long Island in the fields Environmental & Energy Technology, Biology, or Chemistry and also demonstrate community involvement and service. https://www.bnl.gov/bera/activities/apaa/mslscholarship.asp
Chun-Pan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Molecular and Cellular Biology program at Stony Brook University. His research in focuses on understanding the role of Keratin 17 in enhancing chemoresistance and rewriting metabolism in pancreatic cancer, to uncover novel strategies for treatment. Chun-Hao is from Taiwan and has dedicated leadership service to incoming international students through the Taiwanese Graduate Student Association in adjustment to life in a different culture, geography and education systems. This award supports his attendance to the American Association for Cancer Research special conference on Pancreatic Cancer held in September, and the Translational Cancer Research for Basic Scientists Workshop scheduled in November 2019.
The Shroyer/Escobar-Hoyos lab recently published the paper entitled "Keratin 17 identifies the most lethal molecular subtype of pancreatic cancer” in Scientific Reports. Their initial work led to the discovery of Keratin 17 (K17) as a negative prognostic biomarker in cervical cancer and later work extended this observation to include other solid tumors, including, endocervical adenocarcinoma, triple negative breast carcinoma, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Based on RNA-Seq analyses, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma can be classified into two different prognostic molecular subtypes. K17 is a member of the gene-expression signature of the most aggressive molecular subtype.
In this manuscript, they show that:
K17 mRNA is as accurate as molecular subtyping to identify the PDAC patient population with the worst prognosis.
K17 protein, as detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC), has negative prognostic value.
In late-stage disease or negative surgical margins, K17-IHC testing provides additional and independent prognostic information.
Overall, these studies are break-through advances, demonstrating the potential of the K17-IHC test to be readily deployed in CLIA-certified surgical pathology laboratories, as a prognostic biomarker.
The American Association for Cancer Research has selected Dr. Cindy Leiton as one of the recipients of the Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Award for participation in the AACR Special Conference on, “Pancreatic Cancer: Advances in Science and Clinical Care,” taking place September 6-9, 2019. This award sponsors Dr. Leiton's attendance to the meeting, where she will present her poster entitled "Therapeutic targeting of keratin 17 and nuclear export uncover therapeutic vulnerabilities of pancreatic cancer".
Dr. Cindy Leiton (Department of Pathology, Stony Brook Medicine) has been selected as a recipient of the National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program award, a competitive award for health professionals who have doctoral-level degrees and are conducting biomedical or behavioral research funded by domestic nonprofit or government organizations. In exchange for a two-year research commitment, the NIH will repay qualified educational debt up to $50,000 per year. Dr. Leiton’s award was based on her research that has focused on the development of biomarker-based targeted therapy for pancreatic cancer. Other factors that impacted the decision were the robust training resources at Stony Brook University, including support of her mentors, Drs. Kenneth Shroyer and Luisa Escobar-Hoyos, the School of Medicine's Biobank and Research Histology Core, the SBU Cancer Center, and the team’s collaborators in SBM's Departments of Radiology and Chemistry and at Wayne State University/Karmanos Cancer Center.
Drs. Kenneth Shroyer and Luisa Escobar-Hoyos (Department of Pathology), in collaboration with Dr. Tim Duong (Department of Radiology), have been awarded the Stony Brook Cancer Center Bahl IDEA Award to support the study entitled “Targeting metabolism in keratin 17-pancreatic cancer: a multi-imaging study.” This award supports their collaborative research to uncover the impact of Keratin 17 on tumor metabolism and chemotherapeutic response in pre-clinical pancreatic cancer mouse models. The study leverages the SB Cancer center's state-of-the-art magnetic resonance animal imaging facility, in combination with detailed histological analyses to evaluate metabolic dependencies between keratin 17 positive and negative tumors and to identify potential therapeutic vulnerabilities. This pilot grant supports the team's ongoing experimentation bringing together members of the Shroyer/Escobar-Hoyos lab, namely Dr. Cindy Leiton, senior postdoctoral fellow, and Chun-Hao Pan, doctoral candidate in concert with Dr. Jiang Zhao, postdoctoral fellow in the Duong lab. These studies are on the path to develop proof-of-principal results for future large-scale projects with translational potential in cancer imaging and metabolism and with the overarching goal to improve approaches for personalized medicine.
The Shroyer/Escobar-Hoyos lab has been granted an extension to their 2018 Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) Translational Research Grant for the project entitled “Keratin 17 Is a Novel Actionable Target in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma”. The grant focuses on understanding how targeting keratin 17 (K17) may diminish 1) tumor aggression and 2) resistance to first-line chemotherapeutic agents led by the lab’s postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Cindy Leiton and PhD candidate, Chun-Hao Pan. The third year of this project will enable the team to investigate the relationships between tumor K17 expression and 3) patient outcomes and 4) the immune microenvironment. This will be possible through the lab’s new partnership with PanCAN-Perthera, Inc. that provides access to the largest annotated pancreatic cancer study in the nation, “Know Your Tumor”. These studies are led by MD/PhD candidate trainee Danielle Fassler, PhD candidate Dr. Sruthi Babu, and postbac trainee, Lyanne Oblein. In addition, the team has also partnered with Roche Diagnostics, Inc. to utilize the latest technology in tissue staining and processing to label multiple immune cell subtypes on single tissue slides that are evaluated using novel machine-learning algorithms that have been developed by Dr. Joel Saltz and his team members in Stony Brook University’s Department of Biomedical Informatics. Together, these technologies will enable an analysis of digital images from stained tissues to assess multiple cell populations and their spatial relationships relative to K17-expressing cancer cells and will reveal how K17 may be developed as a therapeutic target and thereby, may pave the way for improved approaches for personalized medicine.
Marvin Kuschner Professor and Chairman
Department of Pathology
Stony Brook Medicine