Home » Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center hosts Research Retreat
The Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center hosted a Research Retreat at the Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women on Friday, Sept 23rd. The purpose of the retreat was program integration and review of research that is integral to the mission of the center. We had talks presented by researchers from within our institution, as well as local collaborators, on topics ranging from developmental therapeutics, tumor biology, epidemiology, radiation oncology and cell therapy to drug discovery and delivery. Here is a short synopsis of each of the talks presented:
Andras Lacko, PhD: Dr. Lacko is a full professor from the University of North Texas. He works on the development of novel nanoparticle drug delivery systems for therapeutic testing. His seminar discussed the use of recombinant HDL particles as a vehicle for specifically targeting and delivering chemotherapy, and possibly other therapeutics to tumor cells. We have recently engaged with Dr. Lacko towards testing his delivery system for targeting Ewing sarcoma.
Philip Lupo, PhD, MPH: Dr. Lupo is a member of the Epidemiology Department at Baylor College of Medicine. He presented a very interesting overview of inherited risk factors for Ewing sarcoma. He has active studies into the epidemiology of sarcomas and we are investigating further avenues to collaborate with his studies to see if there are inherited factors that could be determining disease development and stage.
Laura Satterfield: Laura is a senior graduate student within our center. She presented her work on microRNA-130b and its important role in driving a key pathway in Ewing sarcoma metastasis. Her work has unveiled a new candidate target, being PAK1, for Ewing sarcoma.
Jodi Muscal, MD: Dr. Muscal is a member of the Developmental Therapeutics Team at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. She updated the symposium on present, and future clinical trials, including the TK-216, which will be opening in the near future.
Riyaz Basha PhD: Dr. Basha is an Associate Professor from the University of North Texas. He is actively engaged in the use of anti-inflammatory inhibitors as agents towards targeting specific transcription factors within tumor cells. Specifically, he is interested in targeting Sp1, which is known to regulate critical downstream genes and pathways important for tumor cell growth and proliferation. We are collaborating with Dr. Basha to test the in vivo effects of these compounds using our in vivo model systems for Ewing sarcoma.
Debanada Pati, PhD: Dr. Pati is faculty at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and is working on targeting key mechanisms involved in DNA separation required for proper cell division and growth. He has identified a new compound that targets this mechanism and is applying it towards pediatric cancers. He is interested in testing it on Ewing sarcoma tumors with specific mutations in a gene known as STAG2.
Ruolan Han, PhD: Dr. Han is Associate Director for Nonclinical Development from Salarius Pharmaceuticals. She spoke about the therapeutic strategy of a novel reversible LSD1 inhibitor, SP-2577 for Ewing sarcoma.
Arnold Paulino, MD: Dr. Paulino is a Professor in Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson. He discussed the advancements and uses of radiation therapy for the treatment of Ewing sarcoma. It was an extremely interesting and informative presentation and discussion.
Meena Hegde, MD: Dr. Hedge is a faculty member at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and a vital member of the Cell and Gene Therapy Program. She has been investigating some novel immunotherapeutic approaches towards targeting Ewing sarcoma using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. This adoptive cellular therapy has tremendous applications. We are planning on future interactions with Dr. Hegde and her team. Ideally we can combine some of our small molecule therapy with her cell-based approaches.
The symposium concluded with my research presentation and discussion about targeting EWS-FLI1 with a massive, high throughput approach known as DNA-Encoded Chemistry Technology (DEC-Tec). This approach allows for screening of upwards of a billion compounds towards a specific target (e.g., EWS-Fli1 or other candidate protein). We are collaborating with the Center for Drug Discovery at BCM in order to investigate the use of this technology for targeting Ewing sarcoma-related targets.
Overall, our center is continuing to keep research endeavors focused on Ewing sarcoma by providing resources as well as motivation for researchers from multidisciplinary areas to find better therapies for this disease.
Jason Yustein, MD, PhD
Director, Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center