Dr. Aulakh is a physician-scientist studying the role of CD38 in glioblastoma. CD38, originally identified as an activation marker on progenitor cells, plays an important role as a catalytic receptor and regulator of NAD. GBM cells express this marker and studies by others have shown that blocking the CD38 enzymatic functions inhibits tumor cell growth. In her recent Journal of Immunology paper, she and colleagues demonstrated that targeting CD38 , also enhances apoptosis of the tumor cells and induced antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity when used in a radiation chemotherapy model. The likely mechanisms are a reversal of T cell exhaustion (cytotoxic T cells), enhanced apoptosis, enhanced CD8+ proliferation. The focus of her proposal is on identifying the mechanism(s) of this combination therapy and to optimize for enhanced effectiveness in treatment of GBM.
Dr. Hu presented preliminary data that coculture of multiple myeloma cells with stromal cells that induce therapy resistance. He isolated potential factors which he thinks may be responsible. The focus has been on ATF4 in a coculture model system along with downstream mediators.