Samita S. Andreansky, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Description of Research
The complexity and heterogeneity of malignancies requires a multidisciplinary approach to study anti-cancer treatment. The focus of Dr. Andreansky's research is to explore synergistic approaches in treating preclinical cancer models, such as virally induced cancers and breast cancer. Dr. Andreansky’s laboratory has two primary research interests:
a) Develop infectious models of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) pathogenesis: The lack of an animal model for KSHV pathogenesis has been an obstacle to the better understanding of the mechanisms of KSHV induced Kaposi’s sarcoma. Cumulative data indicates that KSHV lytic replication is necessary to drive carcinogenesis; most of the genes that induce an angiogenic phenotype are also lytic genes; and re-infection is necessary to maintain infected lesions. Dr. Andreansky is utilizing a homologous mouse gamma herpes virus to study the contribution of host inflammatory mediators in viral pathogeneisis. Development of such models would further provide opportunities for rational development of new therapies including current chemopreventive approaches for KS patients.
b) Develop immunotherapeutic approaches to Her-2/neu positive breast cancer: Over-expression of HER-2/neu protein correlates with poor prognosis and recurrence after the initial treatment. This implicates that even with tremendous advancements in the past decade for the standard management of these tumors, there are a small number of cancer cells that remain undetected in the patient’s body and cause recurrence. Thus, novel immunotherapeutic modalities are being studied in the laboratory such as heat shock protein (HSP) vaccines and delivery of cytokine genes by oncolytic herpes simplex virus vectors. Data generated indicate that HSP vaccines are able to generate tumor antigen specific antibody and these antibodies can decrease the expression of Her-2/neu from the surface of the tumor cells. Recent ongoing development in the laboratory focuses on the modulation of endoplasmic stress (ER) pathways by anticancer drugs to generate danger signals relevant to antitumor immune responses.
- Development of novel oncolytic herpes simplex viruses expressing cytokine genes
- Found that the tumor derived heat shock protein vaccine stimulate tumor specific antibody responses