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. Thus, in order to understand the contributions of viral genes in KS biology, Dr. Andreansky is studying the pathogenesis of a homologous murine gamma herpesvirus in various transgenic mice that express host mediators of KSHV biology. Development of such models would further provide opportunities for rational development of new therapies including current chemopreventive approaches for patients under the highest risk of developing KS. 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 approaches such as tumor derived heat shock protein (HSP) vaccines are being developed in preclinical Her-2/neu positive cancer models. 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. These vaccines are also combined with strategies that boost the immune system such as, blocking of negative signals generated by the tumor or delivery of cytokine genes by oncolytic viral vectors.
- Development of novel oncolytic herpes simplex viruses expressing cytokine genes
- Found that the tumor derived heat shock protein vaccine stimulate tumor specific antibody responses
Selected Cancer-Related Publications
Collaborating in the Multidisciplinary Research Program(s):