Isocitrate dehydrogenase mutations in gliomas: mechanisms, biomarkers and therapeutic target.
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Isocitrate dehydrogenases, IDH1 and IDH2, decarboxylate isocitrate to α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) and reduce NADP to NADPH. Point mutations of IDH1 and IDH2 have been discovered in gliomas. IDH mutations cause loss of native enzymatic activities and confer novel activity of converting α-KG to 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG). The mechanisms of IDH mutations in gliomagenesis, and their value as diagnostic, prognostic marker and therapeutic target have been extensively studied. This review is to summarize the findings of these studies.Crystal structural studies revealed conformation changes in mutant IDHs, which may explain the gain of function by mutant IDHs. The product of mutant IDHs, 2-HG, is an inhibitor of α-KG-dependent dioxygenases, which may cause genome-wide epigenetic changes in human gliomas. IDH mutations are a favorable prognostic factor for human glioma and can be used as biomarker for differential diagnosis and subclassification rather than predictor of response to treatment. Preliminary data suggested that inhibiting production of the substrate of mutant IDH enzymes caused slow-down of glioma cell growth.As valuable diagnostic and prognostic markers of human gliomas, there is still a lack of knowledge on biological functions of mutant IDHs, making targeting IDHs in glioma both difficult and unsecured.
Published Version (Please cite this version)
Guo, Changcun, Christopher J Pirozzi, Giselle Y Lopez and Hai Yan (2011). Isocitrate dehydrogenase mutations in gliomas: mechanisms, biomarkers and therapeutic target. Current opinion in neurology, 24(6). pp. 648–652. 10.1097/WCO.0b013e32834cd415 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/17846.
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Dr. Pirozzi's work thus far has been dedicated to studying brain tumors, particularly gliomas. During his research career, he has focused on identifying the common mutations present in gliomas and how these different mutations correlate with diagnoses and prognoses. To this end, Christopher was involved in several publications that identified and stratified brain tumor patients based on their mutation spectrum. For example, mutations in ATRX, CIC, FUBP1, and IDH1 can be used to distinguish patients with astrocytomas or oligodendrogliomas on a genetic level which can complement the difficult work of neuropathologists and better direct patient therapeutics. Christopher utilized these mutations as a foundation for animal modeling, leading to genetically faithful and biologically relevant systems that are applied to both basic research to understand the pathogenic nature of these mutations, as well as pre-clinical and translational research to understand how best to treat these tumors. Christopher’s work in animal modeling and understanding mutant IDH1-mediated gliomagenesis was recognized in several forms including first place winner of the Duke University School of Medicine’s Clinical Research Day poster session, being an invited speaker at the annual Department of Pathology’s Retreat, and as the recipient of the Robert and Barbara Bell Basic Science Cancer Research Award recognized at the Fifth Annual DCI Scientific Retreat in 2017.
Dr. Pirozzi is currently working on utilizing those mutations identified in the human genetic screens for immunotherapeutic purposes. He has generated a series of orthotopic intracranial injection-based immune-competent animal models for which he is actively investigating the impact the mutations have on the tumor-immune microenvironment and whether the tumor-immune microenvironment can be manipulated to promote an anti-tumor response. Specifically, his most recently funded Department of Defense Idea Award with Special Focus entails understanding the impact mutant IDH1 is having on the Th17 T cell lineage and whether this can be exploited for therapeutic purposes.
Christopher contributed to the successful funding of several grants including a Duke Cancer Institute Cancer Research Pilot Grant as well as an R33, focusing on the identification and cloning of mutation-specific T cell receptors that could be used for adoptive transfer. Understanding the tumor-immune microenvironment and whether it can be manipulated to improve therapeutics or promote an anti-tumor immune response, and the identification of tumor-specific therapies that will avoid collateral damage to the sensitive brain are active lines of investigation.
I am a physician scientist with a clinical focus on neuropathology, and a research interest in brain tumors. Originally from Maryland, I completed my undergraduate training at the University of Maryland, completing degrees in Physiology and Neurobiology as well as Spanish Language and Literature. I subsequently came to Duke for my MD and PhD, and discovered a passion for brain tumor research, and quickly realized that this was my life's calling. Clinically, I specialize in neuropathology. While I have active projects and collaborations on many kinds of brain tumors, my lab's primary focus is oligodendroglioma, a kind of infiltrative brain tumor that impacts adults. Our goal is to identify new ways to treat these tumors and improve the lives of patients with oligodendrogliomas and other kinds of brain tumors. By blending together computational approaches with wet lab approaches, we use the strengths inherent in different research modalities to excel in identifying unexplored pathways and thinking outside the box to identify new ways to target this brain tumor. We do this through research in an inclusive, multidisciplinary lab environment that strives for excellence in research while creating well-rounded, thriving scientists ready for the next step in their careers.
We currently have opportunities in the laboratory for one-year projects (ideal for post-bac fellows or third year med student research experiences), as well as more extensive projects (graduate student-level). These projects are centered on identifying and testing novel therapeutic approaches for oligodendroglioma using in vitro and in vivo model systems. Please reach out if you are interested and would like to hear more about my mentoring philosophy, lab culture, and opportunities to be at the cutting edge of science.
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