Sex Differences in the Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Immune Response
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
4:00 PM-5:30 PM
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Sex Differences in the Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Immune Response, Opportunity for Next Generation Precision Medicine Approaches
Justin Lathia, PhD
Vice Chair and Staff
Professor, Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences
Lerner Research Institute
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common primary malignant brain tumor, with poor prognosis. Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates a male bias in incidence and recent studies have also revealed that males also experience an overall poor GBM prognosis, compared to females, along with different signatures on magnetic resonance imaging. Moreover, molecular studies have revealed sex-specific differences in genetic and epigenetic alterations and functional studies have demonstrated sex differences in immune cell infiltration. Taken together, these studies have provided a fundamental basis for the further study of sex differences in GBM.
This presentation will highlight key sex differences in GBM with the focus on immune suppressive populations, that include myeloid-derived suppressor cells and include pre-clinical data as well as results from early phase proof or principal clinical trials. While the majority of medical research studies have neglected the impact of sex during design and assessment of outcomes, our findings in GBM highlight the importance of considering sex as a biological variable and can also be expanded to other advanced cancers with a sex difference (such as liver, colon, lung, and bladders cancers).
Justin Lathia, PhD, leads a translational cancer stem cell research laboratory and is Vice Chair and Professor in the Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences at the Lerner Research Institute (LRI), part of the Cleveland Clinic and also serves as the Director of Faculty Development for the LRI. Dr. Lathia is also the Scientific Director of the Rose Ella Burkhardt Brain Tumor & Neuro-Oncology Center at the Cleveland Clinic and the Melvin Burkhardt Endowed Chair in Neuro-Oncology Research. He is also the Reza Khatib MD Professor, Leader of the Brain Tumor Initiative, and Co-Leader of the Molecular Oncology Program at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Lathia is a native of central Pennsylvania and received a BS and MS from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA in 2003. While at Drexel, he developed targeted ultrasound contrast agents which preferentially bound to newly formed vessel in breast cancer models with Dr. Maggie Wheatley. After graduation from Drexel, Dr. Lathia completed his PhD as part of the NIH-Cambridge Graduate Partnership Program. His work focused on the role of cell adhesion molecules during the development of the nervous system. After completing his PhD in 2008 he completed post-doctoral fellowships at Duke and the Cleveland Clinic where he focused on the role of cell adhesion in regulating cancer stem cells in brain tumors.
In 2012, Dr. Lathia moved to the Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences as an independent investigator, and the work in his lab focuses on how the stem cell state is regulated in advanced cancers. Projects in the Lathia laboratory involve understanding how cancer stem cells interact with their surrounding microenvironment as well as one another with the goal of identifying unique pathways for therapeutic development and a recent focuses on sex differences in glioblastoma. Work in the Lathia laboratory has resulted in a Phase 1 clinical trial aimed at targeting myeloid-derived suppressor cells that interact with cancer stem cells to suppress the immune system in glioblastoma.
Dr. Lathia has co-authored over 210 publications and work in his lab is currently supported by multiple National Institutes of Health grants and foundation grants. He also contributes as a peer reviewer to over 145 journals, serves on the editorial board for Cell Reports, Cancer Research, and Neuro-Oncology, has served on multiple grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health and private foundations. Dr. Lathia recently served as a co-editor for a cancer stem cell textbook.