Dr. Bhardwaj's laboratory is interested in understanding the functional role and immunogenicity of antigens that are expressed in cancer cells, including cancer stem cells. NY-ESO-1 is a protein that is expressed only in germ line tissues or in cancer cells, including cancers of the skin (melanoma), lung, ovary and breast. Expression of this protein occurs in late stage disease and is often associated with a strong immune response, however, there is no information on its function, or its regulated expression in dedifferentiated tissues. As expression may be limited to "cancer stem cells", removal of these cells through therapeutic immune approaches now being tested in the clinic may control tumor growth. Another project focuses on the differentiation of cellular immune adjuvants (dendritic cells) through manipulation of stem cells (CD34+ cells) to improve vaccination against cancer antigens.
Adams, S., O'Neill, D.W., Nonaka, D., Hardin, E., Chiriboga, L., Siu, K., Cruz, C.M., Angiulli, A., Angiulli, F., Ritter, E., Holman, R.M., Shapiro, R.L., Berman, R.S., Berner, N., Shao, Y., Manches, O., Pan, L., Venhaus, R.R., Hoffman, E.W., Jungbluth, a., Gnjatic, S., Old, L., Pavlick, A.C., Bhardwaj, N. (2008). Immunization of malignant melanoma patients with full-length NY-ESO-1 protein using TLR7 agonist imiquimod as vaccine adjuvant. J Immunol. 2008 Jul 1;181(1):776-84.
Velazques E.F., Jungbluth A.A., Yancovitz M, Gnjatic S, Adams S., O'Neill D., Zavilevish K, Albukh T., Christos P, Mazumdar M, Pavlick A, Polsky D, Shapiro R, Berman R, Spira J, Busam K, Osman I Bhardwaj, N. Expression of the Cancer Testis (CT) Antigen NY-ESO-1 in Primary and Metastatic Malignant Melanoma Correlation with Serology and Prognostic Factors. Cancer Immun. 2007; 7:11.