April 18, 2012  |  User Stories  |  By  |  0 Comments

Cytobank User Stories: Joshua Brody, M.D.

Welcome to Cytobank User Stories, a series featuring interviews with Cytobank users on their research, scientific vision, and use of flow cytometry.

This time we interview Joshua Brody, M.D., Director of the Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Joshua’s recent publications include his studies showing that in situ vaccination with a TLR9 agonist induces systemic anti-lymphoma clinical responses, as well as his studies using immunotransplant to preferrentially expand T-effector cells to cure large lymphoma tumors.

Send us feedback and let us know who you’d like to hear from (including yourself)!

What are you excited about in science? What is your scientific vision?

Joshua Brody, M.D. Director of Lymphoma Immunotherapy – Mount Sinai
I’m excited about the fact that FINALLY we are really learning how to use the immune system to make cancers shrink and let patients live longer.  For years, tumor immunologists and ‘immunotherapists’ have thought: “This should work.  We should be able to make this work!”, but every year our understanding of the complexity of the immune system has become clearer.  Finally, that understanding is being translated into therapies that help patients with cancer.  We have seen it with melanoma and prostate cancer in the past 2 years and we clearly see even more powerful therapies on the near-horizon.
What do you study / what is your field?
Lymphoma immunotherapy.  Occasionally immunotherapy of other tumors.  Very occasionally the signal transduction pathways that lymphoma cells use to grow.

What do you use flow cytometry for?
To impress my grandparents.  They visited the lab once and I told them about the lasers and the droplets and they nodded and seemed pretty impressed.  Also, I use it to assess anti-tumor T cell responses induced by our various vaccine and immunotherapeutic platforms in mice and in people.  We have just begun using flow to ‘dissect’ signaling pathways in patient lymphoma samples after in vitro exposure to novel signaling inhibitors (e.g. PI3Kd, btk, mTOR) and will be correlating these results with clinical results of patients being treated with the same inhibitors.  It should yield biomarkers of which patients are most likely to benefit from which of these targeted therapies and -hopefully- also show us how cancer cells develop resistance to these therapies.

What are some of your favorite papers?
The paper that made me think that lymphoma immunotherapy might work:

Idiotype-pulsed dendritic cell vaccination for B-cell lymphoma: clinical and immune responses in 35 patients. Timmerman JM, Czerwinski DK, Davis TA, et al. Blood. (2002) 99(5):1517-26.

The paper that made me think that putting T cells into an “empty” person can really kill cancer cells and help patients:

Cancer regression and autoimmunity in patients after clonal repopulation with antitumor lymphocytes. Dudley ME, Wunderlich JR, Robbins PF, et al. Science. (2002) 298(5594):850-4.

The paper that made me think that the T cells we put into an empty person can be induced by vaccination:

Restoration of immunity in lymphopenic individuals with cancer by vaccination and adoptive T-cell transfer. Rapoport AP, Stadtmauer EA, Aqui N, et al. Nat Med. (2005) 11(11):1230-7.

What do you do for fun?
Play with my niece and nephew, snowboard, play guitar, Cytobank.

What’s your favorite thing about Cytobank?
Same as everyone else.  Cytomountains (editor’s note: also know as Heat Plots).  My second favorite thing is that it’s Google-for-my-life.  I can’t remember what experiments I’ve done, and I CERTAINLY can’t remember what the results were.  Thankfully, Cytobank can.

Interview conducted and presented by Cytobank staff member Angela Landrigan.