Carson Lab

The Carson laboratory, led by William E. Carson III, at The Ohio State University is interested in the translation of basic science discoveries in the field of immunology into clinical treatments for cancer. Our research focuses on factors that influence the immune response to cancer cells, especially in the setting of breast cancer and malignant melanoma.  

The Carson laboratory focuses our research on three main areas.

The use of cytokines either alone or in combination with targeted agents to treat malignant melanoma tumors. The Carson lab is interested in the mechanism of interferon-alpha and means to enhance its antitumor actions. Targeted agents of interest to our group include proteasome inhibitors, anti-angiogenic agents such as bevacizumab, and several tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Notably, many of these agents display synergistic anti-tumor activity when combined with immune-based treatments.  

The use of cytokines to enhance the actions of anti-tumor monoclonal antibodies (mAb). We have observed that co-administration of IL-12 can potentiate the antitumor actions of an anti-HER2/neu mAb (trastuzumab or Herceptin) that is used to treat patients with HER2/neu-expressing breast cancers. This data has served as the basis for several NCI-sponsored phase I clinical trials that employ mAbs in combination with IL-12. Recent work from our lab indicates that other immune stimulatory agents may be able to augment the immune response to anti-tumor mAbs. Agents that are under investigation include toll-like receptor agonists and novel cytokines such as IL-21.   

The effects of stress on the immune system of patients diagnosed with cancer. We hypothesize that stress can significantly inhibit the host immune response in the setting of cancer and have discovered that natural killer cell function provides an important "window" into this process. We are collaborating with Barbara Andersen, PhD, in the Department of Psychology, who is investigating the effects of behavioral and psychological interventions on the immune function of women with stage II and III breast cancer. Our goal is to define the mechanisms that underlie the altered immune response of cancer patients and explore ways to reverse this inhibition to enhance the effects of immune-based therapies.

Our laboratory is well suited for the physician-scientist in training or post-doctoral researcher interested in discovery for the sake of clinical application. 

Members

Lakhvir Atwal (student)

Megan Duggan

Amanda Harper

Vincent (Jyh-Haur) Hsu (student)

Zhiwei Hu

Gregory Kemper (student)

Kala Levine

Elizabeth McMichael

Kallan Opheim (student)

Prashant Trikha

Qikun Zhang

Lab Updates

December 2014

Amanda Harper and Elizabeth McMichael were chosen to give talks at the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Retreat. Amanda Harper gave her talk on, “Monocyte Expression of MICA Enhances the Natural Killer Cell Response to Antibody- Coated Tumor Targets.” Elizabeth McMichael gave her talk, entitled, “IL-21 enhances natural killer cell activity against cetuximab-coated pancreatic tumor cells.”

Dr. Joseph Markowtiz, MD/PhD attended the AACR Immunology meeting in Florida and presented his poster entitled, “Nitroaspirins abrogate myeloid derived suppressor cell inhibition of dendritic cell antigen presentation to CD4+ T cells in pancreatic adenocarcinoma.”

Carson lab first year IBGP graduate student Megan Duggan was awarded a Career Development Grant from the Council of Graduate Students.

The entire Carson Lab participated in the OSU CCC James’ Hope for the Holiday program, and was able to help make Christmas gifts possible for a family of four.

November 2014

Amanda Harper attended the SITC conference and gave an oral presentation of her work, entitled, “Monocyte Expression of MICA Enhances the Natural Killer Cell Response to Antibody- Coated Tumor Targets.”

October 2014

Gonzalo Olaverria-Salavaggione and Tiffany Noel joined the Carson lab as undergraduate volunteers.

Amanda Harper, an MD/PhD candidate in the Carson Lab, had a talk at the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center Translational Therapeutics retreat entitled, “A Factor VII-IgG Fc Fusion Protein and Interleukin-15 to Promote Natural Killer Cell Activity Against Metastatic Melanoma.”

Elizabeth McMichael, a PhD candidate in the Carson lab, had a poster at the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center Translational Therapeutics retreat entitled, “Enhancement of cetuximab-induced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity with lenalidomide in advanced solid tumors: A Phase I trial.”

Dr. Prashant Trikha, a senior researcher in the Carson lab, had a poster at the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center Translational Therapeutics retreat entitled, “Modulation of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cell Function with Ibrutinib, a Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor.”

Dr. Nicholas Latchana, a surgical resident in the Carson lab, had a poster at the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center Translational Therapeutics retreat entitled, “Classification of Indeterminate Melanocytic Lesions by MicroRNA Profiling.” IBGP first year graduate student Leslee Sprague began rotating in the lab. Les is working on a project looking at the genes involved in Dr. Carson’s clinical trial OSU-07033, “A Pilot Study of IFN-alpha-2b Dose Reduction with Dose Optimization” in patients with melanoma.

September 2014

Amanda Harper, an MD/PhD candidate in the Carson Lab, presented her work entitled, “Characterization of IL-2 Receptor Alpha Expression on Dual Stimulated Natural Killer Cells” for the Medical Scientist Student Organization retreat.

Andrew Stiff, an MD/PhD candidate in the Carson Lab, presented his talk, “Using cancer epigenetics to enhance the therapeutic potential of reovirus in multiple myeloma” for the Pelotonia committee.

Dr. Nicholas Latchana, a surgical resident in the Carson lab, presented his talk entitled, “Classification of Indeterminate Melanocytic Lesions by MicroRNA Profiling” at the Perspectives in Melanoma XVIII conference in Dublin, Ireland.

August 2014

The Carson lab published a paper entitled, “Adjuvant Vaccine Immunotherapy of Resected, Clinically Node-negative Melanoma: Long-Term Outcome and Impact of HLA Class I Antigen Expression on Overall Survival” in Cancer Immunology Research

July 2014

Andrew Stiff officially joined the Carson Lab as a graduate research fellow in order to complete the PhD portion of his dual MD/PhD degree.

Katia Fernandez-Soto presented her presentation and poster entitled, “IL-21 Enhances the Natural Killer Cell Response to Cetuximab-Coated Pancreatic Tumor Cells” at the end-of-the-summer SUCCESS student research forum.

Katia, Smita, and Akaansha completed their summer research projects and returned to their home institutions. Good luck!

June 2014

Andrew Stiff, an MD/PhD student, rotated in the Carson Lab. He worked on a project examining the effects of NRAS in melanoma.

Katia Fernandez-Soto, an undergraduate student from the University of Notre Dame, joined the Carson lab for the summer to work on a project involving the Folate Fc receptor.

Smita Madhukar, an undergraduate student from IISER-Pune in India, joined the Carson Lab in order to complete a summer research project in collaboration with Pelotonia and her home institution.

Akaansha Ganju, an M2 from NEOMED, joined the Carson lab in order to complete a summer research project.

May 2014

Megan Duggan, former Carson Lab employee, matriculated to graduate school in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and officially joined the lab as a graduate research fellow.

Dr. Nicholas Latchana, a surgical resident in the Carson lab, presented on his project, “miR-21 Enhances Melanoma Invasiveness via Inhibition of Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases 3 Expression: In vivo Effects of miR 21 Inhibitor” at the OSU Department of Surgery Research Day.

Dr. Nicholas Latchana, a surgical resident in the Carson lab, presented his poster entitled, “Classification of Indeterminate Melanocytic Lesions by MicroRNA Profiling” at the ACS Ohio Annual Chapter Meeting in Cleveland, OH.

April 2014

Undergraduate Jyh-haur Vincent Hsu has been awarded a summer fellowship! He received the Undergraduate Education Research Fellowship.

Undergraduate Gregory Kemper has been awarded a summer fellowship! He received the Undergraduate Education Research Fellowship.

The Carson Lab was well represented at the Wexner Medical Center’s annual Research Day, with general surgery resident Dr. Nicholas Latchana presenting his poster, “Classification of Indeterminate Melanocytic Lesions by Micro RNA Profiling.” Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Joseph Markowitz presenting his poster, “Immune Suppressive Myeloid Cells are Induced During Disease Progression in Patients with Advanced Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.” MD/PhD trainee Amanda Harper presenting her poster, “Monocyte Expression of MICA Enhances the Natural Killer Cell Response to Antibody-Coated Tumor Targets.” Finally, PhD candidate Elizabeth McMichael presented her poster, “Enhancement of Cetuximab Induced Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity with Lenalidomide in Advanced Solid Tumors: A Phase I Trial.”

Prashant Trikha, PhD attended the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in San Diego. Dr. Trikha’s abstract for this meeting was, “MDSC-generated nitric oxide leads to an impairment of NK cell functions in metastatic melanoma patients.”

Joseph Markowitz, MD/PhD also attended attended the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in San Diego.

Undergraduate Gregory Kemper attended the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Nicholas Latchana, a surgical resident in the Carson lab, presented his poster entitled, “Classification of Indeterminate Melanocytic Lesions by MicroRNA Profiling” at the OSUWMC 12th Annual Trainee Research Day.

March 2014

Amanda Harper (MD/PhD- in-training) won first place at the annual MSTP Winter Retreat for her talk entitled, “Utilizing a Factor VII-IgG1 Fc Fusion Protein and Interleukin-15 to Promote Natural Killer Cell Activity in the Treatment of Cancer.”

Undergraduate student researcher Gregory Kemper won second place in a poster presentation at the Natural and Mathematical Sciences Research Forum for his poster entitled, “The Combination of MLN2238 with Inferferon-α Results in Synergistic Cell Death in Melanoma.”

Undergraduate student Jyh-haur Vincent Hsu presented a poster at the Denman Forum entitled, “Targeting Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells in the Tumor Microenvironment.”

Undergraduate Gregory Kemper presented his posted, “The Combination of MLN2238 with Inferferon-α Results in Synergistic Cell Death in Melanoma” at the Denman Forum.

Carson Lab undergraduate Kallan Opheim has been awarded the Mayer’s Summer Research Scholarship for the summer of 2014!

February 2014

The Carson Lab would like to welcome new undergraduate volunteer, Sarvani Uppati.

Joseph Markowitz, MD attended the 2014 Translational Research Cancer Centers Consortium in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. Joseph had an invited talk entitled, “Inhibition of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Pancreas Cancer.”

Dr. Nicholas Latchana, a surgical resident in the Carson lab, presented on his project, "Classification of Indeterminate Melanocytic Lesions by MicroRNA Profiling" at the Academic Surgical Conress in San Diego, CA.

January 2014

Dr. Carson and Dr. Glaser’s clinical trial entitled, “A pilot study of beta-blockers in patients with advanced cancer” was opened by the Clinical Trials Office. This study is collaboration with Dr. Binkley, Dr. Kendra, Dr. Lemeshow, and Dr. Thomas Olencki.

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