Michele L Babicky

University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California, United States

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Publications (5)17.55 Total impact

  • Chang Moo Kang, Michele L Babicky, Andrew M Lowy
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer remains a devastating disease with a mortality rate that has not changed substantially in decades. Novel therapies are therefore desperately needed. The RON receptor tyrosine kinase has been identified as an important mediator of KRAS oncogene addiction and is overexpressed in the majority of pancreatic cancers. Preclinical studies show that inhibition of RON function decreases pancreatic cancer cell migration, invasion, and survival and can sensitize pancreatic cancer cells to chemotherapy. This article reviews the current state of knowledge regarding RON biology and pancreatic cancer and discusses its potential as a therapeutic target.
    Pancreas 03/2014; 43(2):183-9. · 2.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common sarcoma and its treatment with imatinib has served as the paradigm for developing targeted anti-cancer therapies. Despite this success, imatinib-resistance has emerged as a major problem and therefore, the clinical efficacy of other drugs has been investigated. Unfortunately, most clinical trials have failed to identify efficacious drugs despite promising in vitro data and pathological responses in subcutaneous xenografts. We hypothesized that it was feasible to develop orthotopic patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) from resected GIST that could recapitulate the genetic heterogeneity and biology of the human disease. Fresh tumor tissue from three patients with pathologically confirmed GISTs was obtained immediately following tumor resection. Tumor fragments (4.2-mm3) were surgically xenografted into the liver, gastric wall, renal capsule, and pancreas of immunodeficient mice. Tumor growth was serially assessed with ultrasonography (US) every 3-4 weeks. Tumors were also evaluated with positron emission tomography (PET). Animals were sacrificed when they became moribund or their tumors reached a threshold size of 2500-mm3. Tumors were subsequently passaged, as well as immunohistochemically and histologically analyzed. Herein, we describe the first model for generating orthotopic GIST PDXs. We have successfully xenografted three unique KIT-mutated tumors into a total of 25 mice with an overall success rate of 84% (21/25). We serially followed tumor growth with US to describe the natural history of PDX growth. Successful PDXs resulted in 12 primary xenografts in NOD-scid gamma or NOD-scid mice while subsequent successful passages resulted in 9 tumors. At a median of 7.9 weeks (range 2.9-33.1 weeks), tumor size averaged 473+/-695-mm3 (median 199-mm3, range 12.6-2682.5-mm3) by US. Furthermore, tumor size on US within 14 days of death correlated with gross tumor size on necropsy. We also demonstrated that these tumors are FDG-avid on PET imaging, while immunohistochemically and histologically the PDXs resembled the primary tumors. We report the first orthotopic model of human GIST using patient-derived tumor tissue. This novel, reproducible in vivo model of human GIST may enhance the study of GIST biology, biomarkers, personalized cancer treatments, and provide a preclinical platform to evaluate new therapeutic agents for GIST.
    Journal of Translational Medicine 02/2014; 12(1):41. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mucinous neoplasms of the appendix (MNA) are rare tumors which may progress from benign to malignant disease with an aggressive biological behavior. MNA is often diagnosed after metastasis to the peritoneal surfaces resulting in mucinous carcinomatosis peritonei (MCP). Genetic alterations in MNA are poorly characterized due to its low incidence, the hypo-cellularity of MCPs, and a lack of relevant pre-clinical models. As such, application of targeted therapies to this disease is limited to those developed for colorectal cancer and not based on molecular rationale.
    Genome Medicine 01/2014; 6(5):43. · 4.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The recepteur d'origine nantais (RON) receptor tyrosine kinase is overexpressed and stimulates invasive growth in pancreatic cancer cells, yet the mechanisms that underlie RON-mediated phenotypes remain poorly characterized. To better understand RON function in pancreatic cancer cells, we sought to identify novel RON interactants using multidimensional protein identification analysis. These studies revealed plectin, a large protein of the spectrin superfamily, to be a novel RON interactant. Plectin is a multifunctional protein that complexes with integrin-β4 (ITGB4) to form hemidesmosomes, serves as a scaffolding platform crucial to the function of numerous protein signaling pathways and was recently described as an overexpressed protein in pancreatic cancer (Bausch D et al., Clin Cancer Res 2010; Kelly et al., PLoS Med 2008;5:e85). In this study, we demonstrate that on exposure to its ligand, macrophage-stimulating protein, RON binds to plectin and ITGB4, which results in disruption of the plectin-ITGB4 interaction and enhanced cell migration, a phenotype that can be recapitulated by small hairpin ribosomal nucleic acid (shRNA)-mediated suppression of plectin expression. We demonstrate that disruption of plectin-ITGB4 is dependent on RON and phosphoinositide-3 (PI3) kinase, but not mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK), activity. Thus, in pancreatic cancer cells, plectin and ITGB4 form hemidesmosomes which serve to anchor cells to the extracellular matrix (ECM) and restrain migration. The current study defines a novel interaction between RON and plectin, provides new insight into RON-mediated migration and further supports efforts to target RON kinase activity in pancreatic cancer.
    International Journal of Cancer 01/2012; 131(8):1744-54. · 6.20 Impact Factor
  • M. L. Babicky, D. Jaquish, E. Mose, P. Yu, A. M. Lowy
    Journal of Surgical Research - J SURG RES. 01/2011; 165(2):306-307.