Aviad Tsherniak

Aviad Tsherniak
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard · Cancer Program

M.Sc Computer Science

About

259
Publications
37,353
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
10,574
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2007 - August 2020
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Position
  • Assoc. Dir. Cancer Data Science

Publications

Publications (259)
Preprint
Hundreds of genome-wide loss-of-function screens have been performed, as part of efforts such as The Cancer Dependency Map, to create a catalog of genetic dependencies in a diverse set of cancer contexts. In recent years, large-scale screening efforts have shifted perturbation technology from RNAi to CRISPR-Cas9, due to the superior efficacy and sp...
Article
Full-text available
In high-throughput functional genomic screens, each gene product is commonly assumed to exhibit a singular biological function within a defined protein complex or pathway. In practice, a single gene perturbation may induce multiple cascading functional outcomes, a genetic principle known as pleiotropy. Here, we model pleiotropy in fitness screen co...
Article
Full-text available
CRISPR loss of function screens are powerful tools to interrogate biology but exhibit a number of biases and artifacts that can confound the results. Here, we introduce Chronos, an algorithm for inferring gene knockout fitness effects based on an explicit model of cell proliferation dynamics after CRISPR gene knockout. We test Chronos on two pan-ca...
Preprint
Full-text available
In high-throughput functional genomic screens, each gene product is commonly assumed to exhibit a singular biological function within a defined protein complex or pathway. In practice, a single gene perturbation may induce multiple cascading functional outcomes, a genetic principle known as pleiotropy. Here, we model pleiotropy in fitness screen co...
Article
For many genes that are recurrently mutated in patient-derived samples or cell lines from multiple myeloma (MM), the functional roles of these genes have remained incompletely understood. We have sought to address the functional implications of these genes through extensive CRISPR-Cas9-based functional genomics studies for loss-of-function (LOF, e....
Article
PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog) is a known tumor suppressor gene (TSG) in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, including multiple myeloma (MM), yet several aspects of its biology and clinical implications remain incompletely understood in MM. For instance, PTEN mutations/deletions are infrequent in newly diagnosed MM in the CoMMpass stu...
Article
Full-text available
To systematically define molecular features in human tumor cells that determine their degree of sensitivity to human allogeneic natural killer (NK) cells, we quantified the NK cell responsiveness of hundreds of molecularly annotated ‘DNA-barcoded’ solid tumor cell lines in multiplexed format and applied genome-scale CRISPR-based gene-editing screen...
Article
Full-text available
Exciting therapeutic targets are emerging from CRISPR-based screens of high mutational-burden adult cancers. A key question, however, is whether functional genomic approaches will yield new targets in pediatric cancers, known for remarkably few mutations, which often encode proteins considered challenging drug targets. To address this, we created a...
Article
Full-text available
CRISPR-Cas9 viability screens are increasingly performed at a genome-wide scale across large panels of cell lines to identify new therapeutic targets for precision cancer therapy. Integrating the datasets resulting from these studies is necessary to adequately represent the heterogeneity of human cancers and to assemble a comprehensive map of cance...
Preprint
Full-text available
CRISPR loss of function screens are a powerful tool to interrogate cancer biology but are known to exhibit a number of biases and artifacts that can confound the results, such as DNA cutting toxicity, incomplete phenotype penetrance and screen quality bias. Computational methods that more faithfully model the CRISPR biological experiment could more...
Conference Paper
Natural killer (NK) cells exhibit potent activity in pre-clinical models of diverse hematologic malignancies and solid tumors and infusion of high numbers of NK cells, either autologous or allogeneic, after their ex vivo expansion and activation, has been feasible and safe in clinical studies. To systematically define molecular features in human tu...
Article
Treatment-persistent residual tumors impede curative cancer therapy. To understand this cancer cell state we generated models of treatment persistence that simulate the residual tumors. We observe that treatment-persistent tumor cells in organoids, xenografts, and cancer patients adopt a distinct and reversible transcriptional program resembling th...
Article
Full-text available
Heterobifunctional proteolysis-targeting chimeric compounds leverage the activity of E3 ligases to induce degradation of target oncoproteins and exhibit potent preclinical antitumor activity. To dissect the mechanisms regulating tumor cell sensitivity to different classes of pharmacological “degraders” of oncoproteins, we performed genome-scale CRI...
Article
Full-text available
Cell lines are key tools for preclinical cancer research, but it remains unclear how well they represent patient tumor samples. Direct comparisons of tumor and cell line transcriptional profiles are complicated by several factors, including the variable presence of normal cells in tumor samples. We thus develop an unsupervised alignment method (Cel...
Article
Full-text available
Few therapies target the loss of tumor suppressor genes in cancer. We examine CRISPR-SpCas9 and RNA-interference loss-of-function screens to identify new therapeutic targets associated with genomic loss of tumor suppressor genes. The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) ATPases VPS4A and VPS4B score as strong synthetic lethal...
Conference Paper
Somatic copy number alterations that result in loss of tumor suppressor gene function are important drivers of tumorigenesis. However, few existing therapeutic options to target oncogenic processes evoked by tumor suppressor gene inactivation exist. The discovery of synthetic lethal interactions with genetic drivers of cancer may yield new therapeu...
Article
Background: Functional genomics studies based on CRISPR and shRNA have documented that multiple myeloma (MM) cells are preferentially dependent (compared to other neoplasias) on a series of TFs, including IKZF1 and IKZF3 (which are targeted by thalidomide derivatives) and others that are not amenable to degradation or small molecule inhibition. Tra...
Article
Background: The biology and treatment response of human multiple myeloma (MM) cells in vivo is influenced by interactions with mesenchymal bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs). For several key BMSC-derived cytokines (including IL-6) only the human, not murine, form optimally interacts with their respective receptor(s) on human MM cells. To better simu...
Article
Background: Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) for unfolded proteins represents an important biological vulnerability for multiple myeloma (MM) cells, given the high proteostatic stress in these cells due to immunoglobulin secretion. This helps explain the efficacy of proteasome inhibitors in MM compared to most other neoplasm...
Article
Background: CRISPR-based functional genomics studies in pooled format are increasingly used to define the mechanisms of tumor cells resistance to diverse therapies. Despite many advantages of CRISPR compared to prior functional genomics methodologies, controlling for off-target effects and other artifacts remains important, especially for focused s...
Article
Full-text available
Cultured cell lines are the workhorse of cancer research, but the extent to which they recapitulate the heterogeneity observed among malignant cells in tumors is unclear. Here we used multiplexed single-cell RNA-seq to profile 198 cancer cell lines from 22 cancer types. We identified 12 expression programs that are recurrently heterogeneous within...
Article
Full-text available
Assays to study cancer cell responses to pharmacologic or genetic perturbations are typically restricted to using simple phenotypic readouts such as proliferation rate. Information-rich assays, such as gene-expression profiling, have generally not permitted efficient profiling of a given perturbation across multiple cellular contexts. Here, we deve...
Conference Paper
p>Despite its increasing success and revolutionary impact on clinical oncology, Precision Cancer Medicine still has major roadblocks before it becomes applicable to a large proportion of patients. One such roadblock is the limited number of therapeutic targets available. Indeed, for the vast majority of cancer patients, we either do not know what t...
Conference Paper
Somatic copy number alterations that result in loss of tumor suppressor gene function are important drivers of tumorigenesis. However, few existing therapeutic options to target oncogenic processes evoked by tumor suppressor gene inactivation exist. The discovery of synthetic lethal interactions with genetic drivers of cancer may yield new therapeu...
Conference Paper
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma of childhood. Despite multimodality therapy and trials of molecularly targeted agents, limited improvements in overall survival have been realized for patients with high-risk disease. Thus, we aimed to determine the landscape of tumor-specific gene dependencies that underlie tumorigenesi...
Conference Paper
Previously, we have used an integrated approach to use genome-scale screening in RNAi and CRISPR-Cas9 to identify several putative cancer dependencies. From these putative dependencies, we discovered EGLN1 was a significant and selective dependency in ovarian cancer and EGLN1 dependency was further enriched in clear-cell ovarian cancers. Genetic kn...
Preprint
Full-text available
CRISPR-Cas9 viability screens are being increasingly performed at a genome-wide scale across large panels of cell lines to identify new therapeutic targets for precision cancer therapy. Integrating the datasets resulting from these studies is necessary to adequately represent the heterogeneity of human cancers, and to assemble a comprehensive map o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cell lines are key tools for preclinical cancer research, but it remains unclear how well they represent patient tumor samples. Identifying cell line models that best represent the features of particular tumor samples, as well as tumor types that lack in vitro model representation, remain important challenges. Gene expression has been shown to prov...
Preprint
Full-text available
While chemical and genetic viability screens in cancer cell lines have identified many promising cancer vulnerabilities, simple univariate readouts of cell proliferation fail to capture the complex cellular responses to perturbations. Complementarily, gene expression profiling offers an information-rich measure of cell state that can provide a more...
Preprint
Full-text available
Achieving precision oncology requires accurate identification of targetable cancer vulnerabilities in patients. Generally, genomic features are regarded as the state-of-the-art method for stratifying patients for targeted therapies. In this work, we conduct the first rigorous comparison of DNA- and expression-based predictive models for viability a...
Article
Full-text available
Anticancer uses of non-oncology drugs have occasionally been found, but such discoveries have been serendipitous. We sought to create a public resource containing the growth-inhibitory activity of 4,518 drugs tested across 578 human cancer cell lines. We used PRISM (profiling relative inhibition simultaneously in mixtures), a molecular barcoding me...
Article
Full-text available
Genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 viability screens performed in cancer cell lines provide a systematic approach to identify cancer dependencies and new therapeutic targets. As multiple large-scale screens become available, a formal assessment of the reproducibility of these experiments becomes necessary. We analyze data from recently published pan-cancer C...
Preprint
Full-text available
Assays to study cancer cell responses to pharmacologic or genetic perturbations are typically restricted to using simple phenotypic readouts such as proliferation rate or the expression of a marker gene. Information-rich assays, such as gene-expression profiling, are generally not amenable to efficient profiling of a given perturbation across multi...
Conference Paper
A comprehensive analysis of FDA approved drugs has shown that drug discovery through phenotypic screening yields a higher percentage of first-in-class compounds, compared to canonical target-based drug discovery. This has led to a renewed interest in phenotypic screening to identify novel mechanisms of action. The PRISM technology of adding a uniqu...
Conference Paper
p>KEAP1-mutant non-small cell lung cancer is a high prevalence indication that responds poorly to conventional chemotherapy owing to constitutive activation of NRF2 and its associated drug metabolism target genes. Using an approach to identify compounds that selectively kill cancer cell lines in a biomarker-driven manner, we identify BRD-K19050021...
Article
In the last 2 decades, the improved clinical outcomes for multiple myeloma (MM) patients have been driven predominantly by therapeutics which exhibit limited activity outside plasma cell (PC) dyscrasias; do not target specific oncogenic mutations in MM cells, but rather pathways which are critical for PCs and dispensable for normal or malignant cel...
Article
The discovery that thalidomide derivatives recruit the E3 ligase CRBN to induce neomorphic degradation of proteins critical for multiple myeloma (MM) cells stimulated the research into proteolysis-targeting chimeric compounds (PROTACs), led to development of several CRBN- or VHL-based PROTACs against various oncoproteins and put a new spotlight on...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cultured cell lines are the workhorse of cancer research, but it is unclear to what extent they recapitulate the cellular heterogeneity observed among malignant cells in tumors, given the absence of a native tumor microenvironment. Here, we used multiplexed single cell RNA-Seq to profile ~200 cancer cell lines. We uncovered expression programs that...
Article
Full-text available
The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is a critical effector of oncogenic RAS signaling, and MAPK pathway inhibition may be an effective combination treatment strategy. We performed genome-scale loss-of-function CRISPR-Cas9 screens in the presence of a MEK1/2 inhibitor (MEKi) in KRAS-mutant pancreatic and lung cancer cell lines and id...
Preprint
Full-text available
Anti-cancer uses of non-oncology drugs have been found on occasion, but such discoveries have been serendipitous and rare. We sought to create a public resource containing the growth inhibitory activity of 4,518 drugs tested across 578 human cancer cell lines. To accomplish this, we used PRISM, which involves drug treatment of molecularly barcoded...
Article
Full-text available
Cancer is often seen as a disease of mutations and chromosomal abnormalities. However, some cancers, including pediatric rhabdoid tumors (RTs), lack recurrent alterations targetable by current drugs and need alternative, informed therapeutic options. To nominate potential targets, we performed a high-throughput small-molecule screen complemented by...
Preprint
Full-text available
One of the main goals of the Cancer Dependency Map project is to systematically identify cancer vulnerabilities across cancer types to accelerate therapeutic discovery. Project Achilles serves this goal through the in vitro study of genetic dependencies in cancer cell lines using CRISPR/Cas9 (and, previously, RNAi) loss-of-function screens. The pro...
Article
Full-text available
The mechanisms by which cells adapt to proteotoxic stress are largely unknown, but are key to understanding how tumor cells, particularly in vivo, are largely resistant to proteasome inhibitors. Analysis of cancer cell lines, mouse xenografts and patient-derived tumor samples all showed an association between mitochondrial metabolism and proteasome...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper
Conference Paper
Drug repurposing for cancer therapy has seen notable success, such as the reintroduction of thalidomide. To discover new indications, all existing drugs known to be safe should be systematically evaluated for anti-cancer properties. However, given cost and throughput considerations, phenotypic screens are typically limited along the cell line (e.g....
Conference Paper
Phenotypic screening is a valuable tool to identify compounds to treat cancer, but is limited as it is time and resource intensive to screen hundreds of cancer cell lines. In order to increase the throughput of phenotypic screening, we set out to expand and further develop the PRISM method (Profiling Relative Inhibition Simultaneously in Mixtures)...
Conference Paper
Malignant rhabdoid tumors (MRT) are aggressive cancers of early childhood that are largely resistant to traditional therapies. MRT exhibit a remarkably low mutation rate, with no recurrent mutations beyond the defining biallelic inactivating mutation in SMARCB1, a core subunit of the SWI/SNF (BAF) chromatin-remodeling complex. Thus, MRT do not disp...
Conference Paper
Phenotypic screening is a valuable tool to identify compounds to treat cancer, but is limited as it is time and resource intensive to screen hundreds of cancer cell lines. In order to increase the throughput of phenotypic screening, we set out to expand and further develop the PRISM method (Profiling Relative Inhibition Simultaneously in Mixtures)...
Conference Paper
p>Malignant rhabdoid tumors (MRT) are aggressive cancers of early childhood that are largely resistant to traditional therapies. MRT exhibit a remarkably low mutation rate, with no recurrent mutations beyond the defining biallelic inactivating mutation in SMARCB1, a core subunit of the SWI/SNF (BAF) chromatin-remodeling complex. Thus, MRT do not di...
Conference Paper
Drug repurposing for cancer therapy has seen notable success, such as the reintroduction of thalidomide. To discover new indications, all existing drugs known to be safe should be systematically evaluated for anti-cancer properties. However, given cost and throughput considerations, phenotypic screens are typically limited along the cell line (e.g....
Article
Full-text available
BET-bromodomain inhibition (BETi) has shown pre-clinical promise for MYC-amplified medulloblastoma. However, the mechanisms for its action, and ultimately for resistance, have not been fully defined. Here, using a combination of expression profiling, genome-scale CRISPR/Cas9-mediated loss of function and ORF/cDNA driven rescue screens, and cell-bas...
Article
Full-text available
Despite considerable efforts to identify cancer metabolic alterations that might unveil druggable vulnerabilities, systematic characterizations of metabolism as it relates to functional genomic features and associated dependencies remain uncommon. To further understand the metabolic diversity of cancer, we profiled 225 metabolites in 928 cell lines...
Article
Full-text available
Large panels of comprehensively characterized human cancer models, including the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE), have provided a rigorous framework with which to study genetic variants, candidate targets, and small-molecule and biological therapeutics and to identify new marker-driven cancer dependencies. To improve our understanding of the m...
Preprint
Full-text available
Genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 viability screens performed in cancer cell lines provide a systematic approach to identify cancer dependencies and new therapeutic targets. As multiple large-scale screens become available, a formal assessment of the reproducibility of these experiments becomes necessary. Here we analyzed data from recently published pan-ca...
Article
Full-text available
Synthetic lethality—an interaction between two genetic events through which the co-occurrence of these two genetic events leads to cell death, but each event alone does not—can be exploited for cancer therapeutics¹. DNA repair processes represent attractive synthetic lethal targets, because many cancers exhibit an impairment of a DNA repair pathway...